Virginity is different things to different people. For you, it might be about sharing your first sexual experience with someone you care about. It may be about ‘getting it over with’, or maybe it’s not a big deal to you.
Losing your virginity may also mean penis-in-vagina sex, or it may mean any type of intimate sexual activity with a partner. There’s no universal consensus on what ‘having sex’ is. After all, the concept of ‘virginity’ is very much a heterosexual one, and it may not apply to you.
Rather, think about what virginity means to you, and try to keep two things in mind: protecting yourself from disease, no matter your sexual orientation, and ensuring that whether you’re having sex for the first time or the umpteenth, you feel safe with your partner.
If you do consider yourself a virgin, here are five helpful sex tips for your first time.
1.Make sure you’re ready
Engaging in any kind of sexual activity should only be done when you’re ready to do it – not when your partner tells you to or all your friends are doing it.
Need help figuring out if you’re ready? Read Should I have sex? Your 3 top questions about first times, answered.
2.Line up your protection before you get down
Before you get busy, decide what protection you’re going to use and then make sure you do in fact use it. This might sound like a total buzz kill, but actually it’s the opposite. When you know you’re safe from STIs and unplanned pregnancy, you can relax and enjoy this amazing new experience without worrying.
3.Buy condoms and keep them on you at all times – even if you’re a woman
You should always double-up on your protection – that means contraceptives and condoms. Why? Because birth control only protects you against unplanned pregnancy, not STIs. And if your man starts moaning? Don’t let him change your mind, no matter what he says.
Today, there’s such a wide range of condoms to choose from, he’s bound to find a size, style and fit that suits him, and which helps to make your first time even more enjoyable and exciting.
4.Figure out the best position – for you
If it’s your first time, you may want to keep things simple and revel in the new feelings of closeness, trust and intimacy before shaking things up. Don’t stress about being ‘perfect’ or knowing what to do. There’ll probably be awkward moments, weird sounds and a fair amount of uncertainty, but that’s okay! That’s what first time sex is all about.
Focus on foreplay, and make sure you’re sufficiently lubricated (both naturally and with the help of water-based lubricants) before attempting penetrative sex. There’s no right or wrong position for first-time sex – just go with the flow and do what feels natural for you.
5.Remember: you can stop at any time
Consent isn’t permanent. It’s something you may choose to give with each new sexual experience, even with the same partner.
If you agree to having sex, and you change your mind beforehand, that’s okay. It’s okay to change your mind during foreplay. It’s okay to change your mind even while you’re having sex. And if you think your partner would freak out or be angry if you withdrew consent, you need to seriously consider whether s/he respects you. You deserve much better than sex without respect.
Bonus tip: Make sure it’s with someone you trust and can have fun with
First time sex is fun and unforgettable. It can also be strange and awkward, so think about the kind of person you want to share the experience with. Do you really want to rush it, or do you want to do it with someone you trust and care about – someone you can be silly with, and who will respect you and your wishes at every step of the way?
Having a caring, considerate and sensitive partner – and being the same kind of partner in return – is key to creating a first time experience you won’t regret.
Ready? Excited? Prepared? We’ve got your back
Sort out your contraception and make sure you and your partner are both healthy and not exposing each other to risk. Visit your nearest Marie Stopes centre for contraception advice, quick HIV and STI testing, and women’s wellness check-ups.