So you’ve decided to have sex for the first time ever. Maybe you’re feeling a bit nervous. You might have a lot of questions like:
- What should I expect?
- What will it feel like?
- Will it be awkward?
We get it. Having sex for the first time can be a little intimidating, and it’s totally normal to feel this way! While everyone’s experience will be different, we have some tips that will help make your first time safe and healthy.
First and foremost, you should feel safe and respected by your partner in all aspects of your relationship, and that includes sex.
If you don’t feel safe, or if you are feeling pressured or guilted by your partner into having sex, these are red flags that your relationship might be unhealthy or possibly even abusive.
If this is the case, it’s probably a good idea to talk to someone you trust — a counselor, a parent or a loveisrespect advocate — before you have sex with your partner.
2. Protect Your Health
Has your partner engaged in sexual activity before? If so, ask them if they’ve been tested recently (as in, since their previous partner) for STDs. If they haven’t been tested, make sure they do so before you have sex with them, or else you risk contracting an STD.
If your partner tests positive for an STD, learn about options for protecting yourself if you decide to have sex with them. That said, you should always use protection (like condoms or dental dams) every time you have sex with someone — just to be on the safe side.
3. Talk Birth Control
If pregnancy is a physical possibility in your relationship, have a conversation with your partner about what kind of birth control the two of you will be using. You should have this conversation before you’re in the heat of the moment so you have time to prepare and gather what you’ll need.
Don’t bypass this talk. It only takes having sex one time to get pregnant! Planned Parenthood has great information on birth control options to help you decide what’s best for you and your life.
4. Know Your (and Your Partner’s) Boundaries
Consent: it’s essential. Healthy consent means both partners are saying yes willingly and enthusiastically.
Consent includes knowing each other’s boundaries and respecting them at all times. Talk to each other about what you like and what you don’t like.
Don’t know what to say right away? That’s OK. Just keep the lines of communication open with your partner. And remember, if something makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to stop at any time — no matter what.
5. Have Realistic Expectations
Sex in the movies often looks easy and effortless, but in real life, not so much. Be prepared to feel a little awkward. After all, this is a new experience for you!
Your first time might not be perfect (which is totally OK), but the good news is sex usually gets better with time and experience. What’s really important is that you and your partner are communicating about how you’re both feeling, and no one is getting angry or pressuring someone to do anything they don’t want to do.
If you don’t feel comfortable following these tips and talking openly with your partner about sex, you might consider holding off on doing it. After all, there’s no rush, and the best sex happens when you and your partner are healthy and safe!
Photo sources: nyt.com, redhot.org, aetv.com