This is a great question!
Keep in mind that not everyone defines “sex” the same way. To some people, “sex” refers only to vaginal intercourse. To others, it includes oral and anal intercourse. To others still, “sex” includes mutual masturbation and/or sex toy play.
If you are referring to vaginal intercourse, many people think vaginal intercourse has to hurt the first time it happens, but this is not the case!
Here are some things to consider to make intercourse more pleasurable and safe, whether it is someone’s first time or not:
- Make sure partners are fully aroused before beginning intercourse. Engaging in foreplay—kissing, oral sex, or mutual masturbation, for instance—stimulates blood flow to the genitals, which allows the tissue in the vaginal canal to stretch. Also, most vaginas self-lubricate when aroused, which can make things more comfortable.
- Some people have a thin membrane, called a hymen, blocking the entrance to their vaginas. Hymens can be stretched by fingers, tampons, penises, or other things inserted into the vagina. Not all people are born with a hymen, however, and some are broken in childhood by everyday activities like sports. If you are engaging in vaginal intercourse for the first time, it is possible to feel a brief pain as the hymen breaks. A small amount of blood may be present. Know that this is normal and involves no lasting damage! This also may not happen to people at all.
- Use lubrication. Some bodies self-lubricate quite a bit; some don’t at all! Lubrication will lower the amount of friction during intercourse, allowing the penis to slide in and out without catching on the vaginal tissue. Even if your body does self-lubricate, it’s great to have a bottle of water-based lube on hand just in case things become dry and uncomfortable. It is important to use water based lubrication with condom use. This is because any type of lubrication that has oil in it ( like lotion, Vaseline, etc) can break down the material of the condom, making it less effective.
Another important thing to think about is consent. Consent is when people agree to a sexual activity without pressure, force or without being tricked. Anyone involved in the activity must be comfortable and feel safe. Another thing to think about is your “readiness.” It’s important that someone feels emotionally and physically ready for any type of sexual activity. Knowing the risks, knowing a partner and knowing yourself are key parts of readiness.
Know that you have the right to change your mind at any moment. Even if you’ve consented to an activity once, it doesn’t automatically mean you consent every time after that! And if you’re sexually active, be sure to prevent unplanned pregnancy by choosing a reliable birth control method (if you are engaging in the type of sex where pregnancy may occur). Also, remember to protect yourself from STI transmission by using condoms and/or dental dams. It would also be a good idea for anyone involved to get tested for STIs before sexual contact occurs.
At the end of the day, it’s your body—and you have the right to make decisions that work for you. Teen Clinic encourages everyone to talk with a trusted adult – whether that’s a parent, another relative, a teacher, coach or clinician – if they are thinking about becoming sexually active.
If you need to make an appointment with us to get tested, start birth control, get more information, or anything else, give us a call at 303-442-5160!