7 Things to Know Before Having Sex for the First Time

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So, you’re thinking about having sex for the first time? That’s a big step! It can be scary, exciting, nerve-wracking, and emotional all at once. The most important thing is that you only take this step when you feel completely ready, comfortable, and informed. Having sex for the first time is different for everyone – there’s no “right” way to go about it. But there are some helpful things to keep in mind beforehand that can help make your first time feel more safe, enjoyable, and special. This article covers seven key considerations for preparing for this new experience, both physically and emotionally. Take your time exploring these tips, and remember – focus on open communication with your partner, move at your own pace, and check in on how you’re feeling each step of the way.

1. Be Prepared: Have Protection and Contraception Ready

When it comes to your first time, being safe is essential. You’ll want to have contraception like condoms, birth control pills or an IUD to prevent pregnancy, especially if you’re not planning to start a family just yet.

Condoms also protect against STDs, so make sure you’ve got a few on hand.

Stock up on water-based lubricant as well, since it can make the experience more comfortable and pleasurable for both parties. Silicone-based lubes aren’t compatible with condoms though, so double check the ingredients.

If possible, get tested for STDs beforehand along with your partner. Many places like Planned Parenthood offer free or low-cost testing. Knowing your status will give you both peace of mind and allow you to take extra precautions if needed.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about contraception and safe sex. They can walk you through the different methods, help determine what’s right for you based on your situation, and provide guidance specific to your first time.

Your first sexual encounter should be a positive experience you feel ready for. By preparing in advance and prioritizing safety, you’ll feel more at ease and able to enjoy this new level of intimacy with your partner. When used correctly, contraception and protection can help ensure your first time is memorable for all the right reasons.

2. Communicate With Your Partner About Expectations

Having an open conversation with your partner about what you both want and don’t want before becoming intimate is key. Be honest about your level of experience, your interests, your desires, and your boundaries. This will help ensure your first time is enjoyable and memorable for the right reasons.

Discuss things like what kind of sexual activities you’re both interested in trying. Do you want to go all the way to intercourse right away or explore other options first? Talk about what turns you both on and any fantasies you may have. But also discuss what’s off limits and make sure you both provide enthusiastic consent for anything you do engage in.

  • Set the mood: Discuss how you want to set the mood. Do you want romantic lighting, music, candles or rose petals on the bed? Or would you prefer a more casual vibe? Agreeing on a comfortable setting you both find sexy can help reduce anxiety and allow you to relax and be in the moment.

Having an open, honest conversation with your partner about expectations, desires and boundaries before becoming intimate for the first time is the best way to ensure you both have an enjoyable experience. Go slowly, focus on pleasure not performance, and remember that you have your whole lives to explore each other’s sexuality. Your first time is just the beginning of that journey.

3. Create a Safe, Comfortable Environment

When you’re ready to become intimate with someone, make sure you’ve set the right mood. Creating a safe space where you both feel relaxed and comfortable is key.

  • Privacy: Ensure you have complete privacy. Lock the doors, pull the blinds, and minimize disturbances. Turn off your phones or any other electronics. You’ll want to be fully present with your partner without distractions.
  • Comfort: Have pillows, blankets, candles or dim lighting—whatever helps you unwind and feel cozy. Play some calming music at a low volume. Keep water and snacks on hand in case you get thirsty or hungry.

4. Take Things Slowly and Listen to Your Body

Your first time having sex can be an exciting experience, but it’s normal to feel some anxiety too. The key is to take things slowly and listen carefully to your body and your partner’s signals. Don’t feel pressured to rush into intercourse before you’re both ready.

  • Focus on Foreplay: Spend lots of time on foreplay like kissing, touching, and oral sex. This helps you both get aroused, increases lubrication, and makes penetration more comfortable for you. Pay attention to signs that you’re both eager to progress, like increased breathing, flushed skin, and arousal. Don’t move on until you’re both physically and mentally ready.
  • Find a Comfortable Position: Try different positions to find what feels good for you. Missionary position (man on top) may be easiest for your first time, but girl on top or spooning can also work well. Make sure you can see each other’s faces so you can gauge comfort levels and share intimate eye contact. Use pillows under your hips to ease penetration.
  • Go Slowly: Have your partner slowly and gently insert just an inch or two at first, so you can get accustomed to the feeling. Breathe steadily and deeply, which will help relax your muscles. If anything hurts, ask your partner to stop. You can always try again another time. There’s no need to rush. Focus on the intimacy and pleasure, not reaching a goal.

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5. Understanding Consent and Respecting Boundaries

When it comes to your first time having sex, consent and respecting boundaries is absolutely crucial. You and your partner should feel fully comfortable before taking that next step.

  • Talk about it openly: Have an open, honest conversation with your partner about what you both want and don’t want. Discuss any concerns you have and make sure you’re both on the same page about what’s OK and what’s not. Don’t assume that any sexual act is automatically fine without asking first.
  • Make consent clear: Never pressure your partner into anything they’re not comfortable with. Always ask for enthusiastic consent and make sure they say “Yes” before progressing further. Saying nothing is not consent. And remember, consent is active and ongoing—it needs to be present from beginning to end.

6. Physical Comfort and Pain

Your first time having sex can be uncomfortable or even painful. Don’t worry, this is normal! There are a few things you can do to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

  • Use Lubricant: Lubricant can help reduce friction and make sex feel more pleasurable. Apply it generously to the genital area of both yourself and your partner. Water-based lubricants are compatible with condoms and sex toys.
  • Try Different Positions: Certain positions may be less painful than others for your first time. Missionary position (on your back) is a good one to start with. You or your partner can also be on top, which gives you more control over the speed and depth of penetration. Doggy style or positions where your legs are raised may be uncomfortable for now.

7. Aftercare and Support

After having sex for the first time, it’s crucial to focus on aftercare and emotional support. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Communication: Spend time with your partner to talk about the experience. Share your feelings, what you enjoyed, and any concerns you might have. This can help both of you feel more connected and understood.
  • Emotional Check-In: Sex, especially for the first time, can bring up a range of emotions. It’s normal to feel a mix of excitement, nervousness, joy, or even confusion. Check in with yourself and your partner to ensure both of you are emotionally okay.
  • Physical Comfort: After sex, ensure you and your partner are comfortable. Cuddle, talk, or simply be close to each other to foster intimacy and comfort. This can help alleviate any physical discomfort or emotional uncertainty.
  • Self-Care: Take care of yourself emotionally and physically after the experience. Engage in activities that make you feel good and relaxed, whether it’s taking a bath, listening to music, or simply resting.
  • Reflecting on the Experience: Reflect on what you learned about yourself and your partner. Consider what went well and what you might want to do differently next time. This reflection can help you grow and improve future sexual experiences.

Remember, aftercare is about nurturing the emotional and physical well-being of both partners. It ensures that the experience is positive and supportive, helping to build a stronger connection and understanding between you and your partner.

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