This may help if…
- you and your partner have been talking about having sex
- lots of your friends are having sex
- you’re not sure if you’re ready for sex
Making the decision to have sex
As soon as you get past childhood, everyone starts to face questions about sex:
- when to have it
- who to have it with
- where to have it
- what kind of sex to have
and of course,
- whether to have sex in the first place.
There's no right or wrong way to answer these questions. Everyone's will have a different view because everyone has different interpretations of what activities count as 'sex,' ( e.g. Oral sex? Vaginal sex? Anal sex? Sex with toys?). Everyone also has different views about whether they are ready for or comfortable with certain types of sexual activity.
Whatever your definition of sex, if you’re thinking about having it for the first time there are some things to consider, because sex involves at least one other person and it can also have impacts on both your health and your relationships. If you’re informed and knowledgeable about sex and understand your own feelings about having it, you’re likely to have better peace of mind about the choices you make. You can feel comfortable knowing that you’ve made a well thought out decision.
Things to think about before having sex for the first time
Why do you want to have sex in the first place? You might decide to have sex because:
- you think it might be fun
- you’re in love and it feels right
- it feels good
- you see it as a sign of commitment
- you’re curious and want to experiment
- you think everyone else is doing it.
Whatever reasons you're considering having sex for the first time, it's also a good idea to ask yourself these questions:
- Do you feel ready to have sex?
- Is the person you want to have sex with ready?
- Have you talked with the other person about what kind of sexual relationship you both want?
- Do you feel safe with the person you're thinking about having sex with?
- Do you know about the risks of sex, like pregnancy and STIs? See our contraception fact sheet
- Are you comfortable discussing contraception and safe sex with your partner?
- Is it possible to practice safe sex right now? (e.g. do you have a condom or dam with you at the time)
- Do you feel comfortable with your choice of sexual partner?
- Do you feel more anxious than excited?
- Do you feel pressured by your friends or your partner?
- Are you comfortable with how your decision about having sex fits with your religious beliefs and/or culture?
- Are you or your partner too young to have sex legally? Read Lawstuff for information on the legal age of consent across different areas of Australia.
- Are you worried about what having sex might mean for you and whether it will make you feel different?
If you haven’t thought about these questions, it’s a really good idea to do so before having sex for the first time. If you’re struggling with these questions, you might want to take some time to work out how you feel about them before jumping into bed (or wherever else).
Other things you should know
- You can contract a sexually transmitted infection from having sex. Make sure you consider using condoms or dams to protect yourself. Check out our contraception fact sheets for more info on having sex safely.
- If you're a guy and girl having vaginal sex, you can also get pregnant (or get someone pregnant). So again, make sure you come to an agreement about using contraception before having sex. Check out our contraception fact sheets for more info on having sex safely.
- First time sex doesn’t necessarily hurt. Some people find their first time having sex to be really comfy, fun, and enjoyable. For others, it does feel uncomfortable, and can hurt. If you do experience pain during sex, you might not have enough lubrication, you may need to try a different sexual position, or ask your partner to slow down. If it hurts a hell of a lot, stop. It shouldn’t be super painful, so talk to your partner about ways you can make sex more comfortable
- For women, there can be bleeding the first time they have penetrative sex if their hymen ruptures. It’s normal to bleed and it’s equally normal not to bleed. If you do bleed, it shouldn’t last long, but if it continues, visit your GP.
- Post sex, the first time, people can experience a whole range of emotions – both good and confusing. It’s not uncommon to feel:
- worried or guilty
- extra affectionate
Sex is a really personal way of being intimate with someone, so it’s understandable if you experience intense feelings post sex. If you’re worried about the feelings you’re having, talk it through with your partner or someone you can trust, like a good friend, family member or a counsellor.