How to have sex for the first time

If it's your first time having sex, you probably have loads of questions on your mind, but you may not feel comfortable talking about them. And that’s totally normal. To put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled a list of some of the really important stuff you should know before, during, and after doing the deed.

Read this if…

  • you’ve just started thinking more about sex
  • you’re curious about sex
  • you feel ready to have sex for the first time.
feet hanging over side of boat on lake

Get the deets before getting in the sheets

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to have sex for the first time. Good for you! If you’re going to have a healthy relationship with sex, it’s important that you’re responsible about it and you’ve got all the important info that you need to practice safe sex:

  • It hardly seems fair, but you can contract a sexually transmitted infection even if it’s your first time having sex. Make sure you use condoms or dams to protect yourself. Check out our contraception fact sheet for more info on having safe sex.

  • If you're a guy and girl having vaginal sex, you can also get pregnant your first time (or get someone pregnant). So again, make sure you understand contraception and choose the right one for you before you have sex. 

What to expect? 

  • Pain? If you’ve heard about the pain that comes with losing your V-plates, the idea of getting freaky might totally freak you out. But don’t believe everything you hear - some people find their first time having sex to be really comfy, fun, and enjoyable. For others, it does feel uncomfortable, and it can hurt. 
What to do:

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. It could also be from a lack of desire or arousal, or feeling nervous about having sex. 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. If it's really concerning you, have a chat to your GP.


  • What the hymen? For women, there can be bleeding the first time they have vaginal sex if their hymen ruptures. It’s normal to bleed and it’s equally normal not to bleed.
What to do:  If you do bleed, it shouldn’t last long, but if it continues, visit your GP.


  • Fireworks? Let’s blame Hollywood and porn for making us believe that sex is always going to blow your mind. Our sexpectations are sky-high and as a result, we might find that we’re sometimes disappointed with reality. 
What to do: Like most things, it takes practice. If one or both of you aren’t experiencing the magic, don’t stress too much. It takes time to work out what you and your partner likes and it’s pretty common to not have an orgasm during sex, especially the first few times. Keep the lines of communication open and let each other know what you’re into and what you’re not so into. 


  • Awkward? Having sex for the first time, like anything you do for the first time, is kind of like trial and error. There are limbs everywhere and strange sounds you’ve never heard before.
What to do:  Tell that tumbleweed it’s not welcome. Go into it ready to have a laugh, and those awkward instances won’t seem like such a big deal. It might be that you’re nervous, in which case you should take some deep breaths to help you relax and ease into it. If the awkwardness is overwhelming, you might want to stop and chat to your partner so that you feel more comfortable about everything. 

The aftermath

After having sex for the first time, you might be feeling a bunch of different things. It’s not uncommon to feel:

  • worried or guilty
  • confused
  • extra affectionate
  • excited.
Sex is a personal way to feel close to 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.

What can I do now?

  • Make sure you’ve got all the facts on contraception.
  • Ask yourself the questions to make sure you’re ready for sex.
  • If you’re sexually active, it’s important that you’re looking after your sexual health.
Last reviewed: 08 April, 2014
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