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

This can help if:

  • you’ve just started thinking more about sex
  • you’re curious about sex
  • you feel ready to have sex for the first time.
Boy and girl sleeping together with eyes closed

Get the deets before getting between the sheets

When you’re ready for sex (good for you!), it’s important that you’re responsible about it. Unfair as it may seem, you can get a sexually transmissible infection (STI) any time you don’t practise safe sex. And if you’re a guy and a girl having vaginal sex, you can get pregnant as well.

First things first:

  • Use condoms or dams to protect yourself.
  • Check out our info on contraception and STIs.
  • Choose the right contraception and be prepared before you have sex.

What to expect

Pain?

If you’ve heard that it’s painful for girls to lose their V-plates, the idea of getting freaky might be freaking you out. Yes, for some it feels uncomfortable, and it can hurt a bit. For others, though, the first time having sex can be comfy, fun and enjoyable.

What to do: Pain during sex for a girl may mean she isn’t sufficiently lubricated. This could be from a lack of desire, from feeling nervous, or because things are moving too fast to become aroused. Try using lubrication, suggesting a different position, or asking your partner to slow down. If it hurts a lot, stop. It shouldn’t be super-painful, so talk to your partner about ways to make sex more comfortable. If it's concerning you, have a chat to your GP.

What’s the hymen?

The hymen is a thin membrane that covers, or partially covers, the opening of the vagina. You may bleed the first time you have vaginal sex if your hymen ruptures. It’s normal to bleed, and it’s equally normal not to.

What to do: If you do bleed, it shouldn’t last long; but if it continues, visit your GP.

Fireworks?

Blame Hollywood and porn if you think sex is always going to blow your mind. The reality can be quite different and sometimes may leave you feeling a bit disappointed.

What to do: Like most things, sex takes practice. If one or both of you aren’t experiencing the magic, don’t stress. It’s common to not orgasm during sex, especially the first few times. It takes time to work out what you both like, and no one is a mind reader. Be open, and let each other know what does and doesn’t do it for you.

Awkward?

Having sex, like anything you do for the first time, can be a bit of trial and error. There are limbs everywhere and strange sounds you’ve never heard before.

What to do: Go into sex ready to have a laugh, and those awkward moments won’t feel like such a big deal. If you’re nervous, take some deep breaths to help you relax and ease into it. If the awkwardness feels overwhelming, stop for a while and chat to your partner until you feel more comfortable.

The aftermath

After having sex for the first time, it’s common to feel:

  • worried or guilty
  • confused
  • extra-affectionate
  • excited.

Sex is a very personal way to feel close to someone, so experiencing intense feelings after sex is understandable. If you’re worried about what you’re feeling, talk it through with your partner, a trusted friend, a family member or a counsellor.

What can I do now?