Your first time having sex is a milestone that can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It's a moment filled with curiosity, anticipation, and perhaps a touch of anxiety. Like many others, I realised that there were important aspects of the experience that sex education had failed to prepare me for. I had the false expectation that it would be a magical moment like a scene out of The Notebook, and I’d leave feeling on top of the world... false.
I know many of you will be reading this nodding your heads, with probably some ridiculously absurd and entertaining story about your first experience (we’d love to hear them in the comments!), or anticipating your first time. Whether you are looking for assurance, and tips before your first time, or are curious to learn about pleasure - this one's for you.
1. Do not for a second feel guilty about losing your virginity
I vividly remember the waves of guilt that washed over me after my first time. Society had ingrained in me the notion that there was something sacred about virginity, and I felt like I had somehow lost a part of myself. It took time and self-reflection to realise that my worth as a person was not tied to my sexual experiences. Let go of any guilt or shame you may feel, and remember that consensual and pleasurable sexual experiences are a natural part of adulthood.
2. You can quite literally stop whenever you want
During my first sexual experience, I wish I had known that I had the power to pause or stop the experience if I felt uncomfortable. Sex education often fails to emphasise the importance of consent and the ability to communicate boundaries. It's important to know that you have the right to stop at any point if you're feeling uneasy or if something doesn't feel right. Your comfort, well-being, and consent should always be a priority.
3. It’s most likely going to be nothing like porn
Much of my understanding of sex was shaped by the unrealistic scenes in porn or rom-coms. I had expected my first time to be filled with flawless moves, mind-blowing pleasure, and seduction. However, reality was far from the scripted scenes I had witnessed on TV. I think it is important to understand that real-life sexual experiences are diverse and unique. Your first time may not resemble what you've seen in adult films, and that's perfectly normal. Embrace the beauty of your own authentic experience.
4. Don't be afraid to ask your partner for what you want
During my first time, I was hesitant to voice my desires and needs to my partner. I had assumed that they would automatically know what I wanted. But I quickly realised that my partner wasn't a mind reader and open communication was key. Don't be afraid to ask for what you truly want. Honest and open communication can lead to deeper intimacy and a more enjoyable experience for both of you.
5. You might not have an orgasm, but that shouldn't be the norm anyway
Sex education often places a disproportionate focus on orgasms as the ultimate goal. I had expected to reach climax during my first time, but that was far from reality! It's important to understand that every person's sexual journey is different, and reaching orgasm may not happen during your first time or even every time thereafter. Focus on the pleasure, intimacy, and connection with your partner, and let go of any pressure to achieve a specific outcome - trust me, dropping this expectation is key!
6. No, you won’t necessarily bleed during your first time
One common myth perpetuated by sex education is that all girls will experience bleeding during their first sexual encounter due to the breaking of the hymen. However, this is not always the case. The hymen is a thin membrane that can vary in size and shape, and it may not always tear or cause bleeding during intercourse. Remember that everyone's body is unique, and bleeding or lack thereof does not determine your sexual experience.
7. Losing your virginity doesn’t mean you are losing value
Let's be real here – having sex for the first time is a big deal for most people, and there's absolutely nothing wrong or unnatural about that. But here's the unfortunate truth: whether you grew up in a religious home or not, girls have been raised to think that their virginity is all about pleasing other people. It's like we're taught that our virginity doesn't belong to us anymore and that anyone we sleep with after we've been "deflowered" is somehow getting cheated out of something. It's a messed-up mentality that puts a negative spin on what should be an exciting and positive experience.
Repeat after me: Everyone's first time is different, and that's normal.
Your first sexual experience is a personal journey that should be approached with knowledge, self-acceptance, and open communication. Understanding what sex education often overlooks can help you navigate the experience with more confidence and manage your expectations. Remember to prioritise consent, communicate your boundaries, and focus on pleasure and connection rather than societal expectations. Embrace the uniqueness of your own experience, and don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Let go of guilt, shame, and unrealistic ideals, and instead celebrate the exploration of your sexuality.
If you are curious to learn more about your sexuality and become more confident in your own skin, be sure to have your eyes on the much-anticipated Own Your O: The Shame Free Guide to Self - Pleasure, by our in-house sexologist Sara Tang.
Remember that everyone's journey is different, and there is no right or wrong way to navigate it. Prioritise your well-being, consent, and pleasure above all else. Your first time can be a beautiful and transformative experience when approached with care and self-awareness, and we hope these tips help!