This page looks at some commonly asked questions about having sex for the first time. In case you missed it, we also talk about losing your virginity on our initial first time page.
What is virginity?
A 'virgin' is traditionally seen as someone who has never had sexual intercourse before. However, people have different ideas about what 'losing your virginity' means. For some, it's having heterosexual sex for the first time. For others, it can mean having any sort of sex – including gay or lesbian sex – for the first time.
Does oral/ fingering/ anal/ hand jobs count as losing your virginity?
This is a difficult question, and again, people have different views. Whether you think these things 'count' or not, don't forget that all of them can transmit STDs. And whatever you think 'being a virgin' means, remember that the most important thing is making sure you're ready before you do anything sexual. There's nothing wrong with being a virgin, and you shouldn't feel like you have to rush into losing your virginity.
She/ he is not a virgin but I am
Don't let that make you feel inferior - being a good lover is about sensitivity, not experience. And the advantage is that you don't have the pressure of being their first. He or she's more experienced - that's a good thing, your partner knows what to expect.
Won't I look inexperienced if I admit it's my first time?
No - be honest with your partner; let them know you haven't been with anyone else. There's nothing embarrassing about saying "I'm a virgin!". If you're close enough to someone to be thinking about having sex, you should be close enough to be able to talk honestly to them. If they know it's your first time, your partner will know to go easy on you.
How do I know if I'm ready?
If you aren't sure whether you're ready, then you're probably not. Don't feel pressured by your friends . . . just because other teens say they've had sex, doesn't mean you have to. And anyway, are you sure they're telling the truth? Never do anything that both you and your partner aren't totally comfortable with.
What's important is that you feel good about yourself and what you are doing, and that you keep yourself safe. Being safe means not only thinking about physical risks such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases but also the emotional risks.
Wait until you've got some time to yourselves - having someone walk in when you're halfway through ruins the mood!
Are you comfortable in your relationship with your partner? Having sex for the first time is something you can only do once, and if you do it at a party with someone you've never met before, you might end up regretting it. Unfortunately, quite a few people never have sex again with the person they lose their virginity to. Make sure you're with the right person and it's someone you trust.
Something else you'll have done if you're ready to have sex for the first time is making sure you have some condom and that you know how to use them.
It helps if you can plan it in advance - talk to your partner, make sure you're both ready and that you've got condoms sorted out, and any other contraception you might use. Wait until you've got some time to yourselves - having someone walk in when you're halfway through ruins the mood!
"We've sort of decided to wait a bit longer before we do it. I mean, we have kissed and felt each other and all that sort of thing, you know, maybe just going a little bit further each time"
If you're mature enough to be thinking about having sex, you should be mature enough to be able to discuss condoms. Just because someone's a virgin, it doesn't mean they definitely don't have a sexually transmitted infection such as HIV , although it does reduce the chances.
"I know we were both really nervous, but talking and laughing really helped. Plus we were able to make sure nothing drastic happened. Although we loved each other loads we certainly didn't want a baby at seventeen or to put our health at risk. So we went together to the clinic, sorted things out so that there wouldn't be any worries."
Can you get pregnant your first time?
Yes! You can get pregnant whenever you have sex, and it doesn't make any difference if you do it in a bath or standing up, either. If you don't feel ready to be a parent, use contraception.
"I am 15 my b.f is 16 and we have been going out a couple of months. Well one day it was just me and him all alone in his bedroom. . . . Well the next thing I know we are having sex. It was unprotected. I didn't think that anything could happen to me. But boy was I wrong. Here it is 2 months after we had unprotected sex and now we are going to have a baby."
Will it hurt?
Many girls worry that it will hurt when they have sex for the first time. It can hurt, but often not a lot, and some girls do bleed a little bit. The bleeding usually occurs because the girl has a hymen which breaks the first time she has sexual intercourse.
"I didn't 'Get Off' and it hurt really bad doing it. Honestly, I never thought it would feel that painful."
". . .But my first time felt so good. SHOCKING!"
The hymen is a small piece of thin skin which goes across the opening of a girl's vagina and protects it when she is young. It has some gaps in it where the blood can come out when she has her period. Sometimes a girl might already having broken her hymen without knowing about it - this can happen as a result of playing sports or horse riding.
Sex the first time shouldn't hurt for a boy, but he can make it easier for his partner by being gentle and taking it slowly - try to make it special for you both.
"What was it like? - Well it's difficult to describe because I'd never felt anything like it before really. I'd had orgasms through masturbation before, but sharing yourself with someone you love and respect was really good. It brought us closer together."
Will we 'come'?
First-time sex doesn't always hurt, but it isn't guaranteed to be great, either. Some couples say that on their first time they both enjoyed it, other couples say that neither of them had an orgasm. It's an individual thing, just try not to expect too much from your first time - like anything else, it takes a while to learn about your body and about your partner's. Just make sure that you're ready and you've got contraception sorted out. Talk to your partner, try to make it special and enjoyable for you both.
Feelings after sex.
If you have had sex for the first time then there may be a lot of feelings going on in your head. If it wasn't planned or it was something you felt pressured to do then you might feel bad or regret it happened. Your expectations will effect your feelings too. It will also depend on whether you were able to use contraception properly.
Whatever your experience, things can change. Talking about it can usually help you get over any embarrassment or worries. You might feel your relationship has reached a new and special intimacy.
If you have had a bad experience or it changes your mind about having a relationship with the person you had sex with, it doesn't set a pattern forever.
You don't have to have sex with them again, or with someone else. If you didn't use contaception you don't have to go on not using it in the future.