The build-up to the first time you have sex is huge, especially in popular culture. And so, it’s quite natural for a lot of misconceptions to arise about sex, protection, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and even pregnancy. People from every gender have questions they want answers to, and trepidations about being so intimate with someone.
What you absolutely need to know is that this is a normal part of life, and your sexual and reproductive systems are naturally wired to handle your sex life – as long as it’s healthy and you are physically and mentally safe. The following are some very important things you must know before you become sexually active:
- Your body is not going to change
No matter how many times you have sex, your body is not necessarily going to change. Not your walk, your glow, the way you stand or anything else. Of course, you’ll observe changes when you’re aroused, like feeling flushed, a swollen vulva or an erect penis – but these signs won’t persist and people will not be able to automatically “tell” that you’re sexually active. This is just a myth, so forget it and move on.
- Safe sex is crucial
Protection and contraception are not just about not getting pregnant – though taking that into consideration is very important. STIs and urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also be passed on during sex. Whether you have it with multiple partners or just one, the exchange of bodily fluids during sex can, in fact, transmit all sorts of infections. So, take condoms and contraceptives very seriously.
- No, it shouldn’t hurt
The popular idea is that sex hurts when you have it for the first time. But this is not completely true. You might be uncomfortable the first time, which can reduce lubrication and that can make sex hurt a bit. Once you get the hang of it though, the discomfort should fade away. If sex continues to hurt, you should get yourself checked for an underlying condition. Endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cystitis, etc can cause pain during sex.
- Orgasms take time (or not)
Orgasms are a bit more complicated in real life than they seem in theory. You might not get an orgasm the first time you have sex if you’re a woman. If you’re a man, on the other hand, you might find yourself climaxing sooner than you intended. You could also have a smooth experience from the very first time but you do face these glitches the first few times, don’t worry – time and practice will usually sort them out.
- Yes, you can get pregnant
You might think that you can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex, but you totally can. If ejaculation occurs inside the vagina or near the vaginal opening, sperm can make its way all the way to your ovaries. The best way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is by using protection – so don’t forget condoms, ever.
- No is the ultimate safeword
Always remember that you don’t have to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Open communication is one of the most important aspects of a healthy sexual relationship. Share your desires, needs and also point out what makes you uncomfortable. Say no if you need to and ask your partner to respect your choice. Similarly, be a good listener. If they say no, hit the brakes immediately.
- Sex isn’t everything
Yes, sex can definitely be very pleasurable and everyone deserves to have a healthy sex life – if that’s what they want. But in case you or your partner aren’t in the mood, in case there is an occasional failure on the sex front, or you decide that sex just isn’t for you – remember that being sexually active is only a part of your life and not all of it. There are other ways to be intimate and not having sex is not going to mean the end of the world.