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Couples who are thinking about having sex for the first time, and virgins who are just curious, often ask whether having sex for the first time hurts. It can, but you can also take some proactive steps to make your first time as pleasurable as you can. 

Losing Your Virginity: What's It Like To Have Sex For The First Time?

Sex, like basketball, knitting, playing the piano, or anything else, gets better with time. Your first time will be a very new, fresh, experience.

It may be awkward and stressful, or even disappointing — especially if you have imaged it to be perfect. Couples who have a great sense of humor, are excited to be with each other, don't expect to have the best experience of their lifetimes, and are relaxed are likely to have a good time, however. 

Research shows that most male virgins find their first sexual intercourse empowering and identity-affirming. Female virgins, meanwhile, have a slightly more complex experience as they ponder the loss of their virginity, which can culturally be a significant milestone.

People of both sexes are most likely to have a satisfying first sexual experience if they engage in intercourse with a committed partner they really like. 

Why Can Sex Hurt For The First Time?

Female virgins whose hymens are still intact may tear them when they have intercourse for the first time, but that doesn't always happen. Many women will already have torn their hymens while working out or inserting tampons. Hymens can also be elastic and stretch rather than tear, and some hymens were rather insignificant to start off with.

If your hymen does tear when you lose your virginity, you may experience some pain and bleeding. 

Both men and women may also experience pain during sexual intercourse if they are stressed, if they rush things, or if there is insufficient lubrication

What Can You Do To Avoid Pain During Your First Sexual Intercourse?

Have sex when you're both feeling rested, healthy, and in the mood. Make sure that you are in a safe, comfortable environment in which you will not be interrupted — nothing kills the mood faster than the prospect of people knocking on your door! 

It may help if you are already familiar with each other's bodies when you have sex for the first time, so you feel more relaxed. Many couples prefer exploring other sexual activities before they go "all the way". You may want to try kissing, cuddling, "dry humping", and digital and oral sex in the days and weeks before your first sexual intercourse. 

Regardless of whether you've already explored each other's bodies the day before you are having sex for the first time, you will definitely want to engage in foreplay before making it to sexual intercourse. Kiss, cuddle. explore each other's erogenous zones, try manual stimulation, and oral stimulation — whatever you both feel like doing.

Think of foreplay as a pleasurable warm-up that relaxes you and gets you aroused. With arousal comes vaginal lubrication, and that facilitates painless sex.  Also make sure to have lubricant on hand, as it can make a huge positive difference. 

Go slowly and gently, and if you're the male partner, don't thrust too deeply. Communicate during sex, and pause if one of you experiences pain. 

Pain After Losing Your Virginity

Some SteadyHealth community members share concerns about pain they experience after losing their virginity. Should you never have experienced pelvic or genital pain before having sex and now you suddenly do, this can point to injury sustained during your first sexual intercourse, or to infection. 

The symptoms of sexually transmitted infections can include painful urination, abdominal pain, bleeding between periods, penile and vaginal discharge (often foul smelling), genital itching, testicular swelling, and painful sex. If your partner was not a virgin when you had sex and you did not use a condom, please see a doctor for STD testing. 

Vigorous sexual intercourse can also lead to micro-injuries that cause you to experience pain for a while, though it is normal to feel slightly sore after your first sexual intercourse even if you are not injured. 

A final option to consider, if you are female and no condoms were used, is pregnancy. Pregnancy can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea as soon as seven days after conception. 

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