Preparing to have sex for the first time - Play Safe
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Deciding to have sex for the first time is a big decision. Being prepared is one of the best things that you can do to make sure it’s  safe and fun. In this article, we explore what you need to think about when preparing to have sex for the first time.

*There are lots of different ways to have sex – penis in vagina sex, oral sex, anal sex, fingering. Most of the tips and advice below will help you no matter what you have planned.

1. Do you want to have sex? Like, really?

There can be a lot of pressure around sex, and it’s important that you only have sex when you’re ready. There’s no perfect age, time or relationship to have sex for the first time. It’s what feels right for you.

Think carefully about why you want to have sex and whether you’re doing it for the right reasons. The ONLY reason to have sex is because you want to. Not because ‘you feel like you should’, ‘your partner wants to’, or ‘everyone else is doing it’. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s OK to wait.

2. Talk about it

Part of sex is talking about it with the person you plan to have sex with. Maybe it feels awkward, maybe it feels embarrassing, but the more you talk about it, the better the sex will be. Why? Because you’ll both know what to expect and will likely feel much more comfortable with one another.

As well as getting on the same page about whether you actually want to have sex, you’ll also need to discuss things like contraception and condoms to protect against the chance of unplanned pregnancy and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs).

3. Set realistic expectations

The movies make sex seem like some romantic fairytale. And porn makes it seem like only one type of body is attractive, that every vagina is capable of orgasms from penetration alone, that every penis can last forever, and that anal sex feels great without any prep or practice.

In reality, sex is different for everyone. Maybe it will last two minutes, maybe it will last two hours. Orgasms can happen quickly or not at all. Luckily, it doesn’t matter…because sex can be enjoyable with or without orgasm. Whatever happens, is normal.

Be realistic about what your first time will be like. Sex isn’t like the movies – it can be messy, unpredictable, but also a whole lot of fun. Plus, the more you have sex, the more you’ll get to know what works for you, and what feels good.

4. Choose your contraception

If you’re having penis-in-vagina sex, you’re always at risk of unplanned pregnancy and STIs. Choosing the right contraceptive is the best way to protect yourself so you can focus on having fun without the worry.

There are sooooo many contraceptives available that protect against pregnancy (the contraceptive implant, IUD, the pill as well as the simple condom). Just because some of these contraceptives can only be used by the person with a uterus, it  doesn’t mean it’s all down to them. Offer support and make sure that you’re there to discuss, help and assist if they want you to.

5. Choose your STI protection

Not all sex can lead to pregnancy, but most sex carries some risk of STIs. Condoms are great way to prevent STIs during penis-in-vagina sex, anal sex, and oral sex with a penis. They can also be used if you’re sharing a sex toy, and they can even be cut up to make a dental dam.

The good thing is that condoms are easy to get hold of, cheap (and even free), and very simple to use if you follow the instructions properly.

  • Step 1: Check the expiry date of the condom. Expired condoms can break easily
  • Step 2: Open the packet carefully to ensure you don’t damage the condom, and remove it from the packet
  • Step 3: Hold the tip of the condom to remove any air and roll it down to the base of the erect penis. If it’s hard to roll down, there’s a chance it’s inside out. Just grab another and start again
  • Step 4: When you’re finished, hold onto the base of the condom while you’re withdrawing so it doesn’t slip off
  • Step 5: Remove the condom, tie a knot at the end, wrap it in a tissue and put it in the bin
  • Bonus tip: Lube will help make vaginal or anal sex more comfortable and enjoyable, but oil-based lubricants can damage condoms. Always go for water-based or silicone options with condoms.

Condoms can help prevent all STIs, including HIV, but there’s also a medication called PrEP that works just for HIV. It’s only recommended in certain situations so check with your doctor or local sexual health clinic if you want to know if it’s right for you.

6. The right time and place

Having sex for the first time can feel nerve-wracking enough without worrying about who is around, or having to be done quickly. Choose a place and time when you can relax and enjoy the experience.

When it comes to actually having sex for the first time, don’t rush. Enjoy foreplay so that your body and mind is as relaxed and comfortable as possible.

7. Consent, consent, consent

You’ve chosen to have sex, you’ve talked about it extensively, you’re on contraception if you need it, and you have a brand new box of condoms with your name on. You’re in the perfect place with no interruptions. But…you just don’t feel like it.

It’s important to remember that it’s OK to change your mind at any point. It’s not consent unless it’s:

  • Freely given – there is no pressure involved
  • Reversible – either party can change their mind at any point
  • Informed – you have all the information you need to make your choice
  • Enthusiastic – consent isn’t just a yes unless it’s a HELL yes
  • Specific – you know exactly what you’re consenting to every time

If you’d like more advice or guidance on preparing to have sex for the first time, why not ask a question on the Play Safe forum? Our Mod Squad is always ready to help.