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A Guide to a Safe and Enjoyable Sexual Debut Without Pain

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

A guide to breaking your virginity and having sex for the first time with pleasure

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Breaking Myths and Sharing Tips about First-Time Sex

Having sex for the first time can be a scary thing. There are so many things to think about; 'How will it feel?', 'Will I get pregnant?', 'Will it be weird between us after?', 'Will it hurt and will I bleed?'.

I think almost every girl has heard from someone that sex hurts and it makes girls bleed, but what if I told you that didn't have to be the case? What if I told you that first-time sex could be enjoyable, just a little uncomfortable and awkward?

Sex doesn't need to hurt. Apart from people suffering from medical conditions, no one needs to experience pain during sex. We've just normalised and accepted pain as part of the experience so we've not done much to teach people how to avoid pain and increase pleasure.

I worried so much about breaking my virginity and bleeding all over the bed, that I actually tried to break my own hymen using a toy, it was a weird decision and turned out to be totally unnecessary. When I did eventually have sex, I had no pain and even had an orgasm. I know my experience is unusual and I'm not trying to shame or make anyone feel bad for having painful sex or not having an orgasm, but I feel more needs to be taught when it comes to having sex for the first time.

Sex is More Than Just Penetration

When we think of breaking our virginity, we usually think of penis-vagina penetration, which is not the case for everyone. Virginity is different for everyone and we don't need to have one definition that fits all. Some people might have sex with someone of the same sex for the first time, someone might use a toy for the first time, or someone might have oral sex for the first time. Everyone's experiences are equally valid and there's not really one perfect or ultimate way to have sex.

However, there are a number of things that will help increase pleasure and decrease pain for all types of sex, so whatever you're into, there are things you can learn and use to make your first experiences more enjoyable!

Get to Know Your Body

I was born with a natural desire to touch myself. I can't explain why or how I knew what to do, but I just knew something felt good, and I wanted to do it. The term 'masturbation' was completely unfamiliar to me until I was much older, and even as adults, many women don't know about female masturbation or how to touch themselves. The first thing we need to get over is shame.

There is no shame in touching yourself. You are entitled to pleasure. It is natural to have sexual desire and it is healthy and safe to masturbate.

We don't have many references to female masturbation in movies and certainly not in sex education, but learning to love your body and knowing what feels good and what doesn't, is absolutely crucial for women. Spending time getting to know your body gives you a greater sense of respect and appreciation for your body, it also shows you that you don't need anyone else to give you pleasure; you are completely capable of doing it yourself.

Learning to touch yourself, gives you the information to communicate with your partner, so you both know what to do and how to have the best experience. A good partner will want to make you feel good and should not shame you for knowing what to do.

Start Small and Build up to Something Bigger

Your vagina is stretchy! It can expand and contract. It can open so wide that a baby can come out, but it can also be incredibly small and tight. If you have sex for the first time without ever having inserted something into your vagina, it will hurt. Your vagina needs time to get stronger and learn how to open wider. That doesn't mean your vagina will get loose, it will go back to its normal size after sex.

When I first tried to use a tampon, I felt like it was impossible! I couldn't believe the size of them, but with time, I learned how to relax and help my vagina open up.

If you're just beginning to touch yourself, don't start with a huge dildo, start really small! Focus first on the clitoris. You can rub it against something or use your fingers to touch it, just get to know how it feels and go from there. From there, you can build yourself up to inserting one finger, then two, and more if you like after that. This way, you're training your vagina to learn to open up and it will make it a lot easier when you have sex for the first time.

Overcome Your Fears by Talking Openly With Your Partner

Sex can be really scary, everyone feels a little worried and apprehensive before their first time. That fear can make your body tense, which means it will be harder to relax yourself and your vagina in order to have pain-free sex. The best solution? Talk! Open and healthy communication around sex is one of the best skills you can learn as a young adult (or any age for that matter!). We worry so much about talking about sex, but you'll probably find that a lot of the worries you have, your partner has too! Make sure you have your voice heard, you are entitled to an equal say in the discussion, and don't let someone pressure you into having sex before you are 100% ready.

A healthy relationship is built on good communication and equal respect, and a healthy relationship between you and the person you have sex with is one of the most important factors in having a good first sexual experience.

Don't Do it to Make Your Partner Happy

You have to be ready for sex independently of your partner. Being ready for sex means being ready to take precautions, to be prepared for any possible events after, and it means being ready in your head and body to take the next step. You will know in yourself when you're ready. It might not be when your partner is, and that's okay! Sex can wait. It's not a huge deal and definitely not something to rush into. Being mentally and emotionally ready will have an effect on how much you enjoy your first time. If you feel scared and unprepared, your body will feel that too. It will most likely make your vagina tense up and mean you experience pain, so please make sure you're having sex because you want to, not just your partner.

Educate Yourself & Be Realistic

Sex education is usually taught really badly! We don't learn enough and sometimes we learn things that are wrong and harmful. Unfortunately for most young people, you need to do a lot of your own sex education research yourself, but luckily there are a lot of fantastic resources out there! We have a page of sex education resources in our UNGIRLS CLUB, but try not to just learn from movies and porn - they are not realistic and don't teach you much practical advice!

Sex is not like porn. Sex is not like the movies. It's not always sexy, or smooth, it's awkward and clumsy but that's okay. You don't need to be perfect to enjoy sex, so don't worry too much about being a sexual god or goddess from day 1. Sex is a skill that can be learned and you will get better at it each time you do it. Just try to have fun, laugh off any embarrassing things, and make sure to communicate how you feel to your partner.

If you'd like to learn more, check out websites like Brook or Planned Parenthood for clear and unbiased advice and education.

Go Slow and Don't Forget Foreplay!

Sex often hurts when we're not mentally or physically ready for it. We need to give ourselves time to relax and get in the mood, which might take more time for a girl than a boy. Although your partner might be ready to go immediately, that doesn't mean you do. Foreplay is one of the most important sexual acts for a girl to be ready to have penetration. Oral sex might be a little awkward at first, but not only is it really enjoyable; it creates extra lubrication!

Mental stimulation is almost more important than physical stimulation. For me, that was the deal-breaker! The excitement of doing it for the first time, the build of emotions and tension as we waited and kissed, meant I was ready in my head to do something with my body - and that is so so so important.

Before I had sex with someone else, I had been masturbating for over 5 years. I had also been educating myself about sex for a long time before that, partly out of curiosity and partly because I wanted to know what to do when the time came. That meant when I did end up in a situation with someone, I not only knew how to protect myself, I knew how to turn myself on and how to be touched.

Don't Be Embarrassed to Use Lubricant!

There is no shame in using lube! It's not something designed for old people, it's designed to increase. pleasure for both men and women. No one enjoys having sex when it's too dry down there - it rubs both the vagina and the penis uncomfortably and can cause bleeding. Although you might not need to use lube, it's always handy to have some in case you need a little extra help.

Be careful: Some natural lubricants can affect the effectiveness of condoms, so be careful to use waterbased lubricants and do some research beforehand.

Continual Communication and Consent

You should never feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or in pain. If you're having sex and you don't want to anymore, you can stop. Consent can be taken back at any point before and during sex.

Don't let the worry of offending your partner stop you from telling them that something doesn't feel good. They should care about your pleasure as much as their own and if that means stopping, that's okay. Sex will never be perfect, there will always be times when something feels weird, or something feels bad, and learning to communicate that will help you a lot in your life. It took me a long time to be able to ask a partner to do something more or less and I really wish I'd learned earlier that it's okay to communicate during sex. Make sure your partner treats you with respect and doesn't make you do anything unsafe or that you don't agree to. You don't owe your partner sex and you are entitled to feel good and enjoy the experience too.

You Deserve Enjoyable Sex

Sex is a beautiful thing when done right! It can be a little intimidating, but it shouldn't fill you with fear and it doesn't need to hurt you*. Make sure you know that you deserve good sex, you deserve respectful sex and you deserve pleasurable sex, with yourself and with other people!

*Unfortunately some people do suffer from conditions that cause pain during sex and insertion. I will be writing more about these conditions in a later post, but if you'd like to learn more about this topic, you can read this article: 'Why Does Sex Hurt?'

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