Does sex hurt? Is the boy supposed to stick his penis all the way in the girl’s vagina if it’s her first time having sex?

First, keep in mind that not everyone defines “sex” the same way. To some people, “sex” refers only to vaginal intercourse. To others, it includes oral and anal intercourse.  To others still, “sex” includes mutual masturbation and sex toy play.  For your first sexual experience, focus on exploring each others’ bodies in a way that feels comfortable to both of you, and don’t worry too much about what you’re “supposed” to do.

It’s always possible for vaginal intercourse to be uncomfortable, whether for the first time or the millionth.  Here are some tips that can help keep intercourse pleasurable and safe.

  • Make sure both partners are fully aroused before beginning intercourse. Engaging in foreplay—kissing, oral sex, or mutual masturbation, for instance—stimulates blood flow to the genitals, which allows the tissue in the vaginal canal to stretch.  A female’s cervix actually lifts toward the uterus during arousal, elongating the canal by several inches.  Also, most vaginas self-lubricate when aroused, making it easier to accommodate a penis.
  • Some women have a thin membrane, called a hymen, blocking the entrance to their vaginas. Hymens can be broken by fingers, tampons, penises, or other things inserted into the vagina. Not all females are born with a hymen, however, and some are broken in childhood by everyday activities like sports.  If you are engaging in vaginal intercourse for the first time, it is possible to feel a brief pain as the hymen breaks.  A small amount of blood may be present.  Know that this is normal and involves no lasting damage!
  • Use lubrication. Some bodies self-lubricate quite a bit; some don’t at all!  Lubrication will lower the  amount of friction during intercourse, allowing the penis to slide in and out without catching on the vaginal tissue.  Even if your body does self-lubricate, it’s great to have a bottle of water-based lube on hand just in case things become dry and uncomfortable. (Lubrication is especially important when having intercourse with a condom, since the latex can create extra friction in the vagina.)
  • Stay positive. You may be nervous about whether or not vaginal intercourse will hurt. There’s nothing wrong with this, but remember that the vagina is a muscle. If you’re tense, it might be, too! Sometimes people who are stressed out will feel pelvic pain during intercourse instead of pleasure. This is a good signal to take a step back. Check in emotionally with your partner, return to foreplay, or listen to what your body needs instead of sex. If you find that sex of any kind makes you anxious, talk to a trusted adult about your concerns. Share dinner and conversation with your partner. Pamper yourself with a long bath. Remember that relationships can be meaningful and intimate without sexual activity, and try intercourse again when you’re feeling confident and aroused.

Some vaginal or penile pain during intercourse is a cause for concern. If you’ve been experiencing pain during intercourse consistently for several months, it may be time to seek out a healthcare professional. Make an appointment with your doctor or come see a nurse at Teen Clinic.  It’s free and confidential!

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