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First Intercourse

What You Need to Know About Intercourse for the First Time

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Updated January 10, 2013

Before you have it, intercourse is a little like a point way off in the distance as you're moving toward it. It can seem like it takes forever for you to get there, and once you do it only takes a few seconds before you pass it by. For a lot of us, having intercourse for the first time is a big deal, and the scariest part can be not knowing what comes next. You may never be 100% sure if you’re ready, but reading the information below may help you on your way to deciding.

What Is Intercourse?

Intercourse is traditionally used to describe penile-vaginal penetration, but it also gets used to describe genital sex involving penetration of an orifice (e.g. vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral intercourse). In medical texts (and popular culture) intercourse almost always refers to sex between a man and a woman. This incorrect assumption ignores the fact that sex between people of any gender may or may not involve penetration. Anyone can have intercourse, although it isn’t essential to a happy sex life or happy life overall.
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Does It Always Hurt?

The short answer is no. Intercourse for the first time doesn’t always hurt, and if you’re having intercourse regularly it shouldn’t ever hurt. Pain associated with first time intercourse for women is usually tied to the idea of breaking the hymen. But most of our ideas about “breaking” a hymen (or “popping her cherry”) are inaccurate. There is great variation among hymens from woman to woman, and in many cases the hymen may already be stretched and/or torn prior to intercourse. First time intercourse may always be awkward, but there are things you can do to increase the likelihood of feeling pleasure and reduce the chances of feeling pain. Many people who experience painful intercourse think it’s just them, or inexperience, when in fact there are physical causes that can be addressed and in some cases resolved.
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Preparing for Intercourse

This may sound like a ridiculous and terribly unromantic proposition, but that’s just because our society is so weirded out by sex. Can you imagine any other first time activity that you wouldn’t take at least a little bit of time to prepare for? I spend more time preparing my lunch than many do preparing for intercourse. And while it’s true that you can have intercourse without any preparation, if you want it to be fun and you want to reduce the chances it will end with a trip to the doctor’s office, you’ll be happy you prepared a little.
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How Do You “Do” It?

If you received any information about how to have intercourse it probably didn’t get past the point of inserting tab A into slot B. There’s this idea that we are somehow programmed to respond to the first part of intercourse by knowing exactly what to do next. This is untrue. Like any sexual act, how much you get out of intercourse has a lot to do with how much you put into it (and I’m not talking about penis size here). Even if there is a connection between intercourse and survival of our species, we aren’t genetically programmed to know how to have pleasurable intercourse. It’s something we have to learn. Luckily the learning is a good time.
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First Intercourse Without Second Thoughts

It may not be realistic to think that every first intercourse experience you have will be one you’ll treasure the memory of forever. Many of us live with some sexual regrets. But there are a few simple ways to reduce the chance that your first intercourse experience will be one you’ll regret for years to come. Worrying about unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases is a great way to reduce the pleasure you’ll have with intercourse. Plan ahead on both fronts and consider the possibility that if you can’t talk to your potential partner about these things, they may not be the right person to be having intercourse with. Also, even though lots of people have their first intercourse experience following the use of some drugs or alcohol, if you’re goal is to have pleasurable and fun intercourse, you’re better off not being high or drunk the first time you do it. It sounds like a drag, but the first time you have intercourse you want to be able to read your body’s signals and feel exactly what’s happening. Learn more:

Sex Beyond Intercourse

Intercourse mythology tells us that sexual intercourse is the pinnacle of sexual expression. Amongst all the hype, it’s important to remember that this simply isn’t the case for many, if not most, people. Intercourse isn’t the most common sexual activity, and it may not be the best way for either you or a partner to have sexual pleasure and orgasm, if those are your goals. But the expectations we heap on intercourse can often get in the way of our pleasure. One way to combat that is to explore other ways of having sex, and remember that intercourse is just part of the harmonious mosaic we call your sex life.
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