There are lots of things to consider when having sex for the first time. You might be curious about how it feels and how to deal with the concerns that may come with it. These thoughts are entirely natural in any case. The best thing you can do to overcome your concerns and enjoy the moment is to be prepared.

Nobody knows quite what to expect from their first sexual encounter. You might lose your virginity in a relationship, or you might be single. You might lose it in your teens, or when you are a little older. You might be looking forward to losing it, or you might be overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety. Each person’s situation is different.

Staying safe during your first time having sex is an aspect definitely worth thinking about. Your partner could be far more experienced than you, which could put you at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if proper precautions are not followed.

With over 376 million people contracting Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis or Trichomonas annually, it is essential to protect your health and understand what you may be at risk of during your first time.

A man and woman in bed, with feet sticking out of the duvet.

Methods of contraception

Unless you are planning to have a child, you should use contraception to lower the likelihood of unwanted pregnancy or contracting an STI.

Condoms, an example of a barrier method, prevent sperm from reaching the egg. Other methods, such as the birth control pill, alter a woman’s hormones to stop an egg from being released. Condoms are the sole way to avoid both pregnancy and STIs simultaneously, but it is important to remember that no method of prevention is 100 percent successful [2].

In addition to condoms and the birth control pill, there is a wide variety of alternative contraception methods for women, including:

  • Contraceptive injection
  • Contraceptive implant
  • Contraceptive patch
  • IUD (intrauterine device or coil)
  • IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)
  • Female condom
  • Vaginal ring

Avoiding STIs

If you do not use protection when having sex, your chances of acquiring STIs are significantly higher. Unfortunately, STIs can do more damage than prevent further sexual intercourse. While some infections are curable with a short course of medication, others must be managed long-term and can have detrimental impacts on your health.

Although there has been an increase in sexual health education in recent years, there is still a large cloud of ambiguity surrounding various STIs. Click on the STIs below to find out more about each infection:

Pain may occur, but shouldn’t be normalised 

Some women believe that tearing the hymen – a thin membrane that covers the vagina – is to blame for the pain they experience during their first time. However, not everyone has a hymen, and even those who do may not rupture it during vaginal intercourse.

Other common reasons for pain or discomfort include:

  • Inadequate lubrication
  • Anxiety, which can cause muscular spasms
  • A partner who is forceful.

In order to be safe and enjoy the moment, you and your partner should communicate. Pain should be virtually non-existent during sex if you express your problems and work together to receive mutual enjoyment.

Many people assume that losing their virginity is unpleasant, however, this is not the case. The first time can be enjoyable if there is open communication, unambiguous permission, and a calm, methodical approach.

Stay calm and don’t worry

It is natural to feel apprehensive about how to have sex for the first time. Anxiety is normal but being with the appropriate partner in a comfortable setting and taking things gently might help. To minimise unwanted pregnancies and STIs, always practise safer sex and use protection.

If you have had sex for the first time and you are worried about STIs, speak to our highly trained sexual health advisors in confidence today by phone or live chat. Our dedicated team is here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help you gain peace of mind surrounding your sexual health. We can arrange confidential STI testing with fast and accurate results at a clinic near you, with a private nurse visit, or you can order a convenient home test kit.


[1] Better2Know: STI statistics

[2] NHS: Contraception guide

[3] Medical News Today: How to make your first time not hurt

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