The first time you have sex is a big deal.
It’s something that should be special and memorable – something you’ve thought about, not something you’ve rushed into because of pressure from your friends or a partner.
Of course, real life isn’t always like a scene from an Ed Sheeran music vid (as much as we all want it to be) and having this kind of conversation can make a whole bunch of emotions, and even concerns, appear.
It’s especially true when you find out that you’re the only virgin in the relationship.
How you’re feeling about your first time. Excited? Nervous? Heart-eyes emoji? All of the above? Awesome!
All those emotions are completely normal. But there are some trickier feels to navigate too. Think: anxiousness, confusion, fear. It’s important you dig a little deeper on those ones, to make sure that you really are ready to go all the way.
“Sex can mean different things for different people,” says Lisa Bogie, Senior Health Promotion Officer at Family Planning NSW. “For some people, it can be an extremely personal and intimate experience and for others it might be more about the physical experience. Your views on sex could also be influenced by your personal and/or family values, beliefs or religion.”
TALK IT OUT
All right, here's the kicker: you're a virgin and they’re not.
You might discover this piece of information at the beginning of your romance, or only learn it when you two begin talking about sex.
There’s no right or wrong time to find out. It’s completely up to you how you choose to take this information – their previous experience might mean you’re relieved that at least one of you knows what they’re doing, but it could also leave you feeling inadequate or singled-out as ‘the virgin’ in the relationship.
In reality, there shouldn’t be much difference between sharing your first time with someone who has had sex and someone who hasn’t and you should treat either scenario with the same importance.
Either way, you’ll need to be open, honest and willing to have an open conversation before you make any big decisions.
“When contemplating having sex, it’s important to discuss safe sex with your partner,” says Lisa. “It may feel
weird or uncomfortable at first, but it will get easier. In a healthy relationship your partner will respect you for taking care of your health and theirs. You may be surprised by how much both the emotional and physical parts of your relationship will benefit,”
Get familiar with the three big ones: consent, safe sex and contraception. If you’re serious about being sexually active, consider them compulsory education (in fact, for the rest of your sexually active life, you’ll need to make sure you’ve ticked all three boxes before you have sex, every single time).
“Safe sex means always using a condom or dental dam for any sexual activity involving vaginal, oral or anal sex. These barrier methods of protection minimise the amount of skin-to-skin contact and stop the transfer of bodily fluids,” says Lisa.
To be in control of your sex life – even before it officially starts – you need to trust yourself and your partner 100 per cent.
ON SECOND THOUGHT…
You might change your mind at any time and decide now isn’t really the right time for you to have sex. You know what? That’s A-OK
"Every time you engage in intimate or sexual activity it is really important that you and the person
you’re with is comfortable with what’s happening.”
You only get one first time and there’s no point on wasting it on anyone, or any moment, that’s less than perfect.
A NOTE ABOUT CONSENT
“Consent means that both people want, agree, and feel comfortable with the type of sexual activity they are about to do together, as well as being comfortable saying no at any point if they want or need to. Non-consensual sexual activity is against the law and is classified as sexual assault.” – Lisa Bogie, Senior Health Promotion Officer at Family Planning NSW.
The age of consent in Australia is 16 years old, except for in South Australia and Tasmania, where it is 17.
Here are some pretty important questions you should ask yourself before you consider having sex:
- Is having sex something you want to do for yourself (not just to make your partner happy)?
- Does your prospective sexual partner make you feel safe and protected?
- Are you emotionally mature enough to talk about and have sex? And deal with the feelings before and after it?
- Do you know how to protect yourself from sexually transmissible infections (STIs)?
- Do you know about proper methods of contraception?
If you can’t confidently answer all of those questions, slow down and take some time to make sure you can before you go any further.
Everything else you need to know is right here.