Five tips for your first time

So, you’re thinking about having sex for the first time ever. Maybe you’re feeling a bit nervous. You might have a lot of questions like:

  • What should I expect?
  • What will it feel like?
  • Will it be awkward?

We get it; having sex – whatever your definition of sex might be – for the first time can be a little intimidating. And it’s totally normal to feel this way!

While everyone’s experience will be different, we have some tips that will help make your first time as safe and healthy as possible.


First and foremost, you should feel safe and respected by your partner in all aspects of your relationship, and that includes sex. If you don’t feel safe, or if you are feeling pressured by your partner to do anything sexual, these are red flags that your relationship might be unhealthy or possibly even abusive.

If this is the case, it’s probably a good idea to talk to someone you trust – a counselor, a parent or a love is respect advocate – before you have sex with your partner.

Protect your health.

Has your partner engaged in sexual activity before? If so, ask them if they’ve been tested recently (as in, since their previous partner) for STIs (sexually transmitted infections). If they haven’t been tested, ask them to do so before you have sex with them, or else you risk contracting an STI.

If your partner tests positive for an STI, learn about options for protecting yourself if you decide to have sex with them. One way to protect yourself from STIs or unwanted pregnancy is to use protection (like condoms or dental dams) every time you have sex with someone, just to be on the safe side.

Talk birth control.

If you’re having sex where pregnancy is a physical possibility (and if neither of you is interested in getting pregnant), have a conversation with your partner about what kind of birth control the two of you will be using. It’s important to have this conversation before you’re in the heat of the moment so that you have time to prepare and gather what you’ll need.

Don’t bypass this talk; it only takes having sex one time to get pregnant! Planned Parenthood has great information on birth control options to help you decide what’s best for your situation.

Know your (and your partner's) boundaries.

Consent: it’s essential. Healthy consent means both partners are saying yes willingly and enthusiastically. Consent includes knowing each other’s boundaries and respecting them at all times. Talk to each other about what you like and what you don’t like.

Don’t know what to say right away? That’s okay; just keep the lines of communication open with your partner. And remember, if something makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to stop at any time, no matter what.

Have realistic expectations.

Sex in the movies often looks easy and effortless, but in real life, not so much. Be prepared to feel a little awkward; after all, this is a new experience for you! Your first time might not be perfect (which is totally okay), but the good news is sex of any kind can get better with time and experience.

What’s really important is that you and your partner are communicating about how you’re both feeling, and no one is getting angry or pressuring someone to do anything they don’t want to do.

If you don’t feel comfortable following these tips and talking openly with your partner about sex, you might consider holding off on doing it. After all, there’s no rush, and the best sex happens when both you and your partner are ready and safe!

Still have questions or concerns? Talk to one of our advocates – we’re totally confidential and judgment-free!

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