Couple stroking each others bodies
(C) Love Matters | Rita Lino

First time sex: what to expect

When people talk about the ‘first time’, they usually mean the first time you have full intercourse. That’s what people mean by ‘losing your virginity’.

But the first time might also mean your first kiss or the first time you masturbate someone or someone masturbates you. Or the first time with your new boyfriend or girlfriend.

Whatever first time it is, it’s something you’ll never forget. It’s exciting and special. That’s why it’s important to make sure it’s something you'll want to remember.

If you are a virgin or have never had sex with your partner before, it’s natural to be nervous for your first time. But, we’re here to help you out! Here are some tips to overcome those first-time worries.

Learn as much about sex as you can

Have a look at all our information on making love and our tips for first-time sex. The more you know about sex, the less worried you’ll feel!

Talk about it

There are a lot of reasons people might feel uncomfortable talking to their partner about sex. You don’t want to seem too forward. You might not want to seem knowledgeable – even though knowing stuff about sex doesn’t mean you’ve been practising, it just means you’ve done your homework!

The secret to great sex is communication. The more you dare to be open and honest with your partner about your needs and your worries, the more rewarding sex will be for both of you. Take a relaxed moment to discuss fears and concerns so you can go into the night relaxed and prepared.

Get sex education

Depending on your cultural background, you may even get some sex education sessions to prepare you for sex. Along the Kenyan coast, for example, kitchen parties or hen parties are common. Aunties and friends will pass on their knowledge to women when they are preparing to get married.

Start when you feel ready

There is only one person who can decide if you’re ready to have sex for the first time: you. Listen to your own feelings and don’t let yourself be talked into anything.

On average, people have intercourse for the first time when they’re 17 years old.


Ease the pressure off yourselves. You don’t necessarily have to have sex the first time you are intimate unless you really want to. Make sure to take time to explore and discover each other’s bodies at a comfortable pace. Building it up over days, weeks or months can make it more exciting.
You can also chat to feel relaxed. Talk about how life, food, friends – just some fun stuff.

Take your time

If you feel nervous, be honest. Chances are high your partner feels the same way.
Take it slowly. Don’t rush into anything. Take time for lots and lots of foreplay. Kiss, touch, and caress each other. Make it last. Make each other feel loved. Make sure it’s not rushed and traumatic, but sexy and memorable.

Notice your partner’s body language. Respond to their feelings and moves. If you are confused, afraid, or in pain, tell them gently. You can even ask them to stop until you get more comfortable with each other.

Listen to your feelings

Once you’ve started, you might realise that you actually don’t want to do it. Don’t ignore this feeling. You can always stop, whatever the other person says. Do things at your own pace.

Be clear. If you say ‘no’ but at the same time keep kissing and caressing, your partner won’t be able to tell what you really want.

Pay attention to your partner

You don’t have sex just for yourself – you have sex together. So pay attention to your partner.
Are they enjoying it? Ask.

Are they nervous? Try to reassure them by saying loving things.

Does your partner feel insecure about you seeing them naked? Tell them how gorgeous they are.
Can you tell your partner doesn’t want to go any further? Respect that. You can really enjoy making love without having intercourse.

Talk to each other

The first time you probably won’t know exactly what to do.
Pay attention to the way your partner responds. Do they moan? Do they guide your hand to a particular place? These are signs that you’re heading in the right direction. But often the signals aren’t so clear, so talk to each other about what you’d like to try. Many people find talking about it really arousing too.

Use a condom

Always use a condom. That way you not only prevent unwanted pregnancy but also protect against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). Most other family planning methods only stop the woman from getting pregnant.

Accidents with condoms are nearly always the result of using them wrongly. So read the instructions carefully and use one to practice. Boys can practise on themselves, and women can practise by putting a condom on a banana.

You can read more about using condoms in the section on birth control.

Don’t pretend to have an orgasm

There’s no rule that says you have to have an orgasm. Don’t pretend to have one: it’s not fair to your partner. Anyway, making love without having an orgasm can be wonderful too.

It’s okay to laugh

The first time you’ll probably both be a bit nervous. You want everything to be perfect and the first time to be amazing, so you might both be a bit tense and serious. But try to keep the mood light. Humour and sex are a perfectly good mix!

Don’t take erection problems too seriously

Don’t make a big deal of erection trouble. Because of nerves and pressure to perform, men can have trouble getting an erection. Guys, go easy on yourselves, it can happen to anyone. Ladies, remember it’s not because he doesn’t think you are sexy. Take the lead, and enjoy the challenge of turning him on. But don’t take it personally if his penis doesn’t respond this time.

Blood (or no blood) is okay

Don’t make a big deal of bleeding – or not bleeding. First-time intercourse might make the woman bleed if the hymen tears. But bear in mind: if she doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t mean she is not a virgin.

Do check out our myths and FAQs about the Hymen and Virginity.

Easy does it

Be gentle. You don't need to be rough to 'break' virginity. It’s possible that the woman might feel some pain the first time (though not necessarily). The way to minimise pain is for her to be as relaxed and aroused as possible, so her vagina is really wet and doesn’t tense up. The vaginal tissue is very tender and can be easily damaged, which can be very painful for the woman.

So comfort her and love her with all your heart. And take plenty of time for foreplay to drive her wild with desire before you move on to intercourse.

Our tips will get you started, but you may still have some questions about having sex for the first time. Keep on reading to get answers to all your queries.

First-time sex FAQ

Does the first time always hurt?
No. If a woman is relaxed and sexually aroused, it doesn’t hurt. If you’re very tense, the vagina can stay dry or may tighten up. This increases the chance of the hymen tearing and intercourse being painful. The first time you’re often excited or nervous, so this can easily happen. But if you both take your time, it doesn’t hurt.

Ways of making love: do you lose your virginity?

  • Masturbating: no
  • Kissing, stroking, feeling, caressing: no
  • Oral sex (stimulating the penis or vulva with your mouth): opinions vary depending on culture and tradition, or from one person to another
  • Anal intercourse (penis in the anus): opinions vary depending on culture and tradition, or from one person to another
  • Vaginal intercourse (penis in the vagina): yes

Do all women bleed when they first have sex?

No. Research has shown that a lot of women don’t bleed the first time. For one thing, your hymen might have been stretched by using tampons or doing sport like horse riding. You might have a very thin or stretchy hymen or have been born without a hymen.

Whether you bleed or not says nothing about whether or not you’re a virgin.

You are less likely to bleed if you take your time making love, you’re relaxed and your vagina is moist, and your partner goes gently. On the other hand, if your hymen is thick and not very stretchy, you might also bleed the second or third time you have sex. That doesn’t make you a super-virgin!

In some families, it’s the custom for a woman to show a sheet with bloodstains after her wedding night. This is supposed to be proof that she was a virgin. The family may think that if she can’t show any blood, she must have had intercourse with a man before. But that’s a misconception.

How can I make sure I bleed the first time?

Some women particularly want to bleed on their wedding night. They might want to convince their new husband they’re still a virgin, when in fact they aren’t. Or they might still be a virgin but are worried their husband will have doubts about their virginity if they don’t bleed.

For all these reasons, women look for ways to make sure they bleed on their wedding night. There are lots of tricks, ranging from pricking or cutting your finger and dripping some blood on the sheet, to using an ‘artificial hymen’. Some women also opt to have an operation to have their hymen ‘restored’.
If you use one of these tricks, remember you’re helping to keep the myth alive that women always bleed the first time they have sex!

Did you learn something new?


Hi Rehema, you only should have sex if you fell you are mature and ready for it. You need to think about whether it is the right time, whether you are with the right person and also remember that having sex comes with consequences including the risk of getting infected with a Sexually Transmitted Infection or getting pregnant. Check out the following article;-

Victoria L
Wed, 04/17/2019 - 02:59 pm
Why fiance is looking forward to me leeding the first time as a sign of being a virgin. If I don't bleed it means I am not a virgin. How can I make sure I bleed?

Hi Victoria, there is little you can do to make sure that you bleed. Remember, bleeding may happen when the hymen is stretched during first time sex. However, the hymen can be stretched through other activities such as some spots. It is important that you let your partner know that you may not  bleed the first time and this will not mean you are not a virgin. You could share the following article with your fiance;- 

Hi Wasike, if you feel you are at a place where you want to have sex with your partner the right thing to do is to tell your partner how you feel to see if they also feel the same way. It is possible that you may feel ready to have sex but your partner may not feel ready and if this is the case you will have to respect their choice and wait until when they are ready. If you do choose to have sex, remember to consider using protection like condoms which can help to prevent unplanned pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections. Have a look at the following articles;-

Hi there, different people enjoy different things and this is why the best way to get to know this is to find out from your partner what it is they enjoy. Remember, the process is as important as the end, talk with your partner to get to know what they enjoy and also share what you enjoy. This will greatly help improve the experience for you both. Check out the following articles for additional tips;-

Hey Sarah, sorry about this. First time sex can be painful because of the stretching of the hymen during penetration or when one is stressed and not relaxed. It is important to ensure one is aroused, relaxed and that the vagina is moist which makes penetration easier and enjoyable for both partners. This also helps greatly to reduce the discomfort. Have a look at the following article for additional information;-

Hey Joyce, so sorry about this. Painful sex can be caused by a number of reasons including dry sex where you have sex before the vagina is well lubricated, the position during sex, penis size and also when sex is rough. It is important to communicate during sex especially when there is any discomfort. The first step to addressing the pain is to find out what could be causing the pain. Have a look at the following article for more information;-

Hey RH, we appreciate your cultural practices, however, it is possible for one not to bleed the first time sex they have sex. Bleeding is the result of the stretching of the hymen during intercourse, this can also be stretched during different activities like some sports other than sex. Have a look at the following article;-

Hi Joseph, if your girlfriend has been consistently bleeding from when you last had sex and this is not her normal period, it is important that she seeks medical attention as soon as possible since this is not normal. If she were to bleed the first time you had sex, it would not last for days days as you have described. Have a look at the following article for more information;- 

Hi Jainz, some people prefer not to have sex before marriage for different reasons including religious beliefs while others have no issue having sex before marriage. Premarital sex may or may not affect your future relationship. The reality is that not all relationships will last forever and one may have to date a few people before they meet the person they end up getting married to. A relationship or marriage is what what the partners choose to make it and their past relationships do not have to affect their marriage.  

I have had sex afew times but he last time was different. My boyfriend used a condom but after we finished there was a whitish liquid like semen outside of the condom but the condom was ok. We were not sure if it was semen or I have infection please explain.

Hi Nikie, it appears you just had had an orgasm. When a woman has sex they can have an orgasm and when they have an orgasm they can produce either a whitish liquid like you saw. There is nothing wrong with this and it also doesn't mean that there is an infection. Check out the following article for more information;-

Hi Ken, we do not have any videos to share with you. However, talking about sex with your partner helps to make the experience better for both partner. This is because different people enjoy different things, for this reason, talk with your partner to get to know what they enjoy and what they want. Have a look at the following articles for more tips;-

Hi there, your partner may never get to know whether or not you are a virgin when you have sex especially because not all girls will bleed the first time they have sex. However, building a relationship on lies can negatively affect your relationship. Remember, you will also have to keep this lie for as long as you are together. There can be negative consequences if you choose to tell the truth now, take time and think about the consequence of telling or not telling and then choose the one you are willing to live with. We wish you all the best. 

Hi, if you want to stop masturbating, you have to also address the porn addiction. You need to start by avoid porn, which might mean you cleaning up your environment, giving up your smart phone for sometime among other specific steps. Look around for any other trigger and avoid it or remove it from your environment. In some cases one may need to seek professional help in the form of counselling to address this behaviour. Lastly, fill up your leisure time with more productive activities. Beating any addiction can be tough, so take one day at a time. Some days maybe hard, you may find you keep going back but try not to give up, eventually you will beat this. Check out this articles for additional tips;-

Hey Folakemi, a girl can not loose their virginity without having sex since it is after one has had vaginal sex that they are said to lost their virginity. On the other hand, the hymen which is what is stretched during sex, this can however be stretched by other activities like some sports. Have a look at the following article for more information;-

Royalty pearl
Tue, 01/14/2020 - 08:58 pm
Wow I truly love this Article❤️. I am 22yrs old and am still a virgin, I love my boyfriend so much, he travelled and left me a virgin. And he has being away for some years now. I haven’t seen anyone, i don’t want to mess myself up because I am disciplined when it comes to my body. I am still waiting for him. Am I doing the right thing? Because I have received a lot of discouragement from friends that I should have backup boyfriend (s), I shouldn’t tie myself to one man.

Hello Royalty, thank you for reaching out to us. So nice to hear that you and your boyfriend have been together for a while. We applaud you in your dedication to yyour boyfriend and to your relationship. If you feel that you are doing what is right for you, then do not let your friend's opinions sway you. Remember that at the end of the day it is your body, and your relationship and what you decide to do is your decision.

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