First Time

Deciding to have sex for the first time is an important decision. If you want the first time to be special it is important to give it some thought and talk to your partner.

The first time is different for everybody. The only way to make sure it is going to be a positive experience is to make sure you are both happy with the decision after you’ve talked it through and that you have thought about STIs and got contraception sorted.

For some people the first time isn’t amazing, even if you are both totally sure. It might be painful and there might even be some bleeding during vaginal or anal sex, but that’s nothing to worry about unless it keeps happening. If you take it slowly, try to relax and just keep talking things through and communicate with each other this will help.

Make sure you include some foreplay to get you both in the mood and use lubrication as this can help a lot. Just remember, however far you get, you can still change your mind and try it again later.

If you want to see some films about young people talking about their sexual health experiences they can be found here.


  • How do I know if I’m ready?
    • You can say no and your boyfriend/ girlfriend will be ok with that
    • You are not feeling pressured by your boyfriend/girlfriend or other friends to do it
    • Your boyfriend/girlfriend is ready too and you have talked about it together
    • You have talked about protecting yourself against STIs (condoms/ dams) and/or pregnancy (contraception) and you’ve got it sorted
    • You have talked about who you will tell after
    • You can have fun together without anything sexual being involved but you have also tried out other things to turn each other on first
    • You’re doing it because you want to and not to keep up or please others
    • You really fancy your boyfriend/girlfriend

    Even if you can say ‘yes’ to all of these, but you’re still unsure, it doesn’t mean you have to. You’ll know deep down when it’s right for you.

    Many young people wait until they are 16 as this is the age when you are legally allowed to start having sex. Many wait till later.

    Sex can be amazing, pleasurable and a great way to feel really close to someone, but only if both people are happy and feel safe.

    Fact! The average age of first sex in the UK is 16.

  • What if I regret it?

    Some young people do regret the first time they’ve had sex. These can be some of the reasons they regret it:

    • They felt pressured to have sex
    • They put pressure on someone else to have sex
    • They didn’t completely agree to it and felt out of control
    • They were drunk or stoned
    • They didn’t even like the other person
    • It didn’t happen like they imagined
    • It hurt or they bled after sex
  • Is it normal to hurt the first time or bleed?

    Sex isn’t always going to be fantastic like it is in the movies or in porn, and everyone is very different. For some the first time can be painful (we’re talking vaginal or anal). If you trust the person you are going to have sex with you can work through these things. Doing other things together can build this trust and develop intimacy. Some girls will bleed due to the hymen breaking but this is also normal.

  • Is it normal for guys not to last that long?

    For some guys, sex can be over quicker than they wanted which can be embarrassing.  If you are with someone that you trust and care for, you can talk about this together.  If you’re really concerned then you can always talk to a doctor or nurse at a Unity clinic.

  • How can I make sure it’s going to be good for me and my partner?

    Talk about it before, during and after! Explore together what you both like and tell your boyfriend/girlfriend what feels nice, while listening to what turns them on.

    Before deciding to have sex many people do other things first which is sometimes known as foreplay, however doing this doesn’t mean you always have to go all the way.

    Don’t put pressure on them if they are not ready and talk to them if you feel like they are pressurising you. Rushing into sex is not always going to be a pleasurable experience and this is often when things like condoms and contraception can be forgotten which can add to your worries.

    If you are worried there are people you can talk to. There are many services that can advise and support you in Bristol. It doesn’t matter whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual (straight) or not even sure yet – these services are there to help and support you.

  • Do I have to do it again?

    Even if you’ve had sex and it wasn’t great and you don’t want to do it again, you don’t have to! Whether you’ve done it once or a hundred times, you can chose to take time out and wait until you feel ready again.

    At the end of the day, sex should feel good and be fun, but you need to make sure you have everything else in place to make sure this is how it is for you.

  • I'll relax if i'm drunk. It will make it easier

    If you need to be drunk to have sex maybe you’re not ready. There are loads of important things that will happen in your life including, taking your driving test, moving in with someone for the first time, travelling and getting married. You wouldn’t get drunk to do any of these things, so why get drunk for the first time you have sex?  It’s just as important.

    Drinking alcohol seriously impairs your judgement and so you are more likely to make decisions that you’ll later regret.

  • But everyone is doing it!

    Just because everyone says they’re doing it, doesn’t mean it’s true. The average age people first have sex is actually 16, and some people wait until a lot later.

    Plus, finding someone you want to be with and who respects you can take time.  If you wait, the first time will be so much better.

  • "If you loved me you'd do it"

    If someone loved you back, they wouldn’t put you under pressure to have sex with them.  They’d respect your need to wait. So don’t let alcohol get in the way of your judgement, whether you feel ready or not and what you feel comfortable with just because someone else wants you to.

    Plus there are loads of ways to show someone you love them, without even having sex!

  • We're ready for something, just not sex

    There are loads of things you can do that don’t involve full sex and spending time getting to know each other’s bodies can actually help you relax more if you do decide to have full sex.

    Kissing is the obvious starting point and this can lead to touching and maybe oral sex later, but only if you’re ready.  If you spent time taking it slowly, it also gives you time to decide if they’re the right person for you.

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