In our culture, the first time you have sex is discussed a lot, but ultimately your virginity is really just what you make it. If losing it is a big deal to you then that's cool, but if it's not then that's also cool because ultimately, you are not your virginity. You're just you!

And it's worth remembering that whether your first time is good, bad or just a bit meh means absolutely nothing about what sex for the rest of your life will be like either. Practice makes perfect has never been truer than when it comes to sex and the more you know yourself and your partner, generally speaking the better it's going to feel for both of you.

But it's totally natural to be curious about sex - particularly if you're yet to get down to it - and there are definitely a few things to consider before doing it for the first time to make sure it's safe, fun and the best it can be for all involved.

Curious? Have a read before to make sure you're fully briefed and ready to get it on.

Losing your virginity doesn't just relate to P in V

Penis in vagina sex is just one of loads of different variations of sex and a pretty heterocentric one at that. Virginity is personal to everyone and it's your decision as to what you'd say constitutes you having lost it, be that through oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex, using a dildo or whatever else sex means to you!

Some girls bleed, some girls don't

For some people, sex can hurt the first time while for others it doesn't at all. It's purely luck of the draw and is different body to body.

If you're female, any pain felt might come from your hymen breaking (if it hasn't already done so naturally, which is also v. common) and this can be what causes some girls to experience bleeding the first few times they have sex. This might involve a little or a lot of blood, so don't be too alarmed if you or your partner bleeds. Maybe just keep a towel handy or even do it on top of one if you're worried about your pretty floral sheets.

Girls can get pregnant on their first time

And even if there's no girl involved in the type of sex you're having, condoms are the only method of contraception that will also prevent you from catching STIs. And - SPOILER - you can have an STI even if you're a virgin, so it's worth using a condom either way if you think there's even a slight chance you or your partner could have something (and even if you don't tbh).

Also LADIES, while we have your attention, can we advise that you go for a wee after sex, no matter how much more warm and inviting it is to stay in bed? Doing so flushes any bacteria lurking about your vajay away and means you are less likely to get cystitis (which is goddamn painful) as a result.

Oral sex spreads stis too

Anal and vaginal sex aren't the only ways you can catch an STI. Yep, oral sex can also spread HPV, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis B and gonorrhea - all things you definitely don't want and another reason why making sure you and your partners get STI checks is so important before you get down to it, especially if you're not using a condom.

Orgasms usually last about 10-15 seconds

Buuuut don't be surprised if you don't have one the first time. People don't climax during sex for hundreds of reasons anyway, but when you're nervous and doing it with a partner for the first time (well, few times plural), it's very, very normal not to orgasm.

This is not to say that you shouldn't try! Talk to your partner about what you like and vice versa as the better you know each other's bodies and what you like, the more likely this is. If you're both virgins this is likely to take a bit of time as you work out what you do and don't like so much. Either way, sex will give you a whole new level of intimacy with your partner and even if you don't reach the Big O, it can still feel amazing.

You might also come really quickly

This one's for the dudes because when faced with sex for the first time, it can be so exciting that you might find you come real quick. That's totally normal and totally cool, but if you do finish before your partner's had a chance to get there then why not just turn your attention to making sure they have a great time too?

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