First Time:
Loss of virginity
Loss of Virginity
Your Introduction to Intercourse

by
Robert W. Birch, Ph.D.
Sexologist & Adult Sexuality Educator
 

first time


It will be best to start by stating the obvious -- women have been having intercourse ever since males have been getting erections and then figured out what to do with them.  Every nonvirginal woman has had her first time, and 99.99% of them survived it well enough to do it again, and again, and again! Even though only about 35% of all orgasmic women are having orgasms during intercourse, most all women enjoy the act's physical and emotion closeness.

The reasons for an adult woman to maintain her virginity are numerous -- you know them. There are those who abstain for moral or religious reasons, and there are those who avoid penetration out of fear (of pain, pregnancy, disease, loss of reputation, or loss of self-respect). There are women who postpone intercourse not out of choice, but because they have not found a man they can trust, or love, or who turns them on. Some women have not had the opportunity. The woman who remains a virgin after graduating from high school probably does so for one or more of the reasons above.

When to give up ones virginity, and with whom, is every woman's choice. Unfortunately, all too many women have suffered forced penetration against their will, and a history of sexual trauma is another reason why some women might avoid consensual intercourse. With or without a history of abuse (childhood or adult), some women feel threatened by an erect penis. Too often it is seen as a potential instrument of pain, pregnancy, or humiliation. Some women see it as 'dirty,' possibly ugly, or a potential source of a sexually transmitted disease. For a lot of reasons, a lot of adult women just say "No!" That is a woman's right!

A good reason not to lose ones virginity -- the male insistence on it as a condition for continuing the relationship. A woman should not allow herself to be manipulated into it, lest she look back on the event with regrets. "If you love me, you'll give it to me," or "If you don't give it to me, I'll get it somewhere else" is manipulative emotional blackmail.

There may be some reason for concern if a woman has been actively avoiding intercourse for several reasons, including the fear of pain (emotional or physical). The consequence might be the development of a cycle of avoidance. If the approach to her vaginal opening (or even her genitals) stirs intense anxiety, a woman might find that avoiding that potential penetration relieves her of that fear. In a sense, then, the avoidance reinforces or rewards itself. Essentially the woman says to herself, "I think I will, but oh my, it will be scary. I better try, but this is so frightening. Maybe it will not hurt, but I'm afraid it will. He wants to enter me, but it will not work. I want to avoid and escape, and then I will no longer feel threatened and scared. It is so nice not to have to worry about it!" Avoidance becomes the escape from fear, and fear perpetuates the avoidance. Breaking this cycle of avoidance might not be easy.

Let's shift gears for a moment and talk anatomy. There is a sling of muscles, called the pubococcygeus (pronounced pew-bo-cox-se-gee'-us) muscles, that stretches between the legs of both men and women. These muscles attach in front to the pubic bone, pass between the legs and attach to the tail or coccyx bone in back. The muscles are most commonly referred to simply as the PE Muscles.

PC muscles

These PC muscles, as they make their way from front to back, surround the opening of the bladder, surround the first inch or so at the opening to the vaginal canal, and form the anal sphincter, before attaching again to the tail bone. In fact, if we had tails we would use our PC muscles to wag them. When a man wiggles his penis, he is using these muscles. A woman can find her PC muscles by stopping her flow of urine. When both men and women orgasm, it is these pelvic floor PC muscles that contract, sending waves of pleasure throughout the body.

The Kegel Exercises, that strengthen the PC muscles, are taught to women wishing to learn how to orgasm, and they are taught to women who lose urine when they laugh, cough, or sneeze (urinary stress incontinence). They are also taught to new mothers to help tone up vaginal muscles that have been stretched during childbirth. So, why do I mention them in an article on first intercourse? Because if a woman is figuratively "up tight" about penetration, she might be "up tight" literally. Anxiety about vaginal entry can translate into physical tightening of that entryway. Later we will talk of ways to relax these important muscles.

Obviously a lot of young women lose their virginity half-dressed in the heat of passion, in a near impossible position, in the back seat of a car. Young women are initiated into intercourse on the couch in a family room, on a park bench, or while standing in a swimming pool. For some, the loss of virginity has been easy, loosening up both emotionally and physically with, in some cases, the consumption of alcohol as the "sexual lubricant." Perhaps the first penetration is experienced as an uncomfortable, unfamiliar feeling, more than it is perceived as pain. Typically the woman's hymen has already been torn or stretched prior to intercourse, the result of a physically active life style, the use of tampons, or a gynecologic pelvic exam. For most women it is relatively easy once they have decided (often impulsively in the midst of hot love making) to do it. If unmarried there might be a tinge of lingering guilt, a bit of regret the next morning, or a haunting fear of pregnancy ... but it is over, done, and life goes on. Women do have unwanted pregnancies and get exotic sexually transmitted diseases, but for the most part the only consequences for the newly initiated are a few drops of bright red blood and a dull ache to remind her for a few days of her passageway into a new phase of her life.

There are some women, however, who are very up tight about losing their virginity, but are approaching a time when they know they must take the big step. Perhaps it is a pending marriage with apprehension about the wedding night. Perhaps it is a certain man who is extra special, or perhaps it is simply the awareness that time is passing and something is being missed.

As has been state, if a woman is fearful of penetration and has been actively avoiding it for years, she is likely to unconsciously tighten her vaginal muscles. It is as though her body is saying, "Oh no, you are not going to get in there." One of the first steps in learning to relax a muscle is to find it, and the best way to find the PC muscles is while urinating. The muscles that are squeezed to stop the flow are the PC muscles. If the woman is orgasmic, she will recognize them as being involved in her climax. Some women in trying to squeeze these muscles tighten their abdominal or thigh muscles. These muscles should stay relaxed as she locates and squeezes her pelvic floor muscles. Once identified and the woman can consciously tighten them, she can now begin to consciously relax them as well. The reader should refer to the instructions for doing the  Kegel Exercises.

If the woman is in an ongoing relationship, her partner plays an important role in preparing her. If he is impatient, demanding, and insensitive to her anxiety and her anticipated or real pain, the going is likely to be tough. However, if he is patient, loving and respectful, the process can go smoothly. Over repeated petting sessions, the woman can become comfortable with having her external genitalia stroked. She must be able to trust that no unannounced penetration will be attempted. Gradually, and with much talk and only when she is highly aroused, a small finger can be introduced into her vagina. This should assure her that she can, in fact, be entered. Without rushing and without hard pushing, the longer middle finger can be used, inserted slowly with the palm up as the woman lays on her back focusing on her relaxation. As a part of this introductory phase, a woman can insert tampons and even her own finger while self-pleasuring. Penetration by a penis should not occur until the woman is comfortable with finger play.

Scorpio Rising from Eve's GardenSome women, in preparation for intercourse or to "stay in shape" after a brief introduction, will use dildos ... and, of course, they do feel good especially when combined with clitoral stimulation. I highly recommend the flexible "user friendly" dildos sold by Eve's Garden because of the range in sizes available.

Clearly, erections are larger than fingers and usually larger than the smallest dildo from the garden that grows nice things from women. If the size of a penis worries a woman, it will help if she spends time sitting on her partner, but with the shaft of his penis between the lips of her genitals. This has been called outercourse, and as the woman slides along the shaft of her partner's erect penis, it can be quite pleasurable to both. Once more it is important for the woman to trust that there will be no unannounced nonconsensual attempt at penetration, and one of the nice things about this position (besides feeling good) is that the woman can maintain control.

Penetration can be attempted with the woman on top, lifting up from her partner's penis and the reaching down to guide it to the opening of her vagina. She can then lower herself, stopping if she feels discomfort. The advantage to this position is her ability to control the speed and the depth of the penetration. The disadvantage is that she must support herself  and this might make it difficult for her to relax. I would suggest that the first entry be made as the woman lays on her back with legs spread.

Penis size might matter initially. When being introduced to intercourse, bigger is not likely to be better. However, be assured that most men are average and most women learn to adjust to their partner, regardless of how them might be endowed. Do remember that the size of an erection does not determine if a woman will orgasm with intercourse or not. As the old saying goes, "It is not the size of the tool, but how well the man can use it." Be sure to read the article on simultaneous orgasms.

Arousal is essential. As a woman becomes aroused, her vaginal muscles will naturally relax a bit . . . the vagina will actually open up along its entire length. In the above cross section you will see that the cervix dips down into the end of the vaginal canal. During arousal, the uterus pulls up, lifting the cervix out of the "line of fire," so that the thrusting penis will pass under it, rather than ramming into it. In addition, arousal provides the lubricant that will facilitate the insertion. I would certainly recommend adding a bit of extra lubrication the first couple times, just to be sure, but remember, no amount of artificial lubrication will make up for the lack of arousal. Arousal is nature's way of preparing the woman, and that will not come out of a tube.

For additional lubrication I recommend something like Astroglide or Wet lubricant. Unfortunately, lubrication placed outside the vagina or on the man's penis is likely to be squeegeed off as he slide through the tight opening. Added lubrication that has been push back around the man's testicles does little for the woman! Gentle finger play can work some of the lubrication into the opening, but remember, and artificial product will never replace the natural lubrication of a highly aroused woman. Not highly aroused? Might be wrong time or wrong man!

As with any intercourse with a relative stranger, first intercourse with someone of unknown history should always require the use of a condom! Better safe than sorry.

Developing a positive attitude about intercourse is important. It is fun, it is loving, it is intimate and a lot of people spend a lot of time doing it. Positive anticipation of the first time and having the right mind-set might help. The novice should develop erotic fantasies to help get into the mood and to help stay focused on the sexual excitement, rather than the sexual fear. Read the article on using sexual fantasy.

If the woman is very aroused but does not feel relaxed, here is something that should help. On her back, the woman should relax as much as possible. In fact, I would strongly suggest a full body erotic massage prior to attempting penetration. Once relaxed, the man should hold the end of his erection right at the opening, without attempting to push in. At this point the woman should squeeze those PC muscles tight and hold them. These muscles are such that if a woman consciously squeezes them and tries to hold them tight, they will automatically release and begin to relax. So, the woman squeezes, holds, and then allows them to relax. She should do this again . . . squeeze, hold, and relax. Then a third time . . . squeeze, hold, hold, hold . . . then a deep breath as she begins to relax and, when ready, her words "Now, gently my love."

The initial penetration should be slow and partial. If it begins to hurt, the woman should say so and, without the man pulling out, she should once more squeeze, hold, and relax. If this helps, he can then slide in a bit deeper. If her discomfort continues, he should pull out. Rome was not built in a day. Not all virgins are totally "deflowered" on first partial penetration. The man should not expect to be able to thrust deeply and rapidly during the first couple encounter. If his goal is to ejaculate in her, he does not understand her discomfort and her need to learn to relax.

Some women do experience chronic pain with intercourse, and some develop a condition known as Vaginismus, a psychosomatic condition that makes penetration impossible. These sexual pain disorders are describe elsewhere on this site, and addition resources are available on vaginismus.

Realistically, the vast majority of women do fairly well with their first encounter and with each subsequent episodes of intercourse learn to relax and enjoy this special bonding. Intercourse is about mutual pleasure . . . it is about profound intimacy, and most of all it is about having fun.

Feel free to ask me questions about this article, or any other you find on this site.

© 2002 Robert W. Birch, Ph.D., ACS
Sexologist & Adult Sexuality Educator
Retired Marital & Sex Therapist
American College of Sexologist

If you would like to share thoughts about your first intercourse experience, or have a suggestions for other women (or men), send them to me and, without identifying you, I will post them.
One reader wrote:

        I had intercourse for the first time on my wedding night when I was 26. I was excited, eager, but very wide-eyed. My husband had told me he had had intercourse two times (with the same woman) in his past. So he was relatively inexperienced. I brought KY jelly with me on the advice of a friend. We slow-danced as we undressed each other over a period of about 30 minutes, also drinking a glass of wine. We played around with each other in the bed for about 30 minutes more.
        When the time drew near I applied the KY and my husband proceeded to come into me (I was on my back). After a couple of stabs he came into me and stopped there (I had squeezed his arm as a signal to slow/stop). It felt tight and a little rough. After a minute I asked him to go on. He did and continued on until he climaxed about 5 minutes later. I felt no sexual sensations, but was thrilled to be finally "doing it." After three days and five times, I admitted that I was sore and needed a break!
        After two weeks of marriage and frequent sex, I was well-lubed for intercourse, but did not have an orgasm (except for my own manual stimulation during foreplay) until about 9 months later.
    That's it! Hope this helps someone.
 

                    Another visitor to the site wrote:

    I found the information on your website to be very useful. I had sex wih my boyfriend for the first time and it was terrible!!!!!!  It hurt so bad I was nearly screaming. He told me I needed to relax, but when I tried it still hurt. He said he could not get his penis inside my body because I kept squeezing, but I was not trying to squezze on purpose. I realize now that I was just very tense.
    Also, I noticed that I was bleeding after we had intercourse. Does that mean that my hymen was broken?? Is this reaction normal???????? 
 

If you would like to share thoughts about your first intercourse experience, or have a suggestions for other women (or men), send them to me and, without identifying you, I will post them.

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Retired Sex Therapist
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