Whatever anyone says, having sex for the first time can feel like a big deal. But it doesn’t have to be an awkward fumble. It can be a really fun and pleasurable experience that you remember for all the right reasons.

However, if all your friends have already done it (or at least say they have), you may feel under pressure to just to get it out of the way. No matter what, there’s no rush and you should do it when you feel ready to.

Read our list of ten tips for first-time sex to make sure your first time goes without a hitch.

This article refers to consensual and respectful sexual activity that has been consented to by all participants involved. Durex does not condone non-consensual sex, sexual abuse, or sexual violence. Whatever sex you choose to enjoy, be sure to keep it safe and use protection to minimise the risk of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You can explore the Durex range of condoms here.

1. Ask yourself “am i ready?”

Do you feel like you’re ready to have sex for the first time? Do you know how to have intercourse for the first time? Who would you be doing it for, yourself or your partner? Or are you just thinking of doing it because all your mates have?

It’s important you make the decision to have sex for the first time for yourself and no one else. If you’re not 100% sure, a good way to judge is whether the idea of having sex makes you feel excited or worried. That should tell you all you need to know.

2. Talk about it with your partner

Letting each other know what you’re thinking is important, but it’s not always easy. If you have fears or worries about your first time together, try to talk about them as openly as you can. They may have suggestions about how to prepare for your first time.

You might be feeling awkward about having sex for the first time, but the chances are your partner will be feeling the same. It’s just as important for you to listen to them too. Look for signs that they are into it just as much as you are. If not, it’s better to back off for a while. Don’t assume your partner is ready to go all the way. You must ask them directly. That doesn’t have to mean ruining the mood. It can be as simple as checking by whispering “Is this OK?” in their ear before you take things further.

3. Educate yourselves

Make sure you’re clued up on everything to do with safe sex, including how to avoid STIs and how to use a condom. Condoms are an important first-time tip to help protect you against STIs and the risk of unwanted pregnancies. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes – check out the Durex range of condoms to find one that’s suitable for both you and your partner. If you need to know anything else about contraception, or other types of birth control, it’s best to pop in and have a chat with your doctor or your doctor, or one at a sexual health clinic.

4. Get to know your own body

The key to enjoying sex is knowing what you like, what being turned on feels like, how to get turned on and where and how you like to be touched. The best way to find all this out is on your own.

Although it isn’t for everyone, most of us masturbate and it can be lots of fun to do it with someone else as well as on your own. Knowing how to pleasure yourself will help you during sex as you can communicate what you like to your partner. Read our guide on masturbation to find out how to explore your body and enter the world of self-pleasure.

5. Pick the right place and the right time

For your first time with your partner, choose a safe, stress-free place where you know you’re not going to be disturbed. To feel totally relaxed, you’ll need some time and space to get comfortable with each other. It’s easy to overthink about how to prepare for your first time – don’t worry about the ‘perfect’ or a ‘romantic’ setting. The most ideal setting is the one that feels best for both yourself and your partner, that will help you to feel comfortable in the moment. This could simply be a place that’s familiar to you both, like your bedroom.

6. Sex shouldn’t hurt

From some of the things you may have heard, you might be asking yourself “does sex hurt the first time?” One of the best tips for first time sex is to try to relax – if your body is tense, it can make sex more challenging and uncomfortable. If you’re turned on and relaxed then having sex for the first time should feel really good, even if you’re understandably a little nervous.

Spending a long time on foreplay will help to get you both in the mood so your body is ready to have sex for the first time. It’s a good idea to use lube for your first few times will help to make everything go a lot smoother and more comfortably than without.

Above all, listen to your body. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, sore or painful, then stop. It could easily be a sign that you aren’t quite ready yet or pushing yourself too much too soon. Don’t worry or put pressure on yourself to cum; just enjoy the sensations and the other person. There will be plenty of future opportunities, so feel free to enjoy this one in the moment.

7. It’s fine to be embarrassed

You can read first-time sex tips and learn how to prepare for your first time as much as possible, but the chances are in real life it won’t be as perfect as in your mind – it is your first time after all.

It may feel a little awkward to begin with – you are trying something totally new - as your bodies will react differently and maybe you’ll feel a bit embarrassed at different moments. This is okay so long as it feels good too and you can have a bit of a laugh about it with your partner.

8. Take your time

There’s no need to rush things, and there’s no right or wrong way how to have sex for the first time or any time. Go as slow as you like and don’t be afraid to experiment – after all, you won’t know if you like something until you’ve tried it. If you’re nervous, it’s easy to try to rush things and get it over with. But sex should be enjoyed, so if you’re rushing because you’re uncomfortable, you may want to rethink whether you’re ready to have sex for the first time.

There are no set instructions on how to have intercourse for the first time since everyone is different. Unlike in porn movies, sexual experiences don’t have to happen in the same order and not everyone likes the same things. Focus on exploring and having the sex you both want. This can take time to discover, but can be so much more enjoyable, intense, even silly at times!

9. Sex talk

The only way to learn what you and your partner like sexually is to let each other know.

During sex, keep it simple and guide your partner to keep doing the things you’re most enjoying with your words: “Oh yes.” “Wait.” “Keep going.” “Softer.” ”Harder.” “Faster.” Dirty talk, like telling your partner how attractive they are, can boost their confidence and help them to relax.

Listen for the sounds and body language from your partner too, but don’t feel like you should be performing like people in porn may. Watch and feel how your bodies naturally respond to each other to show how much you’re both enjoying it.

10. What comes after

You may feel different after having sex for the first time but rest assured that sex is a natural part of life. Having sex can strengthen some relationships but may not make much difference to others. However you feel, it’s a good idea to talk about your experience with your partner. Talking about it can help you to decide what it means for you and your partner. Discussing what you like and how you feel can also help to avoid any awkward moments next time you feel ready to have sex with your partner. Many of these first-time sex tips can be applied to other times you have sex too.

As always, it’s best to practice safe sex, so you may want to have a health check after having sex to make sure you are free from STIs.

In summary

Having sex for the first time doesn’t have to be a daunting, nerve-wracking experience. First-time sex can be awesome, but make sure you’re having it for the right reasons; whether that’s first-time lesbian sex, first-time anal sex or the first time with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Talking to your partner about having sex for the first time can help you both to feel less awkward and discuss how you’d like it to happen. Remember to practice safe sex by using a condom  – you can also try using lube  for added comfort.

When you’re comfortable and in the right mood, sex can make you feel the best you’ve ever felt. But if something’s not quite right, then there’s no harm waiting till you absolutely know you’re ready. Whilst things may not always go to plan, with these tips for first-time sex in mind, you can make sure your first time goes as smooth as possible.

This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Remember no method of contraception works 100% against pregnancy, HIV or sexually transmitted infections.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use. Reckitt Benckiser, Auckland.