Sex Ed

First-Time Sex: Um…Am I Ready For It?

By Claire Lempert Jillian LoPiano, MD Jennifer Newell Gabi Powell

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Here at Betty’s, our goal is to provide Betties the tools they need to create positive sexual experiences. So if you’re considering sex for the first time – first time ever or first time with a new partner – we’re here to help! This first-time framework is mindful of your whole self – physical, emotional, mental and for some, even spiritual – and a tool to empower you in making decisions that best support your sexual wellness.

The National Coalition for Sexual Health identified some goals to achieve sexual wellness:

  1. Value yourself and make informed decisions to promote your wellbeing
  2. Respect your partners and expect the same out of them
  3. Build positive relationships
  4. Be smart about your body and use protection
  5. Make sexual health a part of your healthcare routine

But how do these look in practice? Let’s pick through the weeds to help you apply these things when you are deciding to have sex for the first time.



Know Your Whys

How you define sex, why you might have sex and if you actually want to have sex are big, but unskippable q’s you need to establish before embarking on any sexual experience.

Here’s some questions that might help you reflect on your motivations:
• Am I genuinely curious about sex?
• Am I seeking a deeper bond with my partner?
• Do I desire more pleasure from my relationship?
• Am I trying to elevate my status within my social circles?
• Am I just looking to get it over with?

There’s no right or wrong answer here! Acknowledging your “Whys” beforehand can help you prepare for what type of sexual experience you actually want.



Explore Your Why-Nots

Let’s be real, first-time sex can make a Betty sweat. It’s new, unfamiliar and exciting so, understandably, might bring up some uneasiness! Exploring those anxieties or concerns can help you mitigate discomfort and create a more positive experience. And that’s ultimately what we want for you!—positive sexual experiences that contribute to your overall sexual health. (Yes, please!)

Some questions you may want to ask yourself:
• Are there aspects to sex that make me more or less anxious? Write them down!
• Am I concerned about pregnancy? Make a plan for pregnancy prevention!
• Am I concerned about STIs(sexually transmitted infections)? Learn safety practices!
• Do I hold any philosophical or personal values regarding sexual activity? Define (and redefine) your own boundaries!

At the end of the day, only YOU know the answer to each of these questions. The important thing is to consider these points to be sure you are making an informed decision.



Take a Peek at Your Parts

Many of our Betties begin their sexual journeys without understanding their own anatomy, like the difference between vagina and vulva, or where the clitoris is. These little details matter and being educated about your body will help you AND your partner!

So, before getting frisky, it’s important to get familiar with your own anatomy and how it works for sex. So, grab a mirror and take a look at your vulva.


Touch Yourself

Hey, there’s nothing wrong with some physical exploration, sexual or not!
In fact, touching yourself is something we recommend to Betties on the reg. By getting to know *you*, you become more comfortable in your body, with your body, and how it works, including sex!

According to your values and boundaries, we recommend gently touching the various parts of your vulva, including the inside of your vagina. Take note of any sensations you feel. You may find some sensations are pleasurable, whereas others are not, and that will help you guide yourself and your partner when you’re ready for sex. (Sidenote: Before you go exploring, make sure to wash your hands!)


Have questions about your “down there” region? Talk to a gynecology provider. If you are based in Texas, Betty’s Co. would love to be your provider! Check out Care for more details.



Pre-Sex Partner Pow-Wow

The decision to have sex is yours, and yours alone. Unless it’s a solo sesh (i.e. masturbation), sex includes you and a partner, so should consider each party’s overall sexual health and wellbeing before any clothes come off. Getting on the same page begins with conversation.

You can get the convo started by asking your partner some q’s:

Are you having sex with other people?

Have you been tested for STIs since their last encounter with another person?

What type of sexual relationship are you seeking?

The “What Are We?” question may feel uncomfortable, but it’s so important. Some people might require monogamy or a committed relationships to engage in any sexual acts, while others may be more comfortable with a casual engagement (this might go back to one of your “Whys” in Step #1). No reason is wrong, but both are valid. Which is why being on the same page as your partner is so important in protecting each other’s emotional wellbeing.



Get Ready

Alrighty, Betties, maybe you’ve decided to have sex and now need to understand the logistical steps you should plan against unplanned pregnancy and STIs ahead of time. Say it with us: Con!tra!cept!ives! Whether you choose condoms or another form of contraception, such as a birth control device, go into your sexual encounters with a preventative plan in place. Check out our Pre-Sex Checklist to make the most of your experience.

A final note, Betties:

Whether you’ve decided to have sex or wait this go-round, you can revisit the decision-making process each time you have sex. This way, you’re making the decision, in advance, with a clear mind, and with your health and wellbeing in mind.

Betty’s Co. is your go-to place for gynecology, mental health, and wellness care. Your sexual health and comfort are of the utmost importance to us. Schedule a Care Anywhere  visit with one of our medical professionals today!


Join the conversation

Okay, your turn! Ask a question, share a story, or give some advice to your fellow Betties. We do our best to monitor all comments. As you engage with each other, please help us keep the Betty's promise to be a place for trust, inclusivity, and open dialogue by being kind to one another.

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