I’m a 17-year-old virgin. My partner and I tried having sex, but we couldn’t get it in. I went to the doctor for contraception and I asked her why we couldn’t get it in. She said that I needed to relax; how the hell do I relax?! During sex (or trying to) I wasn’t worried. I was a bit daunted by it because I had no sexual experience — none, nada, nothing! Do you have any advice on how I can relax?
Secondly, I’ve never given oral. I want to try everything at least once. In my head I think, “I can totally do this, I’m fine, I’ll just go for it,” but when I was in the situation where I could give him oral, I couldn’t do it. I think at best, I’m worried about the taste. I’m also worried about whether he’ll like it or not, or whether it’ll accidentally brush against my teeth. Do you have any advice on how I might overcome this? Or any advice on giving head?
When I’m not writing this column, I’m teaching workshops about sex and consent. Teaching these workshops to youth has made one thing clear: Teens are getting a lot of confusing and inaccurate information about sex. Most problematically, movies, porn, and music rarely portray anyone talking to each other about the sex they’re having.
So, you’re taking great first steps towards your first time by including visiting your doctor, discussing contraception (Please also discuss STI/STD protection with your doctor and partner), voicing your worries, and seeking reliable information.
Here’s my best advice for all your questions: Talk with your partner. This sounds simple, but it works wonders and is No. 1 on the list of things-I-wish-I’d-done-differently-my-first-time amongst adults.
Talking is crucial to sexual consent, meaning both parties mutually agree to a sex act with an enthusiastic yes! This means asking before doing anything sexual and listening and reacting to your partner’s verbal response.
Tell your partner your worries, which will diminish their power and give your partner the opportunity to validate your fears and share some of his own (nobody is immune to the first-time jitters).
Then, keep talking. Many people think talking during sex is awkward, but have you ever tried to make someone else a sandwich without asking them what they want on it? If they’re vegetarian? Mayo? Mustard? With chips and a pickle?
Communicating about sex isn’t much different than making each other sandwiches. If both of you ask for what you want, ask each other about preferences, and speak up when something doesn’t suit you, the more likely you two will be having an amazingly delicious lunch together. Tell your partner when something hurts or tastes bad. Ask him to go back to making out instead. Ask him to speak up if oral sex hurts or if he’d like something different.
Talk after sex, too. A good lunch date always asks if the sandwich they made for you satisfied, or if there’s any way to make your next sandwich better than the first. Talk about how you’re feeling after taking a big first-time leap. Talk about what went well and what you’d like to change next time.
Physically speaking, first-time penetration can be challenging. Remember, sex is supposed to be pleasurable, not painful, so never push your body further than is comfortable. Take time to turn on your mind and body. Make sure you and your boyfriend are enjoying making out and foreplay before you attempt penetration. A personal lubricant like Astroglide Natural makes penetration easier and more pleasurable for both parties.
Our brains influence our bodies immensely so being mentally into the sex you’re having is key. Again, talking can get you there. When you trust that you can speak to your partner about sex and that he’ll listen and respond, the more at ease your mind will be, and the more consensual, meaningful, and pleasurable sex will be physically and emotionally.
Get answers to all of your questions with reliable resources about teenage sex and sexuality like Scarleteen.com (especially their Sexual Readiness Checklist), SEX by Nikol Hasler, and me at yanatallonhicks.com.•