I'm an Australian student in my final year of high school, constantly dealing with stress. From everywhere. Family, work, homework and study...it's no wonder, really, that when we hear all about how fantastically stress-relieving sex can be, we want to try it. It's no surprise.
But then there's all that other stuff involved...getting into a relationship (worrying about your physical appearance comes both before and after), being happy in it, then worrying about your sexual performance, how long the relationship is going to last, this that and the other. Sometimes, it sounds like too much hard work.
Looking at it pragmatically, you have to balance two things: the work or risk involved, and the potential pay off. Is intercourse or other kinds of sex really worth it? After all, you have to get past that first time. Sure, you hear all about how things get so much better after that, but the fear of pain or embarrassment (or both) can have some girls putting off their first sexual experience for quite a while. It's sad, really. We're so used to focusing on the horror stories about first-time intercourse that we forget that it can be nice, fantastic even.
Simply worrying too much can makes things worse. And does that piece of knowledge help us? Not often.
Maybe it's a good idea to have some good stories out there. You know, lessons of when things went right instead of horribly wrong. People are capable of learning from good examples as well as from bad mistakes.
Hopefully my boyfriend and I make a good example. Let's call him J for convenience.
After moving to a new school I had to make some new friends, get used to a new area, and get familiar with everything in general. I only had a year of school left and wasn't expecting to get into a relationship. However, J showed me around and helped me out a lot. When he asked me out on a date, I wasn't sure. I'd known him for only a month. He seemed really genuine, which is hard to find when you're new and have (at least for the moment) everybody's attention. I liked him. I said yes - I had nothing to lose. In fact, it went something like this:
J: Do you want to go ice skating with me next weekend?
Me: Just us?
Me: Are you asking me out on a date?
Me: Well, yes, regardless.
J: (grins) Yes!
This was just before school holidays, so we had plenty of time to get used to each other and learn what we liked. So many relationships start out like this for people my age.
Now, Australia hasn't got the absolute best sex education in the world, but it's definitely, in my own opinion, better than that in the US. We are taught abstinence as only one of many techniques one can use in order to avoid getting pregnant. And after all, every kind of contraception only works as long as you are using it. Using abstinence as your only plan is sure to get you screwed (no pun intended). It's a good idea to have at least one backup. Any responsible sex education teacher or GP would tell you this.
Speaking of GPs: after I had been dating J for about two months, I caught a bus out to the medical centre to speak to my doctor. J and I had been getting pretty physical with other kinds of sex and I wanted to be prepared. I asked the doctor what he recommended in the way of contraceptives. First, he insisted on asking what I knew about STIs, getting me to list as many as I could. He wrote them all down in a table (upside-down, in fact, so that I could read what he was writing), and listed the symptoms of each one, how to avoid getting it and what to do if you ever got it. I've still got the piece of paper somewhere.
He spoke to me about various kinds of the Pill, the Implanon implant, IUDs and Depo-Provera shots. There was, unfortunately, no table drawn for these. The Pill sounded like the least scary of these options, so that was what I chose. He wrote me the prescription as he lamented, "These Australian women, ah, they do not wear the red lipstick. Don't they know it's sexy?" Another thing about Australia is that it has a massive number of doctors from other countries.
I started taking the Pill, but it wasn't until about a month later that I had intercourse for the first time. Which isn't to say that we did nothing. Mutual masturbation in the shower is fantastic.
Neither J nor I had previous sexual experience, but we refused to walk into anything uninformed. We played around with a box of condoms - we unrolled them, stretched them (one memorable time was when J managed to get one stretched over his entire forearm - I've since read an article somewhere on this site which suggests trying it, and was very amused), blew them up, and generally got silly with them until we didn't mind dealing with them. They are silly little rubber things, but they serve an important purpose, right?
J is a caring partner. Getting me off gets him off, and vice versa. We had this from the very start, for which I consider myself blessed.
Please don't plan a special day for first-time sex. In my opinion, your should just be prepared for whichever day it might be - have condoms at hand in the bedside drawer or something. I say this for the following reason: you don't want to make yourself nervous, and you want plenty of foreplay to get in the mood. J and I were getting pretty hot and heavy in bed, things were getting very tense sexually and we found ourselves wanting to go further each time. Personally, I'd had enough of being worked up until I couldn't stand it anymore, and then just sitting there by myself being outrageously aroused when it was time for J to go home. I'm sure J felt the same way - he drove home at nights with some pretty bad erections. Anyway, as we were playing around in bed one day, J whispered in my ear, "Do you want to have sex?", and I thought to myself, "Hell, yes." We hadn't specifically intended to have intercourse on that day, so it had been business as usual right up until it wasn't. I wasn't nervous, I was very much in the mood, and guess what? We had condoms!
Being relaxed and very horny made things a lot easier for us. It didn't hurt at all. I'll say this again: it didn't hurt at all. If it did, I was feeling too good to notice it. We had plenty of KY, and I had very little bleeding. We had a very nice little episode in the shower afterwards, where J and I washed each other down. Nothing but love there.
The sex did get better. For me, things grew (and keep growing) more fantastic along an exponential curve. Practice makes perfect. Experience begets more experience. I love sex, and I'm insanely happy that I had such a positive first time, with such a great partner. I see no need for things to be otherwise.
My mother and I have a pretty good relationship. One of my rules of thumb when I started dating J was that if I wasn't comfortable talking about it with my mum, then I shouldn't be doing it in the first place. I understand that not every girl has a fantastic relationship with her mother, so this may not be a good rule for everyone. But my mum, since divorcing my dad and having moved to the LGBT scene, is now very jealous of me for getting all of the lovely sex I'm having. Try to share things with your parents. You exist. They've been there before.
So, here's a quick summary on how to have a good first time, based on my experience:
That's it. First-time sex doesn't have to be a nightmare. Trust that from the people who did it well.