Aunt Vadge: what should I expect from first-time sex?

Dear Aunt Vadge,

I’m 16 and my boyfriend just turned 18. I love him, we discussed it, and we are ready to have sex. I’m a virgin and he’s not, but he only did it with one other girl.  

  1. We are going to wear protection. We have given each other oral and stuff, but my main concern is whether or not I can get pregnant.
  2. Also about my ‘cherry popping’ and shaved vagina?
  3. He has a lot of pubic hair, but I don’t know if I should of not.
  4. I’m scared that something might go wrong with my vagina, like what if I’m not tight or too tight.

I’m ready. but afraid of the consequences.

Please help!



Dear Scared,

Thank you so much for your email. Having sex for the first time can indeed be very scary! There are so many things you just don’t know until you try them.

To answer your questions:

Not getting pregnant

You are very smart to be thinking ahead of time about protection. If you use a condom properly (with lube), then you can’t get pregnant, since it is a physical barrier between your egg and his sperm.

Buy some condoms and a tube of KY Jelly or other water-based lubricant. Way before you have sex, get your boyfriend to practice putting on a condom properly – that is, hold the tip so all the air is pushed out, then roll the condom all the way down the erect penis to the base. All the way rolled out. It should fit snugly, not be loose, and not be too small.

You should watch this happen, because you need to learn how to do this too – putting condoms on properly is your job too. Watch a YouTube video if you are confused.

There are a lot of varieties of condom, so aim for a good brand, without spermicide (it tastes bad and isn’t ideal for the vagina). See here for the best lube for the job). Condoms and lubricant protect you from sexually transmitted infections as well as unwanted pregnancy.

Doing ‘it

When you are ready to have sex, make the occasion, and give yourselves a bit of time. A couple of hours should be plenty. Have the condom and lube next to you within arm’s reach.

Read through Sex 101 together and make your preparations!

Why pubic hair is great

A penis in your vagina doesn’t always feel that exciting, but added with clitoral stimulation makes sex sexy, so if you are on your back (missionary) then let his body be very close to yours – your clitoris wants to be rubbing against his body, usually the pubic mound or even his stomach, depending on how far his penis is inside of you.

That’s where those pubic hairs come into their own – they add a protective layer to your bodies so when you bump and grind, there is no nasty scratchy friction.

Pubic hair is like a lovely soft cushion, and I would recommend that you keep your pubic hair until further notice – it really makes sexual activities more pleasurable (as opposed to shaving, which makes stubble which can be very uncomfortable during sex).

You can trim it if you want to, but at this stage, your pubes are beautiful and functional. Keep ’em.


It is unlikely that you will orgasm during your first p-in-v sexual encounter, but it’s sure not impossible. Don’t worry about that for now – it usually takes women a lot longer to orgasm than guys, and you need to practice and see what you like.

You just want to focus on how it feels, what feels good, and what feels weird. Your job – because he isn’t a magic wizard who knows what your body feels like from the inside – is to tell your boyfriend what feels hot and what is not.

Don’t leave it to chance, and don’t think “Oh well he seems to be enjoying it and I don’t want to interrupt that”. This needs to feel good to you, or you are doing something wrong, and he doesn’t know unless you tell him.

Pain is completely unacceptable. (Accidents happen, but that is the exception, not the rule.)

Choosing your battles

Sex is often easier and better during certain times of your menstrual cycle, so when you are ovulating (and can get pregnant more easily, but if you use a condom you will be fine) your sex hormones (the ones that make you horny) are much higher.

This encourages you to have sex when you are able to get pregnant, biologically speaking, but it is also a great time to choose to have sex for the first time, since you will be much more turned on than you might be say right after your period has finished.

(Get a period tracker app and start charting your cycles so you know when these times are – they are fun!) If you have a 28-day cycle, this is the magical Day 14, but keep in mind every single cycle you have will be a slightly different length, and therefore you will ovulate at different times.

The hymen “cherry”

Your hymen is unlikely to still exist if you have already had fingers inside of your body, use tampons, or any number of other things. Read our article about the hymen.

The hymen isn’t actually like popping a cherry at all, in fact it stretches off to the sides usually, so first-time sex – even with fingers and tampons previously – may still be a little bit uncomfortable. You can check in a mirror for your own hymen, to see if it still exists (look up images online to see what it should look like).

In your case, I’d say it is unlikely that your hymen is still fully intact, and you will probably not experience any hymen-related pain or bleeding on sexual intercourse.

If you do, however, don’t worry because it won’t happen again, and isn’t a huge problem unless your hymen is very thick and fibrous. Take it slow, be gentle, do an inspection, stretch it out, and the hymen won’t be a problem for you.

Vaginal tightness

You are young, and your vagina is going to be very toned (tight). But, the vagina is elastic, which is why you need to be turned on for sex to work.

When you are turned on, the vagina opens to welcome a penis, gets wet and swollen with blood, and becomes a very inviting prospect for sex. When you are not turned on, the vagina is dry and tight and unwelcoming.

It is your job to make sure your body is hot, wet and open before allowing anything to be put inside you. If something goes wrong (pain, discomfort, anxiety), stop, and try again another day. There is no hurry for this, and you are both learning.

Despite the fact that your boyfriend has done it before with another girl, doesn’t make him an expert on you, so make sure you don’t defer this experience to his wisdom, because he doesn’t really have any more than you do and he doesn’t know what your body is going to feel like.

Every person is different and their sexual preferences and needs have to be discussed, usually at length and on an ongoing basis, before they can get off properly and have great sex.

Keep talking to each other through the whole thing, and keep your expectations to a minimum. Sex is weird and funny! Enjoy yourselves.

If you have any more questions, we’d love to hear from either of you.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge  

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