If you’re about to have sex for the first time, you might be worried about all kinds of things — how it will feel, how long it will last, whether it will hurt, what your partner will think.
But there’s another thing worth considering, and that’s the sex position (or positions) that you engage in. There are lots and lots of different sex positions that two people can try, but some of them make more sense for people who are a bit more experienced in this department.
When you’re having sex for the first time, you’re probably not going to be trying out four or five different positions. In fact, the odds that the sex will even last long enough to consider switching positions is fairly unlikely.
Instead, you’ll probably want to pick a position that you feel comfortable trying and stick with that. Once both you and the person you’re having sex with feel physically and emotionally comfortable with that position, the sky’s the limit.
To help you have an enjoyable and safe first time that’s fun in a good way, here’s some important tips, as well as a selection of expert-approved sex positions that are great options for virgins — whether that’s you, the person you want to sleep with or both of you.
Preparing to Have Sex for the First Time
The first thing you should know is that it’s good to engage in a little preparation. Sure, sometimes sex just happens — one thing leads to another and all your other plans go out the window — but if you’ve never been sexual with another person before, it’s a good time to make sure you know a few things before making any real attempts.
For starters, you should talk to your potential sex partner about sex prior to attempting it, “regardless of how awkward you think it may be,” advises SKYN sex and intimacy expert Dr. Emily Morse, who also notes that it’s important to bring condoms and lubricant, too.
“You’ll get major bonus points for bringing some lube,” she notes. “Getting comfortable with lube and condoms as soon as you start having sex is the best thing you can do to maintain safer sex habits throughout your sexual career — trust me.”
Another good thing you can do for yourself (and your partner)? Try not to recreate anything you’ve seen in online pornography.
“Sex isn’t just about putting it in and pounding as you see in most porn,” says Jess O’Reilly, Ph.D., host of the “Drive Her Wild With Pleasure” video course. “Most sexual encounters involve some buildup before penetration, and many continue after penetration ends.”
It’s also a good idea to have low expectations, both for yourself and for the whole process. As great as sex can be, good sex takes practice, and that’s exactly what virgins don’t have.
“Please don’t worry about timing yourself,” adds O’Reilly. “Proceed slowly and don’t count the seconds or minutes that pass. Instead, tune into the experience and enjoy the sensations. If you ejaculate more quickly than you had hoped you would, don’t stress.”
If you’re both still feeling aroused, she points out, there’s nothing wrong with aiming “for round two and/or use your hands, mouth and other body parts to continue to create pleasure.”
And this next point, while slightly more obvious, is something to always remember: This is meant to be a physically and emotionally pleasant experience, not a painful one.
“Sex shouldn’t hurt (unless you want it to), so don’t assume that because it’s your first time that you need to accept a certain degree of pain,” says O’Reilly. “If anything feels painful, slow down, regroup and look for other ways to get aroused before proceeding with penetration.”
Tips for Sex If It’s Your First Time
Feeling genuinely ready to have sex has nothing to do with how long you’ve been together with someone, your partner’s readiness, or your age. If you feel like now’s the time for it to happen, there are some things you should know about your first time:
Practice Safer Sex
“Do be prepared for safer sex and don’t leave it up to your partner,” says O’Reilly. “Practice putting a condom on a few times in advance. It can be helpful to know how it should feel when you roll it down right-side-out.”
Don’t Do Anything Unless You’re Both Comfortable With It
“Don’t do anything you and your partner aren’t comfortable with,” advises Morse. “Guys get pressure from society and friends to do anything sexual when the opportunity presents itself, but really make sure it’s something you want to be doing. And, if your partner decides halfway through they want to stop, then you need to listen and stop doing what you’re doing.”
Pay Close Attention to Your Partner
“Pay attention to your partner’s body and reactions,” says Morse. “Is their breath quickening, do they look pained, are they arching their back? All of these are things to keep in mind when having sex for the first time, and definitely don’t think it will ruin the moment to verbally check-in. Saying things like,
‘Does this feel good?’
‘Do you like it when I do ____?’
‘How do you like to be touched?’
are all great ways to check in with your partner.”
Don’t Try to Imitate Porn
“Don’t do anything that you learned from porn,” warns Morse. “Porn is entertainment, and not how real sex works. It may look fun, but everything needs to be discussed with your partner before you try it out.”
Take Your Time
“Make sure that you take your time, go slow, and really focus on all aspects of sex besides penetration — this includes oral, kissing, and using hands,” says Morse. “You want your partner to be as comfortable as possible, and you want to make sure you’re thinking about their pleasure just as much as your own. Oh, and if you’re with a woman, definitely make sure to pay attention to the clitoris.”
Don’t Get Too Stressed Out About It
“Don’t stress,” says O’Reilly. “It’s just sex. Enjoy yourself and don’t get hung up on performance. It may be your first time, but it won’t be your last, so if it isn’t a mind-blowing experience, you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to try again.”
Best Sex Positions to Lose Your Virginity
A missionary position is such a popular position that many people almost consider it the default sex position.
It involves the penetrating partner on top and the penetrative partner under them, legs apart. Both partners face each other with their crotches aligned and heads near each other, and the person on top penetrates their partner. This allows for eye contact, kissing and a general sense of closeness with each other as your chests are often fully pressed up against each other.
It can also be used regardless of the genders of the participants or whether it’s vaginal or anal penetrations, which makes it versatile.
“Missionary is always a go-to position when someone is losing their virginity,” says Morse. “It’s a standard sex position, it’s a bit more connected than the others because you can see each other’s faces so you can really use facial expressions as indicators that everyone is enjoying themselves, and there are many ways to modify it so everyone is comfortable.”
Also called the “cowgirl” or “woman on top” position, like the missionary position, this can be used for anal sex as well as vaginal sex, making it great for people of all genders. Sort of the inverse of missionary, it involves the top partner straddling the penetrating partner and being penetrated from below, rather than from above.
You’re facing each other here as well, which means lots of eye contact is possible; the top partner can also lean backward or forwards for more or less physical closeness and to help achieve a better angle of penetration.
“This is another great starter sex position because (heterosexually speaking), the woman can really control the depth and rhythm of the sex,” says Morse. “She can control how deep your penis is going at her own pace, so she isn’t in any pain. Plus, it’s easier for women to orgasm this way, especially if they are grinding on you, instead of bouncing up and down.”
The two positions above involve both partners facing each other, and potentially having lots of eye contact. However, some people might feel too shy to be looked at directly during sex, especially if it’s their first time.
Rather than trying it in the dark, you can try spooning, a position where you cuddle together while both facing the same direction, heads and crotches aligned, and the partner in front, aka the little spoon, is penetrated by the partner behind them, aka the big spoon.
“This is a low-impact position,” notes O’Reilly, “and you can lie together to build trust, cultivate comfort and heighten arousal before you slide inside.”
That being said, whichever position you choose — whether it’s one of the above or a totally different one — so long as both people are into the idea and comfortable with it, then it’s the right one for you.