Having sex is something most adults do, but sex education, and the ways we learn about sex, are not always up to scratch.
Particularly for those who are LGBT, the minefield of what is acceptable and what to do in bed can cause major anxiety.
So here is a handy guide to some things to think about when gearing up to have sex for the first time, or the 10,000th time.
1. All sex (not just the gay kind) can be really awkward – especially the first time – but really, any time
Being naked in front of people can be pretty traumatic for anyone. If you’re into it and they’re into it, that usually helps, but even for a seasoned sex … person, getting in the nuddy can still be pretty stressful.
Try to relax – sex is for fun, and can be enjoyed. If you’ve ended up in bed with someone, chances are they are into you, and so just go with it.
2. Your ‘virginity’ is not real
The idea of the ‘virginity’ being something that is lose after one has sex is basically bull****. Pardon the French, but really they are just a social construct to do with adding value to women, in the olden days.
Just as some gay men don’t like to have anal sex (sometimes called sides), hymens can break in non-sexual situations. Not having a hymen, or an intact hymen, or not enjoying penetrative sex, does not make you a virgin. Not that it matters either way.
As much as it is not something to be ashamed of losing, a ‘virginity’, for lack of a better word is also not something anyone should be in a rush to get rid of. Go at your own pace, ignore what society says you should or shouldn’t do (for the most part), and stay safe.
3. Porn doesn’t usually paint the full picture of what it means to have sex
The porn industry paints a sometimes heavily-edited version of what really happens during sex – if this isn’t what your sex looks like, it does NOT mean you are doing anything wrong!
As sexy as it can be – it doesn’t usually reflect the realities of having sex in the real world. Of course porn is something which can be enjoyed, on your own or with other people, don’t rely on it as a guide to what you should or shouldn’t be doing.
Listen to your partner’s body (and your own), and do what feels good, and what makes them feel good.
4. Everyone needs to practice safe sex
Condoms (both male and female), PrEP, Oral Barriers, contraceptive pills, and other tools, can be used to make sex with anyone safer.
While some groups are less likely to contract certain STIs or get pregnant, nobody really has a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to being safe.
5. Sex isn’t all about penetration
Obviously penetration can be fun, be that anal, oral or vaginal, but it isn’t always the be-all-and-end-all of sex. If you’re not into putting things in your holes, or if your partner isn’t, then don’t worry.
People’s sexual preferences vary wildly (Asexual people don’t usually want to have sex at all), and it is best to see this as a spectrum. You may not be doing anything wrong, and if you’re not into something particularly, you don’t have to say yes to it!
6. Sex shouldn’t hurt
That said, unless it’s the kind where a little bit of good pain is intentional, sex shouldn’t really hurt. If you are sticking things in things, then use lube, where necessary. Sometimes natural lubricants happen, other times they do not. There are places where it might be normal to not need any extra lubrication, but if you do, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.
Much like contraceptive tools, lube can be integrated into bedroom rituals, and should be very much part of the fun! Enjoy lube and don’t be ashamed of it.
7. Consent is SO important
Making sure your sex partner is fully up for what you’re about to do is pretty much the most important thing you can do. Equally as important is making sure you’re 100 percent on board with what is about to happen.
Not only will you feel relaxed, ensured that you are both (or all) on the same page, but it will make for much more pleasurable sexy times. It really is a turn on to know how up for it your sex partner(s) are, but you will feel more in sync with one another during the deed.
8. So is having a pee after sex
Infections like UTIs can be avoided if everyone has a pee after sex. Of course it does not protect against many infections, having a pee flushes out the pipes. Most people do anyway, but it’s worth having a visit to the lav at some point shortly after having a roll around.
9. Sex should always be pleasurable
Although sex education (where applicable), paints a pretty dreary picture of having sex – it is something to be ENJOYED!
Find out what turns you on, and stuff you’re interested in trying. Whatever, or whoever, you’re into, you should pretty much always be having fun.
Even when things get a little awkward or messy, it’s all part of the great experience of exploring ourselves and each other.
REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN!
10. Masturbating is totally normal (and fun!)
Finding out about yourself, and your anatomy is fun and totally normal.
Not only does it mean you know what turns you on, and what feels good, if you have same-sex partners, it can help you to figure out what other people might be into.
11. Don’t be afraid to experiment
A bit of kink might be what you’re after trying, or a three(or-more)some, might be up your alley. Whatever you feel like trying in bed (usually within the constraints of what is legal), is fine, with other consenting adults.
If you are in a relationship and are keen to try something, all you can do is talk to your partner(s). The worst thing that can really happen is that they will say they don’t fancy it. But it’s worth a go. And it’s exciting to try new things, so a lot of the time you might find that they want to walk on the wild side too!
12. Embarrassing things happen – liberate yourself from shame!
Moisture, smells, sounds and other embarrassing things can happen during sex. Our bodies are far from perfect, but there is no point in getting upset if they happen to you.
If you feel awkward, try making a joke of it – but mainly just try to be shame-free. Most people have hangups about their bodies and genitals, but being ashamed can make sex pretty boring.
Try to liberate yourself from shame and just enjoy it!
13. Get tested!
Using protection against sexually transmitted infections and HIV is super important, but if you’re concerned, or if things maybe don’t go as planned, most sexually active people should be getting tested on a regular basis.
Don’t be put off by waiting rooms where people look a bit
14. Have fun and be proud of your body
We can’t recommend this enough – HAVE FUN! Enjoy your body, and your partners’, and try to just have a smashing time.
This list, of course, is nowhere near exhaustive. Everyone should talk about sex more and share experiences and advice.