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Scarleteen's First Intercourse 101

Scarleteen is an amazing website full of information on sexuality and sex education, mostly based on questions submitted to the site. Targeted to teens and young adults, it's been around since the late 90s and has been filling a massive information vacuum since then (Interestingly, the site was born shortly after abstinence-only started getting lots of funding - coincidence?)

I recently came across their First Intercourse 101 post, and like everything else on the site, it offers some straightforward, easy to understand, low-pressure information:

If you're thinking about sexual (vaginal) intercourse with an opposite sex partner, and you've got everything you need: in terms of your relationship, materially and emotionally, you're probably reading this because you want to know HOW to make it all work your first time.

The bulk of questions we get asked about first intercourse – and we get asked about these every single day – are: Will it hurt? Will I bleed? Will I hate it? I'm so scared, what do I do? Why isn't my boyfriend talking to me now that we've had sex? Why didn't I orgasm? Why didn't it feel like anything?

It's incredibly detailed, and even if you're long past young adulthood – or your first time – the advice is really useful. I though I'd check out Scaleteen's advice on questions that have come up most often on this blog.

Number one is "Should you tell your partner it's your first time?" Here's their take:

Be sure your partner knows it is your first time (for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that healthy sex requires honesty), and be sure you make clear that he or she be patient, and communicate with you as you go, as you will with them. This isn't the time to be shy, or get silent, so if you have a problem talking about sex, you shouldn't be quite this far along.

Now, I'm of two minds on this. I never told my first partner but he figured out pretty fast due to my general ineptitude. Also, some people just don't want to go there and would rather just say it's been a while. This debate will continue.

Big issue number two, this one for the guys and especially older virgins: "I get nervous and totally lose my erection." Their advice:

It's OKAY. Even if that means losing an erection: again, sex isn't just about your penis, and while it's less visible with women, nervousness keeps women from becoming fully aroused and functional for intercourse, too.

So, don't sweat it too badly, and try and keep things down-to-earth: if you're just feeling too nervous, just SAY so -- being able to be honest with partners is so important, even when you feel like a heel. if you ejaculate quicker than you'd like, no big whoop: if your partner still wants to have more sex, do another activity with her.

Many an intimate moment – and relationship – has been ruined by some gentlemanly dysfunction. I wish it was something guys were more willing to talk about and deal with.

Now, for the ladies, something that doesn't get discussed nearly enough: "What if I don't have an orgasm?"

Either of you may not reach orgasm during first intercourse, and it is common that many women won't (ever) from intercourse by itself. Most women don't , and that's not usually just because a male partner isn't maintaining erection for long enough or because he's not doing the right things. That doesn't mean it wasn't good, that anyone failed, or that anything is wrong.

Also, check out Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist with dozens of questions to ask yourself about your relationship, your emotions, and physical self.

There's loads more information on Scarleteen, which by the way could really use your support. So check them out, and if you like what you read consider sending them a donation to help keep their important work going.