20 Things No One Tells You About Losing Your Virginity But You Need to Know

Your first time having sex can be super uncomfortable, a lot of fun, really awful, or all of the above—there’s no right or wrong way to have sex. Sometimes, it’s hard to define what even counts as sex. No matter what you’ve seen in movies or heard about from your friends, though, there are things no one tells you about sex, like how you might feel afterwards or the pain you might have during.

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There are so many different reactions you could have, both emotional and physical, to having sex for the first time, all of which are completely normal. As long as you use protection and are 100 percent sure you’re ready, you’re in a good place. To be even more prepared, though, keep reading to find out things that no one tells you about losing your virginity.

What is virginity?

A virgin is someone who’s never had sex but, because sex has different meanings for different people, it’s not really that simple. Most people think that losing their virginity entails penis-in-vagina intercourse, but that’s not always the case. For those who aren’t cis-gendered or straight, the definition of losing their virginity may be oral or anal sex, among other things. The truth is there isn’t a universal definition for virginity — it comes down to each individual to define it for themself.

1. You should think about talking to your doctor first.

Ok, so there’s this thing called doctor/patient confidentiality, which means that whatever you tell your doctor stays inside the walls of the examination room. If you’re thinking of having sex or if you’ve already started, you’ll want to start talking to your doctor about it. I know, I know: It’s going to feel so weird to talk to an adult about sex. But, trust me, they hear about sex and vaginas all day, every day, so nothing will be a shock to them. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask all the questions you’ve been wondering about.

2. You can change your mind at any point on the night of.

Let’s set the scene: You’re passionately kissing your significant other and you’ve both decided that tonight is the night, but all of a sudden you think: You know, I don’t really want to do this right now. That is 10000000000% OK, and you have every single right to let your partner know that. People change their minds over all kinds of tiny things (like craving a burger but then actually realizing you want nuggets), so why would that be any different for something as intimate as having sex for the first time? If you’re not down, then it’s not happening, and that’s totally cool.

3. No one actually cares if you’re still a virgin.

Yes, it might seem like all anyone talks about is sex, like all of your friends are doing it, and the plot of like eight million movies involves losing it, but trust us: you are not the last untouched human on Earth. Not even close. It only feels that way sometimes because your virginity matters more to you than it does to anyone else. And *that* is an excellent reason to wait for the positive experience you deserve, full of mutual deep-feels and next-level respect. That person won’t care about how much you’ve hooked up. They’ll just be PSYCHED to get to share it with you!

4. Losing your virginity doesn’t mean *exactly* what you think it means.

You’ve maybe got this equation in your head: Penis → Vagina = Virginity Lost. But what if you’re into girls, not guys? Does that mean you are an eternal virgin? (Of course not!) “Other activities, like oral sex, can be even more intimate than sexual intercourse—and also carry the risk of STDs,” says Kris Gowen, a sex educator and author of Making Sexual Decisions. “Any time you’re intimate with someone, it’s going to impact you.” So don’t put too much on the technicality of just one act, and instead think of ~losing it~ as a progression. Then you’ll be prepared to handle all of the big responsibilities (am I being safe?) AND crazy-complex emotions (did he/she really just see me totally naked?!) that come with each and every step.

5. Your 🍒 doesn’t *pop.*

Seriously! I know it’s a super popular myth, but it’s false. “The hymen consists of thin folds of stretchy tissue that are just inside the vaginal opening,” explains Michelle Horejs, associate director of youth education and training at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. “It may tear or stretch the first time you have sex — causing some discomfort or a little bleeding — but it’s not something you can break or that disappears once you have sex.” Chances are, you already tore it a bit on your bike or the balance beam or just by being an active human. NBD, because your hymen is just a part of your body. It has nothing to do with whether or not you’re a virgin.

6. …but it could hurt a little.

Before you freak, let us explain. To prep for sex (we’re mostly talking penis-vagina intercourse here), your body needs a warm-up phase of kissing, touching, etc. That’s when a guy gets his erection, and also when your vagina lubricates to prepare your body for sex (because no lubrication = friction = pain). But the tricky part is that nerves can interfere with this arousal process, and you and your partner could get aroused at different speeds. “Guys are like microwaves and girls are slow cookers,” explains Stardell Smith, a health educator at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City. You can use your fingers to check if you’re ready down there. And if not: Slow. Them. Down. If you’re not wet enough, don’t be too concerned—there is nothing wrong with you or your partner. You can also try using lube to make the deed a lot more comfortable for both parties.

7. Not everybody bleeds.

Like we mentioned earlier, it’s likely that you’ll bleed during your first time when tissue tears around your hymen. However, Planned Parenthood says that it’s also totally normal if you don’t bleed.

8. Your body will feel different.

After you have sex, your vagina becomes more flexible—your vagina will get more used to penetration, which means sex will get more comfortable for you as time passes. Plus, your boobs will temporarily become firmer, as the arousal will cause your blood vessels to dilate and your breast tissues to swell up. Your nipples will also become more sensitive than normal. Why? Blood flow and muscular tension increase when you’re turned on, which makes your nipples become hard.

9. Your virginity is not a gift🎁.

Perhaps the most confusing question you will ever face in your life is, Am I ready to have sex? And it’s extra-complicated when you’re in a relationship (or, you know, a sorta-kinda-maybe-relationship) and start to feel like there are expectations on the other end. But just remember that you never owe someone sex, no matter how nice they are, or much they spent on concert tix, or that it’s your whatever-month anniversary or someone’s birthday or anything else. Yes, we know. You’re looking for a heavenly sign that it’s time. But the truth is, that sign won’t come from anyone else…it has to come from you.

10. Losing it takes a LOT of planning.

Or at least…it should. And we’re not talking about lighting candles, cueing up a special sexy-time playlist, and sprinkling a bed with rose petals. Nope, nope. See, with sex comes ginormous responsibility: Am I on birth control? Who’s going to get the condoms (if I’m sleeping with a guy)? And where/when can we find a private space and time to get it on? If you’re seriously considering taking the next step, you’ve got to be ready to answer these Qs and understand that sex can bring life-changing consequences, like pregnancy or an STD you’ll have for the rest of your life. Plus, it’s totally possible to get pregnant during your first time, so always be safe! Sex is not just spontaneous magic, like in the movies. But knowing you were adult enough to do it right will feel WAY more special in the long run.

11. You are going to feel like the newb-iest of newbs.

And guess what? You should just embrace it, because no one would expect you to nail a brand new dance routine or stand up your first time surfing. The truth is, even if it’s not your partner’s first time, it’s their first time with YOU. No doubt, you’re both feeling a little nervous. So rather than obsess silently (am I doing this right? is this good? help?!), be honest about your experience level up front, and straight-up ask what they like throughout. “Whether it’s your first time or your 100th time, communication and comfort are key,” says Horejs.

12. You might think: This totally sucks.

Beforehand, your brain was all fireworks-worthy fantasies. In reality, though, sex—that first time—may be more like: That’s all?! Really?! In fact, you might want it to be over the second it starts…and that’s 100% normal. “Sex takes place mentally as well as physically,” explains Smith. “So if you feel tense or are scared, which most people do feel their first time, it can be really difficult to enjoy your experience.” In addition, your hormonal changes might lead to emotional outbreaks post-sex. Your emotions are at an all time high after sex, so don’t worry too much if you’re experiencing extreme feelings, both negative and positive. When you grow more comfortable, however, you’ll feel more at ease — both with the act itself and your partner.

13. Afterwards, your relationship can get weird-ish.

Real talk: Losing your virginity can bring you and your bae closer. But what no one really talks about is how it can also test your bond in crazy ways. A late period, a questionable bump down there — sh*t can get serious very fast, and those uncertainties can poke holes in your connection. So before you make the decision to hook up (any time! not just the first time), always ask yourself: Is our relationship strong enough to withstand the worst-case scenarios? Can I trust this girl/dude to treat me with total respect afterwards? This is a big decision, and you’ll need the *ultimate* gut-check. Also, don’t kid yourself into thinking that sex will turn a casual hookup into a relationship. The only thing that leads to a relationship is caring deeply about each other, and that doesn’t have anything to do with when you lose your virginity.

14. It might not be ~magical~.

Movies and TV shows create all kinds of ideas about what first-time sex looks like. If you want candles and romance, you should make that known. But if you want to just do it to get your first time behind you, that’s ok, too. As long as you’re protecting yourself against STDs and pregnancy, you can do it however it feels right to you (there’s no right or wrong way to have sex for the first time).

15. You can lose it again. And again. And again.

Yes, that sounds impossible, but stick with us here. Because if you have had sex once (or twice) and it’s not the experience you had hoped for, you can take what you’ve learned about what you want and…get this…wait for it. “Having sex once does not open up the floodgates,” says Gowen. “You always have the right to pull back and say no.” In fact, being a born-again virgin can be totally empowering. It gives you the chance to hold out for whatever was missing the first time—whether that was true love…or just a real bed. (You deserve both!)

16. You probably won’t orgasm at the same time as your partner, if at all.

Believe it or not, it’s actually not that common for multiple people to orgasm at the same time. The fantasies that movies and other media portray are not reality, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t orgasm your first time. Because you may not be used to having sex, it’s unlikely that it’ll happen and if it does, you won’t know what to expect.

17. Virgins can still have STDs.

According to Planned Parenthood, it’s possible to get some STDs in non-sexual ways, like using IV drugs or having it passed from mother to baby during childbirth. While most STDs can be passed on through genital-to-genital contact, they can also be spread through unprotected oral sex. This means you can still be at risk if one of you has had oral sex without using a condom, dental dam, or other forms of protection. Because of this, anyone involved may want to get tested just to be on the safe side.

18. It’s okay to communicate that it’s your first time.

As a virgin, you may feel pressured to know what you’re doing when you have sex for the first time. However, you wouldn’t expect yourself to know how to drive a car if you’ve never done it before, so why do you feel that way when it comes to sex? It’s totally normal and okay to express that it’s your first time with your partner. Once they’re aware, they may even help you out or take things slow to make sure you’re comfortable.

19. Sexual attraction doesn’t always equate to an emotional connection.

A lot of people prefer to have sex for the first time with someone they love or care deeply about, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, there won’t be an emotional connection with people you’re physically attracted to. In the case of demisexuality, however, you may only feel sexual attraction for other people after establishing a romantic bond. It truly depends on the preferences of each person involved.

20. You shouldn’t feel bad for still being a virgin.

If you still haven’t had sex for the first time, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Life isn’t a race and everyone’s experiences are different. No matter your age, you should feel ready and comfortable enough to do things on your own terms, and there’s no shame in that.

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