In honor of National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day today, I decided to chat with Emily Morse, sex expert and host of the popular podcast, Sex with Emily. I asked her a batch of questions that girls are often afraid to talk about themselves.
What advice would you give to girls having sex for the first time?
1) It might hurt the first time, so go slow
Your vagina is one of the most sensitive parts of your body and should be handled very gently. If you’re feeling tense, rushed or uncomfortable, or if you aren’t properly lubricated before sex, the sex is more likely to be painful, and may cause light bleeding. You also may experience pain during your first time due to the tearing and stretching of your hymen. This might not be true for all women — sometimes hymenal tissue can naturally wear away by the time you reach adolescence. There’s no way of knowing until you get started, so take all the time you need with those first few moments of penetration.
2) Be prepared, mentally and physically
Make sure you are completely ready mentally, emotionally and physically before engaging in intercourse for the first time. Be sure to take your time, communicate your needs to your partner and don’t be afraid to spend a good amount of time on the pre-sex activities like manual and oral stimulation. The more aroused you are, the more relaxed you will feel and the easier your first time with intercourse will be. Also, keep in mind that the amount of lubrication you produce on your own is NOT directly related to your level of arousal, so you may need some extra help from a water-based lubricant to make sure the process goes smoothly.
What important information should girls know about HIV/Aids?
● Withdrawal (or pulling out) is not an effective method for preventing pregnancy, HIV or other STDs. In fact, withdrawal is significantly less effective at preventing pregnancy as compared to other methods. The only option to prevent both pregnancy and STD’s is to use condoms.
● HIV is spread through the exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen, which means it could be transmitted during vaginal, oral or even anal sex. Just because it’s your partner’s first time engaging in vaginal sex does not mean that they have not been exposed to HIV during other forms of sexual activity.
Should girls engage in sexual activities – eg sex?
3) It’s okay to wait
Even though teens are having sex younger than they have in the past, they are also less susceptible to peer pressure than they used to be. With teens becoming increasingly more independent and vocal about their personal choices regarding their bodies, choosing abstinence is a more socially acceptable choice than ever before. Morality, religion and parental advice aside, more and more teens are becoming comfortable with admitting that they just plain “aren’t ready,” and that’s okay! According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 73% of teens feel that it should NOT be embarrassing to be a virgin.
Having sex is a big deal and doing it for the first time will be something that you’ll likely remember for the rest of your life. If you aren’t ready and want to remain abstinent, just know that you are not the only one who feels this way! It’s more than okay to wait until you’re ready to take this step.
What information should girls know before having sex? What more can we do to encourage girls to use condoms?
4) Using protection is a MUST!
Many women don’t use condoms because the latex is irritating to their sensitive vaginal skin, or they have an allergy. If this is the case for you, try Lifestyles SKYN polyisoprene condoms. They are non-latex and have a super-realistic feel that will make it seem like you’re not using a condom at all.
“Define your boundaries early and don’t be afraid to say no. As you experiment with manual, oral and other kind of sex, tell your partner what you are not comfortable doing and remember that you can always refuse things that you don’t want to do or aren’t ready for,” Emily concluded. “After all, like I always say, communication is lubrication!”