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Sex topics: Virginity and beyond


What do you do when you're ready to start having sex, but it simply doesn't seem to work? Could it be that your penis is too big? And what about all the other problems that can happen?


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First of all, here are some measurements: an average penis is about 6 inches long, though 5 is not unusual, and 4 is common enough. Longer penises are not that common, and you get very few over 7 inches long. The average circumference or girth (that's the distance around the outside) is about 5 inches, though a lot of penises are 4 inches around. That means the width will be about 1.5 to 2 inches.


The vagina is a very powerful muscle, which can adapt to any size penis without much difficulty. Click here to read more about the anatomy of the vagina. Normally, penis size is not an issue when it comes to problems with genital intercourse. In short, your penis is not too big for her vagina.


If you can't seem to get your penis in her vagina, you may well wonder what's going on!


Quite often young women get nervous about being penetrated for the first time. After hearing all the stories that float about, which say losing one's virginity is painful for women, it is easy for girls to expect that penetration will hurt. This is not a surprising expectation to have, if she has already got plenty of experience with painful periods or urinary tract infections.


If a woman is scared about penetration it is possible that she unconsciously contracts her vaginal muscles, which then does not allow the penis to enter. These contractions can cause pain in themselves, and make any attempt at penetration painful. This condition is described as vaginismus by psychosexual therapists. Please click here to read more on vaginismus and about intromission, the medical word we use for penetration. Sex shouldn't hurt at all and no great force is needed for intromission.


It will be useful for her to get a gynecological check up, just to make sure she has no infections, which could cause her pain. Also, make sure you are prepared regarding contraception, so that she doesn't have to be anxious about getting pregnant during sex.


However, if you are just starting out to have sex some contraction of the vaginal muscles due to fear of the unknown is really normal and understandable. It is OK that she should suffer from a case of 'nerves' as things start to get more serious. This does not mean that her response is an automatic reaction yet as in a case of vaginismus. I would suggest that you slow down what you are doing and that you take a bit more time with getting started (see below). Click here to read a female view on penetration and a male view on penetration to understand more about how men and women can experience penetration.


You may have heard about the hymen, which is a thin membrane protecting the back of the vaginal entrance in young women. This should break without using force during penetration as it is quite thin, and it shouldn't hurt or bleed  much. I would expect any bleeding from the hymen to be very little, in reality maybe a few drops, that's all. Any pain a woman may normally experience from her period will be worse than the breaking of the hymen. I suggest that the best way to make this process easy for both of you is to get comfortable with each other's bodies and your sexual responses first and then use plenty of lubrication when you attempt genital intercourse.


Many men lose their erection once things begin to go wrong. You may even wonder if there is something wrong with you.


Male partners often react to any problem during sex which seems to distress the female partner, by losing their erection. This is especially true when you are just getting started with sex or if there are problems with penetration such as vaginismus. As you care deeply about her, you will not want to 'hurt' her with your erection (even though you might think this will happen, in reality it won't if you're nicely prepared for sex), so no wonder your penis flops! Additionally, if things go wrong generally, especially during the first few  attempts, it will be stressful for the male partner, which is no good for your erections. Once you get over the barrier of inexperience, feeling anxious and things going wrong, your erections will probably be really hard again.


And first time sex may not even feel very good....


It is normal for young couples to get stressed about first time sex, especially if you care about each other and want to get it right. The more tension and expectation builds up the less likely both of you are going to let go and enjoy the ride. If things then don't work well because you are both too tense, it can result in a lot of disappointment and even more anxiety for the next time round. The most important thing is to let go of your expectations that sex should be fabulous straight away so that you don't put yourself under pressure to perform. As with everything else, sex takes practice.


And with respect to orgasms (which we call "coming", as in "I'm coming!"), one needs to be able to really let go into one's physical sensations to come. Click here to read up more about what an orgasm is. It will take time and practice to let go and enjoy what is happening. At the start of your sexual journey you are probably trying to work out what is going on inside of you and what you need to do for your partner. It will take time for you to find your rhythm and relax into the situation, which is when an orgasm is most likely to happen.


Another common problem is that young men ejaculate (come) in no time at all!


What we call premature ejaculation, i.e. ejaculating way too soon for your own liking is very common in young men. In fact, one could argue that this is the normal state of affairs. Men need to learn how to regulate their own arousal to gain control over their ejaculations. This again takes time and practice. If you are anxious about ejaculating too quickly or anxious about sex itself, then your heightened arousal due to your anxiety will mean you are much more likely to come quickly again next time. The most important thing is not to be critical of yourself and to work at mastering ejaculatory control over time. Click here to read more about men coming too soon.


So what can you do to make sex successful?


1) Go slowly: maybe the two of you aren't quite as ready for sex as you thought.


2) Take the pressure off yourselves by being patient. Good sex takes time.


3) Talk about what is happening between you: what you expect from sex, how you think it should work, and your fears that it won't work.


4) Make sure that when you touch her genitals you use plenty of lubrication. You need to glide over her skin so that there is no friction. If you try penetration again, use plenty of lubrication. Many women really like the feeling of 'wetness' so the more lube the better. It needs to be a water-based lubricant if you use condoms. Once you get to the point of entering her, you could also try simply entering her slowly and then just lying still for a while together, even if you lose your erection. That's OK, it will come back. This would give her time to connect with her body, to breath slowly and deeply and to make sure she relaxes any muscles she has tensed up.


5) Let go of the idea of genital intercourse as the one and only type of sex you can have fun with. You could have great fun and sexual satisfaction from other types of sex such as masturbating together or having oral sex. If you get into being sexual with each other in different ways, it will take the pressure off genital intercourse. It is much more likely to happen 'just like that' at some point when both of you are actually quite aroused and not thinking about the problems that could potentially arise.


When I mean let go of your expectations, I would suggest letting go, for now, of the idea that both of you need to have an orgasm through genital intercourse and that you are going to have sex by genital intercourse. Once you let go of these very specific aims, you are free to be as sexual as you would like to. You could still do everything else such as petting, oral sex, stroking, mutual masturbation etc., but it means you don't have to have an erection and she doesn't have to equate sex with genital penetration. It gives both of you time to get used to your sexual responses without performance pressure. Basically, you explore sexuality in ways people often define as foreplay first and get comfortable and relaxed on this level, before progressing. The same principle applies to the sensate focus exercises, which you can read about on our web site.


More advice for first time sex and about losing your virginity.

Written by Anna 24.10.07

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