Info Center

I’m about to have sex for the first time. Will it hurt? Will there be blood?

Some don’t experience pain or bleeding the first time they have sexual intercourse. Some do.

Most vaginas have a hymen, which is a thin elastic (stretchy) piece of skin that partially covers the entrance to the vagina. When there is pain or bleeding during first-time vaginal intercourse, it may be due to the hymen getting stretched or torn.

Some hymens are very thin, and others are thick. Check out these illustrations to see for yourself! Many hymens tear or stretch before vaginal intercourse for the first time, and the person may not know this has happened. Hymens can be stretched or torn by things like riding a bike or doing gymnastics.

For those who have very thick hymens, first-time vaginal intercourse (or trying to use a tampon) may hurt or seem impossible. If someone experiences intense pain during vaginal intercourse or while attempting vaginal intercourse, they should stop trying and talk to their doctor to make sure everything is OK.

The most common reason that sex can be painful is because of too little vaginal lubrication because the person hasn’t been sexually aroused enough during foreplay. During sexual arousal, the walls of the vagina respond by releasing a liquid that wets or “lubricates” the vagina. This makes it easier for something to enter the vagina and feel good. If the person hasn’t been sexually aroused, their vagina can be dry, making it uncomfortable to have anything inserted. Some couples like to buy water-based lubricants from the store to make sex feel better.

Sex can also hurt if you’re scared or not ready for it. People who are having sex for the first time tend to be nervous. This can make sex painful, so it’s important to relax and be sure you’re ready to have sex. You’re more likely to relax if you’re with a partner you know and trust. The right partner is someone you can talk to before, during and after sex, and who’s willing to make the first time more pleasurable and comfortable for you both.

Remember, a health care provider can also talk with you about your concerns about painful sex, as well as birth control and preventing STDs. Find a clinic near you.

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