Losing your virginity

The media, and society in general, make a huge deal about having sex for the first time. Whether you're waiting for the right time or you're feeling nervous, The Mix provides some sex education and tips for things to consider when losing your virginity to make it the best experience it can be.

A young woman is sitting at a bus stop. She is thinking about losing her virginity.

Disclaimer: We’ll be using the term ‘losing your virginity’ throughout this article since that what your first sexual experience is usually referred to as. But, just so you’re aware, when you have sex for the first time you’re not ‘losing’ anything. The concept of virginity was made up by a bunch of men and is entirely outdated.

Regardless of if you’re holding out for the right person or just ready to rip that plaster off, your journey into the wonderful (and sometimes scary) world of sex is a pretty momentous occasion. So before you dive in the deep end, make sure you’re physically and emotionally equipped. That’s why we’re here to give you some sex education.

We won’t cover birth control here, but it’s worth thinking about if you want to avoid an unwanted pregnancy or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). You can learn more about the different types of contraception here. Now onto the juicy stuff.

Virginity advice for women & people with vaginas

Does losing your virginity hurt?

If your idea of losing your virginity is penetration then yes, losing your virginity does hurt sometimes. Regardless of whether your hymen is still intact. But the extent of the pain can vary. Not to mention, there’s lots you can try to minimise the pain.

Firstly: foreplay, foreplay, foreplay. Get to know each other’s bodies first. This can be through touching, kissing and licking/oral sex. It doesn’t just have to be vaginal intercourse. See, when you’re turned on, your vagina releases natural lubricant. This makes penetration way easier and less painful.

Above all though, the most important thing is to try and relax. If you tense up, your vaginal muscles will too. As a result, you might have a burning, stinging or aching sensation. On the topic of feeling uncomfortable, remember, no matter what you’re in the middle of doing around the vagina or anus, you have the right to stop at any time.

Is it normal to bleed after losing your virginity?

Some people bleed when they put something up their vagina for the first time. But most don’t. If you want the scientific explanation, the blood comes from the tearing of the hymen – the stretchy membrane that partially covers the entrance to the vagina. Now you have an interesting factoid to whip out at dinner parties (just make sure it’s after the meal).

It may tear during your first-time. Although, in many cases, it’ll already have been worn away by using tampons, sport or just general wear and tear. If you do bleed, just know that the amount of blood looks much worse spread out on a sheet or in your knickers than it actually is. If you’re worried about stains, put a towel down before you have sex. That way there’s less clean up involved.

I’m scared my naked body is ugly

Let’s get one thing straight; every type of body is glorious, unique and beautiful, including yours. It’s likely that the person lucky enough to sleep with you, already fancies the pants off you, so rather than judging you, their thoughts are more likely to be something along the lines of, “Oh My God! SEX! and THIS IS AMAZING!”

We totally get that you’re feeling slightly self-conscious. That’s completely normal. Thing is, if you’re majorly panicking about getting naked it might be worth asking yourself if you’re really ready for sex yet. For some more advice, read our article on sex and self esteem here.

If it’s just getting your kit off that worries you, agony aunt Anita Naik recommends spending more time naked when you’re alone and appreciating your body, to increase body confidence. She says: “You’re not gonna have good sex if you’re too busy holding your tummy in or trying to push your boobs together the whole time. Instead, just try and lose yourself in it.”

Don’t expect to cum straight away when losing your virginity

If you’re expecting fireworks and a magic buzz your first time, you may find yourself disappointed. Sex is a major learning process; it takes a lot of time to learn what your body likes – like a lot. So just because you don’t cum your first time – or your second, or your 202nd, doesn’t mean you never will. Again, foreplay is your friend here. It’s also worth noting that most women and people with vaginas find they don’t come through penetrative sex alone.

Virginity advice for men & people with penises

Is my penis big enough?

Unveiling your goods for the first time might be a little daunting. Especially if you’re scared that it won’t measure up. Here at The Mix we’ve said it a thousand times but we’ll say it again: Size. Doesn’t. Matter. Check out this article on healthy penises to prove our point.

If you’re losing your virginity to someone with a vagina, you might be surprised to learn they are, on average, only four inches deep. This means that there’s really nothing to worry about. Just remember that whoever you’re with doesn’t really care what you’re packing. As long as you know your way around their bodies with your fingers and tongue, they’ll have a good time. But, if you’re still feeling shy, it may be worth waiting for someone you can trust before you have sex. That way you can really enjoy the experience.

And if you’re sleeping with men, you might want to find out more about anal sex here

Don’t trust porn

You have a computer, you have an internet connection, you have a penis – we hate to generalise, but chances are you’ve looked at some porn. No judgement here. All we ask is that you don’t assume the sex you see in pornos will be ANYTHING like your own sexual experiences. Let’s be very clear on this – Porn is not real, you can learn more about that here.

No, people don’t want to be banged without any foreplay and then have their face ejaculated on. For the sake of your partner and yourself, don’t copy any porn ‘moves’ without prior discussion – consent is key and should always be discussed before you try anything new in sex.

Most importantly, don’t expect the person you’re sleeping with to look anything like a pornstar. People have pubes, boobs don’t defy gravity, tops of thighs may well rub together, and penises all come in wonderful shapes and sizes. *Shock* *Horror* – we know. 

There’s a massive difference between what you see online and reality. In this moment, it’s especially important that you remember that.

Losing your virginity advice for everyone


Think you can’t get pregnant during your first time? Think again. Not only that, but you can get STIs as well. Contraception is probably not at the top of your list of concerns when contemplating doing-the-do, but condoms are essential to prevent pregnancy and any nasty infections.

If you can, discuss contraception before the night (or day) in question. And just a side note – condoms can take some getting used to. So you should probably practise alone a few times beforehand.

Lose it for the right reasons

We get that the peer pressure to do it is always immense. But don’t let yourself be rushed into making this decision.

If you’re looking for a precise answer on when and how to lose your virginity, unfortunately there isn’t one. Anita simply recommends asking yourself some important questions beforehand.

“Are you doing this for yourself or are you doing this for someone else?” she says. “If you’re doing it just because you think you should or because you want someone to like you, that’s probably a sign that you should do it.

“Try to wait for someone you really care about. Make sure you discuss your expectations and concerns about sex – including contraception – with them as well. Don’t expect it to be amazing, it may not be. And that’s ok. If you don’t feel comfortable having these types of important discussions with them then you may not be ready to sleep with them.”

Hopefully that helps! If you’d like more information on virginity, we’ve got a ton of articles here.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.



By Holly Bourne

Updated on 03-Jul-2022