The title of this article brings to mind an episode of Sex and the City, “Great Sexpectations.” The first time Carrie has sex with her new boyfriend, the experience isn't quite what she imagined it to be, so she goes to her friend Miranda for advice. After assessing the situation, Miranda suggests that perhaps Carrie's expectations had simply been too high. As an afterthought, Miranda comments, “From now on people should tell it like it is. First time sex, tricky.”
We can all agree that there are a lot of myths circulating about both male and female sexuality. You can’t get pregnant while you’re on your period, you can’t get STDs from oral sex. You name it and someone has probably believed it at some point (and told all of their friends it was true). The fact that the majority of women lose their virginity to someone who has no idea what it's like to inhabit the female body can make it very difficult for women to have the best experience possible.
One of the most common reactions a woman has after losing her virginity is disappointment. This is due, in part, to sensations related to the breaking of the hymen. When a girl has her first period, a small hole appears in the hymen to allow for the flow of menstrual blood. That hole is often stretched wider through tampon usage and sports, but not always enough to accommodate the size of a fully erect penis. Therefore, some breakage of the hymen is bound to occur when she loses her virginity. This can result in anywhere from mild to moderate discomfort, and can even be severe if the hymen stretches to form permanent vaginal bands, which require surgical removal.
Another problem that can occur during a woman's first sexual experience is general vaginal irritation. The muscles of the vagina are extremely adaptable. They can stretch wide enough to fit an infant’s head or tighten small enough to make even the smallest penis feel uncomfortable. A woman who has never had sex before, or even simply abstained from sex for over a year, will need to adjust to penetration with a new partner slowly and without excessive pressure to "perform." This can be difficult if her partner is overzealous or unaware of her needs.
There are many other factors that come into play when a woman engages in intercourse for the first time. These will be discussed in greater depth in my next article, How Was Your First Time? Part II.