Webdesk: – There are a few experiences in a young woman’s life that are quite literally unbelievable. Before your first period, it’s tough to fathom what it will feel like (or look like) to have tissue falling out of your body for days. Before your first kiss, it’s incredibly bizarre to imagine pressing your face into someone else’s and moving your tongue around. And having sex for the first time? Entire movie franchises are dedicated to how weird that is.
No matter your background, age, or experience, having sex for the first time is a big deal. You can (and should) prepare for it as much as possible, but you still can’t know exactly what it feels like until the deed is done. Here, a few ladies shared their experiences with Teen Vogue.
That not everyone bleeds.
“Movies and books made me think my sheets would look like the scene of a horror film afterwards, but I didn’t bleed at all. I think if I’d known that beforehand, I would have been able to relax and enjoy it a little more.”
That it wouldn’t feel super emotional.
“I thought I would feel changed, and then I didn’t at all. The truth is that I was lucky—my first time happened with my first love, at 16, and it was lovely in a really cheesy way. But afterward I didn’t feel closer to him. It wasn’t until college that sex became a way to intimately connect on any level.”—E
That even virgins can have STIs.
“I wish I’d known—like really, really known—that if the guy has ever hooked up with someone else, they should get tested way before we do anything together. I didn’t catch anything when I lost my virginity, but I definitely could have. It can happen to you and it does change a lot about your life.”—B
That I wouldn’t see fireworks.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be really good necessarily, but I remember lying there thinking, ‘Oh, this is sex? This is it?’ I was dating my first real boyfriend and I had built up sex in my mind for a long time, and then all of a sudden it happened and I was not a virgin anymore, but I didn’t feel any different. I guess I was just expecting to feel more adult.”—M
That I should have waited until I was sober.
“I wish I hadn’t been drunk. I thought it would help me quiet the anxiety and just get it over with, but now I understand that needing to drink was actually a blaring signal that I was not ready, and that he was not the right person.”—K
That it would take a while before it actually felt good
“Sex did not feel good/amazing/life-changing the first, second, or even fifth time I had it. It look seven times before I started to feel something remotely enjoyable. I’m glad I kept with it!”—J
That I shouldn’t have worried about how old I was.
“I loved the way I lost my virginity. So I would have told myself to stop worrying that it hadn’t happened yet. You’ll be so glad you waited until you were obsessed with someone, someone you could trust and giggle and high-five through it.”—B
That your partner is freaking out, too.
“You’re not the only one worrying. The first two boys I slept with both had major performance anxiety and shared my pregnancy paranoia.”—A
That I should have only told my inner circle of friends.
“Even if you’re dying to talk about it, make sure you’re telling people whom you trust, people who care about your best interest and not about spreading gossip. It’s also OK to keep it between you and your partner, assuming it’s a healthy relationship.”—D
That it doesn’t have to be all about him.
“The whole baseball analogy is really focused on the guy’s pleasure. I thought I had to hit every base first, with sex as the finale or something. Now I know that I can do a lot or a little with a partner, and it’s completely up to me. I don’t have to feel pressured to make sure he finishes.”—A
That it would hurt, but in such a freaky way.
“I was prepared for the worst, because you’re told that he is actually tearing through you the first time. Terrifying. My first time did hurt, but in a way I couldn’t have anticipated. I was super aware of this foreign object inside of me, poking into my internal organs…or so it felt. Now I know better about the anatomy of the situation, but it was all I could think about at the time.”—K
That I could feel literally nothing.
“It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad. It felt like absolutely nothing to me, like someone touching my leg.”—A
That I could keep my business to myself.
“I just wanted to get it over with so I could stop stressing about when it was going to happen. In college, some guys would get nervous (one even stopped talking to me) when I told them I was a virgin. So when I finally lost it, my partner didn’t know. We were just hooking up, and I didn’t want to make a big deal about it.”—S
That no one would be able to tell.
“After we were done, my then-boyfriend and I met up with my friends at the diner where we always hung out. I was all smile-y and quiet and sharing looks with my BF, like ‘Can people see we just had sex?'”—J