Q: Is it suppose to hurt the first time you have sex?
A: There is actually no reason why having sex for the first time should hurt. By the time most women have sex for the first time (around age 17 - 18), most will not have an intact hymen, because this tissue begins to naturally degrade once puberty hits. Also, by this time, most women have already placed objects into the vagina, such as tampons or fingers. Having sex is really no different than placing other objects into the vagina.
One way to tell what sex will feel like is to insert 3 fingers into the vagina, as shown in this image (warning: image is NSFW). This is the same as the width of an average penis. If doing so doesn't hurt, then it likely won't hurt having sex either. If this does hurt, then a woman can practice with 1 - 2 fingers until she has relaxed the tissues of the vagina enough to allow for easy, 3-finger penetration. A woman can also practice with a dildo beforehand as well. They even make dildo training kits that go from very small dildos to normal-sized dildos, so that a woman can train her vagina to be more comfortable with penetration. If a woman has practiced penetrating herself beforehand, then it's unlikely that having sex for the first time will hurt at all.
One thing that can make sex hurt the first time, though, is anxiety. If a woman is especially anxious when having sex, she may unconsciously tighten the muscles of the vagina, causing vaginismus. This can make penetration painful. The best thing to do in this case is to relax, take things slow, and only penetrate the vagina when you feel comfortable doing so. Over time, having sex with become a more relaxed experience, and this will allow the vaginal muscles to relax as well.
Q: My girlfriend said she was a virgin, but when we had sex the first time there was no blood. Is she lying to me?
A: It's actually a myth that women always bleed the first time they have sex. Many people think that the first time women have sex, it will break their hymen, which causes pain and bleeding. However, this is only true if women have sex when they're quite young (14 years old or younger). By the time a woman is 17 - 18 years old, her hymen has likely degenerated (broken up) on its own. This happens naturally over time as women get older. So, by the time women typically have sex for the first time (around age 17 in the U.S.), they likely don't have a hymen anymore. While there may still be some pain, it's rare that they will visibly bleed as a result of have sex for the first time.
For more information about the hymen, check out this cool video by "Adam Ruins Everything."
Q: After having sex for first time, why does one's body change so significantly? (example like smell, period length, etc)
A: While sex can create temporary changes in one’s body, such as increased blood flow and estrogen levels (for women) or testosterone levels (for men), there are no long-term changes that the body goes through after having sex for the first time. There is actually no observable way to tell if someone is a virgin or not. It used to be thought that a woman’s hymen would tear when she had sex for the first time, but we now know that many women lose their hymen well before they ever have sex (it begins to naturally deteriorate when beginning puberty) and that some women’s hymen doesn’t tear at all from having sex. In other words, having sex for the first time or any time doesn’t produce any lasting or noticeable changes in the body.
It’s likely that if you noticed any changes in yourself, this is probably due to “illusory correlation,” which is when people expect a relationship between two events (such as having sex and seeing resulting changes in their body) and so become hyper-focused on finding any evidence for this relationship. This is similar to a placebo effect. For example, if you took a pill that you thought would make you drowsy, it’s like you would start to notice yourself becoming drowsy, even if the pill didn’t actually contain any medication at all. If you took the same pill, but expected it to make you anxious, you would probably find yourself suddenly becoming more anxious. We often see or experience things simply because we expect to.
Answers provided by Dr. Ross Avilla
Dr. Ross Avilla has been teaching Human Sexuality since 2013 and has a PhD in psychology from UC Davis. Dr. Avilla is not a clinician and all information and advice offered on this website is for educational purposes only.