Q: How can I prepare for my and my girlfriend's first time?
A: Wow, that's a big question! There are so many things I could talk about, but I'll try to keep it (somewhat) brief and offer some helpful advice.
First of all, relax and just have fun with it! For whatever reason, people often put too much pressure on themselves and have really high expectations for their "first time." Sex, like anything, is something you get better at with practice. So, don't necessarily expect fireworks the first time you have sex. Most women report not orgasming the first time they have sex, but still enjoying it. So, it'll most likely be an interesting and exciting experience, but definitely not the best sex you'll ever have.
Another thing to remember is to engage in plenty of foreplay beforehand. I'm going to assume that you and your girlfriend are already engaging in manual and oral sex. If not, I would highly recommend you start there. Often penile-vaginal sex doesn't last that long. Most studies find that couples engage in penetrative sex for about 5 minutes during an average "session." So, sex is mostly about foreplay anyway. Make sure that you're enjoying that and then penetrative sex can just be icing on the cake.
To make it more comfortable for your girlfriend, especially if it's also her first time having sex, make sure to take things slow. If she's 18 or older, it's unlikely that she still has a hymen to "break" even if she's never had sex before. So she doesn't need to worry about her first time having sex necessarily being painful. To make penetration more comfortable, start by penetrating her vagina with your fingers. If you can comfortably fit 3 fingers into the vagina, then inserting a penis shouldn't be uncomfortable. Also, if the vagina isn't wet and soft, then it's likely she's not that aroused (which can happen when people are nervous). If that's the case, go back to foreplay and maybe try later if she becomes more relaxed and sexually aroused. It's also good to just "check in" and ask her how she's feeling or what she'd like to do.
One last thing to consider is that having sex is most enjoyable when both parties are relaxed. I know it can be hard to "just relax," but perhaps you can try not to think too much about this being your "first time" or a big moment. There's nothing all that different about having penetrative sex versus non-penetrative sex. If you're both relaxed and just have fun with it, I'm sure it'll be an enjoyable experience for both of you!
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.