Few Indian women know what to expect during their first sexual encounter. Some facts to help you through your first experience of sex.
By Kiran Manral
So you’ve heard a bit about what to expect from the first time you have sex. You’ve probably read the sex counselling columns in magazines and newspapers, or googled up the technicalities about ‘losing your virginity’ on the Internet, and are wondering just what to expect. But you’re still a little nervous. Given that there is so little discussion of sex in India, here’s a quick primer on what you really should be ready for.
It might pain, it might not
The hymen, yes, that membrane out there guarding the vagina, is not as rigid as myth makes it out to be. The hymen is a membrane with a central perforation, which can be round or elongated. Despite the myths surrounding it, having an intact hymen does not necessarily connote virginity. Women with prior sexual experience but an elastic hymen can have their hymens intact and those who have never experienced sexual intercourse may not have a hymen, if they have been sporty and active or if they’ve been using tampons.
Having said that, you might experience pain or discomfort because an intact hymen could be stretched and split during intercourse, but this should be momentary. For most women, it shouldn’t persist, and if the pain or bleeding does persist, do consult a physician. Women can and do enjoy sex – don’t let anyone tell you that you have to put up with pain!
To be honest – most likely you might not. The female body does need more warming up than does a male body, and it may take time for you to experience an orgasm. It would help if your partner is relaxed and keen on making you feel pleasured and aroused rather than just rushing matters along. Don’t be upset if you do not experience an orgasm in your first experience of intercourse. The objective of every session need not be orgasm, so long as you and your partner feel good about it.
What will help things along is if you are already comfortable with your partner and yourself. For those first exposed to sex on the ‘first night’ post wedding, you might be tired to begin with and your partner might be under pressure to perform – not the ideal situation to get the Big O. A better bet might be to sleep off the tiredness and get down to business when both of you are less tired and more relaxed.
When the body is aroused, the vagina does release a natural lubrication which makes it easier for intercourse to occur. But many women are tense or nervous the first time round and might not be lubricated enough, which could make intercourse painful and awkward. To avoid this, use a lubricating gel easily available at any chemist.
Many women get into sex, either before or after marriage, without any proper information on contraception and sex education given the taboo that surrounds sex in this country. For women with no prior sexual experience, the moment their wedding is finalized the first appointment shouldn’t be with the make-up person or mehndiwali but the gynaecologist for contraception advice and first night doubts explained.
Many a time, first intercourse happens in the heat of the moment, and therefore there is no contraception used, unless of course it is the wedding night (and even then, many Indian couples are too shy to discuss this important issue with each other!)
Ensure that you use contraception for your first time, because yes, like the Hindi films, you can get pregnant the first time round, and that is not a situation you want if you’re not ready for it – whether married or not. Dipika Saha, 28, still regrets not discussing contraception with her husband; she ended up becoming a mum exactly nine months after her wedding day. “I wish I had visited a doctor and taken the initiative to get myself birth control pills, or insisted my husband use a condom. It was too early for us to have a child. We barely knew each other,” she says.
Of all contraceptive methods, condoms have the added advantage of also preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, you don’t need a doctor’s prescription for one and they have no side effects either. While birth control pills are another popular method, they do cause side effects in some people such as weight gain or menstrual changes. Morning-after pills have been heavily advertised in India, but they are not meant to be used as regular contraception.
And no, don’t rely on the good old withdrawal method. Even one drop around your vagina could be enough to get Mr. Sperm and Ms. Ova making an acquaintance. And sperm hangs around for a couple of days, so even if you haven’t ovulated on the day you have intercourse, you could still get pregnant if you ovulate the next day.
Douching is not a very good method of contraception because it cannot flush out any sperm which might have already entered the cervix.
The first time is nothing to be afraid of; nervous, ah well, yes, but with adequate information and preparedness, you can make sure your first time is one that leaves you with pleasant memories.