It depends what you mean by having sex. Sexual intercourse is sometimes called making love or having sex. The most common definition of sexual intercourse is an act that involves a man putting his erect penis inside a woman’s vagina. Sexual intercourse might also be used to refer to sex acts between two men or between two women.
Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman starts with them both getting sexually excited. This is sometimes referred to as foreplay, and might involve kissing and cuddling, touching each other and other sexual activities. Foreplay is important as it means a woman’s vagina begins to get moist and a man gets an erection. If the woman’s vagina does not get moist enough, then having sexual intercourse could be difficult or painful for her.
If a man and woman are having sexual intercourse, then using a contraceptive properly, every time, will prevent the woman becoming pregnant. There is more information on the contraceptive page.
If two people have sex (sexual intercourse) and one of them has a sexually transmitted disease (STD) then they could pass it on to the other person. Using a condom is the best way to prevent any infection from being passed from one person to the other.
If a couple are going to use a condom for protection against pregnancy or infections, they should put it on the man’s penis as soon as he gets an erection. Some men say they worry about using condoms in case they lose their erection or have difficulty putting the condom on. You could get some condoms and practice beforehand. Condoms come with instructions in words and pictures which show exactly how to use them.
After the condom is on, the man or woman can guide his penis into her vagina. The couple then move their bodies so that his penis moves up and down inside her vagina. This usually rubs the penis and makes the man sexually excited so that he has an orgasm. The movement might also rub the woman’s clitoris (or sensitive areas inside her vagina) so she can have an orgasm. But this depends on the position the couple are in when they have sexual intercourse.
Does having sex hurt?
Having sex does not usually hurt, though first time sex may be a bit uncomfortable for a woman because her hymen (a thin layer of skin that partially covers the entrance to the vagina) may be stretched or torn. This may cause a little bleeding, but it does not usually last long. Sex is not usually painful for a man.
After the first time, sex should become more comfortable. The vagina is very stretchy and will usually accommodate a penis (even a large one) with ease. However, a woman may experience pain when having sexual intercourse if her vagina does not produce enough natural lubrication. Extra vaginal fluids are usually produced when a woman becomes sexually excited to allow the penis to enter the vagina easily. If a woman is tense or rushing when she has sex, her vagina may not become moist enough to allow the penis to move in and out smoothly. Stress can also cause the muscles in the vagina to involuntarily tense up, making penetration difficult and painful. The best way to ensure pain free sex is for both partners to relax and take their time.
Extra lubrication might also help, and can be bought from many chemists and some supermarkets. When using a condom, it is very important that a water-based lubricant (like KY jelly) is used, as oil-based lubricants like Vaseline can cause the condom to disintegrate.
What ‘counts’ as losing your virginity?
Different people have different opinions on this, and some say there are different types of virginity. But most people generally agree that if a man has had penetrative sex with a woman then he (or she) is no longer a virgin.
You can find more information about having sex for the first time on our first time page.
Which position is best for having sex?
There are quite a lot of different positions for sexual intercourse. One of the most common is the missionary position, where a woman lies on her back and a man lies on top of her. A man and woman might also lie on their sides, the woman may sit on top of the man, or she may kneel on all fours while the man puts his penis into her vagina from behind. If a couple are in a position where the woman’s clitoris is not being stimulated, they can do this with their fingers.
Can a woman become pregnant even if she doesn’t have sexual intercourse?
Yes. Pre-ejaculate (pre-come), the lubricating fluid that leaks out of a man’s penis when he’s sexually excited, can sometimes contain sperm. If pre-come or semen (come) get inside or around the entrance to the vagina, this can lead to pregnancy. They can also pass on a sexually transmitted infection.
Semen and pre-come can be transferred to the vagina on fingers or sex toys, so it’s important to make sure they’re clean and washed before they go anyway near a woman’s vagina.
What does sex feel like?
Similar things happen to most people’s bodies when they have sex – they get sensitive and warm and excited and may have an orgasm. Enjoying sexual activities with another person is possible whether you have an orgasm or not. Not being able to have an orgasm with another person doesn’t mean that you don’t fancy them or love them. Your emotions might be different each time you have a sexual experience, depending on the circumstances. Having sex can be one of the most intense and pleasurable physical and emotional experiences a person can have. But it won’t always be wonderful.
How do you have an orgasm?
When sexual excitement builds up and reaches a peak a person might experience an orgasm, also called a climax, or ‘coming’. The sexual excitement might start from someone masturbating on their own, or through kissing, masturbating or having sex with another person.
Sexual excitement usually grows gradually and a person feels more and more pleasure and a kind of exciting tension. All the feelings of tension then disappear when the orgasm happens, and the person experiences feelings of intense pleasure. The feeling can be so strong that a person might not be able to see, or hear or think about anything for a moment. They might even groan and call out with the pleasure. Orgasms usually last only a few seconds but the feelings might last a lot longer.
When a man has an orgasm he ejaculates. This means that sperm mixed with semen comes out of the end of his penis in a sticky white fluid. After a man has ejaculated he loses his erection and usually needs to stop for a while. When a woman has an orgasm, her vagina often becomes very wet, but she can continue being sexually aroused as long as she likes. Some women can experience more than one orgasm without stopping.
If a person doesn’t have an orgasm, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong. In fact, worrying about reaching an orgasm or being nervous is quite likely to make it hard for a person to relax enough to have one.
What is anal sex?
Anal sex (also known as anal intercourse) is when a man puts his penis into the anus and rectum of another man or woman.
Some people might have strong objections, especially religious or moral objections to anal sex. Others may feel uncomfortable about the idea of anal sex simply because it’s not something they think they will find enjoyable or want to try. For others however, anal intercourse is a very enjoyable way to have sex.
Anal sex is often portrayed as something that only gay men do. This is not true. Many straight couples engage in anal sex, while many gay men have never tried it.
Anyone wanting to try anal sex should make sure that their partner really wants to do it. If one person wants to try it but the other doesn’t, it is better to stick to other forms of sex that both partners enjoy.
If a couple do decide to have anal sex, they should think about using a water-based lubricant, like KY Jelly, and a good quality condom. They should also take it slowly. The lining of the rectum is delicate and easily damaged during vigorous thrusting, particularly if the receiving partner is not relaxed.
There is a popular misconception that anal intercourse between a woman and man is a good way to avoid pregnancy. Anal sex does carry a lower risk of pregnancy than vaginal sex, but pregnancy can still occur if any semen leaks out of the anus and into the vagina. Using condoms is a more reliable way of preventing pregnancy, and they will also protect against sexually transmitted infections.
How long does sex last?
It depends what you mean by sex! The time people devote to doing sexual things can last from a few minutes, to several hours, or even a whole day! The actual act of sexual intercourse will often last until a man has an orgasm (ejaculates or comes), although there’s nothing wrong with stopping before this point.
A man might find he comes very quickly the first time he has sexual intercourse. Usually sexual intercourse lasts longer as people get more experienced and know what to expect. But with a new partner it can take time for people to get used to each other. Sex will usually be different every time – it depends on how a couple feel and what they want.
Is sex noisy?
Only if you want it to be! Some people do make noises when they having sex. They might moan or groan with pleasure or even cry out. Some people talk to each other. Others don’t speak or make any noises. But your body might make noises that you can’t help – squelching and squishing. These might be embarrassing or funny, but they are perfectly normal.
How often do people have sex?
Sexual appetite is entirely a matter of personal taste. Some people have sex once or twice a day and others once a month. It probably varies for most people depending on whether they are in a relationship, how busy they are and how they feel. Most people think about sex far more often than they do it.
How do you have oral sex?
Oral sex is when one person licks or sucks another person’s penis or vagina. When oral sex is done to a man it is sometimes called a blow job. When it is done to a woman it is sometimes called licking out. If two people have oral sex with each other at the same time it is sometimes called a 69 because of the shape their bodies make. A woman cannot get pregnant from giving oral sex to a man, even if she swallows his sperm.
Oral sex can be a very intense and intimate experience. Some people enjoy giving oral sex or having it. Other people feel uncomfortable about the idea and don’t want to do it. Sometimes people feel pressure to have oral sex when they don’t want to. It is very important to think about what the other person really wants if you want to have oral sex. Some sexually transmitted infections can be passed on through oral sex. There are flavoured condoms available that you can use when having oral sex. These are to stop any infections which might be passed on.
How do you masturbate?
A woman usually masturbates by rubbing, stroking or squeezing her clitoris. The clitoris is the most sensitive sexual part of a woman. She might also touch her breasts and other sensitive areas of her body. A man usually masturbates by stroking, rubbing or ‘pumping’ his penis, and may concentrate particularly on the tip, which is the most sensitive part. Masturbation is sometimes referred to as playing with yourself, or, especially with men, jerking off, a hand job, or wanking.
People don’t necessarily begin masturbating when they reach puberty. Some people hardly ever masturbate, and others masturbate a lot. It varies according to how a person feels. Many people masturbate even when they are in a relationship with someone. Masturbation can last as long as you want, but generally people masturbate for between a few minutes and half an hour.
There is no physical reason why you should or shouldn’t masturbate. It is not true that you’ll go blind if you masturbate, or that you will become weak or lose your health. It is not possible to masturbate too much, though you should stop if you start to make yourself feel sore. Some people think that if a man doesn’t masturbate his testes will fill up with sperm. This is not true; the sperm are just absorbed into his body. It is also not true that women who think about sex or masturbate are ‘easy’.