Let's say you've been dating someone a while and you're discussing the prospect of having sex for the first time together. You're naturally feeling pretty excited to take things to the next level, and the two of you are talking about how it will go down. So far, so good!
However, that's when things take an unexpected turn. She pauses, and then brings up an unusual complicating detail: she's never actually done this before. No, not just with you: she's never had sex with anyone, period. Yup — she's a virgin.
How do you proceed? What are the rules here? How do you make her feel as comfortable as possible, and make sure her first experience goes well?
Well, don't freak out, because this article has you covered. Read on for the top eight things to consider before sleeping with a virgin:
1. Society Has A Lot Of Strange Ideas About Virginity
The idea of "virginity" is treated in a variety of different ways in society and through the mainstream media, from an embarrassment to be gotten rid of at all costs to the ultimate state of purity and innocence.
In general, these contrasting conceptions of virginity divide down gender lines: men who are virgins are more likely to be thought of as deserving of sympathy for their "embarrassing" predicament, whereas female virgins are more likely to be considered the ultimate ideal in purity and innocence. Assuming that the virgin you're thinking of sleeping with is female, it's worth considering the whole host of societal pressure she is likely facing about the concept of her virginity, and what losing it means.
It's also worth factoring in the idea that it's the ultimate goal for men to "take" a woman's virginity. It's a pretty creepy way of looking at things, and it would be a good idea for you to reassure her that that's not your mindset.
2. This Might Be A Seriously Important Moment For Her (Or Maybe It Isn't)
People have varying degrees of sentimentality about losing their virginity. For some people – as mentioned above, usually males – virginity is something to be gotten rid of quickly and without too much fanfare. For others – usually females, but not always – virginity is a precious state to be lost only when you've found someone you truly love. For others still, it's not that big a deal either way: it's a pretty neutral event; a normal and uneventful part of growing up.
The key thing is for you to determine how your partner feels, and proceed accordingly from there. If this is a massive, massive deal for her, you're going to need to talk about it in detail and spend some time laying the foundations for the event. If it's no big deal for her, you'll still need to be gentle and considerate, but there may be less emotional prep work involved. Tailor your approach to the attitude of your partner, but err on the side of treating it as a significant event for her.
3. If There Is A Big Age Gap Between You, Consider Not Doing It
There are lots of reasons that women may end up being in their 20s or beyond and still in virginal states, but, in general, virginity does tend to correlate with younger age.
If you are contemplating sleeping with a virgin who is much younger than you (in her teens, say, while you are well into your 20s or older), it's worth reconsidering the power dynamics at play in your situation. Sometimes young girls like the idea of sleeping with older men and may feel as if it makes them seem more mature and developed than their peers, but it's not unusual for them to regret having sex with older men later down the line.
Basically, this one comes down to common decency and probably goes without saying for most AskMen readers: Don't be a creep and don't take advantage of someone who is much younger than you. Make sure the power dynamics in your relationship are equal, and that everyone is fully happy to proceed.
4. Talk About Your Expectations
Are the two of you in a relationship, or is this a casual thing for you (or her)? Will your relationship continue after the two of you have sex, and in what capacity? These are crucial issues to work through ahead of time – you need to make sure everyone is on the same page and no one is being set up for hurt afterwards.
Obviously you can't completely prevent one of you getting hurt feelings or regretting what happened, but you can reduce the chances with clear, honest communication up-front.
5. Take The Usual Precautions To Prevent Unwanted Pregnancy And STIs
Sleeping with a virgin doesn't mean you can neglect the usual precautions you need to take to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of STIs. There are still risks to consider no matter who you are sleeping with, so make sure you are using protection (i.e. condoms) and adequate birth control, unless you want her first time to be much more dramatic than it needs to be.
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6. You Will Need To Take Things Slowly And Gently
Regardless of your partner's attitude towards losing her virginity, in terms of the physical act itself, it's going to pay to take things slowly.
Sex is something she hasn't experienced before and she will be physically unused to it, which could mean a bit of blood on your sheets and potentially some pain for her. Take your cues from your partner: slow down or stop when she tells you to, and listen to what she says to you in terms of how she's feeling.
Pay extra attention to non-verbal cues, too: if she looks as though she's uncomfortable, stop and check in, and see if there's anything she'd like you to do differently. Now is not the time to be experimenting with wild positions and sustained sex marathons, and your main focus should be on ensuring your partner's comfort.
It's important to remember, too, that the sex itself may not be amazing: it's her first time, and given all the social and societal around virginity, it's highly possible that the event itself will be an anti-climax. Don't worry too much about that side of things: Sex gets better with practice, so for her first time, focus on making sure she's comfortable and happy.
7. Be There For Her Afterwards
Regardless of your relationship status, you should be kind and courteous to your partner in the aftermath of her first sexual experience. Cuddle, say kind things, and stick around. Make sure she gets home safely. Make sure she's feeling OK, and check in on how she's feeling tomorrow, too. Be a support person and a sounding board, and be open about any fears or concerns you have, too – she should be making a similar effort to make sure that you are feeling positively about the experience as well.
8. Make Sure That You're Feeling Safe, Happy And Comfortable, Too
Of course the focus here will mainly be on your partner, as she is the one who is losing her virginity, but that doesn't mean you fall out of the picture completely. Just because you've done this before, it doesn't mean you don't need to consider your own feelings.
Are things moving faster than you'd like them to? Are you being pressured out of using protection, or pressured into a relationship you've made clear you don't want? That's not okay, and you're entitled to draw clear boundaries and stand up for yourself. Again, communication is important here: make sure you are being crystal clear about your expectations, needs and wants well before the two of you do the deed.
The overarching goal here is to make sure that both of you have a safe and enjoyable time. Your partner will probably need more preparation than you will, and it's your role to be there for her to discuss any issues that arise. She has a reciprocal role to listen to your concerns, too, and to address them as best as she can.
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So there you have it. The idea of sleeping with a virgin can be pretty daunting, due to the high degree of pressure we place on the concept to begin with. It doesn't need to be an anxiety-inducing experience, though. You can make sure it's as positive as possible for the two of you by acting with respect and dignity, and by keeping the channels of communication open and honest. Good luck!