What’s sex like? & other FAQs

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What is sex, and what’s it really like? Is everyone doing it? What’s the legal age you can have sex? Here’s some answers to common questions.
A person standing facing an unmade bed

What is ‘having sex’?

Is oral sex ‘real’ sex?

Sex doesn’t just mean penetration  – someone’s penis in someone’s vagina.

When we talk about sex on this website, we mean oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex and even mutual masturbation.  And whether it’s between a male and a female, two guys, two girls or more – it’s still sex!

Although some people say that only vaginal sex is ‘real sex’, we think that all these different kinds of sex count as ‘sex’.

The closeness, trust and vulnerability that you feel when you get it on with someone is the same for all kinds of sex.

Read what oral sex is, fingering and all the rest here (without pictures)

On a darker note, the legal definitions of unwanted sex or rape includes all kinds of sex, not just penis-vagina sex.

What’s it like having sex for the first time? Will it hurt?

Trying anything for the first time can be a funny mix of nerves, uncertainty and excitement. Sex is no different.

You can’t predict what it’ll be like, but thinking about who, when and how you want it to happen can help make it what you want it to be.

Don’t expect the first time to be the most amazing experience of your life.

Most people say the first time wasn’t the best time (by far) or that it wasn’t what they expected. It might be a bit uncomfortable or painful, or it might be over quickly if one of you comes quickly. It might feel weird being naked with someone else. It can be embarrassing – fumbling, tripping over half-removed undies, noises, sheets getting sticky with sweat or bodily substances. Or it might be fantastic.

And after you’ve had sex for the first time, it’s not like you feel or look different either, or that you’re automatically more mature.

Is it ok to be a virgin?

It’s ok to stay a virgin – take all the time you want, until you feel ready and you’ve found the right person and situation to have sex for the first time.

If you take your time, you give yourself more of a chance to get to know your own body, and to get to know your boyfriend or girlfriend, to develop trust in your relationship, and to feel comfortable talking to them about what you like or don’t like.

The first time I had sex was kind of weird and awkward. I didn’t feel really turned on – I just wanted to do it to see what it was like. We had been together for a few months. Took a while with him trying to get the condom on, and then I had to help him to find the right place to put it in! It hurt at first so I told him to slow down. Then it started to feel good  but he came quickly and that was it. I can’t say I totally enjoyed it  – but Í thought, at least now I’ve done it, so I know what everyone’s talking about’.

When do I lose my virginity if I’m gay?

While we think that “sex ” includes oral sex, vaginal sex  and anal sex, and kind of gay or lesbian sex, here we’re going along with what most people believe – that “losing your virginity” and “first time sex” is the first time you have penetrative sex i.e. vaginal sex.

Basically, we think that the term “losing your virginity” needs a makeover to include all kinds of sex. But since that hasn’t happened yet, the stuff we talk about here is about girls and guys having vaginal, penetrative sex for the first time.

How many young people are having sex? Is everyone doing it?

Not everyone is doing it – in fact, quite a lot of secondary school students have never had sex.

According to a national survey of secondary students in Australia in 2008, about a quarter of year 10 students and over half of the year 12 students had had penetrative sex. Many students though have done something sexual like tongue kissing, fingering, or oral sex.

What’s the right age to be having sex?

There’s a huge range of who does what and when. For example, that Australian survey found that just over half of Year 12 secondary school students had had sex, and almost half of them hadn’t.

And although around two thirds of them had touched someone or been touched sexually, more than half of them had never had oral sex.

When am I legally allowed to have sex?

Legally, there is a minimum age for when you are considered old enough to say yes to sex – even if you feel ready. That age can vary depending on the situation and what state you live in.

Find out the legal age for sex in your state at Lawstuff.

The reason there is a legal ‘age of consent’ is to make sure that people are mature enough and know enough about people, their bodies and safe sex, to make an ‘informed’ decision to have sex.

The most important thing is to know as much as you can before making your own decision.

It’s completely wrong and illegal for anyone in a position of power to have a romantic or sexual relationship with you: teachers, coaches, relatives, friends’ fathers. Talk to a trusted adult in this situation.

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Photo from Flickr by mutter_fluffer/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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