Sexual Health

First sexual experience: concerns

Here we talk about people's expectations and worries about having sex for the first time. You can also hear people's stories about the first time they had sex and their age and reasons for having sex the first time. 

Both men and women worry about sexual performance, but guys are more concerned about 'doing it right', and girls are more worried about their bodies. 

There is pressure from friends, to be sexually active and knowledgeable, and to brag about sex, so men find it hard to admit if they don't know much about sex. Most men worry about their performance the first time they have sex, although most girls don't feel this pressure

Even though teenage girls are less likely to 'brag' about their sexual performance, other forms of competition took place, for example who knew more about sex, who had already done it, or had an older boyfriend. 

As one woman we spoke to explained "With my first boyfriend the most important thing was that he was older and he was good-looking and that I would have sex and then I'd be able to talk to about it with my friends. Sort of far more Brownie points if they were older".  

Girls may also lie about sex in order not to seem 'frigid' or inexperienced

Audio onlyText only
Read below

Like guys, most girls said that they felt scared and nervous the first time they had sex. They're not under pressure to perform, but some still feel they should. Body image (the way people feel about the way their body looks) was more of an issue for the girls we spoke to - one said she wouldn't eat for 8 hours before sex so that her tummy didn't look big. 

Another girl told us 'you're supposed to be having sex like a film star all the time, like a porn star'. Many found talking to their mates set their mind at rest.

Some of the young men and women we interviewed felt more sexually confident the better they knew someone, and some believed being with one partner rather than lots of different people helped.

Last reviewed January 2016.

Last updated August 2012.


Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email