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You want to have sex, but are you really ready?

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Sex and sexual expression is a beautiful but a deeply personal gift. In all the excitement surrounding sex, it is important to remember that you, and only you, can determine when you’re ready to have sex. In case you need some help, here are some things to keep in mind. 

Is your decision completely your own?

You should have sex when YOU feel like and if you have sexual feelings for a person. Don’t do it because you have reached a certain age, because of peer pressure, because pop culture says you should, or because it will make your partner happy.

You need to be absolutely comfortable with your partner before you take the step. Talk it out with them beforehand, explain your concerns, fears or any questions you may have.  

You can always say no

In today’s world, consent has become an important lesson. There’s a simple thing to remember, no means NO. Understand that if you or your partner is unconscious or their judgment is impaired by alcohol or drugs, legally this means they are unable to give consent. Talk about this beforehand.

At any point during the act, you can always say no. Have a safe word to use in such a situation. Also, discuss with your partner beforehand if you have any reservations about oral sex or anal sex.  

Explore your body first

You would have read about orgasms and the surrounding information associated with them – men come quickly, women take longer, the G spot, etc.

Before you start having sex, give yourself an orgasm through a masturbation. Explore your body, get comfortable with it and find out what gives you pleasure and what is uncomfortable or painful. It’s important to know what feels good for you so that you can communicate this to your partner.

The first time may be painful

It is alright if it is. The first time you have sex – it could hurt, or feel good, or both or neither. There might be pain and bleeding the first time a vagina is penetrated but that doesn’t happen to everybody. Your penis may not get a proper arousal or not hold on for long the first time around. Getting your sexual organs used to sex will come with time (however, if still experiencing chronic pain, talk to a doctor).

Don’t have too many expectations from the first time – you may not even orgasm. But, don’t freak out! You and your partner could get aroused at different speeds. You both may be nervous and this will affect your body.

Practice safe sex

The other important C word in sex is contraception. It’s vital to talk about safe sex and protect yourself from STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) and unplanned pregnancy.

Talk to your partner about their sexual history (all forms of sex) and what STI protection plans and birth control that is comfortable for you both. If using condoms, make sure they haven’t expired, and fit.

Don’t keep porn as a benchmark

Let’s face it, actual sex is nothing like porn. If you have to learn about sex, sexual positions and orgasms – read or talk to a professional or explore it on your own. Don’t go by pornographic videos because it perpetuates a lot of myths. Porn is staged and filmed – the actors usually take supplements to help them last longer. Sex doesn’t go on for hours. Also, everyone has pubic hair – it’s a natural thing though some may shave or wax down there. It is also natural for sex to get messy, not the sanitized versions they show in porn.

Were you ready for your first-time sex? Share your stories with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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