The Doctor Is In: I’m Afraid Of Sex

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Got a health question? Don’t trust those “Doctors” at the University Health Center? Are you scared of Web M.D. because it always tells you you’re gonna die? Ask a real doctor, our friend Dr. Lissa Rankin. She’s here every Thursday to answer whatever you throw at her – like the ultimate cure for a hangover! – so ask away. Leave your question in the comments or send it over to us. Don’t be shy; she’s waiting for ya!

Q: I don’t really know how to ask this so I’ll just get right to it. I’m still a virgin and I’m the only one left in my group. All my girl friends lost their virginity this year and have been telling me how much it hurt. Now I’m scared! Is it really that bad? And is there anything I can do to….prepare? Or should I just buy some cats now and grow old as a single, virgin spinster?

I’m really freaking out here.

A: Ok, hold up. It is definitely not time to start hoarding cats. Unless you really like cats, in which case, stock up! But don’t throw in the towel on sex just yet. Every woman is different when it comes to what your first time feels like. If you’ve been wearing tampons, riding horses, and straddling balance beams in gymnastics, your hymen may already be broken, so it might hurt less. On the flip side, if you’re very tiny and trying to insert a junior sized tampons sends you through the roof, you might face some serious discomfort.

But even if you are in the latter group, there are things you can do, especially if you’re in a relationship and can anticipate when it will happen (which offers your best shot at a good experience, in my opinion. Losing your virginity to a beer-sloshed one-night stand who can’t remember your name doesn’t bode well for gentle, compassionate connection between you and your partner. But then, you know that.).

My patient Adrianna had so much pain just from foreplay that she avoided sex until she was twenty-nine. (Every Christmas she would send me a card with the Virgin Mary on it and sign it “Love, the Virgin.”)  Always in serious relationships, she would put it off until that inevitable moment when she knew she would either have to lose her virginity or break up with the guy. Every year, when she reached that fork in the road, she broke some poor guy’s heart, rather than ‘fessing up to her fears.

Then she met Ed, and he swept her off her feet.  After he proposed, she approached me, begging me to help her give it all up to Ed.  Here’s what I told her to do:

How To Lose Your Virginity As Painlessly as Possible

1. Purchase a good sexual lubricant like Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.

2. Begin to prepare weeks, even months in advance. (Note: preparation also includes getting comfortable and intimate with your own body!)  The vagina is an elastic organ designed to fit a baby through it.  Your virginal vagina may not like being stretched by an erect penis, but it’s willing to negotiate. Begin by starting to dilate the vagina with the smallest thing you can insert into your vagina comfortably – a pinkie finger, a junior sized tampon, or a thumb. Lube it up and gently insert it inside the vagina.

3.  Notice the muscles that surround your vagina. Are they tense or relaxed? Does the object or finger slide easily into the vagina, or does it hurt? Make a conscious effort to release the tension from those muscles. Hold the object in for 10 minutes.

4. If that doesn’t hurt at all, try gradually increasing the size of what you insert into your vagina- a super-plus sized tampon, two fingers, or a small dildo. Repeat the exercise with the larger object until you find something that begins to stretch you and feel uncomfortable. When you reach that point, hold the object still for 10 minutes, and repeat this every day until it no longer hurts. (Don’t forget the lube, which is key). You may bleed during some of these exercises, which is nothing to worry about, as long as the bleeding is slight.

5. When you notice that it no longer hurts to insert that object inside, go bigger. Keep increasing the size of what you place into the vagina until you can accommodate a dildo that mimics the size of your partner’s penis.

6. Once you can keep the dildo in place for 10 minutes without pain, try moving it in and out of you, mimicking what your partner would do during intercourse. Go slowly, and make sure you have control of how the dildo moves. Feel free to play around with other types of sexual stimulation or other sex toys during this process. Remember, sex is supposed to be fun! Feel free to invite your partner in for the party, if you feel comfortable. If not, make it a private affair until you’re ready for the big night.

7. When you can do this without pain, you’re ready for the main event. Encourage your partner to have fun with foreplay. The more aroused you feel, the less likely it is to hurt.

8. Spend a moment taking deep, relaxing breaths. Concentrate on relaxing the muscles around the vagina to make way for your lover to enter you. Visualize your vagina as a flower gently opening to receive the love you share with your partner.

9. When you’re ready, lube up and try a woman-on-top position, which gives you more control over the depth of penetration and the speed of the thrusting. Take it slow. Listen to your body. Warn your partner that you may not be able to finish the job. If need be, you can ask him to stop and take care of him in other ways, if you know what I mean.

Remember: practice makes perfect. It gets better with time – I swear. If your first time isn’t glorious, don’t be discouraged. My first time was God-awful, but in time, our bodies learn what to do and you’ll be making beautiful music in the sack before you know it.

Hope it helps!

Wishing you a gentle, safe, loving, nurturing cherry-pop,

Dr. Lissa

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