Dolly Doctor

All your questions about losing your virginity answered

This is the stuff they don't teach you in school.

While you might have the actual basics downpat such as what happens if you make the wrong choice when it comes to sex (pregnancy, STDs etc), we know you have plenty of OTHER questions that are just too awkward to ask your teachers/parents. Good thing DOLLY's here to help then hey?

Does it hurt heaps the first time?

While your expectations of losing your virginity may be similar to that epic PLL tent scene when Hanna lost her's to Caleb (i.e. totally enjoyable, amazing, fireworks etc), it’s way more likely it'll be a bit awkward and you'll feel a bit of discomfort, which physician Dr Laura Edwards explains “may be due to the hymen tearing.”

The hymen being a thin layer of skin that covers the entrance to the vagina which must be broken before any penetration of any kind can occur (although it is possible that yours may have already been broken by inserting a tampon or from playing sport). You might feel a lot of pain or just a brief amount – it’s different for everyone.

“Taking it slow and doing it with a trusting partner often really helps,” advises sex therapist Desiree Spierings. “If you experience discomfort you can take a break and slowly try again later.”

What is foreplay and do I really need to do it?

“Foreplay is everything and anything before the big event,” says Dr Laura. “There’s no strict rule about what constitutes foreplay, but it’s generally anything that's pleasurable that doesn’t constitute sex.” This might be touching, massaging, fingering etc.

Foreplay gets you in the mood for actual P > V sex, both emotionally and physically. Your V-jay becomes moist as you become sexually aroused and this lubrication is needed in order for the penis to slide in and out so you have more enjoyable sex.

All my friends have already had sex. Should I just get it over with?

While it may seem like you're the last virgin on Earth, that's not true. So don’t rush - sex is never about ‘getting it out of the way’. “It’s not about when our body is ready,” Desiree points out. “It's when we are emotionally ready for it and the circumstances are right.”

I’m worried it might look weird or smell funny “down there”. What’s normal?

Don’t stress, there actually is no such thing as “normal”. Like fingerprints, no two vaginas are the same. “Everybody’s vagina looks and smells different,” says Dr Laura. “There are some healthy bacteria and pheromones in the vagina that give it a unique smell.”

And while you may think washing regularly down there is helpful with keeping you fresh, it’s actually not the case. “It’s best not to use soaps and sprays to mask the smell as they can cause irritation and alter the healthy flora,” Dr Laura continues. “Keep it simple and wash with warm water in the shower.”

But if you are REALLY worried about anything down there, visit your doc for a checkup. (don't worry, doctors see lady parts on the reg.)

I had sex/was fooling around and it felt really good. Does that mean I’ve had an orgasm?

The general rule when it comes to orgasms is, if you’re not sure if you’ve had one you probably haven’t. But that can get confusing, right? Well, while the act of sex itself – without orgasming – can feel good, when you’re experiencing an actual orgasm you’ll feel a full-body reaction. As Desiree explains, “arousal works like a mountain, with kissing, touching and foreplay, including touching the clitoris and vagina, your arousal will climb higher and higher on this mountain. Orgasm means you are going over the tip of this mountain, so it's reaching your maximum levels of arousal.”

So it should look something like this...

I want to have sex with my bae but I’m worried he’ll tell his friends. That's not OK, right?

Exactly, not OK. If your guy’s blabbing all the deets of your sex-life to his mates then he’s a A+ jerk. It’s a different story if he’s just confided in a good friend or asked for advice, but if he’s going around bragging about his conquest then dump him pronto.

“Sex is a very private act which concerns only the people who are involved with it,” agrees Desiree. “Talk to your boyfriend about your concerns before having sex with him, because he needs to respect your wishes about it.”

How old do I have to be to legally have sex?

The age of consent is pretty similar, but it does differ from state to state. In the ACT, NSW, QLD, NT, VIC and WA it’s 16, while in TAS and SA the age of consent is 17. If someone over the age of 18 has sex with you when you’re below this age of consent, they are committing a criminal offence (child sexual abuse). Yes, even if you’ve said you’re fine with it.

Lastly, and most importantly, there's nothing wrong with being a virgin so if you're not ready, wait until you are... whatever age that is.