Q&A: I Am Scared Of Having Sex Because Of Pregnancy and Bleeding

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QUESTION: I've just turned 25 and I am still a virgin, which I know is uncommon. I’ve had boyfriends, and I've given and received oral sex, but I'm scared of intercourse. Partly, it’s the fear of getting pregnant, but I'm also scared of bleeding and my partner finding out that I'm a virgin. How can I make my first time easier?

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Pregnant Woman

Photo: Hans and Carolyn (flickr)

Some people who feel anxious about pregnancy choose to practice multiple methods of birth control - for example, the woman being on the birth control pill and the man using a condom.

Fear of Pregnancy

Thank you for your very good questions. You might consider meeting with a counselor or therapist, even if only for one or two times, because you mentioned a real fear of getting pregnant, in spite of being familiar with effective methods of birth control. A counselor or therapist may be able to suggest some cognitive strategies – think of them as mind tricks – to help you to relax.

Some people who feel anxious about pregnancy choose to practice multiple methods of birth control – for example, the woman being on the birth control pill and the man using a condom. By using more than one method of contraception, you would have extra protection and would perhaps find it easier to relax about pregnancy risk.

The Secret Is Out

As far as a man finding out that you’re a virgin, you might ask yourself “so what if he finds out?” Though not having had intercourse by age 25 is less common these days, as you mentioned, some women and men choose to wait to have sex until they find the right person, relationship or situation – and some people really value this in a partner! There is nothing wrong with not having had vaginal intercourse by age 25.

You might find that, if you got to know someone well, you could tell them what you told me – that you’ve had relationships and have been sexual with boyfriends, but that you’ve waited to have intercourse due to a concern about becoming pregnant when you weren’t yet ready to do so. That’s completely reasonable and many people would understand and respect that, or might be quite happy with your choice.

Preparing Your Body

As for making your first experience of intercourse more comfortable, you could consider masturbating using sex toys to help your vagina learn to stretch to accommodate a penis when you’re ready to do so. Some sex toys vibrate and others don’t. You can learn more about these types of sex toys including how to shop for them, use them and clean them in Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure.

If you use such sex toys in ways that involve vaginal penetration, then you may be less likely to bleed during intercourse, as sex toy use may help to tear your hymen. A woman’s hymen may also be torn through tampon use or fingering, so you may bleed less during intercourse than you imagine, as it is.

You can also learn more about beginning to be sexual, and how to make it more enjoyable through communication, foreplay and the use of a lubricant in S.E.X. or The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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