In a world of the ongoing conversation about consent highlighted by #MeToo, where can young men get a reliable, healthy understanding of sex? In Respect, Swedish writer and sex education expert Inti Chavez-Perez talks directly to young guys and gives informative, judgement-free advice on everything from consent and relationships to body image, gender identity and sexual orientation. Here, he shares reassuring and honest advice about the pressure to have sex and losing your virginity, and how to know to know when it’s the right time for your ‘first time’.
The first time (of many)
The male gender role creates the expectation that a guy should be able to get sex. That’s why having sex often seems to gain you higher status among your friends. And the more people you have sex with, the more recognition you get for it.
This part of the male gender role is fine for those who enjoy having sex with different people and for guys who are really outgoing. But not all guys are interested in sex. And not everyone enjoys having sex with lots of different people. I talked to Nils about this – he has sex with guys.
“After one night stands I think Why did I do that? It’s not even that enjoyable. Often when I have one night stands, I actually want to just kiss and sleep together. Sex feels best when I’m going out with someone,” says Nils.
Work out what you want to do about sex. If you want sleep around, do so. But do it because you enjoy it, not to raise your status with your friends.
When I talk to guys about their first time, I hear stories both happy and sad.
Often when guys talk about their bad introduction to sex, I think it sounds like they actually weren’t ready to do it. I’m glad, therefore, that I didn’t pressure myself into taking the first chance that came my way and instead waited until I felt more comfortable about having sex.
You decide when the right time is for you. Put the brakes on if it feels bad. And if it feels good, go with it!
The initiation into sex is sometimes called losing your virginity. Personally, I don’t use the word virginity because I don’t believe you lose anything when you have sex, particularly not any kind of virginal innocence. What you get is an experience and an encounter with another person.
I also don’t like the idea of virginity because you can only lose it once. It’s all bound up with an idealized image of sex. Because sexual intercourse is the only thing that counts as “real” sex, you can only have sex for the first time once. But in my view, there are many different kinds of sex, and so there are also many occasions when you do something for the first time. The first time with someone you love. The first time outdoors. The first time you have oral sex. The first time you have sexual intercourse. The first time you both have an orgasm. There are endless first times.
That’s why I think we shouldn’t place too much emphasis on the very first time. If you didn’t think it went well, it might go better the next time you do something for the first time.
Sometimes guys have asked me if I have any tips for the very first time. By definition, you have no experience at this point and might not know what you’re supposed to be doing in that moment. We all work differently when it comes to sex, but by adhering to the advice that follows and talking with your partner about what they like, you’ll have a better time.
How to make your first time a good time
- Make out a lot! Some guys seem to think you should just take off your clothes and get down to it. But making out before sex is the key to having a pleasurable time together and not making it feel awkward. Take your time making out and gradually build up to the sex.
- Lower your expectations. It’s not going to be the best sex of your life. It may not be all that enjoyable and the two of you may only keep going for a short while. If you go in with the attitude that it’s going to be an earth-shattering experience, there’s every chance you’ll be disappointed. See it for what it is, your first step into a sex life.
- Don’t try doing advanced stuff the first time you have sex. Instead, focus on getting to know the other person’s body, how it feels and what it feels like when your body is explored. It would be best not to have sexual intercourse the very first time you or your partner have sex. It can easily go wrong if the participants are a little nervous.
- You don’t need to come. Nerves make it hard to reach orgasm, and in such a situation there’s no point trying to force the issue. Focus instead on exploring what gives the other person pleasure.
This article is extracted and adapted from Respect: Everything a Guy Needs to Know About Sex, Love and Consent by Inti Chavez Perez
An all-encompassing guide to help guys navigate sex, relationships and consent in the post-#MeToo world.
The world has changed, and the revelations of the #MeToo movement have raised serious questions about how men are raised to understand their own sexuality and the concept of consent. Respect is an all-encompassing guide that sheds light on these issues and more, laying out how men should approach and understand sex and relationships in the 21st century. So instead of simply parroting lines about how they ought to behave, young men can gain a deeper understanding of how they ought to behave. In direct, approachable language, Inti Chavez-Perez delves into the meaning of topics from consent and relationships, to body image, to gender identity and sexual orientation among others, and does so without judgement. Respect is a book for guys to learn from and then go back to, telling you everything you should know and everything you would want to know.