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Got a question about sex, relationships, or consent?

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Your Questions Answered

You asked: "I only recently discovered I may be bisexual but I haven't had any sexual experiences with women so how do I learn how to have sex with them?"

We answered: "As with most things related to sex and intimacy, the key is to communicate with your partner and ask them what they like. There isn't any one way that everyone likes sex; everyone has different things that turn them on or off. If you don't feel comfortable straight away, Autostraddle has a good resource so you can match what you enjoy and what your partner enjoys.

It’s also worth exploring yourself more if that's not something you have done much previously. Getting to know your own body better will help you feel more comfortable with theirs (regardless of their gender), but especially with people of the same anatomy type you may gain some basic ideas of what to try! "

You asked: "Any tips for feeling nervous with intimacy/sex even with a long-term partner?"

We answered: "Accept that sex is weird and funny and gross for everyone, and that's okay. Have jokes with your partner, talk about your nerves and their nerves before/after/during. Think about what's going on that's making you nervous - is there an expectation for what intimacy/sex should be? Can you redefine what you want from intimacy/sex in your own terms?

It's important to try to identify the root cause of your nerves too. If you've had other sexual partners, have you felt nervous about sex with all of them? If not, can you identify why? It's also important that your partner knows about your nerves so that they can try to accommodate them.

Take it slowly. At first, stick with what you're 100% comfortable with, and then, when you feel more comfortable, gradually move out of your comfort zone. Also recognise that your partner may well feel nervous too - and that's okay! When you have sex, you're putting yourself in a vulnerable position with your partner, so it's understandable if you feel a bit nervous. Communication is key."

You asked: "I feel really awkward talking about sex with my partner. What can I do to improve my confidence talking about sex?"

We answered: "The boring and cliché answer here is to.... Practice. As with most things battling past that feeling doesn't just happen. The best way is to communicate your difficulty with your partner and try be as honest and open as possible. It's a two way street too. If you are finding it tough to talk about, they might also be having similar feelings but handling them differently, or the same. Establishing a good basis for honest communication takes time and practice.

Try listening to The Sex Wrap podcast and watching Sexplanations YouTube videos - both are great at removing the awkwardness from sex conversations. Perhaps share a video/podcast episode with your partner and say "this was shared with me today - what do you think about it?" If you feel comfortable talking to a close friend about sex maybe talk it through with them first, they'll be able to give you a confidence boost and you can discuss how to broach the subject with your partner. "

You asked: "What happens if you don't have a penis, but want to have sex with a girl?"

We answered: "There’s lots of ways to have sex with a girl without having a penis! By law, both you and your partner must be over 16 and consent to the sexual activity. Sex isn’t just ‘penis in vagina’. It’s lots of other things too. For example, sex can involve sex toys, fingering, stroking, kissing, touching, licking, and much more. You don’t have to have a penis in order to perform oral sex on someone else. You can also have sex with a partners vagina, or anus using fingers and toys."

You asked: "Does sex hurt the first time?"

We answered: "There is this misconception around anal and vaginal sex; that the first time hurts. Sex doesn't ever have to be painful, even if it’s your first time. When aroused, the clitoris and penis get hard and the vagina walls smooth out and stretch. With regards to penis (or sex toy etc.) in vagina sex, if the person with the vagina is not relaxed this smoothing and stretching of the vagina won’t happen. Hense, sometimes vaginal sex might be painful. Using a water-based lubricant can help increase pleasure. Some people use saliva as their lubricant, but it is more watery than slippery and dries out quickly. One surprising benefit of a bit of lubrication? It can prevent infections. Friction from lube-less sex causes heat which encourages bacterial growth; so the less friction (and the more lube!) the better. Speaking of, less friction means you're less likely to break a condom, so lube can help prevent an "oops" moment later on.

With anal sex, this again should not have to be painful first time. However, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to go straight in with a penis, toy or finger without forcing it which can be very uncomfortable. Instead you should work your way up, relaxing the anus, breathing and exploring with a pinky finger after a soapy shower. Again, the more lube the better! "

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