I’m a virgin and nervous of sex with my boyfriend

I am in my mid-20s and still a virgin. Recently, I met a guy who I really like, but I am terrified of having sex with him.

Other than what I’ve seen on screen, I have no idea what to do in bed. I could even be frigid. My biggest worry is that he’ll call things off, because of my inexperience.

>> I want you to know that you are normal. Yes, we do know that many are sexual from their teens or very early adulthood, but there is no right or wrong age to start.

It is very understandable that you are nervous. With other firsts in life, we can usually talk to a friend or even a parent.

But with regards to sex, this is not always possible, and, indeed, you may not get the kind of information that you feel you need.

You like this guy and this is an important start. But do you really know him? Is he kind, thoughtful and understanding?

You don’t have to rush into sex at the beginning of a relationship. You can wait, and, most importantly, don’t put pressure on yourself.

Maybe you have begun by kissing and hugging and being intimate in a non-sexual way, and, hopefully, he has not put pressure on you.

Physical attractiveness gets things started, but it’s the time you spend together that matters.

You have seen things on film, but, sadly, the reality is usually not portrayed. Everything on screen is wonderful and always seems to end in a shattering orgasm.

Think about how you see yourself as a woman. If you are confident in other areas of your life, you probably have a good self-image.

Look at your appearance: do you like what you see? Pick out your good points and ban the negatives.

If you are serious about this new man in your life, it would help to talk about your fears. After all, you are thinking about a shared physical intimacy. Also, don’t expect him to be the teacher.

Even if he has had sex, it doesn’t make him an expert. Probably, he will be nervous, too.

You could agree to the mutual enjoyment of a variety of sensual behaviours, like touching, hugging, and massaging, but without penetration until such time as you feel ready.

Smile and gaze into each other’s eyes. Talk about feelings and take your time and do what is right for both of you. Relax and enjoy this guy in other ways.

Do nice, dating things and appreciate each other and don’t forget to be playful. Getting to know somebody can be such fun.

If he loves you, he won’t call it off because of ‘inexperience’. If he does — was he worth knowing in the first place? Remember, too, you can learn about your sensual and sexual self.

Masturbation is a good, risk-free way of exploring sexual arousal and response, and don’t minimise the importance understanding your body.

The more comfortable you are with your body, the less anxious you will be.

¦ Marie Daly is a psychosexual therapist with Relationships Ireland; visit www.relationshipsirleland.com.

¦ Please send your questions to: feelgood@examiner.ie

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