Everything Teens Need to Know About Vaginal Sex

A couple sleeping together.
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Below are answers to some of the questions about vaginal sex that we receive most often. (See? You're not the only one confused about this stuff.)

What's Vaginal Sex?

"Vaginal sex," or "vaginal intercourse," is what a lot of people just think of as "sex." There are other types of sex, though, so when people say "vaginal sex," they're talking specifically about the kind of sex where a man puts his penis into a woman's vagina. It's also the only type of sex that can result in a woman getting pregnant.

Okay, So What are the Other Kinds of Sex?

The word "sex" means anything that involves sexual activity or gives you sexual pleasure in any way. Here are some different kinds of sex, with links to more information about each of them:

Does Vaginal Sex Hurt?

It can hurt for a couple of different reasons:

  • If you're a woman and you're new to sex, it can hurt. This is because your hymen - a piece of tissue inside your vagina - can stretch in a painful way the first time you have sex. Though it's possible that you already experienced that stretching earlier in life from something else, like a tampon, or riding a bike.
  • If there's not enough lubrication, vaginal sex can hurt both for the man and the woman. That's why people tend to buy pre-lubricated condoms.
  • If you don't feel 100% ready to have sex - emotionally or physically - then sex won't feel good. Plain and simple.

Is Vaginal Sex Safe?

There's no 100% safe way to have vaginal sex, no matter what anyone says. Every time you have it, you run the risk of pregnancy or STD's. Still, if you take a couple of precautions, you'll reduce your risk by a lot:

  • Always use a condom every time you have vaginal intercourse. Here are instructions for how to use a condom.
  • Pregnancy and STD's are a risk anytime there's genital contact - even if you haven't started having vaginal sex, and even if there's no semen. This means that the condom has to be put on as soon as there's an erection.
  • Be sure to follow all the other rules about condoms, or else it's almost as if you're not using one at all.

How Can I Have Vaginal Sex and Not Get Pregnant?

If you have vaginal sex, there's no guarantee that you won't get pregnant, even if you use a condom. Still, your best bet is to use a condom every time you have sex.

If you want to double down on protecting against pregnancy, there's a number of other birth control methods you can try. Even if you're using birth control, though, you still have to use a condom every single time you have sex.

How Do I Know If I'm Ready to Have Sex?

In all truth, though, if you're having that hard of a time figuring out whether or not you're ready for sex, you're probably not.