Normal first intercourse reactions

Originally Published: May 17, 1996 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 8, 2014
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Dear Alice,

What are the normal physical reactions to losing one's virginity? I'd really rather delay going to a gynecologist, but I'd just like to make sure what I am/have experienced after my first sexual experience was not indicative of any medical problems.

— Normal First Intercourse?

Dear Normal First Intercourse?,

After intercourse for the first time, a person may experience a range of physical and/or emotional reactions. Common emotional reactions can include pride, guilt, happiness, relief, and disappointment, for starters. Common physical reactions vary, too, and can include soreness, numbness, pleasure, orgasm, no orgasm, lubrication, no lubrication, irritation, urinary tract infection (UTI), vaginal infection, or a sexually transmitted infection (STI), with or without symptoms. Without knowing more about your specific experience with first intercourse, it's difficult to say if your reactions were within the normal range of physical/emotional responses. If you are concerned with physical symptoms (or emotional reactions), it really may be best to visit a health care provider, whether it's a gynecologist or primary care provider is up to you.

As for delaying going to the gynecologist, before deciding whether to visit sooner rather than later, consider reading Gynecologist for the first time from the Go Ask Alice! archives. While you may be hesitant, there are a number of benefits to visiting the gynecologist after you've become sexually active. Getting answers to your specific sexual health-related questions and verification of your health status may help to reassure you. Visiting the gynecologist also gives you a chance to discuss contraceptive methods, how to practice safer sex, and develop a relationship with a health care provider. Columbia students can contact Medical Services (Morningside) or the Student Health Service (CUMC) to make an appointment. If you're not a Columbia student, you may want to ask your own primary health care provider for a recommendation or visit Planned Parenthood for help in finding a women's health center. Hope this helps!

Alice