Dear Liza: Should I Have Sex?

Dear Liza,
I'm a girl and afraid of having sex, but I reaaally want to do it with my current boyfriend (we've been together for 6 months and known each other for much longer than that). Advice? Does it hurt? Help!

First things first, thanks for reaching out! This is a big decision and asking advice about it is never a bad thing. Having said that, it's an incredibly personal choice and ultimately one you should make with your boyfriend when you both feeling comfortable and happy with your decision. 

The most important thing you can do is to discuss this properly. In my experience the people who were really ready were the ones who could have an honest conversation. There is a lot more to sex than what you see in the movies and that includes agreeing on what you're comfortable with and what's not okay (consent isn't just sexy, it's the most fundamental part). Don't let yourself be pressured by anyone: it's okay to wait. It's also okay to make this choice, but that's a question you have to keep asking yourself and something you have to communicate to your SO.

Okay, now that I've hammered that aspect in (I campaign a lot for consent so I definitely couldn't answer this question without spending some time on the topic) let's get down to the physical stuff.  

I'm guessing you're talking about penetrative sex, but there's lots of different behaviours that fall under the big old sex category. Take some time to explore each other, and go at a pace you both feel happy with. If you're relaxed, it shouldn't hurt and if it hurts a lot, stop. Other than that I'm going to point you to this fantastic Buzzfeed article. They really nail the myths of losing your V card and even slip in (whoops, accidental innuendo) some great pointers from both a physical and emotional perspective. 

Just remember: talk about it, and take the pressure off. It can be an overwhelming thing but, if you're 100% sure, this should be an enjoyable way to get to know each other. When you do decide to go for it just keep in mind that it probably won't be anything like you see on screen, but that's okay. A good giggle around the awkward stuff keeps things fun and friendly, and the awkward stuff happens to us all. And as our good friends at Durex always remind us: don't be silly, wrap your willy***.

** But seriously, sort out protection. Nobody wants the fear of STIs and pregnancy hanging over them and they are very real risks.