Everyone has insecurities about sex.
Having sex can be a mixed bag of emotions at times. You can feel self-conscious, nervous, excited or maybe not ready so here are a few common worries and a few remedies that may help:
- Lumps and bumps The truth is, we all have weird marks, scars and jiggly bits. The only reason we feel self-conscious about them is because we are brainwashed by the image conscious society we live in. We are constantly exposed to airbrushed pictures of perfect looking humans and so end up thinking that this is the norm. It's NOT. Nobody is perfect looking. Plus, if someone wants to sleep with us, they already think we are hot stuff - lumps, bumps and all. If you still feel self-conscious about it, consider digging out the candles and getting it on by candlelight maybe?
- Getting knocked up There is no 100% fool proof contraception out there besides abstinence (even sterilisation can result in pregnancies sometimes), but there are loads of effective contraceptives on the market. Check out our contraception section for more information on the different types of contraception available.
- STIs - not cool You can reduce your risk of STIs by always using condoms (for vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex performed on a penis), or by using dental dams (for oral sex performed on a vagina or anus). You are also less likely to get an STI if you are in a monogamous relationship and both you and your partner have a clean bill of health. Some couples even have a sexual health screen done before sleeping together. This is a great way of easing any worries you have about getting an STI. Remember that STIs are completely treatable. Read more information on STIs here.
- Getting too close for emotional comfort If you feel like you don't want anything heavy or to get too emotionally involved, it may be wise to hold back on sex. Most people will understand and be willing to give you the time and space you need to feel more secure in the relationship and within yourself. And if they don't, maybe they're not the best person to be in a relationship with anyway?
- Condom conundrums You should always use contraception such as a condom when having sex, however some people cringe at the thought of paying a visit to their local GP or buying condoms in the pharmacy. There are ways round this though. You could attend a Family Planning Centre for contraceptive services. This way you can still protect yourself, but without the blushes. You should ALWAYS use contraception, and never feel pressured to have sex without using a condom. Many student unions give out free condoms, as does the Dublin Aids Alliance and the Red Ribbon Project.
- Hitting the pleasure points You might worry that you don't know how to 'do it' right. Like all things, practice makes perfect. Everyone is different and everyone likes different things. The best way around this problem is to ask your partner what they like.
- Too soon for sex? Listen to yourself on this one. If you don't feel ready yet, it might be best to delay sex for a bit. If someone is pressuring you into sex, ask yourself whether they really have your best interests at heart.
- Size matters. Many people worry that their penis is too small or that their vagina is too big. The truth of the matter is that penises and vaginas come in all shapes and sizes and size has very little to do with pleasure. Sexual pleasure comes from practice and communication, neither of which can be measured with a measuring tape.
- PAIN It can hurt. It is normal for sex to be a bit sore when you first do it, but if it continues on it could be a sign of something else. For vaginal sex, your GP or gynaecologist may be able to offer you help. Nobody should have to put up with painful sex.
- Orgasm embargo Many people worry about not being able to orgasm during sex and think that there must be something wrong with them. Not so. It's extremely common. Many people only orgasm through foreplay and not through intercourse. If you can't orgasm at all, it may just be that your partner is not hitting the right spot. Many experts recommend masturbation to help you identify your hot spots, which you can then show to your partner.
- Premature ejaculation is an extremely common problem, so you are NOT alone.
Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.