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Sexual Intercourse: First Steps

If anything comes naturally to man without any prior learning and experience, it is not sexual intercourse. Most lower animals copulate instinctively and are directly driven to do so by impulses from within. Man, in contradistinction, often becomes instinctively aroused or, more accurately, a considerable part of his sex arousal is instinctive or innate but even in this respect much learning and conditioning are also involved in his excitability.

          As for the specific method he will employ to reach a climax once he is aroused, man (as, we saw in Sexual Performance ) largely relies on socially inculcated and experimentally acquired rather than on instinctive tendencies.

          Theoretically, he has a wide-ranging choice of sexual outlets. Actually, which of these possible outlets he will specifically employ for orgasmic purposes depends on many factors in his early and later life experiences.

          The individual, therefore, who has had relatively little physical intercourse has much to learn about coital technique. Some of the pointers which may be helpful in this connection will now be delineated.

          Signs of readiness. Sexual intercourse should normally occur only when both partners are sufficiently ready for it; otherwise, difficulty may well ensue. In the male, readiness for coitus is presumably easy to determine: since it largely consists of an adequate or stiff erection of the penis. Actually, however, males may sometimes experience formidable erections when they are not particularly aroused sexually and when having intercourse would lead to pain, discomfort, or indifference. Similarly, a female may have a distinctly tumescent or erect clitoris without truly being desirous of and ready for copulation.

          True sexual excitement in the male or female is usually accompanied by several discernible symptoms. In addition to swelling of the genitals, various other parts of the body, particularly the lips, breasts, and nipples, may become enlarged and swollen. Blood pressure and pulse rates generally rise, the individual becomes restless and tense, the rate of breathing increases, goose pimples may appear, the skin may seem flushed and hot, tremor may develop, an odor may emanate from the mouth, and (perhaps most frequently) the precoital secretions of the male and female begin to flow, sometimes in copious amounts in that case sexual deviations needs to covered sex relations.

          In the case of the female, as Masters (1960) has recently discovered, the fact that a woman is highly excited sexually and is well on the way to having an orgasm is invariably mirrored in the state of her inner vulva lips, which begin to turn bright red.

          In spite of these overt signs of sexual arousal, many spouses, particularly when they are focusing upon their own excitement and reactions, cannot accurately judge just when their mates are ready for actual coitus. This is because some persons usually females not only have to be aroused to desire penetration, but have to be sufficiently excited, often for a considerable period of time, before they want intromission. It is almost impossible for anyone but themselves, in some instance, to tell when this sufficient degree of excitement has been achieved.

          In consequence, couples who have intercourse regularly should normally agree upon some set of predetermined signals for beginning copulation. The one who usually takes longer to achieve an urgent desire for intromission should, when he or she finally reaches this point, tap the other, say "Now," or otherwise signal the partner that he or she is ready. Here again, as previously stressed, it should be realized that neither mate is a mind reader and that plain, unvarnished English is often the most nearly ideal means of sexual communication.

          Initial Intercourse.The very first time an individual; has coitus is likely to present some difficulties, not merely in the case of the woman but the man as well. For the virgin male simply does not know what to do; what is more, he is often afraid that he will do it badly or incompetently. As Mozes (1959b) indicates, because of the difficulties of defloration, authorities estimate that about: one out of twenty of all brides is still a "married virgin" at the end of the first year and one out of every hundred, at the end of the second year of marriage.

          Where the virgin female may be afraid that she will be hurt or may not enjoy intercourse, the male is afraid that he will not succeed. Even when she herself receives no orgasm, the female need not fail her partner: since, no matter how ineffective she is, the male, particularly if he is easily excited and satisfied, will in all probability obtain an orgasm.

          But if the male fails the female she will not be able to attain satisfaction at least, not coitally. So it is the male who primarily bears the brunt of feeling that he has completely failed; and his anxiety about failing (that is, his defining himself as being worthless because of failure) may well make initial intercourse, or even the first dozen times, something of an emotional nightmare.

          It is most desirable, therefore, that the female be especially kind and forgiving if she knows that her partner has had little or to have sex relations. She should show him that although she would like him to succeed, for the sake of his pleasure as well as her own, this is not a vital necessity to her; and she should indicate that she does not measure his essential manhood or  value  in terms of his sexual competence.

          The man, of course, should do likewise with the virgin female: let her see that he wants her to experience satisfaction but that this is no dire need of his. As in all other aspects of human living, it is important to view sex relations, especially the first sexual contact between a couple, as a matter of personal or total involvement rather than a purely sexual involvement with the other partner.

          A sex partnership is hardly different from any other partnership in its essence. If you want your new business partner to be effective and to work well with you, you must understand and accept him as a human being sex , rather than just as a business man. If you want to get the most out of your associates on a committee, a fraternal organization, or an athletic group, you must again see them as human beings rather than mere associates. Certainly, then, if you want to make the most of your sex relations with your mate, you should see him or her as a person rather than a sex machine.

          In seeing your sex mate as a person in the course of initial coitus, you should particularly understand that he or she probably has distinct fears such as the fear of appearing ugly or deformed, the fear of being inept and incompetent, the fear of having poor or low sex capacities, etc. Let him or her know that you do not expect flawlessness or perfect technique; that it is not success but the person that is important to you; that you do not care if it takes him or her a long time to become sexually adept; that you are more interested, in some ways, in his or her satisfaction than in your own; that you are certain that, eventually, he or she will enjoy sex immensely; that you are looking forward to a long term relationship, and not merely this one night.

          Technical pointers regarding sex relations leading to initial intercourse include the following:

          1.The first night you have the opportunity for intercourse with your sex partner need not be the first night you take advantage of this opportunity (Kling, 1957). For one or several nights there may merely be heavy petting, including mutual orgasm, but no actual penile-vaginal penetration.

          This may enable either or both mates to get used to the idea of coitus; to approach it slowly; to get to know each other thoroughly before they actually have it; and to convince themselves that intercourse is not an all important act, but is merely one of the several kinds of interesting possibilities for mutual enjoyment. Especially where your partner is quite young, nervous, ignorant, inhibited, or seriously disturbed it may be best to defer penetration for one or more times.

          2.Although, as we shall discuss later in this book, having coitus while the female is menstruating is feasible in many instances, it is probably preferable not to complicate initial intercourse with the factor of menstruation. Consequently, wedding or other plans should be made so that the first few nights the mates expect to spend together do not include days on which the bride is having her period. If menstruation is taking place, and especially if there is a heavy flow during the first days a couple are together, it may be well for the partners to limit themselves to non-coital relations, up to and including orgasm, until menstruation has ceased or the flow is slight.

          3.Actual penetration may at first be made with the male's fingers instead of his penis. The average male, especially when he is a novice at coitus, often does not know how to handle his penis well or control its movements adequately; therefore, he is likely to be inept at penetrating a virgin partner's vagina with his penis. Instead, he may gradually expose the vagina with his fingers, and stretch, break, or push aside the female's hymen by digital manipulation. In this manner, he can best allay his partner's fears and arousing physical sex as well, often, as his own.

          4.When penile-vaginal penetration is finally attempted, it may be well for the male to try to enter his partner's vagina at its upper (or anterior) side, where the opening left by the hymen is likely to be larger. Penetration and the stretching of the hymen can often be made more conveniently in this manner. However, as Dr. Hans Lehfeldt (personal communication) points out, the anterior wall of the vagina also is near the nerve endings from the underside of the clitoris as well as the female's urethra; consequently penile penetration toward this area may arouse feelings of tenderness or pain in some virgins.

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