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Past Tips



  • The first time having sex (written by Dr. Erika Pluhar)

  • Letter to the editor in response to "the first time having sex"  

  • Sex for the first time - issues with size and foreskin (written by Dr. Pluhar)

  • Virgins & Virginity (find out what other sexperts had to say)

 HTHGS: The first time having sex (written by Dr. Erika Pluhar)

Ask Erika,
Okay I have a question... Yesterday I tried to have sex for the first time...I think I am too tight or my partner is too big. He could not get in me. I understand that up until that point (and maybe now) I was still a virgin and I was not "broken in" yet but does this happen very often. We tried for three hours and the only thing he got in was the head. Is there anyway we could fix this... maybe a position or strategy of some sort because this is awful I mean who just CAN'T have sex....?!?!
Thanks, ~*~Erika~*~


Ask Erika,
Along with your great name, I appreciate your question!  :-)  It is absolutely normal to experience some difficulty having vaginal-penile sex the first time.  Most girls are born with a thin membrane (piece of skin) that completely or partially covers the vaginal opening.  The membrane is called the hymen.  It is common for girls to break the hymen before they have intercourse from other activities such as sports and also through using tampons.  It is possible that your hymen is still intact, which would make it initially difficult for your vaginal opening to allow a penis through. It is also possible that your vagina was dry, which makes it difficult and sometimes painful for a penis, finger, or other object to enter.

I would suggest a couple of strategies for you and your partner.  First, it may help you to explore your vagina yourself with your fingers. Using a mirror, you would be able to get familiar with your genitals and what's normal for you.  You would also be able to get a better sense of what feels good for you.  You can also do this with your partner or have him do it for you with your guidance.  First just try one finger, then two, working up to the size of his penis.  Make sure both of you are gentle and take your time.  Second, if you are aroused while doing the exploration (and subsequently when you try to have intercourse again) it should be easier because your vaginal muscles will be relaxed.  When you get stressed, your pelvic muscles constrict, making it difficult to have sex.  Plus, the vaginal walls produce lubrication when you are aroused. If you find that your vagina is not lubricated well enough, you might try a water-based lubricant such as Astroglide, Wet, or KY Jelly.  All of these are available at drugstores.

Finally, if after you try the above strategies, the problem still persists, I would suggest going to see a doctor who specializes in women's sexual and reproductive health (called a gynecologist).  She or he may be able to provide some further medical insight and help you find the appropriate solution.

I hope this helps and, again, I appreciate your question! Erika

 Letters to the editor RE: the above tip

HTHGS: Sex for the first time - issues with size and foreskin (written by Dr. Pluhar)

Dr. Erika Pluhar,
Please help me out!! I am going to have direct sex (Penetration) soon for first time with my g/f. I have 2 questions for you. One is my penis size is small (very small) on erect its three & half to four inches Max, and flaccid I can not even say its just looks like a kid. but after reading a lot about size no problem in sex I am confident now. We had cuddling, fondling and all that before except penetration we did all. And every time she had orgasm and she was very happy of it. now my problem is my foreskin of penis does not pull back , I feel a lot of pain when I try to pull it back, I read few times that if we start slowly pulling it back it may be in few days.. and since I am going to penetrate in her, I fear this will give me a lot of pain. Some doctors site I have read if u start putting a 2-3 drops of coconut oil and slowly try practicing to pull your foreskin it seems it will be ok in few days of time. Is this a good idea? I tried 2-3 times and I could find some development (very little). Or do u suggest me to go for circumcision. Because it seems that will solve your problem, or there is no link between foreskin pulling back and sex.  Please clear these doubts I will be very grateful to you. Thanks in advance Mahen

Dear Mahen,
Regarding your first question, just like noses, everybody has a different sized penis, some are smaller and some are bigger.  So, variation is normal. It sounds like you are more comfortable with the size of yours at this point, and that is good.

Regarding your second question, if you are experiencing pain when you attempt to pull back your foreskin, I would recommend that you see a doctor and get it checked out.   There is a condition, called phimosis, in which men are unable to pull back their foreskin.  There are various ways this can be treated, including but definitely not necessarily, circumcision.  In addition, pain may be an indication of infection. Thus, in order to figure out what is causing the pain and tightness, it is a good idea to be evaluated by a medical professional. Hope this helps you out. Sincerely, Dr. Erika Pluhar





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The Founder: "Alex" Caroline Robboy, LCSW, QSW, CAS

Ms. Robboy is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Growth Inc and How To Have Good Sex Inc.  Alex practices marriage and family therapy and sex therapy, and also conducts periodic seminars about human sexuality throughout the northeastern United States.

Ms. Robboy graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Masters degree in Social Work, a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality Education and a Post-Masters Certificate in Marriage Counseling & Sex Therapy. Through the American Board of Sexology, she is a board certified sexologist and through the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists a certified sex therapist.  Additionally, she is a licensed clinical social worker and a member of the American Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.


  Our Philosophy sex is like dancing, it changes every time. It depends on culture, atmosphere and mood. Sometimes it is done alone, with a partner or in a group. It can be fast and hard or slow and soft. Sex is a combination of non-verbal negotiation and verbal cues: a scream, a twitch of the toes, or a flush of the face. There is no one 'right' way to move, only what feels good to all those involved. 
     The purpose of this site is to share information. Thus, if you have any ideas, thoughts or information that you believe others might benefit from, please e-mail your tip to and I  will be sure to include it on either our weekly newsletter or here on the actual website. 

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September 19, 2006