Along with all of the excitement and romance of losing your virginity often come nerves, fear, and pressure to have the moment turn out “perfectly.” This mix of feelings makes many young women turn to alcohol (whether or not they are legally able to drink) for their first sexual experience.
Turns out this isn’t the best idea.
The problem according to researcher Jennifer Livingston, Phd, author of a recently-released study called “Alcohol and first sexual experience: Risks for young women,” is that alcohol can actually make your first time less enjoyable. Not ideal.
In ShimmerTeen’s interview with her, Livingston talked about the variety of worries girls have about their first sexual experiences, the worries they try to mask with alcohol. They include:
- Not feeling ready for sex
- Fear of pain
- Concern about getting pregnant
- Fear that people, especially the “wrong” people would find out
- Worry that they would “do it” wrong.
“Alcohol can be used as a way to try and cope with some of these things,” Livingston says.
However, according to her recent study, rather than making first times more enjoyable, drinking is actually associated with several negative effects including:
- Less planning
- Less talk about birth control
- Less desire
- More regret
- Less likelihood that sex with that partner would happen again
That’s definitely NOT the stuff of fairy tales. And, beyond putting a damper on your first experience, mixing alcohol and sex your first time and in later experiences can put you at risk in the future. “Having your first experience in a place where you don’t have full control, can lead you to feel like you don’t have control or rights over your own body.” In addition, “The more you have sex under the influence, the more likely you are to run into an infected partner,” Livingston says.
Moral of the story? In Livingston’s study, girls who didn’t use alcohol during their first times had more positive experiences. So, aside from, ahem, alcohol being illegal if your underrage, that’s one more good reason not to turn to it to make life better. It won’t.
For tips on making your first time a better experience, check out this article.