6 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Start Having Sex

Updated:
Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

After you've decided to start having sex, you'll probably have a whole laundry list of questions about what will be different from now on. Unfortunately, I can't give you any definitive answers about how you'll feel emotionally after you've chosen to lose your virginity, or whether the first time will be any good. In regards to the latter, though, a study following 6,000 young adults by the Journal of Sex Research found that more women today are enjoying their first shot at sexual intercourse than ever before. So who knows — maybe you're in for a nice surprise.

But aside from any emotional concerns that come with losing your virginity, you'll probably also have inquiries about what changes will happen to your body post-sex. Let's get the most obvious one out of the way:if you have a uterus, you're at risk for getting pregnant if you have sex with someone who has a penis, so make sure that you have whatever form of birth control that you choose to use locked down.

There are other changes you can look out for, too. "The vagina will stretch a little bit, not dramatically so because it's a very compliant sort of organ, it stretches and comes right back," Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine, tells Bustle. "Unfortunately, one of the things that can happen if [someone with a vulva] in particular starts having sex frequently, is that they may develop a urinary tract infection."

While Minkin says this isn't guaranteed, and shouldn't put you off sex altogether, it's always a good idea to pee right after sex to get rid of any bacteria that may have accumulated near your urethra.

Also, you should know that kicking off your partnered sex life shouldn't affect your menstrual cycle in any significant way. If you notice any changes, talk to your doctor to find out if there is anything else serious going on.

But aside from those biggies, there are a few smaller physical changes that you may or may not notice. Here are six things that happen to your body when you start having sex.

1. Your Nipples And Boobs May Change

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

When you get all riled up, your nervous system gets all riled up, too, causing the blood vessels to dilate and the tissue in your breasts to swell up. However, don't imagine that you'll be walking around for the rest of your life with superbly firm, larger-they-used-to-be breasts. Their size will fluctuate with your arousal (meaning, they will not be any bigger when you're paying your taxes or waiting in line at the grocery store).

"During sex [...] the breasts would be more engorged," Minkin says. "The nipples become erect with some of the hormones involved in sexual stimulation." But when the sex is over, and you are no longer aroused, this change won't persist, Minkin says. Instead, the nipples and breasts will go back to their normal size.

You may especially notice this when you kick off your new sex life. Your body starts experiencing lots of new reactions, including increased blood flow and muscular tension in places you've never experienced them before, like your areola and nipples. This process is technically called "vasocongestion." Basically, when you get aroused, you get goosebumps, your areola swells, and the nipples become hard, as Minkin says. The best part is, all of these can contribute to reaching orgasm.

What's fascinating, though, is that these new physical responses have reprogrammed your nipples to be more sensitive in general, even when you're not getting sexy. They're now prepared to handle any upcoming sexual situation, and you can even rely on them to determine what it is you might need to reach the level of arousal you're looking for.

2. Your Brain Gets Flooded With New Happy Hormones

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Orgasms release a whole lot of oxytocin, the hormone that makes you feel happy, content, and oh-so-connected with your partner after sex. At the same time, you're likely to also find that sexual encounters release dopamine, which increases confidence and encourages social behavior, as well as testosterone, which encourages you to speak up for yourself in other areas of your life.

Don't be surprised if this new cocktail of hormones make you feel a little different — you may feel strangely cheerful after you've started having sex, at least in the immediate afterglow. This is normal (no matter how cynical you naturally are), and the more orgasms you have in your lifetime, the more often you'll be able to return to this blissful state.

3. Your Clitoris Can Change

It's amazing what your vag can do. Before you started having sex (or masturbating, for that matter), your clitoris was pretty inactive. After you've started having sex, though, is a completely different story. Before and during the act, your clitoris swells up within a few minutes after the sexual encounter ends, it returns to the normal size.

"The clitoris gets engorged with blood flow because one of the things that happens with sexual activity is increased pelvic blood flow, which is good," Mink says. "[The extra blood flow] helps more moisture [develop around the area] for lubrication. [Engorging] will resolve after sex. It’s not going to stay prominently engorged."

Not for the last time, though — your vag area won't forget this expand-and-contract pattern, and it'll return to it over and over and again in other arousing situations.

4. Your Pelvic Area In General Experiences Shifts

As Mink mentioned, you will notice a shift in the area around your pelvis because of the increase in blood flow. And this can have lasting effects even after you're done having sex.

"Sexual activity does help pelvic blood flow in the long run," Mink says. "So overall, if people stay sexually active, they will end up with more pelvic blood flow." As a result, sexual activity may be more comfortable for you, because your body is regularly lubricating the area surrounding your vulva. Mink also notes that this is helpful in postmenopausal women, who can experience vaginal drying and therefore discomfort during sex. So why not explore?

5. Your Vaginal Elasticity Changes

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Yep, your vag adjusts to its new extracurricular activities by becoming a bit more stretchy, for a lack of a better term. When you're aroused enough, the walls and lips of your vagina slowly open up to welcome in whatever it is your partner is offering, and your body quickly puts these movements into the memory bank to use again later. And contrary to popular belief, your hymen doesn't "pop" the first time you have penetrative sex, and then cease to exist; rather, you gradually wear down your hymen, the ring of tissue around the inside of your vagina.

"When somebody hasn't been sexually active, there still could be some remnants of the hymenal ring, which were present from when [the person] was born," Mink says. "Now, of course, many women will have popped the hymenal remnants from sports or from tampons or things like that. But sometimes sex can do that too. And so it may be a little uncomfortable initially."

With repeated sexual activity, it's likely that penetration starts to feel less uncomfortable. In other words, your vagina teaches itself how to stretch a little bit. But don't get freaked out by the sound of this! Your vag is meant to expand and get you ready for sex. In fact, you'll thank it for this service in the future, further down the road (when sex lasts for more than 30 seconds at a time).

6. The Way Your Vagina Lubricates Changes (And It Will Keep Changing Over Time)

The wetness you feel down there feels really different when you start having sex. Though you may have experienced some wetness on your own while masturbating, odds are that the wetness you feel between your legs when you're excited by a partner will be much more intense.

But this isn't the last time your vaginal wetness will change in your life. Lubrication ebbs and flows from your initial sexual experience until the day you die, depending on a variety of factors, including your menstrual cycle, your partner, hormones, and your emotional state. If you're experiencing discomfort during sex and having difficulties self-lubricating, using lube can be a big help.

Keep this in mind as you move forward. Sexuality isn't a stagnant thing that will feel the same for the rest of your life, so give yourself and your vag room to navigate through the different stages, whatever they may be.

Experts:

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine, tells Bustle.

Studies:

The Orgasmic History Of Oxytocin: Love, Lust, and Labor. Navneet Magon-Sanjay Kalra - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/

This article was originally published on