Sex & Relationships

All The Things That Can Happen To Your Body When You Start Having Sex

Aside from a few biggies, you might also notice a few smaller changes.

by Gina M. Florio
Originally Published: 
Several changes can happen to a girl's body after losing one's virginity and becoming sexually activ...
Fabio Formaggio / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

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. And the experience is different for everyone, especially when it comes to how you may feel emotionally after you've chosen to lose your virginity, or whether the first time will be any good. When it comes to the latter, a study following 6,000 young adults by the Journal of Sex Research found that more women today are enjoying their first time experiencing sexual intercourse than ever before — so while the “first times are always awkward” myth may not be true for everyone, it is true that first times are as unique as the people who have them.

But aside from any emotional concerns that come with losing your virginity, you'll probably also have questions 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 could become pregnant if you have sex with someone who has a penis, so make sure you have your preferred form of birth control locked down.

Does your body change after becoming sexually active? Yes, but in subtle ways that you, your partner, or even your gynecologist may not be able to detect. "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."

That’s why it’s good idea to get in the habit of peeing right after sex to get rid of any bacteria that may have accumulated near your urethra. And some people are more prone to UTIs than others, so the risk of developing one post-intercourse shouldn’t put you off from sex, but it’s good to know this is a possibility, so you can reach out to your doctor if you start experiencing symptoms.

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 see if anything more serious is going on.

Aside from those biggies, you could see a few smaller physical changes. Here are six things that happen to your body when you start having sex and what you might notice happens to your body after you lose your virginity.

1. Your Nipples And Boobs May Change

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-than-they-used-to-be breasts. Their size will fluctuate with your arousal (meaning, they won’t 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 sex is over, and you are no longer aroused, the nipples and breasts will go back to their normal size, Minkin says.

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 rely on them as a clue to your level of arousal the next time you get hot and heavy.

2. Your Brain Gets Flooded With New Happy Hormones

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 also likely to 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 makes 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 vagina can do. Before you started having sex (or masturbating, for that matter), your clitoris was pretty inactive. But after you’re sexually active, your clitoris makes itself known. Before and during the act, your clitoris swells up and 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," Minkin 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 Minkin mentioned, you will notice a shift in the area around your pelvis due to 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," Minkin 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. Minkin also notes that this is helpful in postmenopausal people, who can experience vaginal drying and therefore discomfort during sex.

5. Your Vaginal Elasticity Changes

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 that virginity myth, 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.

In the past “what happens to a girl’s body after losing her virginity” was a question anchored in patriarchy and an obsession with purity. But the “proof” of virginity loss — i.e., the rupture of the hymen — was often inaccurate, because the hymen is different in all people with vulvas.

"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," Minkin 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.

6. The Way Your Vagina Lubricates Changes (And 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 throughout your life and depends on a variety of factors, including your menstrual cycle, partner, hormones, and emotional state. If you're experiencing discomfort during sex and having difficulties self-lubricating, using lube can be a big help.

Bottom line: Losing your virginity can be intense, exciting, ridiculous, or NBD. But sexual exploration and sexuality is a journey in which your brain and body evolve over time. So give yourself (and your vagina) the space, support, and lube to navigate the different stages, whatever they may be.


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.


The Orgasmic History Of Oxytocin: Love, Lust, and Labor. Navneet Magon-Sanjay Kalra -

This article was originally published on