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How does penetrative sex work?

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Penetrative sex means an erect penis goes into the vagina. Other words for penetrative sex are – vaginal sex, sexual intercourse,  sleeping or going to bed with someone, doing ‘it’ or simply ‘having sex’. Try out other things first, like caressing, fingering, masturbating and oral sex. These are also good techniques to use as foreplay.

How does it work?

Is the penis fully erect? Is the vagina nice and moist? Let the penis slide gently into the vagina. Start by slowly moving it in and out of the vagina.


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The most common position for penetrative sex is the missionary position. This is a good position to start with. The woman is underneath with her legs spread. The man gets on top of her, supporting himself with his hands. That way he can move his penis in and out of the vagina.

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Another position for beginners is - the woman is on top with her legs on either side of the man. The woman can decide how deep the penis penetrates her vagina.


  • Most women only come when their clitoris is stimulated as well. Penetrative sex on its own is generally not enough. Stimulate the clitoris with fingering or licking and sucking.
  • Use a condom to prevent STIs, and the pill to prevent pregnancy.

Two women can have penetrative sex with each other. But with their fingers or a dildo instead of a penis.

Two men can have penetrative sex with each other. In that case, they insert fingers or a penis in the anus.

Ready for more?

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Want to read more about the first time?

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