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Would a ribbed condom hurt a hymen?
November 12, 2010 12:26 AM   Subscribe

What type of condom is best for sex between a virgin male and a virgin female with and intact hymen? Would textures help or hurt?

My girlfriend and I are planning to make love for the first time. I lover her and want her to have the best possible first experience with intercourse. I'm particularly concerned about how to minimize any pain that she might experience due to her hymen. I have suggested that I go down on her until she's wet and ready and then use lube to make sure that there's minimal resistance. That leaves position and condom choice to decide. While looking through sex supplies, I noticed condoms that were "ribbed for her pleasure." I wonder if that would help her feel better or would add friction that could hurt her. What do you think?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've yet to meet a woman who thinks ribbed condoms are anything than either irritating or inconsequential. (I personally fall on the "irritating" side of the equation.) Don't bother.

As for the rest... lots of lube, lots of patience, and as little pressure as possible. The ability to laugh at yourselves (lovingly) isn't going to hurt, either. Sex gets a lot better as you have more of it, so don't set yourselves up for feeling like you've failed if it's imperfect the first (or second, or third) time. Just enjoy!
posted by scody at 12:35 AM on November 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


I concur with scody. Also, remember that breaking the hymen is like ripping skin. My first time it hurt like um I was going to say buggery but it hurt and it brought tears to my eyes, and the guy was really nice, but clueless. Maybe talk in advance about whether you should keep going or not once the hymen is broken. Maybe try to break the hymen in advance with your fingers. This looks like useful advice on how to break it comfortably. though it's a little wacky.

Take it easy and make your love life yours, not what the advertisements says. Keep on being each other's best friends and stop and listen to each other, about what feels good, what feels not so good.
posted by b33j at 12:57 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congratulations - not to give you points for doing something that all partners should, but by having so much obvious consideration for how she will feel, you're doing tons better than most virgins in your situation. So good on you.

It may sound weird, but since condom choice is a really personal thing, I'd recommend "trying some on" beforehand if you're really concerned about it. Your question is mostly focused on what she'd like (again, good for you) but you should also feel comfortable with it (if not just for yourself but because if you're more comfortable, you're going to be able to focus more on making her comfortable too) So I'd recommend putting one on and maybe even masturbating with it, so you get the feel. You'll probably be able to tell if there's something off about it for you, and it will give you an opportunity to know even more what you're getting yourself into.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:20 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you beat your meat too much, get a thin one so you're not immune to the new sensations.
If you're worried about arriving at an orgasm before she does, get a rubber that has numbing agents involved.

Chalk everything else up to "we're new and don't know any better." Because really, that's the truth. People on AskMetafilter aren't going to give you better answers in advance than you're feeling at the time with this woman. Have you read how specific questions here get? Go in with your best first guess and make your next time a better guess.
posted by oreofuchi at 1:21 AM on November 12, 2010


What scody said, especially the lots of lube part - both on the inside and the outside of the condom. If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of first-time sex advice, it'd be to squeeze plenty of the slippery stuff inside the condom.
posted by item at 1:24 AM on November 12, 2010


Make sure you've read up on how to wear and remove a condom, too.

It looks like you two have been fooling around for a while, so don't worry too much about what your position will be. You probably already have a sense of what might work. Have fun!
posted by lover at 1:27 AM on November 12, 2010


No matter what kind you choose, get a few extras, go home, and practice, practice, practice.
posted by pracowity at 2:04 AM on November 12, 2010


  1. Go here or the vendor of your choice.
  2. Buy this (36) or this or this sampler pack.
  3. Take some of them for a manual test drive with some latex safe lube (good time to try a few of those out too)
  4. And then pick a plain condom that you like. Leave the ribbed, nibbed, studded and spiralled varieties for when you've had more practice.
This will also give you a chance to practice putting them on, something that is surprisingly difficult the first few times.

Personally I dislike lots of lube on the inside, YMMV.
posted by Mitheral at 2:12 AM on November 12, 2010


I would pick a non-textured condom. Also, lube is good. One of the best things you and your partner can do is some pre-game stretching. If you stretch the hymen with your fingers, you can have first time sex without a ton of discomfort.
posted by Foam Pants at 2:29 AM on November 12, 2010


One thing that might be no-brainer: Be sure to AVOID oil-based lubricants - even during foreplay. Astroglide seems to be a common, well-regarded choice for readily available lubricants because it is thin, water-based, doesn't dry out as quickly as some other lubricants, and it doesn't taste terrible. Be aware, though, that it contains glycerin and parabens, so it increases the risk of yeast infections and it might be harsh on really sensitive skin.

Another possible no-brainer: have you both checked to make sure you don't have a latex allergy? If you do, you can use a female condom or male condoms made of polyurethane (Trojan Supra) or polyisoprene (Lifestyles Skyn or Durex Avanti Bare). Lambskin condoms do not protect against STIs, so they are not advisable.

Additionally, you might want to avoid condoms with nonoxynol-9 because while extra protection from a spermicide might be appealing, the potential side effects of vaginal tearing and irritation are definitely NOT.

I completely agree with everyone who says to practice putting on a condom with lube. You want to be totally confident in what you're doing when the time comes, so just practice a bit. Figure out how much lube feels good on the inside of the condom without making it so slippery that it comes off when you masturbate.

It seems like you're pretty well aware that the most important thing is communication - and it should happen before, during, and after you make love.

Have fun!
posted by SugarAndSass at 2:46 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The hymen thing won't be solved by a condom - a penis is a big, blunt thing no matter how much lube you put on it. The thing that will make the most difference is the two of you using fingers or small sex toys to stretch it open beforehand. First time sex doesn't have to hurt.

So, yeah, choose a condom you like the feel of. Honestly that part is mostly about you, as long as there's adequate lubrication she won't feel much difference.

Good on you for thinking about your partners needs!
posted by teraspawn at 6:06 AM on November 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are reasons condoms are a great idea, and I'm sure everyone has great reasons why I'm wrong to even suggest this, but consider the pill instead. It feels better and it avoids the awkward condom application/removal/anxiety-about-its-status thing. The next time you'll be able to skip the rubber reasonably safely will be years and years from now, and condoms (like bike helmets and seat belts and safety glasses) are kinda awful.

Sex is never 100% safe and it's OK to take a calculated risk.
posted by pjaust at 6:09 AM on November 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Honestly, I don't think it matters one way or the other if the condom is ribbed/not. I do agree with SugarAndSass that you should absolutely avoid spermicide. Not even this time, always. From friends, I have never heard of a single positive experience with that. I would also disagree with oreofuchi and advocate against something with numbing agents. That doesn't seem like a fun thing to mess with on your first time having sex.
posted by three bear minimum at 6:11 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never felt a difference between types of condoms.
I think if she is "ready" enough, she probably wouldn't notice if the one chose is ribbed or anything else like that.

For me, the first time didn't hurt. But it took a week of tries with gentle pressure to finally get it in.
We were both virgins and I had started birth control, so there was no messing around with condoms at that time. I can imagine it would have been even more comical in addition to the 6 attempts to have sex with no luck.

Good luck!
posted by KogeLiz at 6:43 AM on November 12, 2010


until you know what works for her, i would recommend the plainest of the plain for condoms and lube. nothing that heats, nothing that numbs, nothing that does anything but act as a condom and lube. i didn't know how sensitive i was to certain things until i used them and that was NOT during my first time, thankfully.
posted by itsacover at 6:51 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm gonna have to disagree with pjaust. If you do ejaculate inside of her after her hymen is broken, it might cause irritation because she'll basically have a small open wound. It heals quickly, but the more you can do to minimize the unpleasantness the better. Furthermore, dealing with ejaculate seeping out of a vagina isn't the easiest thing (previously), and I'd say it's more awkward to deal with that than removing a condom.

Additionally, hormonal birth control comes with a lot more hassle and side effects than condoms - it's more of a commitment. I'm a big fan of all types of contraception (and doubling up with a hormonal option and a barrier is great risk-reduction), but I'm just saying it's a decision that she should put some time into, and it requires a doctor's visit. Besides, you can always try condomless sex later.
posted by SugarAndSass at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Are you sure her hymen is intact? There are cases where it disappears randomly during childhood, theories posed that some women were born without one, and for many it's been broken previously via horseback riding, tampon usage, or any number of things. I remember having a discussion with my friends about how it's always this giant moment in written sex scenes, and none of us could recall it having any impact the first time we had sex.

If it is intact, she could consider the idea of breaking it prior during self-play or with you -- which may be a good idea anyway as she's more likely to enjoy the first time if she & her body are already comfortable with what it takes for her to orgasm. Most women require clitoral stimulation as well as vaginal stimulation, and it would be very beneficial to be able to anticipate that.

I must say, I envy both of you embarking on this with someone you really like & trust, and with mature consideration beforehand. She's already sure to have a much better time than I did.
posted by MeiraV at 7:06 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I want to disagree with pjaust on this (and on bike helmets and seat belts (!)). There's nothing wrong with being safe and even using both (I sure did when I was in college even though I just had the same boyfriend). For the first time, a condom is a lot less messy.

Also, just because she's a virgin doesn't mean she has an intact hymen. A lot of girls' hymens are broken by other means well before they ever have sex.

Position: her on top gives her more control, but you on top can mean it goes in less far.
posted by elpea at 7:11 AM on November 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, and condom type doesn't matter as long as you make sure NOT to buy the kind with spermicidal lube (use of these can lead to UTIs).
posted by elpea at 7:15 AM on November 12, 2010


There are reasons condoms are a great idea, and I'm sure everyone has great reasons why I'm wrong to even suggest this, but consider the pill instead. It feels better and it avoids the awkward condom application/removal/anxiety-about-its-status thing.

I also must disagree with this, for two reasons: One is I am on the pill and not confident enough in my ability to take it at the exact same time every day. Having sex without condoms causes me some anxiety.

Two is, and I know I am in the minority on this, but sex is more comfortable for me with a condom (I am a girl). There's less friction, the lube is less likely to disappear immediately, and dealing with the ejaculate in my vagina afterwards just sucks and is unpleasant. Cleanup with condoms is so much easier than without.

I'm not saying your girl will definitely feel like I do, but this "sex is better without condoms!" trope is crap, in my opinion.
posted by brainmouse at 8:37 AM on November 12, 2010


I loooove condoms. Hate the pill.

Anyway, yeah, I have had sex with a few different guys with ribbed condoms, and it only made a positive difference with one guy (who was actually a little too big for most condoms).

The positive thing was friction and I don't think that's necessarily what you want.

The other guys I didn't even notice.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:01 AM on November 12, 2010


You should follow the KISS Principle: "Keep It Simple, Stupid".

Which in this context I think means go for non-ribbed (I've never met a woman who actually cared for the ribbing), non-spermicidal (nonoxynol-9 gives many women yeast infections) condoms, lots of unflavored, unscented, glycerin-free lube (Maximus is good, and gloopy enough to stay where it's put), and going slow and communicating lots throughout.

Have fun, both of you!
posted by Eshkol at 9:02 AM on November 12, 2010


Regulat plain ol' condom, regular plain ol' lube. Don't get the spermicidal sort. There's a lube called Maximus of which I am fond.

The long and short of it is that you're about to do something that's been road-tested and tuned to perfection over millions of years. The human body is a catastrophic mess of engineering in so many ways - the mechanisms by which we walk upright are so slapdash it's ridiculous - but sex is one of the things the human species just happens to be really, really good at. No sense in mucking around with anything fancy (except position, but we'll get to that).

Missionary will work fine. You're going to want the closeness it brings.

Relax, take your time, put a towel under her.

Take it slow and gentle. If she's never had to accommodate a penis before, it can be kind of a lot. She may need some initial time to get used to it.

This is supposed to be fun, and it will be, so don't feel like it needs gravitas.

Enjoy!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:03 AM on November 12, 2010


Also, don't expect her to get off on the penis-in-vagina business the first time (or perhaps ever).

You know what you need, my friend? Scarleteen.com. There are several good articles there about having intercourse for the first time.

Good luck. Have fun! Be safe. Sex is awesome.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:09 AM on November 12, 2010


24 years ago (plus couple of weeks to be exact) two virgins tried to do something about it. You sound like you'll make it a good experience to remember forever. He was not my boyfriend in the traditional sense but someone I'd talked to about doing this with, quite pragmatically if I'm honest. Perhaps it was better that way. He was 17 to my 20. I was/am a planner and paranoid about pregnancy so I'd managed to talk his father (the audacity of the young!) into purchasing condoms for me, ostensibly for a different young man who occasionally would come to take me out with the gang but wasn't a romantic interest. Be willing to not take it seriously as many have said, and be willing to be patient. It may take a few tries and you may not be able to do more than simply break through on the first night. It took us three times to finally figure it all out. Thank each other at the end of the effort :) Good Luck.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:26 AM on November 12, 2010


The first time is not going to feel that good for her, and you'll probably be too distracted to have all that much fun, too. Wear a condom (any condom without spermicide), use lube, and check it if anything feels off.

Frankly, I almost never enjoy sex with someone the first time. It takes a little practice for 2 people -- even experienced people -- to fall into a mutually pleasurable rhythm.

So don't expect much at first, and practice, practice, practice.
posted by coolguymichael at 10:57 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're already in a better position than most, just by taking the time to educate yourself and worrying about her comfort! Good job and have fun :)

Not sure how much you two have already fooled around with penetrating/using penetrative objects, but if you haven't done so ... just be prepared to go really, really slowly. By which I mean, moving in an 1/4" and then hanging out there motionless for awhile until she tells you to try going forward another 1/4". (This just lets her adjust to the stretching in slow stages--as others have said, it's really the stretching that hurts/can tear.)

Also, I agree about not using a ribbed condom. They're supposed to be good for women because the ridges stimulate feeling along the vaginal walls. At least in my first time, there was PLENTY going on against those walls (see: stretching issues above) and the last thing I wanted was more friction. Because, you know. Friction = ouch.

Anyway, enjoy!
posted by alleycat01 at 11:54 AM on November 12, 2010


avoids the awkward condom application/removal/anxiety-about-its-status thing

Unless you guys are engaged, married, or plan to be soon, learning how to use condoms is a life skill you need to have. Period.

Do not use "but I really love this girl, we are TOTALLY never going to break up!" as an excuse not to learn how to put on a condom.
posted by Sara C. at 3:53 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and to add more direct advice: I agree with keeping it simple. It's going to be more awkward than anything else, but don't let that make you nervous. Just go slow and trust each other. And keep a sense of humor!
posted by Sara C. at 4:03 PM on November 12, 2010


Nthing to stay away from the evil, evil, nonoxynol-9, which seems to not affect the tender bits of men, but makes a whole lot of women itchy and irritated.
posted by desuetude at 11:01 PM on November 12, 2010


It's nice that you care about her comfort, but in fact the best thing she can do for her own comfort is masturbate, preferably with fingers and after that a small vibrator, so she can ease into having stuff inserted in her vag over a period of weeks or months. It will hurt 100% less than going from nothing to penis in 60 seconds. If she already does this, either alone or with you, you don't need to expect many problems, but if she doesn't play with herself it's probably not going to be fun for her.
posted by slow graffiti at 9:45 AM on November 13, 2010


Nthing to stay away from the evil, evil, nonoxynol-9, which seems to not affect the tender bits of men...

Don't believe it. Nonoxynol-9 makes me feel like someone is using a blowtorch on my urethra.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2010


Durex makes condoms in 3-packs if you want to try a few different kinds. I'm with everyone that says to make sure to finger her or use a small toy first, that will ease the pain. It's been said upthread, already, but do seriously consider masturbating with a condom a couple times to get used to the reduced sensation.

Avoid any lubes with glycerin in them as well as spermicidal ones, and use lots of lube. Your masturbation with a condom experience will let you know if you prefer lube inside or not.

You might want to go with a girl-on-top position for the first time just so that she has more control over the speed and depth-- you'll get the same eye/skin contact you get from missionary that way but then you're less worried about hurting her and she'll have more control.

I always found that tightness was more of a problem for me than anything else, pain-wise; a vibrator used directly before intercourse cleared that right up.

Being able to laugh will help you more than anything else: your first time is never as magical as you expect it to be, but it's fun. I think you've got the right attitude in any case. Have fun!
posted by NoraReed at 10:02 PM on November 13, 2010


You might want to go with a girl-on-top position for the first time just so that she has more control over the speed and depth-- you'll get the same eye/skin contact you get from missionary that way but then you're less worried about hurting her and she'll have more control.

I know this advice works for a lot of people, but just as a counterpoint, when I was sexually inexperienced I found it much too nerve-wracking to have to be responsible for controlling the mechanics of something I knew would hurt while feeling more physically exposed.

Totally seconding the laughter thing, though. All this awkward limb-arranging is funny. Feeling allowed to giggle is a great relief.
posted by desuetude at 11:36 AM on November 14, 2010


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