Young people’s stories of first sex

The ‘good sex’ project has worked with young volunteers and young actors to create a series of films about young people’s experiences and thoughts on having sex for the first time. Here are the 11 films created by young actors from MN academy, filmed by young film-maker Laurence McKenna and edited by researcher Ester McGeeney.

Each film tells one young person’s story and is based on original research interviews carried out with young people aged 16 – 22.  The creative direction of the films was shaped by a participatory film-making project involving Megan Pickering, Rebecca Pearson, Carlos da Silva and Susi Arnott. To find out more about how the films were made read our post on experiments in reanimating data.

All stories are performed by actors and all names are pseudonyms chosen by the original interview participants.

Michael’s story: 17 year old Michael has not yet had sex, although he has had some sexual experiences with his ex-girlfriend. In this film ‘Michael’ talks about his fears about pregnancy, STIs and abortion and his decision to wait before he starts having penetrative sex. Read by Montel Britton.


Vinnie’s story: 19 year old Vinnie describes her first sexual experiences with a guy she was ‘linking’ with a few years ago. For Vinnie the experience was uncomfortable and painful. Although you don’t see this in the film, later in her interview Vinnie talked to the researcher about how sex improved over time as she became more experienced and comfortable with her partners and her own body. Read by Tania Gasa.


Oscar’s story: Oscar is 17 years old and in a happy long term relationship with a girl he says he wants to be with for the rest of his life. In this film ‘Oscar’ talks about his first sexual experience several years ago in which the condom split and his sexual partner became pregnant. Read by Dajay Brown.


Here peer educator Carlos da Silva also performs a short extract from ‘Oscar’s story’. In this film you can see Carlos playing around with different ways of performing the extract and reflecting on the story as a volunteer peer educator.

Stephano’s story: 16 year old Stephano has had sex twice in his life. In this film ‘Stephano’ describes these two experiences with a guy he met through a friend and reflects how his attitude towards sex has changed over the past few years. Read by Daniel Harris.


Chanelle’s story: 20 year old Chanelle’s first experience was traumatic and upsetting. This film describes an abusive sexual experience when Chanelle was 10 years old. This film contains a trigger warning as you may find it upsetting. Read by Emily Firminger.


Jessica’s story: 17 year old Jessica does not want to be in a relationship or have sex at this stage in her life. In this film ‘Jessica’ talks about the pressure she feels from her friends, her feelings of desire and the reasons why she wants to wait until she is older before getting into a relationship. Read by Aimee Cullen.

James’s story: 19 year old James’s first experience took place in an unusual location and was both exciting and uncomfortable. Although you don’t see this in the film, later in the interview James went on to describe having enjoyable and exciting sexual experiences with men and women as he became more sexually experienced and confident over time. Read by  Bony N’dri.


Sarah’s story: Sarah is 22 years old and has recently separated from her husband who she was in a relationship with for 7 years. In this film ‘Sarah’ reflects on her first sexual experiences with her now ex-husband and her confusion about whether or not she had ‘popped her cherry’. To read more about myths surrounding virginity and ‘popping cherries’ you can download the fantastic vagina corona leaflet made by the RFSU. Read by Kristal Geddes.


Kat’s story: Kat is a 19 year old young woman who has had three sexual relationships. In this film ‘Kat’ talks about her first sexual experiences which were painful and unwanted. Later in the interview she describes how she came to enjoy sex with her first and second partners and the difficulties she is having negotiating good sex with her current boyfriend. To find out more about Kat’s story and how the films have been made see our post Kat’s story: experimenting with reanimating data. Read by Ashlee Campbell.


Indiah’s story: In this film Chelcie Thomas reads a short extract from an interview with a 17 year old young woman called ‘Indiah.’ You can see a longer version of Indiah’s story performed by Rebecca Pearson here. Although her first sexual experience was ‘rubbish’, Indiah describes having very pleasurable experiences with both men and women in later relationships.


You may also be interested in these two short films made by young volunteers at Brook. Each tells the story or a young person’s first sexual experience and then how their experiences have slowly got better over time.

Indiah’s story: 17 year old Indiah had a ‘rubbish’ first sexual experience at a young age but over time she is having more enjoyable, comfortable and equal sexual relationships.


Tommy’s story: Tommy had a difficulty first sexual experience at a young age but over time he is building confidence and learning how to have fun and enjoy his sexual relationships.


If you have any thoughts or comments on these films or have an experience that you would like to share please get in touch @estermcgeeney. Thanks for watching.


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