This paper explores differences between women's and men's first experience of injecting in relation to socio-demographic context, drug use, and the role of others. We collected cross-sectional retrospective data from 334 recently initiated (<or=5 years) injecting drug users in New South Wales and Queensland, Australia using a structured questionnaire in face-to-face interviews. Logistic regression was used to estimate crude and adjusted odds ratios (OR). Findings from the adjusted analysis show that women had a shorter duration of illicit drug use prior to initiation (adjusted OR 0.84, 95%CI: 0.74 - 0.94), and were more likely to have their romantic-sexual partner facilitate the initiation by paying for the drugs (adjusted OR 4.64, 95%CI: 1.21 - 17.73). Women also reported a greater likelihood of being initiated in groups of other women (adjusted OR 2.87, 95%CI: 1.24 - 6.67), suggesting that some women play an active role in their initiation experience rather than relying on, or being lead by, a romantic-sexual partner. These findings demonstrate the crucial role that romantic-sexual partners play in women's initiation experience, but also provide evidence for the way that women can be active participants in their own initiation and in initiating other women.