Several weeks ago, Eric and Heather Viets of Preengaged guest posted about how much singles should know about sex before their wedding night, and I followed up with what I wish I’d known before my own wedding night. My post was geared toward the bride, but one male reader suggested I give pointers for the groom.
To make sure I communicate well to the men out there, I’m going to give my advice in sports-speak. Don’t worry, dude. If you’re not a sports guy, you’ll still get it. But if you’re into sports, or have seen so much as a little league game, perhaps the analogies will help.
Choose your team. You can cross this one off. As soon as you got down on one knee (you did do that, didn’t you?), and asked her to marry you, you’d made your first, middle, and last draft pick. That woman you’re ready to say “I do” to is The One — the lady you’ve chosen to walk beside in this journey of life. And she’ll look fabulous in the uniform (wedding dress and later…well, you know).
Planning the plays. Closer to the wedding, discuss your expectations and plan for the wedding night — also known as the kickoff for your marriage. There’s not one single way to execute an opening play.
Here’s an example. When I was in college, I had a close friend who was a true romantic. This guy oozed poetry and sensitivity, while still being entirely masculine. (Yes, girls crushed all over him.) He once said, “On my wedding night, I’m not going to worry about consummating. I just want to hold her close to me all night long.” To which I replied, “What?!!! This poor girl’s been waiting 20-something years for sex, and you’re going to make her wait another night?”
Perhaps this is a flip-flop of the gender stereotypes, but it illustrates well that expectations for the wedding night matter. A little before the wedding, talk about your marriage day schedule, figuring out when you’ll likely arrive at your hotel room and what you want to do when you’re finally alone. Some couples sleep for a while after an exhausting day, so they have fresh energy for their first sexual encounter. Some couples want time to dine, talk, and cuddle before moving on to more. Some couples want the clothing to start flying as soon as they hit the hotel room threshold.
Also be willing to do what she needs to feel comfortable with your first experience. You may be busting at the seams to get goin’, but start out right by considering your wife’s needs ahead of your own (Philippians 2:1-3). You’ve waited this long; you can hold on a bit longer to help your bride feel ready.
Coaching. Every team has a coach. Your ultimate coach is the One who gave you this sexual gift to begin with — aka God. So let His Word coach you about your attitude toward your wife and your marital intimacy. Take a look at the scriptures specifically about marriage (see Genesis 2; Ephesians 5; 1 Corinthians 7; and Song of Solomon), but also any scripture about how we should treat our brother or sister in Christ (like Philippians 2:5, Romans 12:10, 1 Corinthians 13:7; John 13, 34). I’ve even written about the Gospel’s effect on the marital bedroom.
In addition, God has several assistants on His team — for instance, sexual intimacy authors like me and married mentors at your church and medical experts to address specific issues. Be willing to consult accordingly.
Specific plays. So you want to know what to actually do when you get there, right? As I said, there’s no step 1, step 2, step 3 manual, and couples vary in what they like and what provides them the most mutual pleasure. But here are a few general tips:
Take it slow. I addressed this more specifically in One Sex Tip I Give to Husbands Over and Over, but basically, most guys heat up more quickly than most women. Take that into account. You don’t need to get to the bedroom and hit a homer right off the bat. More baseball games are won by going from base to base to base until you cross home plate. Same with sex. Be willing to take your time and enjoy each step of the sexual encounter.
Know her body. When you play on a team, you have to know something about your fellow teammates — their strengths, their weaknesses, how you best work together. Likewise, know something about the female body and your wife’s body in particular. Familiarize yourself with female anatomy (see Her Plumbing from The Marriage Bed). Then on your wedding night, explore your wife’s body and figure out where and how your wife likes to be touched and aroused. Knowing her better means you’ll be able to work in tandem better, scoring big for the team.
Make small adjustments. Many times in sports, a play would have been successful if the ball had gone just a little to the right or the defensive player had been just a few feet to the left. When starting out your sex life, remember this concept. You don’t have to try everything in the first week. Just explore by stages. Shift your sexual position a little this way, apply a bit less or a bit more pressure, make small adjustments that increase her pleasure…and thus yours. Your repertoire will slowly expand.
Make sure you both score. If one team member has a horrible game, it affects the whole team. So pay attention to her pleasure, as well as your own. I’m not talking specifically about orgasm (many wives don’t achieve this at first), but help her “score” with pleasure. Attend to her enjoyment, and do what you can to make this a positive experience for her. If she does orgasm, great, but if she doesn’t, having a positive, pleasurable experience will likely help her reach that peak in the future.
Remember she’s her own player. Let your wife know that your marriage bed will be a secure place for her to figure out her sexuality. Not enjoying it right off the bat, or struggling with positions, or having difficulty climaxing, are not uncommon for newlywed wives. Don’t take it personally; she’s still figuring things out too. Assure her that you’ve got a lifetime to build a beautiful sex life together and that you’re committed to helping you both enjoy the physical sensations and deep intimacy that come with healthy sexuality in marriage.
Let her know what the game means to you. Finally, communicate lovingly about your desire and sexual satisfaction. Don’t get penalized for “excessive celebration.” You know the kind: When the winning player acts like he did it alone and he’s the best thing since Superman. If you really want to be her hero, remind your wife that sex means so much because it physically expresses and nurtures your deep intimate love for her.
I’d love to hear from the married couples out there: What tips would you give a groom on his wedding night? Husbands, especially: What do you wish you’d known on your wedding night?