Today’s question is from a man getting hitched very soon. He’s wondering how the whole sex-in-marriage thing is going to go:
I’m a 24-year-old man who is soon to be married and has never had sex (I know a 24-year-old virgin is quite a rarity in American society).
Anyway, I’ve been reading up on many of your articles on this website, and while I understand that in several of them that are geared towards newlyweds you typically give advice like lower expectations and that it won’t be perfect, I am afraid that I’m going to let my future wife down on our wedding night (or the first time we have sex, because I hear sometimes the wedding wears people out to the point where they don’t feel up to it that evening).
I have a few friends who waited until they were married to have sex and they all seem to say the same thing: that it wasn’t worth it to wait and that it wasn’t as big of a deal as everybody made it out to be.
I really don’t want to feel that way about it. Do you have any advice/links to articles that I could read to help alleviate these fears?
Wow. Sometimes in an effort to set realistic expectations, we can inadvertently sound like the bearers of doom and gloom. Perhaps at times my site has come across as Sex is great! Sex is great! But don’t expect much. What’s someone to do with that message??
So Mr. Fiancé, let me try to clarify a few thoughts about what to anticipate for your first sex on the honeymoon.
Expectations. I actually think you should have very high expectations. Healthy sexual intimacy in marriage is beautiful, bonding, and a whole lot of fun. (If I didn’t believe that, wouldn’t this website be a complete waste of time?) However, some people place all their expectations on that first time, and that’s where issues can arise.
Indeed, I’ve heard spouses conclude based solely on their wedding night that they don’t like sex because it didn’t feel all that fabulous. Well, hello! If you’re making chocolate soufflé, it may not come out perfect the first time — but it’s yummy-for-your-tummy chocolate soufflé, so try again.
Likewise, sexual intimacy is worth developing over time. You and your wife might rock the foundations of the Earth the first time you make love, or it could simply be a tremor, but the entirety of sex in marriage does not rest on a single night. Not the first night, not the next night, not the night 17 years from now when your kids have driven you crazy all day and you barely have enough energy to connect your parts together much less rock each other’s world.
Set expectations high, but understand you may have to make some effort to get there. And sexual satisfaction should be evaluated on the sum of your experiences together.
Performance. “I am afraid that I’m going to let my future wife down…” The worst lovers are often those who think they already know everything and don’t pay attention or listen to their partner. The fact you’re already thinking in terms of how can I make this good for my wife? makes me wanna high-five your bride-to-be. She’s probably going to be just fine.
But what can you do to make this a great experience for her? In addition to this post with specific suggestions, here’s what you should know about making sex good for your wife:
- She’s a sexual person apart from you. Meaning there are things going on her head and her body that are about who she is — based on her own physiology, her mind, her past history, and her expectations. Her ability to respond as passionately as you, or she, might like isn’t entirely in your control. This is one reason why I believe sex in marriage should be covered in premarital counseling. Not with graphic details or flip charts, but rather getting on the same page about how you’ll approach each other in the bedroom — when things work well and when they don’t.
- The person best able to tell you how to arouse and satisfy your wife is your wife. Likewise, you’re the best person to tell and show her how to arouse and satisfy you. You two can figure out sex together by being willing to communicate, engage, explore, and evaluate. Ask if she wants you to touch her with different strokes, pressure, etc., and help her figure out what feels good.
- Make sure she “finishes.” That might mean climax, but it might take her some time to figure out the orgasm. It’s fairly easy for some, and not so easy for others. But what really stinks is the husband who does a little bit of foreplay, gets to the intercourse part, finishes fast, and fall asleep. I’m telling you like it is, dude — don’t do that. Prioritize her pleasure, and you’ll likely both enjoy the experience more.
- Relax. A recent comment to another post made me realize that we ladies sometimes make it sound like sex with your wife is rocket science. You have to navigate all those emotions, expectations, and obstacles just to get busy with your woman, and even then some hubbies don’t have a clue whether she’ll enjoy the whole shebang. But you’re a man! I repeat: You. Are. A. Man. So man up, and believe you’ve got this. You are specially designed by God to be just the sexy partner your wife needs and desires.
Comparison. You also mention friends who’ve said sex wasn’t that big a deal once they started having it. Like maybe the show wasn’t quite as entertaining as the billing promised.
We live in a sex-glutted culture, and this causes too many people to believe sex is the end-all-be-all or that it should be a camera-worthy session of passion that leaves your loins burning and your mind blown. We compare our lovemaking to the last movie sex scene we saw, or the romance novel we read, or the porn video we watched. And then you do it with your spouse, and it’s like, “Huh.”
I remember being surprised by how little time it actually takes to make love. I probably got the wrong impression from AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long that a couple could actually make love for eight hours. Tantric sex not withstanding, you can take anywhere from five minutes to two hours to do the deed. Yet not once have I ever shaken my husband “all night long.”
But once you throw out the misguided comparisons, something more intangible and more beautiful can replace it. You can stop measuring exactly how much pleasure you get and focus on what pleasure you can give. You can become more open and vulnerable, worrying less about how everything’s going and releasing yourself to savor the sensations. You can begin to see how each sexual encounter weaves you two closer together as one flesh. You can appreciate the beauty of God’s design for sexual intimacy in marriage.
Forget the comparisons. All that matters in the marriage bed is you, your wife, and your Heavenly Father who gave you this intimate gift. Appreciate that.
Positivity. For all those couples who struggle at the beginning of their marriage with sexual intimacy, I can name plenty who came right out of the chute and rode successfully to the finish. Meaning you two might just be one of those couples where things click, and you’re satisfied and she’s satisfied and the heavens open and streams of sunlight beam down so you can bask in your delight.
You sure don’t want to hurt your odds by getting all worried and uptight. Look, I know you can’t get rid of the anxiety altogether, but make your sex-talk be positive messages.
Tell yourself that sexual intimacy with your wife is going to be amazing, that it’s a gift from God, and that any problems that arise can be resolved. Honestly, one reason for good sexual intimacy in my own marriage is that I talk it up in my head — everything from “What a hottie I married! ” to “This is going to feel great!” I remind myself of how awesome and unique this relationship is with my husband. And that cultivates more enjoyment and gratitude.
And here are a few more posts for those getting married soon or newlyweds:
Congratulations and may your wedding night, honeymoon, and many years of marriage be filled with all kinds of intimacy and delight!