Every Monday I like to post a reader question and take a stab at answering it. Here’s a question from an “older” bride who’s nervous that sex may not go that well:
I’m having a hard time finding advice for people my age (41) who are getting married for the first time and have not been sexually active before. I have dated very little and have always been in very pure relationships, so certain parts of my sexuality have not been “turned on” yet. I noticed an increase in my sexuality in my 30’s (meaning, I was craving men and sex more), but now that I’m engaged and soon to be getting married I don’t find myself being turned on, wanting to make out very often, and we are not having a hard time “keeping our hands off of each other.” I’m attracted to my fiance, love being with him, and we have committed to not going very far before we are married. But I worry that I have a very low sex drive, or is that normal with my age? My fiance has been sexually active in the past and we can talk openly about things. When we first dated I was turned on just by making out. But a year and a half later, I’m not. I really want to be healthy in this area, but am a bit concerned that I’m not so thrilled about sex and am getting married soon.
Great question! And CONGRATULATIONS, by the way! That’s so exciting for you. I wish you all the best in your marriage.
Now for the question. I’ll share a few quick things, and then I hope that maybe my readers will chime in, too, in the comments, with lots of best wishes for you and lots of helpful thoughts!
Just because you’re older doesn’t mean that the issues are that different from a “younger” virgin wedding night
You still have the same body parts, and they still work the same way! So I’d say definitely read this post on the top 10 wedding night tips that I give to new brides. It still applies to you, too. There aren’t any age limits!
That being said, you may want to keep these things in mind…
You’re starting to go through peri-menopause (or at least you will soon)!
Peri-menopause is the roughly ten years before menopause actually hits in all its glory. And so it’s likely that you could be starting to see some hormonal changes. I can tell you that I am starting to notice a big difference in my libido between now and ten years ago. It’s not that I can’t have fun, though. I wouldn’t want to give you that impression! I just have to work more at getting my head in gear and at finding time to feel relaxed (like starting with a massage).
So you may not have that big hormonal jumpstart that younger women have. But that’s okay! Just take care of yourself, because the healthier you eat, the healthier your libido will be. One of the best resources I’ve found for this is the Perfect Periods course. It was part of the Healthy Living Bundle I was offering last week, which unfortunately is over now, but you can still get that resource here.
You’re used to not thinking about sex
You’ve had 25 years post-puberty to train yourself not to think about sex. That’s a long time! So it may be more of a mindset change for you than it is for many brides. The key is to learn to start thinking about sex throughout the day, and you may need to be diligent about this, because you’re not used to it. Figure out cues for “this is my time to get in the right frame of mind!”
Here’s a post on positive things to say to yourself about sex to get yourself thinking in the right direction.
That “butterfly feeling” goes away after about 18 months
That infatuation feeling where we feel a surge of electricity when he touches us tends to last about 18 months. So if it’s waned, it doesn’t mean that you don’t love him or you won’t enjoy sex. It just means that you’re growing towards a deeper kind of love than that initial excitement. And that’s okay, as long as you still decide to keep saying those good things to yourself about sex!
Libido doesn’t work the same way for men as it does for women
For us, libido really is more a relational thing. So if you don’t find yourself sexually frustrated, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you did feel turned on when you were first dating him, then you are physically attracted to him. That’s not the problem. It’s just your body’s responsiveness is likely going to be more triggered by being able to relax with him first (start with a massage on a lot of nights, spend time just being naked together, enjoy your relationship), and then some real foreplay.
Once you’re married, take things slower and savour things and relax. You may be one of these people who needs more than just a hot and heavy kissing session to get in the mood, and that’s okay! (If you want to figure this out together, by the way, 31 Days to Great Sex is a great thing to work through. But I’d suggest being married at least a month first!).
That’s the biggest thing. Relax. Don’t worry too much about the wedding night. You’ll have a long time to get this right! Enjoy being with each other, and start to figure out what makes you feel good. But if you try to reach some magic high right off the bat, or worry so much that you’re not really sexual and you won’t respond, then it’s quite likely that you won’t. It’s okay to take a little bit to get used to things, and it’s okay to take a little time to learn how you respond.
The main thing is to keep communicating with your husband, keep telling him what you’re hoping for, and be as optimistic about everything as possible!
But now I’d like to hear from other readers: What would you say to an “older” virginal bride? Any great thoughts? Are things different for brides in their forties vs. their twenties? Let’s talk in the comments–and send her your best wishes, too!
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