If you’re a Christian preparing for your wedding night, likely sex is the biggest thing on your mind.

I know it was for me.

Like, seriously. That’s the whole point, right?

For couples who are saving sex until marriage, your first time on your wedding night is a very, very big deal. In fact, it’s such a big deal that, if we’re not careful, the super-high expectations can actually set us off on a really bad trajectory. So I’d like to help reframe it a bit so that we can avoid some of these “first time with sex” problems!

In my Honeymoon Course, which launched this week, I’ve got two modules on sex, especially for newbies.

The first module is general sex ed–what sex involves and how fertility works (let’s make sure that people actually understand it!); how to decide on contraception or natural family planning; what medical tests or medical appointments you may need to get before you get married; and the two biggest pitfalls that often happen with sex, and how to avoid them. Then there’s another module specifically about honeymoon sex–how to make it the best it can be, and how to relax about it and manage your expectations. Plus I’ve got ONE big assignment for the guys, and ONE big assignment for the women. Together, it will make your sexual time much better!

Are you ready for the honeymoon you always dreamed of?

HC solo promotional squre - Preparing for the Wedding Night: 4 Reasons Sex Often Goes Badly!

The Honeymoon Course is here to help you plan the perfect honeymoon and start your marriage (and your sex life!) off with laughter, joy and fun!

Don’t make the same mistakes other couples have–get it right from the beginning!

For this post, though, I thought I’d tackle some of the reasons that honeymoon sex can get off to a rough start!

Your Christian Wedding Night: 4 mistakes to avoid if you want great wedding night sex! Honeymoon tips for Christians.

1. We’re simply exhausted on the wedding night (and potentially a little bit tipsy).

We hear our whole lives that the wedding night is supposed to be the most blissful night of your life, but let’s be honest: It follows one of the most tiring days of your life. You likely haven’t slept much in the week running up to your wedding. And if you have an evening reception, it’s quite likely you don’t even get to the honeymoon suite, or the hotel room, or your apartment, or wherever you’re spending your honeymoon until after midnight. You’re just plain super tired!

What surprised me when I was doing the surveys for my book  The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, too, was how many women reported that the honeymoon night hadn’t gone well because one or both of them had had too much to drink at the reception (especially if they hadn’t been used to drinking that much). I didn’t even ask about it; many just volunteered the information, so it seems that it affects a lot of us.

There’s nothing wrong with being super tired on your wedding night (though I’d strongly recommend AGAINST being tipsy!), but you really have two choices. Are you going to forego a lot of the reception to get to the honeymoon suite earlier, or are you going to decide that it doesn’t matter if you’re super tired on the actual night, because you have the rest of your lives together?

Talk about it beforehand and come to an agreement (and the Honeymoon Course helps you do that!).

2. We feel pressured to “do the deed”

The expectation is that you’ll have sex on your wedding night–and by “sex”, I mean the standard definition of sex: he puts his penis into her vagina and moves until he reaches climax. Sorry for being so graphic, but I need to explain in order to make a larger point. The problem with this definition is that her experience is really secondary. They have “succeeded” in having sex if penetration has occurred, but the emphasis here is misplaced.

To start your sex life off well, the important thing is not to achieve penetration. The important thing is to enjoy being sexual together. 

And that’s the big teaching that’s in The Honeymoon Course: How can we enjoy being sexual? How can we make sure that she feels aroused? Because if you can accomplish that, then you will also accomplish penetrative sex (whether it’s that night or a few nights later). In the meantime, though, she’s associated being sexual with something that feels good to her, not with something that is awkward, fast, and distasteful. And if you want to set yourself up for a marriage of decades of great sex, that’s a far better way to start than just aiming to “complete the deed”.

Note: If penetration is too painful, even a few days or weeks later, please make an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist! There are people who can help. 

3. We assume we’d know what the other person liked

Human beings feel sexual pleasure. And we tend to know, at least to a certain extent, what we like. Or at least we understand what sort of touch feels best (if you’ve never figured that out yet, and you’re already married, please get 31 Days to Great Sex!). Because we know what we like, though, we tend to assume that the other person prefers the same thing.

So if a guy likes intercourse, and doesn’t need foreplay, he won’t understand how much his wife needs it. Or if she likes being kissed and touched softly at first, he’ll assume that’s what he wants (and he’ll wonder what she’s doing and why she’s taking so long fiddling around).

For people who have had previous sexual partners, too, there may be an assumption, “Okay, I know what to do here!” But just because one person likes X does not mean that your spouse likes X. People tend to enjoy being touched in different ways. We’re not all the same.

4. We have a hard time communicating about what we do like sexually

Combine the previous point with this one, and you have a recipe for a rather unsatisfying wedding night. It’s difficult to tell someone, “that doesn’t feel quite right. Can you do it lighter/harder/a little to the left.” It’s vulnerable. You feel like you’re making demands or criticizing, and no one wants to criticize their spouse on the wedding night! Frequently we don’t even know what to suggest that we do want–we just know that what the person is doing is not exactly IT. But because we’re embarrassed or awkward, we don’t always say anything.

That can set up a dynamic where you have sex without it feeling very good. And the longer this goes on, the harder it becomes to speak up. But if you can speak up right away, then you don’t run into these problems! Our Honeymoon Course stresses the importance of communication, and gives couples an easy way to talk about this so that you don’t get into these ruts.

Wedding Night Sex can be wonderful–if you set the right expectations

If you’re super exhausted, it’s okay to just be sexual without “completing the deed”. On the wedding night, and throughout the honeymoon, aim for arousal, not just sex. Make it your mission to learn your spouse’s body, how it works, and how he or she likes to be touched. And learn to communicate about it.

Do those things, and you set yourself up for a marriage of sexual fireworks!

Set yourself up for a marriage of sexual fireworks!

If you want to start your marriage well like this, get our Honeymoon Course! It will help you have these conversations, get in the right frame of mind, have the right expectations, and give you tips for making the wedding night and the honeymoon as exciting as it can be–without pressure.

Have I missed anything? Why else may wedding night sex be a flop? Let’s talk in the comments!

SheilaSidebarAboutMe - Preparing for the Wedding Night: 4 Reasons Sex Often Goes Badly! Sheila Wray Gregoire has been married for 27 years and happily married for 22! She loves traveling around North America with her hubby in their RV, giving her signature "Girl Talk" about sex and marriage. And she's written 8 books. About sex and marriage. See a theme here? Plus she knits. Even in line at the grocery store.
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