Engaged women and newlyweds often have a lot of questions about sex!
What will it feel like? Will it hurt? How do we make it feel good?
This month, in the Mondays in July, we’re talking about sex questions you can’t ask your pastor (and in our podcasts, too!). And I thought today I’d compile a whole bunch of questions that newlyweds often ask me, and try to answer them all in one place.
1. How do I make sex feel good if I’m a virgin?
This is really the biggest question I get! And so let me let you in my biggest piece of advice: When it comes to sex after the wedding, focus less on intercourse and more on arousal.
In the church, we tend to tell people: “Wait for marriage for sex!”
I’d like to change that to: “Wait for marriage for sex–but then don’t have sex until your body is begging for it!”
Sex doesn’t feel good if you’re not aroused yet, and for many women, arousal is the missing piece for orgasm. So if you can work on arousal BEFORE you work on intercourse, and help each other feel good in other ways, you actually set your sex life up to a great start. This is one of the big things we teach in our Honeymoon Prep Course, too!
Other posts that may help:
2. Have I doomed our sex life if I’m NOT a virgin?
NO. You really haven’t.
I believe that there are very good reasons to wait for marriage for sex, and that God does want us to wait for marriage for sex. But I think those reasons have more to do with making sex meaningful than they do with making sex pleasurable. And God also wants us to do that for our protection–so that there’s less baggage, less heartache, yes. But also, in the ancient world, so that women would be protected when we got pregnant, and so that we would be protected even after that baby grew up and we weren’t needed anymore (that’s why marriage is for life). It helps bring stability and love and commitment to society.
But the secret to orgasm is not a wedding ring; it’s arousal. Many women who didn’t wait for the wedding have great sex; and many women who did wait for the wedding don’t. (And it goes the other way, too). And it should not threaten our Christian view of sex if people who had sex before their wedding do still enjoy sex. I think we try to sell waiting for the wedding for sex to kids by promising them amazing sex if they wait, but that’s just not the way it works.
I do know, though, that so many women feel guilty about having sex before the wedding that shame becomes a big part of your sex life. Once you’re married, you need to try to put that behind you.
Here are some posts that can help:
- A letter to the woman who feels like she’s lost her purity
- How to put sexual baggage behind you
- How to stop obsessing about your husband’s past
3. How can I have a great wedding night?
Remember the two key things: Relax, relax, relax, and aim for arousal!
That’s really what we teach in the Honeymoon Prep Course! And so much of that is having these conversations in a safe and healthy way with your fiance before the wedding. You need to know what you each expect for the wedding night, and talk about that ahead of time in a way that doesn’t make it too difficult not to rush right to it! Our course has videos that you can watch together, that can help explain how to start sex off well. Plus we talk about how to have hard conversations about porn use, sexual baggage, or anything else that may affect your sex life once you’re married (it’s important to talk about those now!).
Are you ready for the honeymoon you always dreamed of?
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!
Other posts you may also enjoy:
4. Engaged women wonder: will sex hurt?
For most women it does a little bit, but often only a little. And it will hurt much less if you bring some lubricant with you and take your time so that you’re already aroused before you start! When i did a survey recently on Facebook and Twitter asking women if they were aroused before they had sex on their wedding night, only 52% said they were. So that’s a lot who weren’t! Take your time, and everything’s much easier.
And if it doesn’t hurt, or you don’t bleed, that’s great! Many women break their hymen earlier in other ways, and some women’s hymens break easily and stretch easily and don’t bleed.
If it does hurt, don’t force anything. Have him stretch you with his fingers, and just relax and try other things and come back to it later. Sometimes you do manage to consummate, but you’ll find that other positions are still uncomfortable for a while. You will get used to it! Remember the two key things: relax, relax, relax! And aim for arousal. Do those two things, and everything should be much easier.
5. Newlyweds ask: What do I do if it hurts so much that we can’t consummate?
For some women, though, pain is a real issue. Sometimes the hymen needs to be surgically removed (in a very small percentage of cases), and sometimes women suffer from a condition called vaginismus where the muscles at the opening to the vagina contract, making penetration painful or impossible. If you’ve been trying to consummate, and you just can’t, see your doctor and ask for a referral to a pelvic floor physiotherapist. About 7% of Christian women do suffer from vaginismus, so you are not alone. But it’s also something that can be treated for many, so please don’t suffer for too long without getting help.
6. How do we learn how to help her reach orgasm?
Other than the importance of arousal, the NEXT biggest insight I want newlywed couples to understand is that we need to throw out our preconceived notions of what sex is supposed to be. We tend to assume that sex = “man thrusts penis into woman’s vagina until he reaches climax,” and it’s assumed that this penetrative intercourse is what is supposed to feel the best for both of you. But really, in our studies what we found was that the majority of women who are able to reach orgasm do not reach it through intercourse alone. In fact, of the women who reliably orgasm, only about 38% of women reach orgasm that way. And many more don’t reach orgasm during intercourse at all–they reach it in other ways.
So the biggest breakthrough in helping her reach orgasm is likely going to be understanding that it’s easier to orgasm in ways OTHER than intercourse. Use manual and/or oral stimulation; start with a big lead up. And relax!
7. What do we do if we’ve been married for a while, and we still haven’t reached orgasm?
Don’t feel helpless or wrong or bad or broken! When I did my original surveys when writing The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that the best years for sex in marriage were actually years 16-24. They weren’t the honeymoon years. And sex definitely gets better with time. So just because it’s taking a while doesn’t mean you won’t get there or that there’s something wrong with you.
However, it doesn’t NEED to take to year 16 to have great sex. If you haven’t reached orgasm yet, you likely need more foreplay, and you likely even need to make foreplay the main event for a while for her. And 31 Days to Great Sex has a ton of exercises to help you figure out what makes her feel good and what helps her reach orgasm!
This post can help:
Need more help? Try these!
8. How do I speak up and tell my husband that I need more foreplay?
There’s no easy way except to say it. “Honey, I know that sex is supposed to feel awesome for both of us, but I think we’re missing something on my end. Can we slow down and figure out what makes me feel good?” And talk about the fact that women don’t reach orgasm through intercourse usually (although many can and that’s a great goal!), but even the women who do do so after a lot of foreplay.
These posts can help:
- The Theology of the Clitoris
- Why Husbands Need to Understand the Importance of Foreplay
- 31 Days to Great Sex (with all of its foreplay exercises and exercises to awaken her body)
9. How do I tell my husband if he’s touching me in ways that don’t feel very good?
Okay, I want you to picture yourself in 5 years, or maybe even in 10 years. Imagine what your life will be like if you DON’T speak up–if nothing changes. For the next 5 years, he keeps touching you in ways that turn you off. He never understands what actually feels good. He rushes to intercourse. You get more and more frustrated. He gets frustrated because you don’t like sex. Do you like that future?
I don’t think you do–and yet that is the routine that many women get into because they don’t want to hurt their husbands’ feelings. And that’s really admirable! But the problem is that women deserve to feel pleasure, too. His ego is not more important than her pleasure. And the longer you wait to tell him what feels good, then when you do finally say something–years later, often–he’s even more hurt.
So just try: “I want sex to feel amazing, but I think we’re missing something. Can we do some exploring to figure out what turns me on?” Most guys will jump at that!
- Try playing “teacher”, where you order him exactly what to do
- Or try having him touch you for 15 minutes, where he’s not allowed to rush it, and have him discover what feels good
And 31 Days to Great Sex has lots of exercises to help with this!
10. I’ve got a problem with our sex life, and I don’t know if this is normal or not.
We just don’t talk about sex in detail very much with our friends, and so sometimes something happens and we don’t know if it’s something weird, bad, or just normal.
Here are two posts that can help (one about red flags, and one about medical issues)
So that’s it–10 newlywed sex questions that I get asked a lot.
My inbox is often filled with a variety of these, so I thought it would be nice to have them all in one place so I could point people to them, and then they could follow the rabbit trails!
Other Posts in the Sex Questions Series:
SEX QUESTIONS SERIES: Who’s the REAL Sex Expert for Your Questions
The Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor Podcast!
10 Quick Newlywed Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor
PODCAST: Newlywed Sex Questions Edition
PODCAST EXTRAS: Sometimes a Vagina is Just a Vagina
So those are my newlywed sex tips! Did any stand out to you? Is there anything you would add? Let’s talk in the comments!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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