02 April 2009

Q&A: Anxiously Engaged

**Disclaimer: The following post and comments are about sex. I will attempt to answer the question as candidly as possible without being inappropriate. However, even while maintaining appropriate appropriateness, it is still a sex discussion. Feel free to look away while you still can.

Thanks to all those who sent questions to me via email or comment! I got some good ones, and I was actually torn about which question to answer. I decided to go with a sort of fun one for this first time around. Please leave your thoughts and opinions for the bride-to-be who wrote:

I've been engaged for 2 months and wonder what you wish you knew for your wedding night and any suggestions/recommendations you would give a soon-to-be married gal who's not sure what to expect.

Congratulations! Being engaged is so fun and exciting! Treasure every moment of it.

And counting down to your wedding night is definitely a big part of the excitement. At least it was for me. Let me give you my suggestions/recommendations in a nutshell:

  1. Take a deep breath. Sex is amazing and beautiful and fun. But probably not on the first night! The first night is more awkward and nerve-racking and uncomfortable (emotionally and physically, let's be real here). But in spite of all the nerves and discomfort, you are with someone you love, your best friend, the person you trust most completely in your life (and if not, then you might want to rethink the whole marriage thing! But that's for another Q&A :).
  2. Don't expect too much. In spite of what society and movies and music lead you to believe, good sex does not happen naturally. It just doesn't. Sure, the basics are easy to figure out, (thanks to raging hormones), but learning what you like and don't like, and how to be comfortable with your body, and getting into a rhythm with your partner (literally...haha...too much? my bad) takes time. And education. Which leads me to my next suggestion:
  3. Read books about sex. Not dirty books. Not romance novels. Books by therapists and experts on what to expect and how things work and what goes on. I read The Act of Marriage, (by Tim and Beverly LaHaye) which my Marriage Prep teacher at BYU suggested to our class. It's written by a husband-wife therapist team (not LDS), and is specifically for people who have waited until marriage to have sex. In other words, it spells out a bunch of basics that much of the general population probably already knows. I absolutely loved this book. It not only goes into detail about the physical aspects of sex, as well as the different emotional meanings for men and women, but also ties in the spiritual aspect of sex and actually discusses various scriptures from the Bible about sex and man and woman and stuff like that. I really recommend this book for sure. Another book I would suggest is an LDS book called Between Husband and Wife by Stephen Lamb and Douglas Brinley. This book was also recommended by a BYU professor of mine, and I own it, but have never actually read it. I've skimmed through it here and there, but I really got what I needed from The Act of Marriage book. I'm sure there are lots of good books out there. Just find something and read it. And make your fiance read it. But don't read it together!! And make sure you read it fairly close to your wedding date. Like...the day before.
  4. Talk to your fiance! Now this is a double edged sword, because talking about it gets you thinking about it, and thinking about it eventually gets you doing it. Anyway, making sure you and Handsome Man are on the same page about sex is an absolute must. I think many times people have awkward experiences because they just don't realize that Bride and Groom are expecting totally different things. What will that night look like for you? Will you wait until you leave the reception, or will you sneak off after the luncheon and before pictures? Will you get to the hotel and boogie down right away, or will you lock yourself in the bathroom while you shower or freshen up from a long day in a wedding dress? What types of sexual things are you okay with? Is there something you for sure want to do? Are there things you for sure don't want to do? TALK TO LOVERBOY (that would be your fiance) ABOUT IT. I know it might seem weird, or like it's taking the romance or the spontaneity out of the night, but trust me... It's way less weird to talk about it ahead of time, than to get to the hotel and realize he wants A, B, and C and you want X, Y, and Z.
Bottom line: It will be clumsy and weird and painful (probably) and messy and "I can't believe this is really happening" and amazing and awesome and beautiful all at the same time. And it will get more amazing and awesome and beautiful the more practice you get. So try and think of some way to get your husband to want sex all the time so you can get really good at it. Wait, wait...I'm pretty sure that's built in. You get a husband and he more than likely is the Sex Drive Included version. :)

I tried to answer your question without being too graphic for this public blog. If you have more specific questions, email me at havejoy@ymail.com.


Anonymous said...

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

'nuff said.

Nikki said...

Apparently no one has any advice for you!! Hey people, share your stories!!

Anonymous said...

It may only last a few seconds :( it gets better. Just relax, it'll come naturally. It is more about being with that person the first time than doing anything right.

Anonymous said...

I look back on those first few weeks and it was so fun just being together and getting to know each other's bodies. I remember before we had our reception we went to our hotel room and did a little show and tell. :) No, I didn't organism for a while, but it was still enjoyable and amazing. Hopefully that's not too much info. :)

I found it weird of all those months of trying to restrain yourself all of a sudden you are free to do whatever! It's fun!! Enjoy it! ;)

Anonymous said...

My husband and I got married on one day and had our reception the next. We got married in the afternoon and stayed in a hotel. It was a lot of fun to just hang out. Obviously if you're getting married you're comfortable together so just relax and enjoy! It may be awkward for the first couple of minutes but most likely you will "do it" more then once that night..haha. Just try not to be too worried and just know that it's something fun that you can both enjoy together!

Anonymous said...

I'm too embarressed to post under my real name, but suffice it to say, I am a long time reader of this blog and Nikki knows who I am - just want to get that out there - not some crazy.

Ahem...my advice: I read a book WAY later than I should have and about 5 years after the honeymoon, realized, hey, you don't actually have to do it on your wedding night. I wish someone had sat me down and made that kind of plain. But, no way back, you're so revved up, who is willing to say, hey, let's not do it! No one.

In retrospect, tho', in the 'real world' i.e. the rest of the world who doesn't value chastity - it's gradual, there's fondling for awhile (or should be), sex stuff, then the actual deed. Maybe then there's no pain? Or little pain? And more passion and less pressure?

It's just really weird, no other way to describe it, that one minute you can do next to nothing -and then 90 minutes later (in the parking lot of the temple) hands can roam, zippers can...oh, whatever zippers do.

If I am honest, this is what was going through my mind the whole 'night' - soooooo..this is what all those songs on the radio are about. Huh.

Nikki said...

hank you to my anonymous commenters!! I'm sure Bride To Be is appreciative...

6:30 AM--I didn't think that was too much info at all :) I think lots and lots (and lots) of women don't orgasm for a while (or organism for a while either, for that matter...haha ;) And I'm glad you threw that out there.

8:51 PM--I L.O.V.E the idea of getting married one day and having your reception the next!! Absolute genius. Then there's no stress or pressure (well, less stress and pressure). Thanks for sharing.

9:26 PM--Thank you for bringing up the fact that you don't have to rush into sex on your wedding night. I think you bring up such a good point that most people gradually lead up to sex over the course of time, rather than go from barely holding hands to getting down in the blink of an eye! It's such a weird thing to go from NO NO to YES PLEASE! I am actually doing a study on that very thing...stay tuned for more info about that for sure.
"so, this is what all those songs on the radio are about. huh." hahahahah! I've got to say that the way I read that in my head was so darn funny! Sex is for sure not always as glamorous and passionate as all of us little mormon virgins picture it to be. :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

Nikki said...

By the way, anonymous at 9:26... whoever you are, you are darn funny. I especially loved your "ahem." And the zipper/hand roaming comment. haha. Please comment again in the future! I thoroughly enjoyed it. :)

MarriageDoc said...

Hi all,

First of all, Nikki, I'm glad your blog is back and I wish you the best of luck with the Q&A and all the other whimsical goodness. I enjoy it!

I'm a marriage and family therapist, and have been counseling LDS and other couples on sexual issues for years. I enjoyed your response to her important question, and wanted to throw in my two cents on readings related to this issue.

I like both the books you mention, and also recommend "Becoming One" by Stahmann, Young, & Grover (get it at Deseret Book). Whereas the Brinley book offers a very digestible approach to a sensitive topic for LDS couples, it is also a bit watered down. It'll get couples talking, which is great and necessary, but it doesn't offer much in terms of more direct guidance for specific sexual problems. The Stahmann book is a nice "next step," as it does a good job of getting as specific and detailed as possible for an LDS audience while still being respectful and sensitive. Think of "Between Husband & Wife" as foreplay, and "Becoming One" as your best orgasm. :)

Both fun, but for different reasons!

Stahmann is the former director of BYU's MFT program (my alma mater -- woohoo!) and is one of just a few registered sex therapists in Utah. His co-authors are OBGYNs. Brinley is a religion professor with a background in family science. So, if a couple feels pretty comfortable talking with each other about sex and wants to take it a little further, I'd recommend the Stahmann text.

Hopefully that helps add to the range of books on this topic. There really aren't many appropriate for an LDS audience, in my opinion.

Keep up the interesting blog!

Anonymous said...

My hubby and I both read Act of Marriage during the week before the big day. It does mention in there that it's *very* unlikely a bride will orgasm during their first encounter, and I'm sure it's true. (We ladies tend to stress & have a lot more fear associated with our naked bodies than men do. Hard to switch the "modest" gear in our brains off.)

Little did I know, Handsome Man read that part in the book and thought, "Ha! We'll see about that!"

And boy, did we! I was one lucky bride, even if he didn't completely know what he was doing. Reverse psychology worked for me!

Not surprisingly, I love that book! Loaned it out, not sure where it ended up, and after a bunch of years and a few kids, thought it might be a fun subject to revisit. Hence...

New recommendation --
Sheet Music, by SomethingorOther Leman. Not LDS, but Christian, and along the same lines as Act of Marriage... but he has a much more down to earth, funny & upbeat style. We are reading this one together out loud, and it's SOOOO fun.

Sex never gets old -in fact, it gets better & better- if you keep your relationship healthy & loving, but I shall be a witness that a honeymoon CAN be a totally comfortable, pain-free, exciting, beyond-your-highest-hopes experience...

Just keep in mind that it's far better to be pleasantly surprised that unpleasantly disappointed.

OH!!!! AND!!!!
If you aren't comfortable reading a book like that before the wedding, if you think that somehow ignorance is "more" chaste or blissful or whatever, or if you just run out of time...
Clean yourself up well after "encounters." Really. I had a few friends in their "blissful ignorance" get bladder infections on their honeymoon and MAN, does that sound like NO fun at all! :)

Francesca said...

I know this is a really old post, but I just wanted to say thanks for answering this question for the bride. My mom didn't talk to me while engaged, and I didn't read those books until after I was married. I wish she--or anybody--had! My old roommate is getting married this weekend, and I sent her a message with some tips for the honeymoon since her mom is like mine. She was very grateful!

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