I am so excited for wedding season! This year is definitely going to look different than most (thanks, COVID-19), but I still have a lot of friends taking this big life decision. Choosing to get married is a huge deal, especially with a worldwide pandemic going on. The months leading up to my wedding were filled with so much happiness, but they were also full of anxiety and fear. The idea of sexual intimacy on my wedding night absolutely terrified me.
Being Nervous is Normal
When I say I was terrified of sex, I mean it. I had to talk through my fears with a therapist and it took time. I realized that I could not be the only person with this anxiety. After talking with other women, I learned that I wasn’t alone.
It’s totally normal to be nervous about sex! In my mind, I had this idea that everyone was ready and eager for their wedding night. This isn’t true. Licensed marriage and family therapist, Laura Brotherson, has written more than one book on the subject of overcoming these fears and issues. She said,
Being vulnerable and intimate with someone at such a personal level is something that you may have never experienced before and because of that, it may raise some feelings of anxiety. It is totally understandable if you are feeling a little nervous as you prepare for the honeymoon and intimate relationship in marriage.
Some worries and fears about the sexual relationship run deeper than just being intimidated by the unknown, though, and can stem from feelings of guilt, shame, or fear. These can be alleviated as you intentionally prepare for, gain more knowledge of, and communicate about sexual intimacy with your sweetheart and other trusted individuals.
The first thing Brotherson said to do is to prepare yourself for your wedding night. This means to get educated about sexual intimacy and reflect on why you are feeling anxious. Ask yourself, “Why exactly am I nervous?” or, “What specifically scares me about wedding night?”
Part of your reflection could include reading books, discussing intimacy with parents or other trusted adults, or even seeing a therapist. Spend time diving deep and understanding where the root of the issue is.
Take time to learn more about sex. How does it work? Why did God create our bodies in this way? What are your thoughts on birth control? Considering these questions seriously can calm fears. It’s also important to get educated from positive sources instead of detrimental places like “instructional” pornography.
“Since sex starts in the mind before it translates to the body, you’ll want to have a healthy and positive view of sexuality. It will help you have a more enjoyable initial experience as well as a positive, long-lasting intimate relationship with one another. If one’s mind is full of fears and concerns, those fears will interfere with being relaxed and enjoying this special time together.” ~ Laura Brotherson
Talk With Your Partner
Brotherson also said to talk with your future spouse about this topic. This is crucial! My anxiety only got worse as I bottled it up. For me, having a conversation with my fiance was difficult. However, after talking, my fears decreased significantly and our relationship improved. He was so kind and understanding.
Ask each other, “What worries do you have?” or “How do you see our honeymoon playing out?” It’s okay to be specific. Beating around the bush during this conversation will only cause hurt feelings and confusion.
Be vulnerable and open. Set expectations and boundaries for your wedding night and the honeymoon period. Talk about what you are and are not comfortable with. Getting into the healthy habit of communication with your loved one will help you throughout life. This skill will also be crucial on the wedding night.
Did you know that the Church released a family manual about that talks about this very subject? My husband showed it to me and it has some amazing things to say. It included this comment about the wedding night:
The courtesy and friendship the couple have shown during courtship are vital on their wedding night. The first night requires nearly perfect courtesy, consideration, and, in many cases, a gentle sense of good humor. They must be the very best of friends on this first occasion when they are able to begin to know one another completely. They may be ill at ease, even awkward, and would do well to smile at their awkwardness. Each must remember that the other person is vulnerable to embarrassment.
I really wish this idea was more well-known. Embrace the awkwardness! Have humor. If you think that embarrassment will disappear after marriage, you’re wrong. My husband and I have plenty of embarrassing moments! They’re normal and should be expected.
Be courteous and gentle. Have open communication even during sexual intimacy. Make sure that you are always on the same page. If both parties are being selfless and open about their feelings, your wedding night will go smoothly.
I also want to mention that there is ZERO pressure to have sex on your first night. Please don’t think that you have to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. You have an eternity to learn and grow together in every aspect, including intimacy. Have sex whenever you’re ready.
Here is another quote from the Church’s family manual:
The honeymoon ought to be a time when the partners learn about one another’s minds, emotions, bodies, and spirits. It is not a time for sexual excess. It is not a fling of worldly diversions that is scheduled between the temple wedding ceremony and a return to serious living. For Latter-day Saints, the honeymoon and early weeks of marriage are a time for private discovery on all levels: physical, social, emotional, and spiritual.
During your honeymoon, continue to communicate. Learn about each other in every aspect! Cherish this time and enjoy each other’s company. Remember, you don’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with!
My husband and I traveled somewhere very quiet for our honeymoon. It wasn’t a tourist town and we didn’t really have any plans. We just wandered the city, spent time at the beach and had a relaxing time. I suggest keeping your honeymoon carefree and focused less on tourist attractions. However, everyone is different! Do what feels right for you.
One other tip for women is to be aware of the honeymoon urinary tract infections. New bacteria can cause problems and it’s important to take precautions! Make sure to use the restroom right after intercourse every single time. I met with a gynecologist before my wedding and she wrote a prescription to take on the trip just in case. Do your research and be safe!
Life After the Honeymoon
Alas, life will start back up again. You’ll have deadlines and challenges. Problems will arise and the honeymoon phase will end. Remember to continue your good habits of communication regarding intimacy. As life changes, so will your mindset around this topic. Keep it an open conversation between you and your spouse.
Some advice would include talking about the frequency of sex, discussing things that a spouse might not like in the bedroom, and how you plan to keep intimacy alive after children are born. These conversations can’t happen before marriage because you just don’t know what your answers will be! However, they’re important. Make time for these talks.
Lastly, the Church’s website says,
Heavenly Father created the plan of salvation so that we can experience life, return to His presence, and have joy. Central to this plan are the spiritual, emotional, and physical unity developed in marriage and family life. He gave us the capacity for physical intimacy so that we could strengthen and grow our eternal families. He intends for sex to be a beautiful, powerful, and joyful part of our lives—not something evil or corrupt. Sex enables a husband and a wife to have children, express love, and strengthen their spiritual, emotional, and physical bonds. Sexual intimacy is an important part of marriage, and when it is used in the way that God has commanded, it brings great blessings and joy.
Have fun! Enjoy life! Continue to learn about each other and just have a blast. Marriage really is the best. Use sexual intimacy to express love and strengthen bonds. I wish you all the best in this new adventure!
Do you know someone getting married this summer? Please, share this article with them! If you have any other tips, put them in the comments below!