Wedding Season Reflection Part II: Giving Wedding Night Advice

After the fabulous affirmation of the power vested in us to support same-sex marriage, I went to the wedding of a good friend of mine who was doing an unusual thing for my particular friend group to do: she was waiting until she was married to do anything sexual with her partner.

I thought this was unusual for most of my friends but apropos for her hip Christian outlook on life. I found her decision so fascinating that I asked her to come into the sex ed class that I teach during our session on “Abstinence” and talk about why she was choosing to wait until she was married. Of course, I also brought in another one of my friends who had consciously chosen NOT to wait until marriage, and had them each present their points why they were choosing abstinence or not and then had the students ask questions. It was one of the best classes I ever observed, and my abstinent friend was a big part of that.

So, my friend ended up falling in love with a great Christian guy who wanted exactly what she did and they ended up getting married this summer. At each guest’s table they had a slip of paper with “Advice/memories for the bride and groom” written on it. So, of course, I immediately began writing advice for the wedding night. Since it was their first time, and I’ve been thinking about/talking about/helping people learn about sex for a long time, I thought I could come up with some stellar advice for them. I thought I might share it with the readers as well. After all, who doesn’t need some good old-fashioned first-time sexual activity advice?

Note: not the actual couple. Image thanks to torbakhopper on Flickr Creative Commons.

Here’s what I advised them to do (in bold) with my comments and thoughts following:

  1. Take your time - so much of our lives we hurry though and don’t really pay attention to. This is one point where you want to savor it as long as possible. Just because you CAN have intercourse right now doesn’t mean you NEED to.
  2. Make it about the process, not the end result – my way of screaming “THE ORGASM ISN’T KING/QUEEN.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE GOAL-DIRECTED SEX!
  3. Be GGG
    1. Good at what you’re doing.
    2. Giving to your partner.
    3. Game for anything. – A direct steal from Dan Savage, this is really the best acronym I have found for a simple way to talk about desired relationship qualities.
  4. Make it a conversation, not a speech – the metaphor I was going for here was about mutual pleasure and the sharing of the responsibility for your own and your partner’s pleasure.
  5. Relax, have fun, and remember: if it’s difficult at first, just keep practicing! - :)

I also included a small reminder at the end about minding the clitoris and mentioned the small percentage of women who have orgasms from vaginal stimulation alone.

One thing I wished I would have added is about self-knowledge in the sexual realm. It’s okay to not know what you like, but once you figure it out, you need to make sure you find the best way to communicate that to your partner. Remember, if you don’t tell them verbally, it’s likely they don’t know.

Why is all this important? This article by Marty Klein talked about seeing a couple in his therapy practice who had given up on sex after a disastrous wedding night where their expectations for mind-blowing sex were <ahem> blown.

I really appreciate his proposal that the wedding night be redefined as the start of a couple’s sexual life together, and rather than jumping into the deep end of P-in-V sexual intercourse, he suggests wading first. Stick a toe in (not like that(unless you’re into that)) and let the wedding night last the whole week.

About Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen

Craig VanKempen, LLMSW/MPH, is a sex educator and therapist practicing in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. His professional interests include HIV, polyamory, compulsive sexual behavior, religion and sexuality, and GLBT issues.