My husband and I waited to have sex until we were married. We also did our best to maintain certain boundaries prior to marriage. It wasn’t always easy to maintain our boundaries, but we both had experience going farther than we should have with past partners, and we felt it was important to keep our physical intimacy chaste. (Some of our pre-marriage rules included keeping our clothes on, avoiding genital contact, and never sleeping in the same bed together.) We weren’t entirely “perfect” at being chaste – we had some very intense make out sessions. Maybe you can relate.
Here’s what I expected our after-marriage physical intimacy would look like: one of those very intense make out sessions, a slow removal of clothing (with a dramatic song in the background like the movies), then sex. Reality didn’t look like that. Reality was my newlywed husband was very quickly aroused, and very quickly ready for the actual sexual act. I needed much more time – I missed those intense make out moments. It felt like an awkward disconnect. Over 5 years later, we are still learning how to “meet in the middle.” But here’s some encouragement for you newlyweds: it’s gets better with time – much better than our former make-out moments. Here are some quick tips for newlywed brides to help overcome this hurdle.
1. Communicate, communicate. This is easy advice in theory, but difficult in reality. First, it’s going to feel awkward to talk about sex – you must do it anyway. Your husband loves you and wants to help your sex experience be better, so he wants to hear from you. Second, it’s tough to find a good time to talk about this. I’m the type that wants to say immediately what’s on my mind. But trying to say “so that wasn’t great for me” right after sex isn’t ideal. (I did it anyway.) We started having weekly check-in meetings on Saturday mornings, and one topic was “challenges.” This was a better time to try and discuss.
2. Prepare yourself in advance. The vast majority of the time, the woman needs more time to get aroused. This is why you can start preparing well in advance of your husband - with some small, non-physical, actions. Put on some lacy underwear at the start of the day – it will keep sex on your brain and start to build your excitement for it. And/or get yourself some lingerie “outfits” that help you feel sexy and put those on in advance. (Side note: my husband still doesn’t fully understand lingerie – "why did she go take the time to put it on if I'm just going to take it right off?" It took me a few years to realize the lingerie was mostly for me, to help me get in the mood.) Just before sex, take some time for yourself – take a shower, play some mood music, light a candle – whatever you need to help you set the mood.
3. It’s okay to take things slowly. Just because your husband has an erection 2 seconds after hearing the word “sex” doesn’t mean you have to feel pressured to keep up. In the moment, talk your husband through some ways he can help you – kissing (on your mouth or other parts of your body), a massage, more intimate touching, etc.
4. Lubrication. Use it. Especially in the early years, it will help immensely as your husband helps you get aroused through genital contact. (Ed. note: See this guide for information on lubrication options.)
5. Patience. Your husband is still learning too. It’s likely going to take him some time to learn how to slow down his arousal curve. As he builds more experience, he’ll be able to pause and help you more throughout your sexual encounter. There are going to be some frustrating moments that happen while you both try to figure things out – maybe you’ll have times you planned to have sex but halfway through it all falls apart. There might be times you feel like you both "figured it out" (!) only for the next time to be the most awkward sex yet. That’s all okay! It’s all part of your learning experience together. Just don’t be afraid to keep talking about it - and don't take it all too seriously.