When I was 13, I attended the wedding of a family friend. It was a beautiful ceremony, full of gorgeous flowers, beautiful music, and heartfelt declarations of love. It was the kind of wedding my friends and I envisioned having when we grew up.
And then, as the evening came to a close and our parents started herding us to our minivans, one of the girls leaned into our group, grinned mischievously, and whispered something:
“I bet they’re having sex RIGHT NOW!”
It might seem like a silly comment from a kid barely starting puberty (our nervous giggles at the time proved that WE thought it was silly), but it points to one very bizarre reality about every wedding out there: sex—specifically, sex between you and your partner—is in the back of nearly everyone’s minds.
Of course, this isn’t entirely surprising. Everything from ancient wedding traditions (in medieval times, wedding guests used to listen outside the door while couples consummated) to modern rom-coms has told us that newlywed sex is the best thing EVER. Today, let’s set the record straight. Here are a few realities that come with sharing your “marriage bed.”
It May Not Happen on Your Wedding Night
Most weddings are a massive event. They take months to plan, taking up all your emotional energy and giving you constant stress. And on the big day, you’re just as busy as ever!
You’re up at dawn doing makeup and taking photos. You go through the emotional high of marrying the love of your life. You spend all evening dancing and mingling with all your loved ones. By the time you get back to the honeymoon suite, take off that giant dress, and sit down on the bed…you might just be ready for a nap.
Guess what? THAT IS TOTALLY OK. In fact, it’s pretty common—about 52% of couples claim that they didn’t have sex on their wedding night. If you feel up to getting down with your spouse, go for it! But if you’d rather Netflix and ACTUALLY chill, don’t worry. You’ll have the rest of your life to have great sex with the love of your life.
You Still Have a Busy Schedule
When you’re a newlywed, there’s an unspoken expectation that you and your spouse are knocking boots ALL THE TIME. Seriously, as soon as you say those vows and exchange those rings, people seem to think that you’re sneaking in quickies on every lunch break, getting it on before going to work, and spending every night in the throes of passion…
Frankly, it sounds exhausting.
Obviously, if you two lovebirds are up for all that action, more power to you. But for many couples—particularly those who lived together before tying the knot—those first few months of married life are a return to business as usual. You still have jobs, you still have social lives, and you don’t always have time for long sessions of newlywed lovemaking.
Should you try to have sex when you’re both in the mood? OF COURSE! But if your routines are interfering with your sex lives for the moment, don’t feel guilty or stressed. Like I said earlier, you two have a lifetime ahead of you.
Everyone Has an Opinion
Remember how my 13-year-old friends gossiped and giggled about two newlyweds’ sex lives? Well, I can guarantee we were not the only ones talking about it that night. In fact, it seems that once you get married, everyone has something to say about your sex life!
If you and your spouse decided to wait until marriage, people will ask “how you’re liking married life” with a leering, smarmy grin.
If you went on a luxurious honeymoon, someone is bound to ask you about the honeymoon sex. If you were cohabiting before marriage, people will ask when you’re going to have a baby.
These kinds of questions (usually from friends or relatives) are inevitable. In a weird way, they’re kind of well-intentioned; your loved ones want to know that you’re happy—in EVERY aspect of your life. Of course, this doesn’t stop the questions from being a little creepy, so don’t feel like you have to answer anything.
At the end of the day, newlywed sex is about two people and two people only: yourself and your spouse! Don’t feel pressured by your family, your friends, the media, or anyone else to do (or share) anything that makes you uncomfortable. If you’re happy and your spouse is too, that should be enough for everyone!