To the Virgins: Sisterly Advice for Your Wedding Night

This post is for people who are about to have sex for the first time, or who would like to hilariously remember all the things they wished they’d known the first time they had sex. If you’re not prepared to read about either of those things, here’s a fun alternative activity

Wow! You’re really going to do this thing, huh? I mean, you’ve spent your whole life remembering who you are, making wise choices, and not staying out late with members of the opposite sex. You clearly found a person that you love a whole lot, and probably one who you’ve enjoyed kissing. Now that you’re seriously going to marry him or her, sex is no longer “that thing you must avoid at all costs because you WILL get a venereal disease and die.”

Still, S-E-X is a little scary. It’s a new thing that you’ve never done before, much like base-jumping or eating a Chinese moon-pie. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means you don’t know what you’re doing. As your friendly neighborhood big-sister-type person, I feel obliged to give you some honest, direct, and helpful advice to put your first sexual experience into perspective.

Because I love you.

Relax. It Gets Better.

Think about it: For years you’ve been told that you shouldn’t be looking at (or touching) what’s in the bathing-suit zone of another human, and then…voila! One day, it’s totally cool. It’s like going from a red light directly to a green one. You haven’t even had time to rev your engine.

Virgins, give yourself a break and relax. You chose the right person – someone who loves you and wants you to be happy. Be patient with each other and recognize that it’s okay to be nervous. This first time is probably going to be weird, uncomfortable, and awkward.

That’s actually a really nice way to put it. The truth? It’s likely going to suck, and you’ll end up wanting to sue every movie studio in existence for lying to you your whole life.

Take it from me: wait before you pay that legal retaining fee. The next time will be better, I promise. And the next time, even better than that. Just be willing to laugh and learn together, and I guarantee the fear and suckiness will drop away. And you don’t have to incur any messy legal fees.

Take Some Time To Get To Know Each Other

Remember sex ed in high school? The A + B = C sex talk that mainly sounded like an auto shop guy talking about how a carburetor is put together? Yeah, having sex is more than just about how parts fit together. Sex is about trust. For a lot of women, it requires feeling safe and protected. I conjecture that it’s one of the reasons why the first few times you do it, it sucks so bad. You are nervous, you are tense, and you generally want to hide under the bed. None of these things are conducive to feeling sexy or safe.

My advice to you virgins? Before you jump into the whole A + B = C part of sex, take a little time to get comfortable with the new landscape. Take your clothes off, get under the covers and just talk for a little while. Make some awkward jokes, look into each others’ eyes, or play a grown up version of truth or dare. Look at all the new parts and appreciate them. Touch them if you feel comfortable. Ask questions. Some people I know don’t even have sex right away after they get married. There is no judgement, and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Sex should be fun, intimate, and pleasurable. That’s most likely going to happen when you feel ready, not because of someone else’s timeline.

WLW Features - virgins

To Serve and Protect

Although, traditionally, women have been in charge of birth control, that paradigm has shifted over the past 50 years. Condoms, diaphragms, the pill…whatever you pick, y’all need to be real honest about who is in charge of protecting the goods (or if you want to be protecting them at all) long before your virgin sexual encounter.

Not only that, but you should be familiar with how that particular product works and how to make it function. There are some great online tutorials, and I’ve already done the scary part of Google searching them already. You’re welcome. Please don’t check my browser history.

 

The Wetter, The Better

If you have a hard time with honesty, truth, or are squeamish about the word “moist,” you should probably go. We’re gonna talk logistics.

Your virgin body wants to connect with another body. It’s designed to do it, and does a whole bunch of stuff automatically when you’re feeling in the mood. One of the most important things it does is lubricate all the passageways where the action is going to happen. Unfortunately, when you’re first starting out, you or your partner might be nervous and tense. Those feelings often subconsciously inform the body not to make all the slippery stuff that makes sex easier.

So, it’s always a good idea to have a nice human-made lubricant on hand for the first few times. KY Jelly, Astroglide, Passion or Sliquid are all great choices that will make the initial attempts easier and less painful. Not using enough could lead to micro-tears in the vagina, so make sure you put as much on as you’d like. No need to be stingy. Sex is slippery, wet, messy, and (yes, I’ll say it) moist, but wonderful. Just accept that there will be a wet spot and try to enjoy everything else.

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Enjoy the Ride, Forget the “O”

Speaking of rides, do you remember learning to ride a bicycle? There was this one point where someone let go of your seat and you were riding, on your own, with no training wheels. It was exhilarating and wonderful. And then you crashed.

Sex is probably going to be a lot like that, virgin friends. You’ll have some false starts and some hiccups getting started, and then you’ll start flying. Just enjoy that moment when you’re in it. Remember, you get to be with this amazing person forever. You can have this experience whenever you want it, and every time you do, you will become closer and more united with that person. Hold on to that feeling.

That closeness, that intimacy, is the best part of the process for now. Don’t pressure yourself into feeling you have to have an orgasm to enjoy sex. As you become more relaxed, more open, and more comfortable with the sexual experience, the more likely you will be to experience that ultimate climax. It will come (*inappropriate double-entendre snicker*) when you’re both ready.

 

Talk It Out

There’s this weird social prejudice that says that men shouldn’t want to talk after sex. I call bullshit on that. If men are smart, they should really learn how to talk after sex, especially in the beginning.

After making the kind of emotional, spiritual, and physical connection that you just have, it is wise to share thoughts. Maybe immediately after your virgin sexual experience isn’t the perfect time. You still might not be ready to have a fully-formed conversation. Wait until your ears stop ringing and you’ve wiped away a few tears (yes, it’s totally okay for one or both of you to cry after sex). When you’re ready – say, in the shower, or over breakfast – talk about the experience.

  • Were there things that were good?
  • Were there things that could be better?
  • How did you feel?
  • What did you think it was going to be like, and how did it differ from the reality?

It might feel awkward to talk about it, but it will help connect you and give you an opportunity to learn how to better serve the other. Sex, like marriage, is about love, honesty, communication, and service. Even the worst first sexual experience can be a learning experience if you’re willing to learn from it respectfully and with compassion.

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Remember Forever

While our culture seems to be particularly sexualized, remember: sex is just one of the amazing things you two will learn how to do together. You will also learn how to have children together, pay bills together, and cook in an incredibly small kitchen together. Don’t pressure yourself to know it all now. You have a lifetime to learn new ways of making your marital experiences positive, enlightening, and fun. That’s what forever is all about.

I’m sure I missed some stuff. If you have any other helpful tips, please leave them in the comments below. I’ve only been married for 10 years, so I still basically have no idea what I’m doing.

 

Here’s something else that’s weird, yet helpful:

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48 thoughts on “To the Virgins: Sisterly Advice for Your Wedding Night

    1. It’s healthier to have some foliage, since the hair keeps bacteria and other impurities out of your urethra. Still, a nice trim is always appreciated. 🙂

  1. Re: coconut oil… ABSOLUTELY the best. Almond oil is second best, and great for massage as well.

  2. One thing to REMEMBER… Relax if you can (eventually you will anyway, so cut to the chase) get out of your head and be present, in the moment. One thing to NEVER FORGET… foreplay can be the best part. A wife may not want it as much as she needs it, so if you can be patient and help her understand this, you will both be having AMAZING intimacy and AMAZING sex by default. DON’T work at it, relax and repeat. 32 years, 8 wonderful children, and it keeps getting better… smh, how does that work??? God knows what He is doing… let Him into the relationship and it will flow, allowing the bond to continuously strengthen. AMAZING GRACE, when first I saw my wife as God sees her!!!

  3. I love all the above comments. One thing I would suggest on your wedding night is to do the things you would normally do on a date when you have a heavy make out session. Maybe go park somewhere, watch a movie all snuggled up, etc. Then instead of having to stop yourselves as you did before you now get to go all the way. Looking back on our wedding night we both wish we had done that to make it feel more natural. Also– we snuck a quickie between the wedding and the reception which made it a little less awkward that night. Going on 17 years and still learning! Oh and Amen to the post about vibrators.

  4. Two words:
    COCONUT OIL.
    Best lubricant EVER. When it’s at room temperature it is solid. When it’s scooped out by your hand, becomes liquid just as it needs to be (and is delicious). ‘Nuff said.

    1. That’s phenomenal. I never even thought of that. Question is, is it safe? Perhaps there is a very smart nurse-y type person who could weigh in…

  5. I appreciate your article and the respectful way this sensitive subject has been discussed. At the risk of divulging too much, I think it needs to be mentioned that some women just don’t reach climax on their own. I’ve been married 25 years, read my share of books, and neither my husband nor myself have been shy about exploring. But for whatever reason, I have never had an orgasm without the aid of a vibrator and a fresh battery. I’m suggesting to the men who love their wives that, if after exploring for a while, neither of you can get her over the top, offering such a gift to your wife says a great deal about your sensitivity to her pleasure. She will enjoy satisfiying you more if she knows you care more for her enjoyment than your own.

  6. One trick that I have learned over the years was that after having sex (especially a quickie before I leave for work), if I use a light or regular strength tampon and then take it out when I get to work (or within the next 30 mins or so), you won’t have that gross, sticky, sometimes-smelly (after working a 12 hour shift at a busy ER and never getting to pee a single time) sensation. It absorbs all the semen and then is easily flushed down the toilet.
    It also helps me pee afterwards. Sometimes immediately after having sex, I have a hard time peeing because all the hormones and blood flow to the vaginal area make the ability to pee a lot less (there must be a loving Heavenly Father if our bodies naturally make it hard to pee during/after sex!!) and so when I place a tampon and then take it out a few minutes later, I can easily pee and the worries of a UTI are null and void.

    1. Kim, I do the same thing. Smart girl. Makes me feel so much cleaner the rest of the day. Great post, smart advice.

      BTW – I have never NOT flushed a tampon. Not the plastic part, that gets wrapped up and put in the trash. The rest is flushed. Never heard of not flushing them

  7. I also really recommend the book “The Act of Marriage.” It’s written with virgins in mind and it is awesome. My husband and I read it together before we got married and it made all the difference.

  8. The first time… well, I guess the technical first time of actual intercourse didn’t happen until 4 months into our marriage. I haven’t heard / read this elsewhere, but I suspect there may be lots of “misfires” on the wedding night, honeymoon, and ever there after.

    Just keep in mind that “making love” is more than intercourse. Bodies can give and receive pleasure in lots of ways. Talk with each other, feel free to experiment.

    Intimacy, though great fun in a lot of ways, caused a lot of frustration early in our marriage. Now after 19 years, we still have a lot to learn but it’s a critical part in staying connected with each other. I’d say that we’re both grateful, looking back, that those struggles helped us to focus on loving each other in other ways

  9. I’ve got a recommendation to anyone wanting to avoid the nervousness of that first night and make it more fun. My wife and I stayed our first night in a bed-and-breakfast not far from the reception site. I think she was more nervous than me, but like most LDS couples we hadn’t talked much about sex beforehand or about the “big event”. As we were getting ready for bed, I started a pillowfight/tickle match which ended up being loads of fun and the giggling and physical activity really drained any nervousness (and it was fun to be able to tickle her places I couldn’t before too . . . ) . Clothing just naturally came off and the close contact led naturally into more exploration and fun!

  10. Thank you for all of your comments! It’s always unnerving to think about the future. “You’re not supposed to talk about that stuff” “but you need to” “what do you talk about?” are always things I think about. I’m very glad to read a post that talks about what you need to, while still keeping it appropriate. I’m getting married before my older sister, and so my usual source of talks like this is not what it would normally be, as she’s not had experience herself.

    Also, thank you for suggesting, “And they were not ashamed”, I’ve heard about that book but had always been apprehensive before I got engaged and realized I should really know that stuff…..

    I’m going to see my ob/gyn soon and was wondering if there are any questions I should ask that I might not think of on my own? How do I “casually” bring up this conversation to my fiance`? Thanks for any help.

    1. Some great comments, Ms. June! Really, the questions you want to talk to your OB/GYN about are pretty much dependent on your goals. For example, you and your partner want to get pregnant right away, you might ask about lubrication that is sperm-friendly. On the other hand, if you’re sure you want to wait to start your family, you might ask about the benefits and drawbacks of certain birth control methods.

      Whatever you do, make sure that you talk to that fiancé first. It’s important to know what your goals are as a family, and sex is an important part of that. The when and where is not as important as the how, though. Wherever you choose to bring up the S-word, make sure that you are being comfortably honest with one another – and don’t feel nervous about even saying a prayer beforehand. Sex is sacred as well as awesome. It is the doorway for your future generations. It will make you both feel more at ease to invite the Spirit to be a part of this important conversation.

  11. Hello all and thanks for all the great advice. But, there is a little bit missing that I think should be addressed. I have been married for 22 years and have a terrific “love life.” However, there is a lot of tension with newlyweds over what is ok and what is not. After many discussions with my Bishop and RS leaders, what I ( and yes my wonderful husband) have learned is this… If it does not involve violence or anything that degrades or makes the other person uncomfortable, what goes on in the bedroom between a married couple is their business. Don’t think about it to0 much just enjoy it and have fun, relax and COMMUNICATE that is the most important part.

  12. Thanks a lot Author Willow for the very useful topic! The comments above sounds really helpful too.. I like that it has useful advice & there’s no inappropriate language. I’m glad I found this after I gathered my courage to search it up (since I was really embarrassed to even type the word S & read about this) I come from a conservative religious culture in North Africa & talking about this is like a big taboo! It’s even uncomfortable to talk with my girlfriends about it & married friends are few & super awkward.

    I’m engaged to be married & I found myself freaking out about this.. All I heard from some TV horror stuff & some people that it’s gonna hurt a lot & I’m gonna bleed. Both of us will be super awkward since we’re both virgin.

    What I feel assured about is the fact that we both love each other truly & we try our best to make each other happy & we do everything together as a team.

    I just have no sex-education experience & reading about the “wet-experience” made me feel a little bit taken-a-back (ewwww expression on my face) should I worry about this? Also, I find it super uncomfortable to discuss birth control with my fiancée .. I know I need to let him know I’ll be taking those pills but I still need to gather my courage to talk it up.. Well our weddig is not coming till summer.
    Is there any other things I need to learn other than the good advice above ?

    Some comments here gave me a good laugh 😀 Thanks again!

  13. For any of you still-virgins who make it this far, I just have to jump in and say two things — The 2nd one is more important, so if this looks too long, skip to that part, k?
    1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
    Not together in a parked car at night. That’s not what I mean. Sexual fulfillment is rightly placed in the “marriage only zone” for a really, really good reason!
    But there are great books about physical intimacy written by Christian authors that are really really helpful, and totally appropriate to bring on your honeymoon – or better yet, (if you’re comfortable, and I strongly recommend it!!!) reading separately just before your wedding. Some of them even have a “stop here if you’re not married yet” markers. Aw, helpful!
    [The Act of Marriage was the best there was in my day, but there are LOTS now — Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage; And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment… Lots and lots and lots of options there.]

    But the basic physiology/anatomy is nothing to be afraid of, and it’s a beautiful part of God’s creation.
    If, however, you know nothing about male/female parts and how they work (cough-cough, clitoris!) ….. way-ell….. It’s going to be a totally different experience — and it may be a long, long time before it is “good” for her.

    Especially for you sisters out there– Knowledge is power. Relaxing is key here, and if you understand (intellectually, anyway) how your body works, you’re going to be a LOT more relaxed about the whole thing the first time through!

    2. Don’t buy into all these horror stories. Keep the option open that it just might be a phenomenal experience – yes, even your first time – and maybe it will be.
    Ask me how I know.
    wink-wink.

  14. hi! Here are my pieces of advice: 1. It’ll be weird that first time cause it’s new and not something everyone talks about. 2. foreplay, foreplay, foreplay! !! Very important to help with mood and lubrication. 3. Ladies, it will fit. At the time you may i not think it will but it will, remember, a baby can come out of there and your man’s “equipment” is nowhere near as big as a baby… No matter how big he may be/seem. 4. If it’s his first time or if it’s been a while (like he’s a convert) it won’t last long… like really not long. Guess that’s it for now. As yes, if you have questions, ask someone you know and trust who isn’t afraid or embarrassed to talk about this. It’ll help.

  15. I purchased the book by author and counselor, Dr. Laura Brotherson..” And they were not afraid” for myself and 3 daughters. It is important to open up communication before they are married and to also to see if they have serious sexual issues thst need professional help, especially any type of abuse or body issues before a marriage. Reading and discussing it together helps break down the taboo barriers.

    1. Actually, you bring up an excellent point. Talking about sex before you do it (like a few weeks or months before) shouldn’t be taboo – as long as it’s not out of prurient interest. If there are issues or problems or fears that you or your partner have, you need to be very aware of those before that first night. Thank you so much for bringing this important idea up!

  16. The first time is not good. Been married 23 years and it is now amazing. It has been amazing for a long time. Being married for a long time helps with the intimacy. Remember to “play” before things happen. My wife likes a nice back rub to get the juices flowing… Experiment. Verbalize what you like and don’t like. Guys can’t read your mind. They are very willing and eager to please, just ask my wife… 😉 Like it was said, enjoy the moment. It does get better. I promise.

  17. A hand towel and/or flushable wipes are very useful for quick clean up (for hands and other body parts). Much better than thinking, Well I was gonna wash these sheets tomorrow anyway.

  18. My advice is to have a hand towel nearby. Yes, it’s been said the wetter the better, it’s also awkward and uncomfortable to leave a drippy trail to the bathroom. Also, bleeding is very common and it’s nice to be able to clean up a bit before it gets sticky. it’s already been mentioned, but women always need to urinate afterwards. I’m not talking about jumping up and running to the potty immediately. Spend some time being close to your partner, enjoying each others skin and taking in what just happened, but try within 30 minutes. If both partners are virgins, the man will not last long. It’s okay, it will eventually last longer. There are condoms with a bit of numbing lubricant on them to extend the pleasure! Talk about everything, you will get better together!

    1. Such great advice, Janelle! Again, post-intercourse urination is super-important, but I agree that spending time chilling afterwards is vital for creating that bond. Awesome!!

    2. I totally agree! The one thing people forgot to tell me beforehand was exactly how messy it was. Now my husband and I always do it directly on top of the towel to save the sheets. The laundry can really rack up the utility bill!

  19. No one has mentioned this… and it is awkward and … It needs to be said.

    Guys who are virgins will typically go very quickly their first time. During my own “first time experience” I was really let down by this. I didn’t get anything from our first time together except a giggle from how quickly it was over. It continued to be a little frustrating for the first few days of our honeymoon. (*helpful tip: if you are using the pill buy a few condoms for the honeymoon. They can help extend the experience* or that’s what worked for us.)

    Also, I have been married for a year and my husband and I are still figuring it out but the advice given earlier holds true. Make it about the other person and find things that make them feel good. Serving someone in that manner is extremely rewarding even when you aren’t able to reach a climax for yourself.

    1. Great advice! Yes, a condom is a great investment for the gentleman who would like to extend the experience. It can also be helpful to do some back-to-back sessions (the second time is usually not as short). Either way, focusing on your partner’s experience is a great way to share the pleasure. 🙂

      Thanks so much for your comments!!

    2. Thanks, Alyssa. I agree that it really does need to be said. I was lucky enough to marry a guy who was already aware that he should probably show down a bit, but that didn’t keep it from going a bit too fast for me sometimes. I agree that back-to-back sessions are a good thing, since men tend to be able to go for longer the more often they have sex, and we’ve also found that different positions help prolong the experience for him and speed it up for me.

      1. Wow, Paige! Great ideas. Do you have any “style manuals” you suggest for people interested in an appropriate discussion of positions that might be beneficial for a new married couple?

  20. Just a caveat: The diaphragm may no longer be a viable option. It was not taught at all in any of my rotations in residency (neither in family medicine nor in ob/gyn departments) and on the rare occasions I’ve had patients who wanted them I’ve referred to ob/gyn department where they are told “nobody does that any more.” But of course, I cannot speak for the entire country.

    1. Thank you Stephanie! You are definitely more of an expert than I when it comes to feminine health care options. That would be a good one to do more research on. 🙂

      1. I’m a certified nurse midwife and have been in practice for 13+ years. I have fitted 4 women with diaphragms. It requires a healthcare professional to do this. If you are wanting a diaphragm make sure to ask when you make your appointment if they have someone in the office who: 1. Knows how to do this and 2. The office has a diaphragm fitting kit in the office. We had one in the first clinic in which I worked but do not have one in the current clinic. They are not very popular and do have some drawbacks, but for a woman not wanting a hormonal method of contraception, they are great.

  21. The female urinary tract infection is the enemy of joy and fun, especially for the first six months or so.

    My best theory is that it is the vagina’s last and most desperate attempt to ask for some peace and quiet again. It’s own version of “Get off my lawn,” if you will.

    In defense of the male side of the equation, it isn’t as if women (assuming we’re still referring to the recently de-virgined) have already mastered the subtleties of the nuanced vagina…. And then along comes the bumbling dude to slam things into the delicate flower…… with his flower slamming tool.

    I think that it also takes time for women to learn how the “sex parts” of their anatomy work. There are two learning curves happening at the same time. The lady needs some time to learn what works for her, and the guy needs to figure out how to deliver that list (and figuring out how to everything especially.)

    The only advice I would give, (even though no one is asking me) is to not take any of it too seriously. Restaurants have menus for a reason. No one would freak out if their date didn’t order the exact same meal they did, every time. If someone thinks something on the menu looks cool and their partner isn’t up for it, just hold off, give it six months or whatever and then take another swing. The list of what works and what wins constantly gets longer and better. Unless you just stop trying…. So keep trying.

    1. Great thoughts, Kyle-person. I agree. Hygiene after sex is kind of a big deal, and a lot of young lovers don’t know that yet. High levels of sexual activity, coupled with the fact that you don’t know what you don’t know, can lead to recurring UTI infections for women. Make sure you are following some simple procedures – shower afterwards, go to the bathroom, and stop if you’re feeling pain. And, of course, go see a doctor if you are having anything more than a general saddle-sore feeling.

      1. “And, of course, go see a doctor if you are having anything more than a general saddle-sore feeling. ”

        Agreed. The VERY COMMON infection has been given the technical name “honeymoon cystitis”, basically meaning “the urinary tract infection you get on your honeymoon”. Best if you can talk this over with your fiance and your doctor before the wedding day.

        Both you and he should shower before intimacy, and you should clean up afterword and have good hygiene generally.

        Also, drinking a small amount of cranberry juice can help both to prevent the infection and to clean it up. Docs aren’t sure exactly why it works but they do know chemicals in the juice help keep the bacteria from sticking to urinary tract. When bacteria struggle to stick they are more likely to be washed out. The juice also changes your acidity and drinking fluids makes you go more often, these are also good things at avoiding infection. If you are already prone to UTI (as some women are), it might be a good idea to have a glass or two of juice for the week before and the week of your wedding.

        If it sticks around see your doctor. Urinary tract infections are very common and easily treated. Left untreated the infection can potentially spread and cause serious problems.

        1. Simply going to the bathroom after sex will keep UTI’s at bay. Women just have to urinate to flush out any germs that may have crept up into the urethra during sex. I do this religiously, and after a total of 6 years of marriage, I’ve never had a UTI. I also keep baby wipes on hand to feel a little cleaner.

  22. And don’t forget to ASK ASK ASK what your partner (might) like. Let’s be honest (this is directed more at the boy part of the equation cause boy parts are much simpler to grasp )snicker)), navigating the vagina can be like wandering a corn maze in the dark while wearing a blindfold. DO NOT be shy about asking the lady if she’s enjoying the experience. (Okay, back to both now) Good sex – the BEST sex – comes (snicker) when you do what you do not for your own enjoyment, but your partner’s enjoyment.

    Do you have any frikkin idea how dang hard it was to keep THIS clean!?

    1. LOLOLOL!! I am SOOOO proud of you WVSJ! You are my new hero!

      You are right – it’s okay to talk about it beforehand, too. I’m so glad you brought up what I like to call The Vagina Quandary. They can be intimidating, because they are all on the inside. It’s a good idea to get some intel from an experienced guy friend before diving in, as it were. And, of course, just ask questions if you don’t know. 🙂

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