Does Whether Or Not You Have Sex On Your Wedding Night Really Matter?

Photographed by Lula Hyers.
Ordinary things can seem monumental on your wedding day, and that includes the sex you have on the big night. But that's not always a good thing.
"Society teaches us that wedding night sex is a big deal, and there is so much pressure put on wedding night sex to be this magical or wildly hot event," says Rachel Needle, PsyD, a licensed psychologist and director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes.
To some religious groups, wedding night sex is a significant event, because they believe that's the way you "consummate" a marriage, or make the union official with god. That being said, surveys suggest that the majority of people — about 75% — have already had sex before their wedding night. So, for many of them, their wedding is just another night in paradise. And, as blasphemous as it may sound to some folks, there are plenty of couples out there who don't have sex at all on the big night. One unscientific survey from a lingerie company in 2016 found that 52% of people said they didn't have sex on their wedding night.
With all of the hype around weddings, it's not crazy to wonder: Is foregoing wedding night sex actually that big of a deal for your relationship? Of course not, but it can feel like it is. There are a ton of very good reasons why sex might not happen right after you tie the knot. These events can be like marathons and can span days, so if you're too drunk, tired, or riled up to have sex when the night comes, your partner probably won't take it personally, and might be feeling the same way, too, Dr. Needle says.
At the same time, many couples feel pressure to have amazing sex on specific nights or special occasions, like their wedding night, anniversary, or birthday, simply because it’s a special calendar date, Dr. Needle says. But this can be a recipe for pressure and anxiety — and less-than-amazing sex. Sometimes, saying, "We are going to have great sex on this date," just builds up unreasonable expectations and leads to disappointment. Then again, some people thrive on planning sex, because it can build anticipation and excitement, so if that works for you, go for it, she says.
The good news is: Like many things about wedding planning, you'll feel better about the whole thing if you just chill and let the cards fall as they may. "Why not just enjoy the emotional connection and physical affection — not leading up to sex — without the added pressure of what you 'should' be doing on that day?" Dr. Needle says. It might be worth it to literally tell your partner, "We might not have sex tonight, so can we focus on having fun today, and save the celebratory vacation sex for the honeymoon?" Of course, you could very well have wedding night sex — mind-blowing sex, even — but the point is that there's no reason to stress either way. There's nothing "wrong" with your relationship if you're not all over each other every minute, Dr. Needle says.
And just because you didn't have insanely good sex on your first night together as a married couple, that doesn't mean you don't have a great sex life in general. "Being physically intimate and connected to your partner is important and special any time, not just on certain occasions," she says. Lucky for you, you have until death do you part to figure out how to make that happen.

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