Before I got married, I thought I knew it all when it came to sex. Even though I had never actually done it before Zach and I got married, I was pretty confident in my knowledge. I had read enough marriage books and dating books to think that I knew all the things I needed to know. I guess I did know all the things I needed to know, but there were still a few things that surprised me about sex after I got married and actually starting doing it.
If you’re single or engaged or newly married even, here are a few things that I’ve learned in the last couple of years that I think it would be helpful for you to know.
1. Sex won’t change your life as much as you might think.
I shared this in the last post, but it bears repeating here: Sex is not all that culture and movies and music make it out to be. I honestly don’t think it’s the most important part of life. It’s important to life (after all, none of us would be here without it), but it isn’t the one thing that does or should define you. This is true whether you’re single or you’re married. It’s a great and powerful and intimate experience, but it’s not the only or greatest thing in the world. Experiencing sex will not make you wiser or better or worse. You are still you. It doesn’t change who you are.
2. It’s a small percentage of your marriage
For a long time, I thought that married people must be “doing it” all the time. This is funny considering that the married people I lived with for most of my life, my parents, weren’t “doing it” all the time. In reality, sex is a small part, time wise, of married life. Is sex a significant part of married life? Yes, but it doesn’t take up the vast majority of our time. We spend more time working at our jobs and doing mundane things like eating than we do having sex. Once again, sex is significant, but it’s only a piece of what marriage is all about, and a small piece (time wise) at that.
3. Boys (or at least all boys) don’t want to do it 24/7
After reading the book Every Young Man’s Battle in high school, I had this idea that all boys want sex 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I found out within the first 24 hours of our marriage that that was not true. I had always imagined that my husband and I would have sex multiple times the first night we were married. After all, that’s what guys want right? Wrong. If a guy has spent the past three days hanging out with all his friends that he hasn’t seen in a long time, sleeping very little, and going through all the prep, pomp, and circumstance of a wedding, no, he does not want sex multiple times in one night. Does he want sex? Yes, but he also wants sleep.
Even after our honeymoon, I found that my husband wasn’t some sort of sex fiend always wanting to “do it” every time we saw each other (another thing that I imagined was true in high school). Does he want to have sex? Yes, but not all the time. Sometimes sleep is more important. Sometimes he’s stressed out about work or sick or just exhausted. Honestly, I think it’s better that way. Thinking that a man wants to have sex all the time no matter what the circumstances is a little bit demeaning to men.
4. It’s not as sexy as the movies make it
If all of your knowledge about sex came from movies, you would think it was this euphoric experience where both people look great, move smoothly, and are completely satisfied. In reality, sometimes sex doesn’t feel sexy. Never in the movies do people make weird noises with their bodies while having sex (though that happens sometimes, at least to my husband and I, and sometimes it’s funny). I’ve never seen anyone in a movie accidentally poke their partner’s eye while having sex (I did that once). Sometimes you get stuck or you get kind of tangled up together and have to figure out how to untangle yourself (maybe that’s just because I’m klutzy and awkward?). Honestly, sometimes sex is more humorous than sexy and it very rarely feels like a scene out of a movie.
Contrary to what you see in the movies, both people are not always 100% satisfied after having sex either. Usually when that happens, it’s the girl who’s left wanting. We were told in our pre-marital class that women don’t always orgasm during sex. I kind of brushed that off and figured it wasn’t true. Then I found out it is true. Sometimes my body just won’t cooperate, try as I and my husband might. From everything I’ve read, this seems to be a common thing amongst women. We’re a little more complicated than guys and sometimes that’s a little frustrating. Which brings me to my next point:
5. There’s a learning curve
Movies also make it seem like the first time you have sex your bound to be great it or that if you’re not great at it you just suck and there’s no hope for you. I don’t think either of those things are true. Sex takes some practice. I was actually told that long ago in a college class, but I didn’t buy it. The idea just seemed dumb. It’s true though.
Just like with anything else, you’re not automatically going to be great at it when you’re starting out. It takes time to figure out what you like and what your spouse likes. It can be a little frustrating at the beginning when you’re having sex, but not sure you’re really enjoying it to the full yet (once again, girls are more complicated and there’s a bigger learning curve for them generally speaking). Things do get better though. I honestly think it took us a couple of months before I felt like we really knew what we were doing.
6. It’s messy
Okay, so here’s another thing that’s never brought up in movies (or in any of the books I read either), but that you should know. I’m actually really feisty about this one because no one told me and I was kind of mad about it. Sex is messy. Before I got married, I knew the mechanics of sex. I knew that there would be moisture/liquids involved. I just assumed that 1) there wasn’t that much liquid involved and 2) all those liquids got sucked up into our bodies somehow. Those were both incorrect assumptions. All those fun liquids are just hanging out and you have to figure out what to do with them if you don’t want a giant wet spot in your bed. I highly suggest having a towel or something handy.
7. Sex is hard to talk about
You would think that if you’re having sex with your spouse, it would be easy for the two of you to talk about it. For some reason, not so much. It’s just awkward when you’re not having sex to talk about it, but there are some things that you might want to talk about that would be awkward to say while you’re doing it (i.e. “I wish we were having more sex” is kind of a weird thing to blurt out while you’re in the midst of doing it).
You don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings and make them think they’re not making you happy. It can be hard to say what you want sometimes (sometimes you don’t even know what you want). Just like with a lot of things in life, you just have to push past the awkwardness and have that weird conversation if you want things to get any better.
If you’re looking for some additional resources on how to start a conversation with your spouse about sex or if you’re getting married soon and are looking for some helpful resources, you should check out the books below. All of them are ones I’ve personally read and found helpful. Feel free to share any additional resources or things you’ve learned or wondered about sex in the comments below.