Guide For Newlyweds: A Message for Men

We have some friends who are nearing their wedding day, and this has helped us to realize that there isn’t a great deal of information out there for what brand new couples should expect in the bedroom.  We are – and always will be! – strong advocates of waiting until marriage to experience sexual intimacy.  Our series on the Pain of Past Sexual Experiences is only the tip of the iceberg on why we believe all couples should wait before considering any type of physical sex.  But what should couples think through and discuss before they get married?  What specifics should each know before diving under the covers for the first time?  In this post we wanted to cover a few things men need to remember and consider before their first sexual experience:

1) You can’t mentally prepare for your first sexual encounter

We’re always writing about how each spouse should mentally prepare for sex throughout the day to help be emotionally ready for sexual intimacy.  But a word of caution to men: don’t do this for your first sexual encounter.  Sure, you can mentally prepare for the overall enjoyment that you will experience, but we can assure you that your first time won’t be anything like what you think it will be.  She may (or may not) be very nervous about availing her full body to you.  Chances are, she’s not going to be overly vocal and tell you how amazing the experience is while it’s happening.  To be honest, the first time penetration occurs may prove painful for her.

If you want to emotionally prepare for your first time, prepare words of encouragement for your wife.  Be sure to tell her it’s a new experience for you as well and how much you’re looking forward to finding out what works for you both.  Emotionally prepare yourself that it won’t be anything like what you may think or imagine.  Emotionally prepare yourself that you may ejaculate before she reaches climax.  Emotionally prepare yourself that she may not orgasm and you shouldn’t feel like a failure because of it.  Emotionally prepare yourself that your body is just as much hers as hers is yours.

2) What pleases you won’t please her

There seems to be this misnomer (and the entertainment industry does little to help) that you’ll both enjoy sex in the exact same ways and you’ll both experience orgasm at the exact same time.  Sorry to break it to you, but this just isn’t going to happen.  In fact, there’s a very good chance that she will not attain orgasm during your first sexual encounter.  Nevertheless, do your very best to take your time.  Your in-and-out thrusts probably won’t excite her and very well may make the experience shorter than need be.   Once penetration occurs, give her the opportunity to verbalize what feels good for her and what doesn’t.  If it is slightly painful, discuss if any lubrications may help (but don’t use them unless you need to!) or change positions.  Consider allowing her to start out on top so that she controls all movement.  This will help her to more quickly learn what she likes, when she likes it and when/how to be touched, kissed, and caressed.  And as you discover what she likes, you’ll discover that what pleases her DOES please you, but in a much different way than you may have anticipated.

3) Get to know her body

While you’re more than ready to jump in the sack, you really need to understand your wife’s body.  Yes, she has breasts and you’re now free to fondle them.  Yes, she has a vagina that awaits.  But you must understand that not all sexual stimulation happens through her breasts or vagina.  Get to know the clitoris.  If necessary, allow her to show it to you during foreplay as you begin your first sexual experience. This little knob of flesh is the absolute lynchpin to much – if not all – of her sexual stimulation.

In fact, for your first encounter it may be a good idea to have an extended make-out session where you have the opportunity to kiss and touch parts of her body that have never been revealed.  As she begins to be more and more open to the experience that’s about to take place, begin by rubbing your hand up and down her inner thigh.  Once she responds positively, slowly work your way up and gently massage all flesh around her vagina.  Be sure to touch her directly on the clitoris and use a little bit of lotion if necessary.  As her body warms up to you, her vagina will naturally secrete fluid that will make penetration easier for you both.  Just remember our words of advice from above, it’s still a good idea to give her permission to control the movement.  You want this moment to last and you want her to enjoy it as much as possible.  If you take your time, who knows, you may discover that she is able to climax during your first sexual encounter.  If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.  Whatever happens, don’t beat yourself up and remember that you have a lifetime to continue to get to know each other sexually.

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We’ve got more to say on this subject of sex for newlyweds including thoughts for her. But if you have other intimacy related things men should know ahead of time, feel free to drop a line in the comments below.

Guide for Newlyweds: Things to Discuss

We have some friends who are nearing their wedding day, and we’ve come to realize that there isn’t a great deal of information out there for what brand new couples should expect in the bedroom.  We are – and always will be! – strong advocates of waiting until marriage to experience sexual intimacy.  Our series on the Pain of Past Sexual Experiences is only the tip of the iceberg on why we believe all couples should wait before considering any type of physical sex.  But what should couples think through and discuss before they get married?

While many couples may choose to have some type of pre-marriage counseling before getting hitched (at least we hope they do), some of the available pre-marriage advice on the subject of sexual intimacy is brief and not overly helpful.  Not only that, but some pastors may spend a great deal of time discussing religion and finances and assume that when it comes to sex, you’ll eventually figure it out. But we believe there are certain topics and questions about sexual intimacy that all couples should discuss at length with each other ahead of time, and this discussion will help set-the-stage for decades of freedom and joy in the area of sexual intimacy.

10  Questions Couples Should Discuss Before You Get Married:

1) What is your view of sex?  Is it something that is fun and liberating?  Is it extremely private?  Is it something else…?

Each individual’s view of sex comes from a variety of areas.  Some of it will come from the cultural and education system we’re all a part of.  Some of it will come from family experience (did dad often kiss/touch mom in your family or were they very reserved?)  Chances are, you will both have some differing views on sex.  One may view any conversation about sex as improper, while the other may believe that conversations about sex should be open and frequent.  One may have a vivid imagination as to what sex is going to be like and the other may feel nervous and intimidated.  Whatever the case may be, you’ve got to make conversation about sex a part of your pre-marriage discussions.  If you both have completely different expectations, it’ll be much better to discuss them before marriage than for your mate to discover their expectations were far from yours ahead of time.

2) How often are we going to plan to have sex on our honeymoon?

Honeymoon’s are great!  The two of you get to travel somewhere special all by yourselves and spend a week or so on-your-own before beginning to settle in and start your marriage.  But one of you may have some honeymoon expectations that the other doesn’t have.  One of you may be thinking you’re going to enjoy sex 2-3 (or more) times a day, and the other may be thinking that one good romp every evening will suffice.  One may think that it will only happen in the bedroom and another may have thoughts of jacuzzi sex.  You’ll want to discuss what each of your hopes and aspirations are to ensure the honeymoon is a delight for you both.

3) How often are we going to plan to have sex throughout our marriage?

Seriously, we can’t emphasize this question enough.  The majority of couples get married without ever discussing how often they’re going to plan to connect.  One may be thinking sex will happen as often as possible, while the other believes once a week will suffice.  The truth is, you may not be able to answer this question fully before your married.  Nevertheless, we highly recommend all couples plan for sex at an absolute minimum of once a week.  Intimacy is absolutely vital for a healthy marriage, and it must remain frequent, in high seasons and in low.  Take the opportunity to not only discuss how often you plan to engage sexually, but also to discuss what steps you can each take to meet or exceed that goal.

4) Are you up for engaging in oral sex?  Why or why not?

Oral sex is one of those subjects that a pre-marriage counselor isn’t likely to bring up.  One of you may be looking forward to the idea of oral sex and the other may be completely repulsed by the idea.  It would be good to know ahead of time.  If you’re both on the same page, feel free to just move on to another question.  But if one is accepting of giving oral sex but not receiving, or vice versa, talk about the reasons why.  Be sure to show respect for the other’s point of view and once you’re married, don’t ask them to do something you know makes them uncomfortable.  But you should both be willing to keep the conversation on-going, as once you warm up to each other sexually you may decide to cross a line you swore you’d never cross.  And in the end, you may discover you’re very glad you did.

5) What kinds of things are “out of bounds” when it comes to sex?

Both of you have some ideas as to what “crosses a line” in the bedroom.  But what those are for you and what they are for your fiancé may be different.  You will want to know what may be out of bounds for your partner before you get married.  Additionally, your fiancé may have some ideas that you’ve never considered, or vice versa.  One of you may want to experience sex on a beach, in the woods, or some other ‘abnormal’ location. One of you may find that some sex toys are acceptable, while others are not.  Find out ahead of time what your spouse has in mind as well as the things that are off-limits.

6) What are we going to do when one of us wants sex and the other doesn’t?

Once you’re married, your body is no longer your own.  You’re not 2 individuals, but one unit.  There will be occasions where 1/2 of that unit is looking for the physical reminder that you’re “one” and the other 1/2 isn’t feeling the need for that physical reminder.  What do you do?  Oftentimes, a compromise may be able to be made.  But don’t plan for compromises at the expense of your marriage.  If one of you is craving sexual intimacy, it’s best to go for it.  If this doesn’t sound appealing to one of you, you’re going to want to talk this through at length before getting married.

7) Are we going to have a TV in our bedroom?

Many households today have TV’s everywhere.  They’re in the livingroom, bedroom, and some houses even have small one’s in the kitchen.  When it comes to your bedroom, you’re going to both want to be on the same page.  If you choose to have a television in your bedroom, we’re not going to tell you it’s wrong.  However, we have a personal conviction that a television in the bedroom will hinder your sexual relationship.  One of you may lose heart when you discover your spouse spends more time watching the nightly news than watching your naked body.  Or perhaps one wants to cuddle after sex and the other wants to watch tv.  A television in the bedroom can cause some emotional struggles in either spouse, so we recommend caution in this regard.

8) After we’re married, are there any limits on when/how I touch you?

This goes back to what we said in #1.  Some grow up in a family where mom and dad were very open about their love for one another verbally and physically.  There’s the normal “I love you” but there’s also the pats on the butt and the big hug from behind.  Others may grow up in an environment where talking/touching doesn’t happen anywhere around others.  You’re going to want to know what kinds of PDA are off-limits with your spouse.  He may desire the occasional “come-from-behind-double-boob-scoop”, or she may desire the occasional “I’m-going-rub-your-inner-thigh-while-we-watch-this-movie-even-with-the-kids-in-the-room”.  Where do you draw the line in your public display of affection?  Get on the same page now before you do something that makes your spouse sexually ice cold.

9) Are we going to allow our children to hinder our sex lives?

You may easily come to agreement on this question now, but chances are, once children enter your marriage your sex lives may change.  Hormones for her are vastly different after children and emotional changes for him aren’t uncommon either.  Before children, talk about what your intimate lives will be like after children, and set goals that you both agree you’re willing to strive for.

10) Is there anything from your sexual past that I’m not aware of?

As mentioned above, we’re high advocates of waiting until marriage for sexual intimacy.  Nevertheless, we recognize that many individuals are sexually active before marriage.  Your spouse must be made aware of any sexual experiences you’ve had in the past before you get married.  It could be a college fling, or it could be a dreadful event such as being molested as a child.  Whatever it is, be sure they understand how much you regret the event from ever happening.  Be open and discuss how much pain you still have from these experiences.  The more open and vulnerable you are, the better off the conversation will be.

If by any chance you’re the one on the receiving end of this conversation, remember that while this event has happened in their past, they still chose you.  It’s you they want to spend the remainder of their life with.  It’s you they recognize as their best friend.  It’s you they want to experience the beauty of sexual intimacy with on a regular basis.  It’s you they want…period.  As difficult as it may be to hear what they have to say, it’s vital to remember they want you, and only you the rest of their lives.

There are many more questions we can consider, but these should provide plenty of pre-marriage dialog.  Nevertheless, if you can think of any questions you wish you had discussed before you were married, feel free to write them out in the comments below.

Thermostat Wars:

Megan and I were both band geeks when we were in high school.  The good thing about being in the band is that if rehearsal started at 6pm, you had to be there, have your instrument out, and be ready to rehearse at 6m.  This engrained something into both of us – show up 15 minutes early.  Even after years of marriage, it’s rare that we’re late to anything.  In fact, we’re usually the first one’s to arrive. (We’re often the first one’s to leave, too…but that’s for a different reason.)  *wink*

One area of disagreement we do have, however, is the thermostat.  I mean seriously, is there another married couple anywhere who doesn’t debate about what the inside temperature should be?  This morning it was around 67 degrees in our house.  67.  I won’t say who had the thermostat down that far but I do know that it didn’t last.

Getting on the same page with the thermostat will be a dilemma for marriage counselors to continue to solve for years to come.  But when it comes to the bedroom, this is an area where you both need to be on the same page.  Temperature matters.  Does she prefer to be under the covers?  Does he prefer to be on top of the covers?  Does she want to start out clothed and slowly shred various articles of clothing one by one as she warms up to his sexual advances?  Does he just want to walk around naked without a care in the world? (Note to men: God made the female body sexier than a male.  She’s about as interested in your naked strut as you are in her being fully clothed.  Sorry to break this to you, but it’s true.)

Anyway, when it comes to turning up the heat, you both need to be on the same page as often as possible.

Men: Find out how she likes to physically and emotionally prepare for sex, and make it happen.  If she wants the room to be warm, then turn on a small heater 15-20 minutes prior.  If she wants to be under the covers, then dive under the covers.  In the end, you’re going to get what you want either way.  So work to make the experience as good for her as possible.  Once she has that experience, she’ll be much more open to any suggestion you’d like to present as well.  And remember, if she ever says, “I would prefer it if you would…” she’s not saying she doesn’t enjoy sex with you! She’s saying she enjoys it, and wants to make it that much more memorable.  Listen to her without judgment, and please her in the ways she see’s fit.

Women: It’s vital that you communicate your bedroom preferences to your husband as often as possible.  He needs to know exactly what buttons to push and when to push them to get you mentally turned from daily routines to bedroom play. Be sure to communicate clearly, not judgmentally. Ensure he knows you enjoy sex with him and you just want it to be even better.  If you have specifics for room temperature, clothing, bed covers, scents, clutter or anything else you can think of, then discuss it until you both come to an agreement. Chances are, he’ll be happy to pick up the dirty clothes on the floor if it means you’ll be more likely to sexually engage.

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Do you have another suggestion for bedroom preparation? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

Q & A on Friday: Date Ideas

Let’s face it.  Before marriage, none of us really cared what kind of date we went on.  We were just thrilled to be with somebody special, somebody who made us feel special.  It could’ve been a night in an Italian restaurant, a movie, or even just a stroll through a park.  But years into marriage, most couples try to think of creative date ideas.  The idea of a movie night, Italian restaurant, or stroll through the park are old hat.  So, what are some creative date ideas?  And how does one prepare for them?

1) Put date nights on the calendar:

If your life is anything like ours, you’re always running somewhere.  Kids have friends they want to hang out with and activities in which they’re always involved. Life doesn’t stop.  Therefore, it’s completely appropriate, and often necessary, to block out sections on your calendar well in advance to have a date night.

Some creative events you can plan for may include:

August 9-14 – The Perseid Meteor Shower:  Beginning in July, Earth travels through a string of meteors that create a fascinating number of “shooting stars” every evening.  The best time for results this year is from August 9-14, with the maximum potential on August 12.  This is difficult to plan for, as the weather has to be clear to have good viewing.  But you can block out a few evenings during this period of time now so that you can plan an outside date night with your mate.  Once the kids are in bed, just grab a blanket, some fruit, maybe some wine, and head outside for a couple of hours.  If it works out just right, drop off the kids somewhere else for the evening.  Sparks in the sky may lead to fireworks in bed.

To keep the astronomy theme going, you can also find a local astronomy club or even contact a local college/university and find out when they have summer classes.  Simply ask when they’re going to be doing their next nighttime observation and ask if you can join in.  Most will be excited to have you, and you’ve just scheduled a great date night that won’t cost you a thing.

Plan a scavenger hunt: Chances are, you’re friends with 3 or 4 other couples who would love to take a few hours on a Saturday to compete in a scavenger hunt.  Just ask a trusted friend to organize it, and then plan to all meet in the same location to go over the rules/items necessary to complete the contest.  Everybody can chip in $5-$10 so there is a prize for the winning couple, or you can simply do it for the fun of being together.

Shoot Stuff: Some guys like to shoot guns, bows and arrows, or anything else that may cause damage.  But maybe you’re married to a guy who has done this kind of stuff on his xbox, but has never had the opportunity to do it in real life.  Or maybe he does it often, but she’s never joined him.  Or maybe you think this idea is just plain weird.  Whatever the case, plan a date at a local shooting range and shoot at a few targets.  Be sure you have all the necessary equipment (some shooting ranges may have it on-hand) and have your own fun competition to see who has better aim.  It probably won’t cost very much, and whether he admits it or not, he’ll have a good time.  Even if she has better aim.

2) Make the Date Night a Surprise:

While you may need to put the date on your calendar ahead of time, some of the best date suggestions are the ones your spouse doesn’t know about.  While any of the above suggestions may work, there are a wide variety of things you can do to surprise your spouse with an unexpected date.

Generally speaking, child care is a biggie.  Once you have that covered, you can do anything you want. You can enjoy an evening out on the town, or you can see how many positions you can enjoy within a 2-hour period of time.  Whatever works for you, just enjoy being with each other!

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We’re sure we’ll write additional creative date ideas in the future.  Nevertheless, if you’ve got another fun date suggestions, feel free to offer it in the comments below!

The Dating Diva’s is a great website with many more ideas than we could ever possibly come up with on our own.  Enjoy checking them out!

Valentine’s Day: Ditch the “Event” Mindset

This is part 3 in a series we’ve dedicated to making Valentine’s Day a great day for your marriage.  Through this series we have been advocates for planning a “Going All Out” and “Going All In” kind of evening.  That said, we recognize that a one evening “event” doesn’t make a great marriage.

I (Megan) had it all planned out.  Justin had been having a busy and overwhelming time at work so I planned  the perfect one night retreat for us.  I arranged for the kids to have an overnight visit with grandparents and started planning a fun, “Going All Out” kind of night.  These arrangements were made because I have learned that when my man is struggling and feeling like a failure in certain aspects of life, knowing that he can have great sex with an exuberant and willing wife makes his other troubles seem less burdensome.

So here I was, a night of fun, unexpected, uninterrupted intimate time with the love of my life planned.  In my mind this night was going to be epic.  Then… life happened.  A kid got sick, we had to cancel and I was crushed that all my plans had fallen through.  I was disappointed that all my planning seemed to have gone to waste.  Somehow though, I knew nothing was actually wasted.  Here is why:

Great sex is not an event but the overflow of a great marriage. 

Sex can often provide a lifeline to our marriages, some respite from the harsh realities of our existence on planet earth.  Any sacrifices of time and mental energy to build our marriages and our sex lives are not in vain.  Sometimes special events don’t go as planned or some great idea in the bedroom flops.  We can either be devastated or learn from it.  What happens if you try a new position that just doesn’t work for you, or you do something playful to entice your spouse and they don’t respond as you expect them too?  Ask yourself, “Did I put my time and energy into an event or did I put it into my marriage?”  Often times the answer may be that you did both. However, if you are left with only feelings of devastation or anger, chances are you built up this one experience into an event, a one time experience that will change everything and make the world right.

With Valentine’s Day next week, we want to encourage you to think about how you can add something fun or different to your normal routine.  Thinking outside the box of chocolates and card is great and often has many rewards.  Please understand, however, that great sex comes out of great marriages.  Marriages where couples communicate well and love, honor and respect one another.  These are  marriages who have great sex.  While we continually recommend ideas about how to enhance your sex life, doing so with the goal of building a stronger marriage is essential. So go ahead, go all out and plan something extravagant but leave the “event” mindset behind.  We are building lives and marriages…not a resume.

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We would love to hear from you!  Has sex ever become an “event” for you rather than an overflow of a great marriage?  Or have you ever had a date not go as you had planned?

 

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