A weeklong series dedicated to skewering the traditions, expectations, and psychodrama that surround wedding season.
Large-scale event planning is not, generally speaking, an aphrodisiac. Most people would not choose a day they’ve spent throwing the biggest party they’re ever likely to throw as the ideal time for a symbolically significant sexual encounter. And still, the expectation of wedding sex persists.
We talked to eight married people about what happened and what didn’t happen after the guests left.
“We definitely didn’t fuck on our wedding night. We didn’t ‘make love’ either. But we kind of emotionally made love. We laid there, dizzy and woozy from the whole night, just lying in each other’s arms in silence. It was a tender and intimate moment that lasted maybe a half hour. Like, ‘Wow, we really did it, and we did it so right, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life right now.’”
“It was the absolutely very last thing I wanted to do.”
“Like every other bride I know, I got drunk and fell asleep. I don’t think we even boned in the morning; I was too hung-over and lazy. There were no expectations so it was fine, though I did wear a pair of white lacy bride underwear, as one does. We left for our honeymoon right after and had sex three times a day there, which compensated.”
“My husband and I were together for about ten years before we got married, so, needless to say, we had had sex hundreds of times by our ‘Wedding Night.’ We didn’t think of it as something special or ‘consummating our marriage.’ But we did feel pressure to have it because we felt it was lame not to. Neither of us expected it to be some mind-blowing situation — we didn’t care if it was good or not, it just had to happen.
“When the time came to go up to our room at the hotel that night, our first priority was opening the envelopes we received from all of the guests. We were more excited about that then any potential ‘wedding-night sex.’ So, still dressed in my wedding gown and he in his tux, we ripped open the envelopes, spent hours going through each, looking at the checks, counting our money. That was orgasmic in and of itself.
“But we had committed to having sex. So, just like a couple who has been together for ten-plus years normally does, after counting the money, we took off our wedding attire, washed our faces, got ready for bed — the way we had hundreds of times before, and had sex. Just plain old sex. And went to bed. Nothing crazy, but at least in the morning at brunch when our friends asked if we had sex we could say yes. And they did ask.”
“Our wedding sex was the definition of unremarkable.”
“Three words: obligatory, exhausted, rudimentary. That about sums it up for us. Oh, and 7 months preggers.”
“I felt like I had to have sex on my wedding night — it was just always how I pictured the night ending (sexy lingerie bought just for the occasion, and all). In reality, we got back from our impromptu after-party in the hotel lobby at 3 a.m., after having one too many shots. I don’t remember much, but I do know that I demanded we have sex. I managed to put on some sort of negligee, but I can confidently say my husband did not give it the appreciation it was due. In the morning, we woke up and had leftover cupcakes for breakfast — that part we both remember perfectly.”
“My perma-horny boyfriend-turned-husband couldn’t get it up on our wedding night. That did not bode well for our marriage! I was kind of freaked by it. But I didn’t make a big deal. He was absolutely exhausted, just zonked out of his mind — and body. We had sex a few days later when the dust settled, and it was great. So, whatever to wedding sex!”