It’s wedding season! With intimacy issues as one of the major causes of divorce and dissatisfaction in marriage, couples would be wise to prepare for the honeymoon and the intimate aspects of marriage just as much as they prepare for the wedding day.
John and Jill both had excited anticipation about their honeymoon night. But without sufficient education and conversation about each other’s expectations their marriage got off to a pretty rough start. Both felt hurt and isolated from each other emotionally for much of their honeymoon. Jill explained that rather than the beautiful experience it was supposed to be it created a wedge that took many years for them to heal.
This honeymoon guide will help you have a much better sexual start to your marriage providing a solid intimate foundation for your relationship. It could be used as discussion topics with your sweetheart and/or as a way to discuss intimate issues with your parents so that they can share their thoughts on preparing you well for your honeymoon.
The purpose of the honeymoon is to have private time together to relax and connect—getting to know each other—mind, body and soul—and enjoying each other sexually. Every couple will be a little different in their hopes and desires and expectations for an enjoyable first sexual experience.
Whatever you think will make the first time a positive one is what you’ll want to discuss and shoot for together. The following are some suggestions to help you prepare for a positive and happy honeymoon. The first two suggestions are things to do before the honeymoon, and the rest are things to do on the honeymoon.
- 1. Get Educated Sexually
- 2. Talk
- 3. Be Lighthearted and Playful
- 4. Keep Things Simple
- 5. Freshen Up and Create Ambience
- 6. Go Slow
- 7. Have “Intimate” Supplies Available
- 8. Prevent Honeymoon UTIs
- 9. Engage in Other Intimate Honeymoon Activities
- 10. Keep Learning about Lovemaking
1. Get Educated Sexually
It’s very important to get some good education especially about female sexual wiring and anatomy before and during the honeymoon. It’s critical to understand the need for emotional closeness as well as the importance of the clitoris in her sexual arousal and climax. Be sure you understand that women tend to need some warm up and emotional intimacy for lovemaking to feel connected and fulfilling.
While it tends to be fairly easy and automatic for a man to climax, careful attention to the clitoris is needed for her to also experience the heights of sexual pleasure. The clitoris is the female equivalent of the penis so that alone should help anyone understand it’s importance in lovemaking.
Women would be wise to use a mirror to figure out exactly where her clitoris is and be able to guide her husband there on the honeymoon. It may also be helpful for men to learn a little bit about the clitoris and where it is as well so that it won’t be a foreign concept on the honeymoon. It may take time and practice for her to experience a climax given the need of the mind and body to be in sync.
Couples can benefit from reading as much as they can of these two books before marriage: And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment and Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. The reality is that most young couples don’t have a lot of time to read and don’t usually start preparing early enough to be able to learn what would be good for them to know.
It’s such a busy time for couples prior to marriage that I suggest even just reading chapters 3-5 (the female sexual response and male/female sexual differences) of And They Were Not Ashamed and chapters 6-8 (Talk/Touch/Technique) in Knowing HER Intimately for at least a good start in preparing for the honeymoon.
Walking through the Sensate Focus exercises in chapter 11 of And They Were Not Ashamed could be a great sexual “get-to-know-you” activity for the honeymoon. These exercises are a series of graduated touching activities to warm things up from simple affection to more amorous activities.
Be sure to share your thoughts and expectations about the wedding night with each other a couple weeks or so in advance so that you can both be mindful of creating a positive first experience together. You may have no idea what to expect or even what to talk about. Try to imagine what you’d like the first time to be like and talk about that together.
Do you imagine maybe just cuddling and relaxing together the first night or do you imagine that you’ll have sex right away? Some questions you might ask each other prior to the honeymoon include:
- How do you see our honeymoon night playing out?
- What are you most looking forward to?
- What worries do you have?
If there is some discussion about the honeymoon sexual experiences prior to the honeymoon, then discomfort with the topic, as well as fears and concerns can be minimized. Including trusted loved ones, a marriage counselor or your family doctor in a discussion about sex might be helpful.
Continue an open dialogue about your sexual relationship throughout the honeymoon and beyond to learn about each other’s likes and dislikes (accelerators and brakes) as well as the what, when, and how to touch most pleasurably.
3. Be Lighthearted and Playful
One of the best ways to have a great honeymoon is to be lighthearted and playful about sex and the whole honeymoon itself. This helps to keep things fun, relaxed and any pressure to a minimum. Try not to overthink things as that can be counter-productive. Just let the night unfold as naturally as possible. Especially since you are both just getting to know each other’s bodies, hearts and minds, it’s good to be easy going about the little mishaps that will likely happen along the way.
Shoot for a fun and flirty time together and it will make everything more enjoyable. It might be fun to bring along massage oils, whipping cream or chocolate syrup for some added fun and adventure, or just keep things simple if that is your preference. It’s best to have some conversation about these things prior to the honeymoon.
4. Keep Things Simple
Don’t plan to fulfill all of your wildest fantasies on your honeymoon especially if either of you are feeling a little nervous or if any of those fantasies have been fueled by pornography. Some couples have inadvertently wounded the intimate relationship right from the start by expecting things they’ve seen in the movies or in pornographic media. Most women are not going to be interested in “porn-star sex.”
There’s plenty of time for experimenting and developing your sexual relationship together throughout your marriage, so just be tuned in to each other’s expectations and keep an open discussion going about this aspect of your marriage.
Especially in the beginning, it may be wise to lean toward the speed and desires of the more hesitant partner to make sure sex is an emotionally safe endeavor. Keep in mind that stress and fatigue are counterproductive to good sex as well. Performance pressures of any kind can be libido killing for either partner.
Don’t expect perfection. Don’t put pressure on yourselves to have a perfect honeymoon or perfect sex. Part of the fun can be fumbling around together! Good, connected sex takes time and practice…so just have fun practicing!
5. Freshen Up and Create Ambience
Some couples may be planning on a hot and heavy honeymoon experience right from the start, and that’s great! For others it might be nice to plan for some ambience and romance that first night. Turning on some romantic music is a great way to set the mood for a relaxing and/or passionate evening.
To create a more relaxed and romantic environment give each other some time to freshen up prior to being intimate by brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, washing your hands and even slipping into something a little more comfortable. It’s not a real turn on for either of you to have bad breath or body odor.
Keeping mints or gum on hand can also keep your breath fresh for all the spontaneous kissing that will likely occur throughout your honeymoon. Maintaining good hygiene is also a great way to show love and respect for your sweetheart. Freshening up can help remove some of the common inhibitors of sexual intimacy.
Adding some fun “wrappings” with lingerie can be a sensually pleasant way to add to the ambience and excitement of the intimate adventures. And in case you are famished at the end of a long wedding day and didn’t eat much at your reception you might want to get something to eat first or have some snacks on hand to bring your energy back up.
You might even consider praying together for the first time as husband and wife to invite God into your intimate relationship from the very beginning.
6. Go Slow
Any new activity—even a positive one—can be a little anxiety-inducing. Making love for the first time is no exception. It’s not a bad idea to plan to take things slow especially on the wedding night. Plan for lots of foreplay. Women tend to require more time than men for their minds and bodies to warm up and turn on sexually, so take enough time for her sexual wiring to kick in.
You might even discuss if you’d like to wait until the next day if either of you are feeling particularly nervous or exhausted that night. No one’s ever died waiting “one more day” for sex and it can be a needed soft and slow start for some couples.
During lovemaking you’ll especially want to go even slower or stop if the bride experiences any pain. Being relaxed, feeling connected emotionally first and taking things slow all help avoid pain caused by nervousness, fear and tension. A small percentage of women may experience pain that should be addressed with a medical professional that specializes in sexual pain.
Grooms need to be especially attentive to her sexual cues rather than plow forward to fulfill their own long-anticipated desires. You might even start with a nice back massage before naturally moving into lovemaking unless you both have a “go-for-it” mindset!
7. Have “Intimate” Supplies Available
Sex can be a little messy sometimes, so be sure to have wipes immediately available. You might plan to have a towel underneath you to minimize any concerns about soiling the sheets. It may be nice for the bride to have tampons or pantiliners available to use after lovemaking to absorb the ejaculate unless you are using condoms for birth control.
It’s a good idea to have extra lubrication available during lovemaking i.e. Astroglide or Slippery Stuff Gel. Keep in mind that some lubricants may cause irritation. Since some nervousness is common on a honeymoon, having additional lubricant available may be useful for ease with insertion and greater comfort during intercourse especially in the beginning. It is also helpful with direct manual stimulation of the clitoris.
Women will naturally lubricate during arousal if she is sufficiently relaxed and if lovemaking is slow enough for her to get adequately aroused before intercourse begins. But having lubricant available is still a good plan.
8. Prevent Honeymoon UTIs
It’s a common honeymoon recommendation for women to get up and go to the bathroom soon after lovemaking to flush out unwanted bacteria. Sex can spread bacteria to the urethra and up into the bladder causing UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). Going to the bathroom before sex and having clean hands are also helpful in avoiding honeymoon UTIs.
Women can prevent UTIs by taking a probiotic ahead of time to build up the friendly bacteria in the intestines. This aids in fighting off infection. You might also request a prescription for an antibiotic from your doctor during your premarital exam to have with you on your honeymoon in case of a UTI. Drinking plenty of water can also help flush out your system regularly.
9. Engage in Other Intimate Honeymoon Activities
Though you may spend a fair bit of your honeymoon in bed, there will be some “intermission” time between lovemaking encounters. During that time while you are relaxing together, you could do other fun things like going through a list of “get-to-know-you” questions to ask each other. You might think of intimacy as “in-to-me-see,” so any get-to-know-you activities is another form of intimacy.
Some other fun activities might be showering together or taking a nice relaxing bath with a delicious fragranced bath bomb. Going for a walk or strolling through memory lane by going through pictures from your courtship could also be a fun way to continue to get to know each other better.
10. Keep Learning about Lovemaking
Since the honeymoon is primarily about sexual connecting, bring some good reading material and discuss your thoughts about what you are learning. The honeymoon is a great time to ask about each other’s likes and dislikes sexually. Each of you might even keep a list of your favorite things about lovemaking. Here are a few additional questions you might ask each other to get to know each other better sexually:
- What are three of your favorite things about lovemaking? (Accelerators)
- What are some of your favorite places on your body to be touched, kissed or caressed during lovemaking? (Accelerators)
- What are some things you don’t like as much about lovemaking? (Brakes)
- What is something you’ve thought might be fun to try sometime?
- What misconceptions did you have about sex before we got married?
- What do you wish we would have known about sex before we got married?
Honeymoon Packing List
To make it easier to remember what all to take on your honeymoon adventure consider the following items:
- Breath mints/gum
- Romantic bedroom music
- Lubrication (i.e. Astroglide or Slippery Stuff Gel)
- Scented candles
- Perfume/cologne/body spray
- Massage oils
- Sparkling cider
- Whipping cream/chocolate syrup
- Fun couples’ games
- “Get-to-know-you” couples questions
- Books/articles about sex
- Pictures/photo books
- Condoms or other birth control
- Probiotic and/or antibiotic (for potential honeymoon UTIs)
With intimacy issues as one of the major causes of divorce and dissatisfaction in marriage, I hope couples will take the time to get prepared for the marriage and honeymoon so that they may have a solid intimate foundation to their marriage.
BIO — Laura M. Brotherson, LMFT, CST, CFLE
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified Sex Therapist, Laura M. Brotherson is the founder of “The Marital Intimacy Institute” with a mission to help couples create “sextraordinary” marriages. She counsels with couples and individuals in private practice (and online) and is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy–specializing in healthy sexuality, sex therapy, and sex addiction. She is the author of the best-selling book, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage and now her latest book — From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage.
As a Certified Family Life Educator, Laura is also actively engaged in helping to build strong marriages and families by providing marriage education through “Couples’ Cruises,” articles, newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, “The Marital Intimacy Show” podcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is a regular contributor to the KSL Television “Studio 5” morning show. Laura and her husband, Kevin, are the parents of three grown children and are the founders of StrengtheningMarriage.com—your trusted resource for education, products, and services to strengthen marriages … intimately!
Connect with Laura: