In three weeks, I am going to marry a marvelous girl. She promises that she is a virgin too. I am very glad! Yet I worry. How can I marry? I know too little about sex. When I hear guys talk about sex, their talk is dirty stories. One time when I asked a question, they told me, “If you want to learn, go have sex with a woman who has experience.” I don’t want to do that because I am a Christian. I am sorry to ask you to write about such things. But I constantly worry. What will my wife think about me if she sees that I don’t know how to make sex enjoyable for her? I need to know what a man should do on his wedding night.
No subject in the history of the world has inspired as much mythology and insecurity as sex. For a virgin on his or her wedding night, the pressure can easily turn into outright panic. Counsellor Joseph Musaalo offers no nonsense advice for brides and grooms who have saved themselves for marriage.
There are lots of myths about virgins. Often the facts have been twisted. I hope the following tips can be of help to you in this area: A groom and bride need knowledge about what to do on the wedding night, and they should receive that knowledge at the right time—before the wedding. Virgins often become worried and full of anxiety because they receive wrong information like that which you received from your peers. So let us set the record straight. After their wedding, when a virgin groom and bride enter the bedroom, they are happy but at the same time anxious. Before marriage, they might have been tempted to have sex, but they said no. Instead, they waited for this day, and now it has come! They will enjoy sex more because they know that it is right for them to begin sex now. God approves and their families approve. Yet in their minds are lots of questions.
The man wants sex with his wife but he wonders, “If I fail to satisfy her, will she doubt that I’m a real man? The wife also wants to have sex with her husband but she asks herself, “Will it hurt?”
From the beginning, her attitude should say something like: “You must not worry if I don’t reach orgasm tonight. I won’t blame you or say there is something wrong with you. As the days and months pass, we will learn to satisfy one another. And we will enjoy the learning.” Likewise, his attitude should say: “I will be careful not to hurt you. I won’t think only of my own pleasure. I will help you to enjoy.” If you can cultivate these attitudes then your fears will disappear and you will feel free to talk —telling each other what hurts and what feels nice.
Some inexperienced men believe that women prefer men to be very physical and aggressive during sex. But the truth is that your woman probably prefers you to be gentle, especially if you are penetrating her for the first time. This reflects the tenderness you feel toward your wife. Marriage is a giving relationship, so do what your partner likes. If you do, it is only natural that she will give back what you like. A wife who is showered with affection will reciprocate, as this is a woman’s number one need in a relationship.
A lot of pressure is put on the wedding night, especially for the inexperienced bride and groom. But in fact, some schools of thought say that it is O.K. not to have intercourse on the first night, if you are able to wait. In fact, you can just agree to explore each other’s bodies, admiring and appreciating each other until you are both ready to go for it. This helps to melt the fear and anxiety you may be feeling. And after all, many couples will find themselves exhausted after their wedding.
Remember, it is important to learn each other’s needs through free and open communication so that you do not cause more anxiety in your partner or stumble over each other.
A virgin groom and a virgin bride have the very, very special joy of learning together from no one except each other.
Getting into the mood
After your wedding, when the two of you are alone in a bedroom, I suggest that you begin with a simple prayer, especially if your cause for waiting was because of God: “Dear Lord, in all the years of our marriage we want to be unselfishly kind to each other. With joy we will spend our lives serving you together.” If there is anything that did not go well, or that annoyed you during your wedding, kindly settle it and forgive each other before this moment. After prayer, relax. Talk in a carefree way. You have nothing to worry about. You will enjoy this evening. Lock the door, as brides especially may feel their concentration affected if their environment is not secure. Then enjoy undressing each other. Don’t hurry. Spend time kissing each other and continue undressing each other gently.
Do not hide in the dark. Enjoy seeing each other’s bodies in the light. Remember, you are a precious and special gift to each other from God, hence there is a need to handle each other with tender loving care.
The following should be considered a guide rather than a rigid formula.
You should begin your love play caressing each other’s upper body. Then, after some minutes, the wife may become excited and move his hand down to her sex organs. Remember women are slower than men in getting ready for sex. As he caresses her he should freely ask, “Do you prefer that I caress you here or there… like this, or like that?” To your bride this shows love, care and being sensitive not merely to your own desires but to hers as well. This will increase your intimacy, closeness and bonding. She should let him know each time he does something that helps her excitement to grow. This will encourage him. Husbands remember that your wife will not be thinking, “I wish he had practiced on other girls so he would know what to do.” Instead, she will be saying, “I love being his only sex partner. I am glad he has never done this to anyone else!”
There is need to continue with love play for quite some time (about 30 minutes). Why? Because your virgin wife may need a longer time with love play than a woman who has been married for many years.
After enjoying love play for a long time, the bride may say, “I am so excited; I think it’s time.” Then she can use her hands to move his penis to her vagina. But she must be careful. If she touches the end of his penis with dry hands, it might be painful to him. So you may apply a lubricant (such as K-Y Jelly), which can be secured from any pharmacy. She may have a hymen, which is a small piece of skin, or membrane, which may bleed when it breaks during sex.
Listen, husband. Your natural desire may drive you to enter quickly, but for the sake of your wife, be slow and gentle. Your wife will likely feel less pain if you enter slowly and gently. This first encounter may redeem or ruin your marriage for a long while, so look at the long term rather than your satisfaction, right now. After you have entered, you should wait for a while, as love play continues, to excite your wife. This process will help her to achieve orgasm as well as you. In case both of you achieve orgasm at the same time; husband, do not turn your back to your wife and snore. Instead, continue to hold her gently and say tender words to her, affirm what she did. Later you can both sleep.
Remember that not many couples succeed in both having orgasms on their first night. In many cases, the husband reaches orgasm and the wife does not. If this happens, relax: The important thing is building a strong relationship on which all these things will come in time. Therefore, wife, do not tell yourself, “My body is under-sexed.” Husband, do not say, “My body cannot satisfy my wife.” Sex for a virgin is like tasting a certain dish for the first time; taste develops over time for some people, while for others, it comes right away. Either way, don’t focus too much on whether you did or you didn’t. Instead, remind each other, “As husband and wife, we will learn to satisfy each other.
Learning will be fun. And we will never have sex with anyone else.” Do not feel discouraged if your sex is not very satisfying during the first days of your marriage. As months pass, you will learn how to please each other. However, it is a fact that couples that talk to each other freely learn faster.
Myth vs. Fact
Not all girls are the same. Commonly, virgin girls have a thin hymen with an opening of about two centimeters in diameter. A man’s hard penis is typically about three or four centimeters in diameter, so the hymen may stretch or break during first sex. This may cause little bleeding and pain. However, many girls don’t bleed when they first have sex. Some girls are born without a hymen. Sometimes a girl’s hymen breaks without sex—during school sports, or when she uses menstrual tampons. If a girl does not bleed on her wedding night, it does not mean that she is not really a virgin. A few girls have thick hymens. On her wedding night, a girl with a thick hymen may find that her husband cannot penetrate easily. In that case she can try using her fingers to stretch her hymen. This may take about five days. Each day she spends about two minutes stretching it with her fingers. At first she may be able to put in one finger. After about five days she will be able to put in three fingers. Then her husband should be able to penetrate. In rare cases, a woman may have to have her hymen surgically removed in order to be able to have sex with her husband.
A virgin-bride might be worried about her first night with her husband, but she should remember that this is normal. She should try to take a position that: “It is O.K. if I bleed on my wedding night. It’s O.K. if I don’t.”
I hope the information above will help you to enjoy your marriage. And to those who have graciously guarded their virginity, I encourage you to continue doing so until the right time and the right person comes in your life, so that you can joyfully give yourself to that person after your marriage.
Joseph Musaalo is a counselor and psychologist with a christian perspective at Adonai Counseling and Training Services in Kampala. He also works at Friends Polyclinic and Uganda Christian University.