10 Quick Newlywed Sex Questions You Can’t Ask Your Pastor

by | Jul 13, 2020 | Preparing for Marriage | 19 comments

10 Newlywed Sex Questions

Engaged women and newlyweds often have a lot of questions about sex!

What will it feel like? Will it hurt? How do we make it feel good?

This month, in the Mondays in July, we’re talking about sex questions you can’t ask your pastor (and in our podcasts, too!). And I thought today I’d compile a whole bunch of questions that newlyweds often ask me, and try to answer them all in one place.

1. How do I make sex feel good if I’m a virgin?

This is really the biggest question I get! And so let me let you in my biggest piece of advice: When it comes to sex after the wedding, focus less on intercourse and more on arousal.

In the church, we tend to tell people: “Wait for marriage for sex!” 

I’d like to change that to: “Wait for marriage for sex–but then don’t have sex until your body is begging for it!”

Sex doesn’t feel good if you’re not aroused yet, and for many women, arousal is the missing piece for orgasm. So if you can work on arousal BEFORE you work on intercourse, and help each other feel good in other ways, you actually set your sex life up to a great start. This is one of the big things we teach in our Honeymoon Prep Course, too!

Other posts that may help:

2. Have I doomed our sex life if I’m NOT a virgin?

NO. You really haven’t.

I believe that there are very good reasons to wait for marriage for sex, and that God does want us to wait for marriage for sex. But I think those reasons have more to do with making sex meaningful than they do with making sex pleasurable. And God also wants us to do that for our protection–so that there’s less baggage, less heartache, yes. But also, in the ancient world, so that women would be protected when we got pregnant, and so that we would be protected even after that baby grew up and we weren’t needed anymore (that’s why marriage is for life). It helps bring stability and love and commitment to society.

But the secret to orgasm is not a wedding ring; it’s arousal. Many women who didn’t wait for the wedding have great sex; and many women who did wait for the wedding don’t. (And it goes the other way, too). And it should not threaten our Christian view of sex if people who had sex before their wedding do still enjoy sex. I think we try to sell waiting for the wedding for sex to kids by promising them amazing sex if they wait, but that’s just not the way it works.

I do know, though, that so many women feel guilty about having sex before the wedding that shame becomes a big part of your sex life. Once you’re married, you need to try to put that behind you.

Here are some posts that can help:


3. How can I have a great wedding night?

Remember the two key things: Relax, relax, relax, and aim for arousal!

That’s really what we teach in the Honeymoon Prep Course! And so much of that is having these conversations in a safe and healthy way with your fiance before the wedding. You need to know what you each expect for the wedding night, and talk about that ahead of time in a way that doesn’t make it too difficult not to rush right to it! Our course has videos that you can watch together, that can help explain how to start sex off well. Plus we talk about how to have hard conversations about porn use, sexual baggage, or anything else that may affect your sex life once you’re married (it’s important to talk about those now!).

Are you ready for the honeymoon you always dreamed of?

The Honeymoon Course is here to help you plan the perfect honeymoon and start your marriage (and your sex life!) off with laughter, joy and fun!

Don’t make the same mistakes other couples have–get it right from the beginning! 

Other posts you may also enjoy:

4. Engaged women wonder: will sex hurt?

For most women it does a little bit, but often only a little. And it will hurt much less if you bring some lubricant with you and take  your time so that you’re already aroused before you start! When i did a survey recently on Facebook and Twitter asking women if they were aroused before they had sex on their wedding night, only 52% said they were. So that’s a lot who weren’t! Take your time, and everything’s much easier.

And if it doesn’t hurt, or you don’t bleed, that’s great! Many women break their hymen earlier in other ways, and some women’s hymens break easily and stretch easily and don’t bleed.

If it does hurt, don’t force anything. Have him stretch you with his fingers, and just relax and try other things and come back to it later. Sometimes you do manage to consummate, but you’ll find that other positions are still uncomfortable for a while. You will get used to it! Remember the two key things: relax, relax, relax! And aim for arousal. Do those two things, and everything should be much easier.

5. Newlyweds ask: What do I do if it hurts so much that we can’t consummate?

For some women, though, pain is a real issue. Sometimes the hymen needs to be surgically removed (in a very small percentage of cases), and sometimes women suffer from a condition called vaginismus where the muscles at the opening to the vagina contract, making penetration painful or impossible. If you’ve been trying to consummate, and you just can’t, see your doctor and ask for a referral to a pelvic floor physiotherapist. About 7% of Christian women do suffer from vaginismus, so you are not alone. But it’s also something that can be treated for many, so please don’t suffer for too long without getting help.

6. How do we learn how to help her reach orgasm?

Other than the importance of arousal, the NEXT biggest insight I want newlywed couples to understand is that we need to throw out our preconceived notions of what sex is supposed to be. We tend to assume that sex = “man thrusts penis into woman’s vagina until he reaches climax,” and it’s assumed that this penetrative intercourse is what is supposed to feel the best for both of you. But really, in our studies what we found was that the majority of women who are able to reach orgasm do not reach it through intercourse alone. In fact, of the women who reliably orgasm, only about 38% of women reach orgasm that way. And many more don’t reach orgasm during intercourse at all–they reach it in other ways.

So the biggest breakthrough in helping her reach orgasm is likely going to be understanding that it’s easier to orgasm in ways OTHER than intercourse. Use manual and/or oral stimulation; start with a big lead up. And relax!

7. What do we do if we’ve been married for a while, and we still haven’t reached orgasm?

Don’t feel helpless or wrong or bad or broken! When I did my original surveys when writing The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, I found that the best years for sex in marriage were actually years 16-24. They weren’t the honeymoon years. And sex definitely gets better with time. So just because it’s taking a while doesn’t mean you won’t get there or that there’s something wrong with you.

However, it doesn’t NEED to take to year 16 to have great sex. If you haven’t reached orgasm yet, you likely need more foreplay, and you likely even need to make foreplay the main event for a while for her. And 31 Days to Great Sex has a ton of exercises to help you figure out what makes her feel good and what helps her reach orgasm!

This post can help:

8. How do I speak up and tell my husband that I need more foreplay?

There’s no easy way except to say it. “Honey, I know that sex is supposed to feel awesome for both of us, but I think we’re missing something on my end. Can we slow down and figure out what makes me feel good?” And talk about the fact that women don’t reach orgasm through intercourse usually (although many can and that’s a great goal!), but even the women who do do so after a lot of foreplay.

These posts can help:

9. How do I tell my husband if he’s touching me in ways that don’t feel very good?

Okay, I want you to picture yourself in 5 years, or maybe even in 10 years. Imagine what your life will be like if you DON’T speak up–if nothing changes. For the next 5 years, he keeps touching you in ways that turn you off. He never understands what actually feels good. He rushes to intercourse. You get more and more frustrated. He gets frustrated because you don’t like sex. Do you like that future?

I don’t think you do–and yet that is the routine that many women get into because they don’t want to hurt their husbands’ feelings. And that’s really admirable! But the problem is that women deserve to feel pleasure, too. His ego is not more important than her pleasure. And the longer you wait to tell him what feels good, then when  you do finally say something–years later, often–he’s even more hurt.

So just try: “I want sex to feel amazing, but I think we’re missing something. Can we do some exploring to figure out what turns me on?” Most guys will jump at that!

  • Try playing “teacher”, where you order him exactly what to do
  • Or try having him touch you for 15 minutes, where he’s not allowed to rush it, and have him discover what feels good

And 31 Days to Great Sex has lots of exercises to help with this!

10. I’ve got a problem with our sex life, and I don’t know if this is normal or not.

We just don’t talk about sex in detail very much with our friends, and so sometimes something happens and we don’t know if it’s something weird, bad, or just normal.

Here are two posts that can help (one about red flags, and one about medical issues)

So that’s it–10 newlywed sex questions that I get asked a lot.

My inbox is often filled with a variety of these, so I thought it would be nice to have them all in one place so I could point people to them, and then they could follow the rabbit trails!

So those are my newlywed sex tips! Did any stand out to you? Is there anything you would add? Let’s talk in the comments!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. AspenP

    I wish I had this when I first got married over a decade ago! So helpful Sheila!

    • A

      I like how you explained point #2 Have I Doomed Our Sex Life if I am NOT a Virgin?
      I don’t have anything specific, it just stood out to me and I think you articulated it well how the church has done some disservice to that topic.
      And under #3 How Can I Have a Great Wedding Night;
      I was reminded how our pre marriage counselor told us not to expect the best sex ever- but we could expect the best first time together.
      Not necessarily intercourse either but being close and intimate for the first time together. That simple statement took off a ton of pressure for us.
      So often when our newly wed friends left the reception to drive off to their honeymoon there was wink-wink, and nudges, highfives etc. It’s all fine and good to be excited and happy for a couple starting their life together and celebrating sex, but looking back I can see how that may not have helped at all. I think it could have just added pressure and expectations that sex WOULD be amazing and work perfectly that very night for the couple. And I know for a handful of my friends the honeymoon and weeks following were filled with disappointment and physical pain because intercourse hadn’t been able to happen.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Thanks, A. I do think that’s very common (and it’s amazing how much pain we discovered in Christians). I really think it’s because so many women AREN’T aroused before they have intercourse, and that’s more likely to happen if you wait until you’re wedding night and then have sex because you’re “supposed” to. I do believe in waiting for marriage for sex–I think there are VERY good reasons for it. But we need to find a new way of talking about that. We do that in The Honeymoon Course, but also in our new book, The Great Sex Rescue!

  2. Laurel B

    Great tips! Before we were married, my husband and I (both virgins) discussed what we each were hoping for on our wedding night. We came up with a “schedule” involving the hot tub, massages, etc before we got to the “real thing.” My sisters said we wouldn’t be able to stick to the schedule, 😆 and we allowed ourselves freedom to ditch it whenever we felt like, but we actually followed it exactly as planned and our first night was amazing.
    It was definitely comforting to me to know what to expect after the wedding, and helped me to relax and enjoy that time with him. We’ve had great mutually orgasmic sex from day one!
    I am sure that discussing it beforehand and then taking the whole thing really slow helped it to be a positive experience for us. Having conversations about sex before you’re married feels awkward, but seriously – if you’re gonna marry him you need to feel comfortable enough with him to have those honest conversations!
    Thanks, Sheila!

    • KM

      Umm, can we get a copy of this “schedule”? :p

  3. Jane Eyre

    Important: if you intend on being very physical on your wedding night, start the “alone” part of your wedding night at a reasonable hour.
    If feasible, have your wedding night in a different hotel than your guests are staying in, or at the very least, do NOT give them the room number. You’re not being rude; they are the ones being rude. No one needs to hang out with you then.
    Consider what time you want to leave for your honeymoon, too.
    Skip the morning-after brunch, or, at the most, have someone else host it and just pop in at the very end to say hello.
    To be very blunt: there are a lot of wedding “traditions” that have been created by people who have been living together for quite a long time before marriage, so the consummation is not at all a factor in their planning. They do long spa days with the girls, an evening ceremony, a reception that lasts until 11 pm, after party, morning-after brunch, and then a 3 pm flight to France. They’ve been having sex for the three years they’ve been dating; they don’t need to set aside time to learn.
    That’s great if it works for you, but it probably isn’t going to work for you. Make a schedule where you’re alone with your husband by 9 pm or 10 pm. Brunch weddings are amazing. If you want a dinner wedding, have cocktail hour at 4:30 or 5 pm. If people really want an afterparty, have your wedding attendants take charge.

    • Elsie

      This is great advice and how I approached my wedding/honeymoon. My reception ended at 10pm, we asked the bridal party and family members in advance to be in charge of cleaning up and closing things down so we could go back to the hotel soon after the reception ended, we didn’t have brunch the next day so we could sleep in until checkout time from the hotel. We chose to do our honeymoon at a local spot so it would be relaxed and wouldn’t add extra stress (I couldn’t have imagined getting on a plane after the wedding, I was so wiped out).
      I’m glad we prioritized keeping things relaxed and making sure there would be plenty of time for spontaneous physical activity. It really helps to view the honeymoon as a time for starting to learn how to be intimate together and to create an environment where you won’t be rushed or stressed.
      I know sex doesn’t go smoothly for all couples right away and it can definitely get better. But I had a wonderful wedding night and honeymoon- we didn’t rush and we spent lots of time on foreplay and enjoying being together. So having a great wedding night experience is definitely possible!

  4. Ar

    Not all pastors are a good resource for these questions. That’s true. But, it doesn’t mean that ALL of them are lacking in knowledge or would give bad advice. There are also females who are pastors who might give great advice to other women.

  5. Jordan

    Hi Sheila!
    My husband and I have been married for almost 2 months and sex has definitely been the hardest thing for us–reasonably so, since we weren’t having sex before we got married and it’s the single biggest change in our relationship.
    I’d like to preface that my hubby is (1) incredibly patient and super willing to have open conversations about sex and (2) the lower-drive spouse, in this newlywed season of our marriage at least.
    I honestly kind of skimmed through this list until I got to the part about “How do I speak up and tell my husband I need more foreplay?”. I’ve never orgasmed, and that’s a whole ‘nother debacle in and of itself, because I was subconsciously putting all the pressure on hubby to get me there the first month of being married. In addition, with him being lower-drive, the dynamic is very opposite for us than what most of your readers face. Another mistake on my part was unintentionally making him feel bad for not fitting the stereotype: that it’s the guys who always want sex. So, we’ve hit some rough patches already. Our wedding night was nothing great for me, and despite all my intentions (I’ve been following your blog for a year+ now!!) about slowing down and focusing on arousal, we still ended up rushing it. I was nervous and our idea was to get the first time “over with” so that the nerves would go away (news flash: they didn’t).
    Coming back to your post lol, one problem I’ve run into, that’s made me seriously hesitate before mentioning more foreplay for me, is that hubby feels neglected if we’ve been consistently spending more time on me. Again, I’ve never orgasmed, and he always does when we have sex, so your first thought may be to feel outraged. But he does try. He will, not every time, but frequently do the things he knows I like to get me aroused, but sometimes I’ll feel rushed–like he knows which buttons to press that *usually* get me going and so he’s going to push them. Fervently. And I don’t know how to tell him that the buttons are ever-changing, that I need more time spent on me.
    Being the lower-drive spouse, my hubby is comparable to the lower-drive wives reading your blog: he wants me to put effort into the asking, to be intentional about getting him aroused, so that he doesn’t feel like it’s all about me just wanting him for sex. Thus, if he has spent the last few encounters spending a lot of foreplay time on me, he feels like I’m not doing anything for him–that he just thrusts however long and it’s done. Does that make sense? He wants sex to feel good for me; he spends extended amounts of time on foreplay for me; but he wants to feel like he’s getting “foreplay” time/attention, too.
    Point being, where he gets frustrated/neglected after a few times of spending extravagant time on me–but still with no luck in the orgasm department–, I don’t know how in the world to suggest him spending even more time on me. Help?
    (Sorry that was so long!!)

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      This is an EXCELLENT question and I’ll try to make it into a post soon! My quick answer would be to be active in foreplay yourself. Like, use his penis to rub against your clitoris, or touch him a bit while he’s touching you. But that’s a great point and I’ll try to write about it soon.

    • Emily Shore

      Can’t speak for you and your hubby or his preferences, but the only way mine could get me to O is either using his fingers or his tongue down there. And it would still take a while. I like my O’s. I have a high sex-drive and totally hot for my husband. Unlike him, I’m not really into foreplay and got annoyed with it taking too long. So, we invested in a vibrator. He won’t let us leave the room if I haven’t had my O because he says it would feel like cheating me out of the pleasure. He’s very patient and logical.
      As hesitant as some men are, my husband was open to the vibrator because he is an investigator and uses logic and research. I still want and love him like crazy. But it sure did give him a reprieve from using his hand and tongue and worked wonders when our babies came because once you have kids, you get limited windows of time for sex. We’ve been using different brands for 11 years now. And we are more happily married than ever.
      Before we had the girls, we definitely did lots of experimenting around and took things slow and long. But post-kids, it’s a life-saver!

  6. Jessica

    Re: #5 – I did have to have a surgical hymen removal, and I learned I was going to need it, when I went in for the physical before the wedding (which was my first time of getting a pap) and (TMI alert) the doctor tried to put in the speculum in, cue immense pain, cue doctor saying “Aaand I’m going to refer you to an OB-GYN to get this surgically removed”. Man alive I’m glad that I had gone in for that physical, because once we got married and I learned the difference between a speculum and sex, I can’t even imagine how incredibly painful that would have been.
    Funny also TMI story – when I went to the OB-GYN about 2 years later because baby #1 was on the way, the first time I had the doctor who had done that surgery, he looked at me and said I looked familiar and I said “you did that surgery 2 years ago” and he said “Well, I guess it worked”. Yep.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you for sharing that, Jessica! I never know what to recommend when it comes to seeing the doctor beforehand. I know some women who have been so traumatized by the pelvic exam as virgins that it made sex difficult, and they think that’s why. And then there are women like you who would have had a HORRIBLE start if you hadn’t gone. It’s really difficult to know what to advise women to do. I wish we could all go and be confident enough that it wouldn’t scar us, but it’s not that easy.
      I’m so glad you got help! And that is funny about the follow-up.

    • Madeline

      “I guess it worked” – hilarious!
      This is a good example of why it’s really beneficial to go see a doctor before getting married!

  7. Kiwigirl

    Hi Shelia, If young virgins girls/ women were encouraged to try tampons at that time of the month before they got married; it may save them some pain when they do get married. If they really can’t not get even a small tampon in; they may be to best to a doctor before they tied the knot.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! Absolutely. I often tell young women that if they have a problem with tampons, they really should see a doctor.

    • Anon

      I’d have to disagree – I’ve never been able to use tampons – the pain is agonising, but hubby putting his finger there on our wedding night caused zero pain (and a lot of pleasure!)
      It’s really tricky knowing what to do about medical exams – I had to have one for a gynae issue several years before meeting my husband, and it was extremely painful – the doctor also implied I was abnormal for still being a virgin and suggested counselling to help me deal with my ‘issues’. It left me with some really screwed up views of sex and took years to undo this damage and I can’t imagine the impact it would have had on my honeymoon if I’d experienced that just before marriage.
      So I’d advise virgin brides to avoid pre-marriage medicals and if there is a problem, get it sorted after the honeymoon.


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