I’m going to be candid with you today. I’m going to write about real sex. Call me naive, but when I got married, I did not know much about sex. I grew up in a conservative church where we were taught that sex was reserved for marriage only. I believed that (and still believe the best sex is within marriage), so I tried not to think about it and decided I’d keep my virginity until I got married. Actually, I was pretty afraid of my sexuality in general. Which meant I had a lot to learn when I finally became a wife.
Of course, growing up in North America meant that I had been exposed to the concept. But it wasn’t until I experienced it firsthand that I realized the media doesn’t really reflect what sex is like in real life. Here are some of the differences I’ve found:
1. Waiting until you’re married is more exciting and satisfying than commonly portrayed.
The loudest voices out there tell us that waiting until you’re married to have sex is an anomaly and foolish. How do you know you’re compatible with the other person if you don’t get into bed with them first? How else do you gauge your “chemistry”? If you marry someone, you’re stuck with them – what if you’re missing out on someone more amazing? Or what if the other person thinks you’re terrible in bed because you have no experience? That logic works if you base your relationship on physical intimacy alone, which is a shaky foundation because bodies age and sex involves a lot more than physical mechanics. I waited until my wedding night. And I’m very glad I did. Sure, we didn’t know what we were doing at the beginning, but part of the excitement and satisfaction came through discovering how to be physically intimate together.
Which brings me to my second point…
2. It’s awkward at the beginning.
I really don’t know how it is for other people, but I can only imagine that in real life, the first time any couple has sex is awkward. Most movies and TV shows don’t show the awkwardness. Sex is touted as natural and yes, we are made for it. But like any other skill in life, you don’t start off as a pro. It takes time, knowledge and practice to do it well.
3. Being with the same person over the long haul works to your advantage.
The more you know the other person, the better the sex. A series of short relationships doesn’t allow for enough knowledge of and connection with the other person you need to make sex really, really good. In marriage, you have a lifetime to continue knowing your spouse and building on your repertoire of what the other person enjoys. Hollywood would have you think that being with the same person time after time is boring. And it can be, if the couple stops putting effort into it. But on the flip side, there’s a certain comfort and safety that familiarity brings. Building a history together can make sex all the richer.
4. You need to keep learning how to satisfy your spouse.
The movies also don’t tell you that in order to have an amazing sex life, you need to keep working on it. You need to communicate with your spouse and keep finding out what he/she likes. People change over time.
5. It’s not terrifically thrilling every time.
Sex in the movies is always over-the-top amazing. In real life, there are hits and misses, with more misses than hits for a good while.
6. It’s messy.
This was the biggest surprise for me. They never show people cleaning up after sex. It’s unglamorous and rather unsexy. But in reality, there are bodily fluids involved and it doesn’t all magically disappear.
7. You don’t just jump into bed.
When I was single, I was under the impression that it always began with a kiss and then the passion would take over and suddenly, the couple would find themselves next to each other naked in bed (usually panting). Maybe it’s like that for some people, some of the time. But when I started dating, I quickly realized that for most people, having sex really is a decision. It doesn’t “just happen.” (I realize there are those who have had the tragic experience of having sex involuntarily forced upon them and it isn’t their decision, I am not referring to those situations.)
8. Getting pregnant (or not) is really not up to you.
There are those who don’t want to get pregnant and still do. And those who want a child more than anything, and aren’t able to. Contrary to what happens in rom-coms, a couple can have sex at the “right time” and still not conceive – for months, or years. You can do everything possible to make the right conditions for pregnancy to happen, but in the end, pregnancy really is out of our control.
9. Having a child doesn’t mean the end of sex.
The big joke told to new parents (especially to dads) is that from now on, expect no sex. The baby will cry or interrupt any attempts at intimacy, they warn. This is a partial truth. More creativity may be required, but sex is still possible. After all, how do you think younger siblings happen?