When you help someone up a hill, you get that much closer to the top yourself. -Anonymous
Question #16176 posted on 07/06/2005 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

While reading the board regularly, I've noticed many of the general authorities saying that only basic kissing (no "soul kisses") are appropriate before marriage. While I completely understand their counsel and will follow it. I feel that it leaves a lot of pressure for your wedding night. I mean you've spent most of your "adult" life suppressing sexual feelings and then on your wedding day it's just supposed to be natural? Any suggestions for easing my anxiety?

-curious

A: Dear curious,

Very true, abiding by the church's counsel on the expression of physical affect will leave quite a bit for the wedding night. There are a few things you can do beforehand to ease the wedding night tensions.

Read up on it
While you can't go into marriage with practical knowledge on sex, you can read about it. In fact, most marriage and family experts (even here at BYU) suggest you read about the physiology of sex prior to your wedding night. One of the most suggested books is The Act of Marriage by Tim and Beverly LaHaye. It addresses sex in a very respectful but candid manner and from a Christian perspective. There are similar books out there by LDS authors, but they tend to lack the forthright tone and approach that makes this book so helpful. I know I am not alone on the Board in recommending this book to those who are getting married. By no means should you disregard other Christian or LDS specific books on sexuality if you feel so inclined to read them. I am just saying that in many people's opinions, the LaHaye book is probably the best yet.

Don't rush it
So many couples go into their marriage with the expectation that 1) they have to experience absolutely everything on the first night and 2) that they have to be great at everything on their wedding night. Neither is true. Sexual intercourse is meant to draw a husband and wife closer than any other act, to the point that "they twain shall be one flesh." The wedding day is extremely stressful and can leave both of you very drained. There is nothing wrong with just sleeping that first night. You have the rest of your lives to enjoy, experience, and learn with one another. After a long draining day when you are both already tired, rushing into trying to express more physical intimacy than either of you have ever shown can cause a lot of frustration and can detract from what the experience should be. Make sure you have at least 3-4 days planned for a honeymoon where you can be alone and not be rushed. If money is an issue, you don't have to go anywhere expensive. Just have some alone time.

Talk about it
Just like you mentioned, all of this at once can be a bit overwhelming and can make you feel a bit of pressure. Once you have taken the time to do some reading, take some time to talk to your betrothed. Both of you should read the LaHaye book. Talk about what you have read and what you think. You shouldn't be graphic or crude in what and how you discuss sex, but make sure you talk about items in the book that you want to. Don't skip a topic just because you may find it embarrassing. If both of you do that, you may both go into the marriage bed with assumptions and conclusions very different than what your spouse came to. To avoid confusion, discuss it. Oh, and make sure you discuss birth control. What form are you going to use and who is responsible for purchasing it? The last thing you want on your wedding night (or the night after) is to have to make a midnight run to your local drug store.

One more thing, last year when I had a class in the Taylor Building, there was a flyer up for a marriage preparation class. It was once a week for 5 weeks or something like that. You might want to call over there and see if something similar is being offered in the near future.

-Pa Grape