Planning a wedding is an incredibly busy and exciting time for any couple, but in the hustle and bustle of invitations, color schemes, programs, and dresses, it’s important not to forget to plan for what comes after
your wedding. As a psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy
, I’d suggest paying special attention to one crucial aspect of your future—your sex
I see couples for premarital therapy, and I meet with couples who are struggling with sexual problems years into their marriages. Every couple's sex life will inevitably ebb and flow, but it has been my experience that couples who take the time to talk about sex before getting married are far more successful than those who don’t.
My suggestion is to schedule a time to sit down and ask each other some important questions about your sexual relationship. Talking about sex is almost always nerve-wracking, so try to set up a soothing environment: Light some candles, put on some of your favorite music, or pour two glasses of wine. Before getting into the questions, take a moment to acknowledge any anxiety or apprehension, and thank each other in advance for your willingness to be honest.
- What are our sexual strengths and weaknesses?
If you’re feeling nervous about having a conversation about sex, a great way to start is by talking about your favorite sexual memories. What’s the best sex you ever had? What do the two of you do particularly well together? Then, consider potential areas for improvement. Keep in mind that sex is something you can always get better at—you will never reach a point where there’s nothing new to learn. Don’t think of the discussion as criticism, but an opportunity to identify ways for the two of you to work on improving together—"We could spend more time on foreplay," for example.
- How can we make intimacy a priority?
This is one of the first questions I ask new clients, and they always respond with looks that seem to translate to, "We didn’t know we had to do that." Well, you do! Having consistently fantastic sex requires effort. You have to take active steps to make the time and space for intimacy. Possibilities might include scheduling regular date nights, getting a steady babysitter, or going on romantic getaways.
- How do you think our sex life will change through the years?
You're going to go through a lot together, including possibly having children, moving, changing jobs, losing loved ones, or going through menopause. All of these changes could have significant impacts on your sex life. You can’t anticipate every change, of course, but it’s important to talk about how you might be proactive about protecting your sex life when these milestones occur.
- How will we keep the spark alive?
You’re going to have sex with each other for decades, and that can get boring pretty quickly if you do it exactly the same way every single time. Talk about the things you’d like to try with each other, and which sexual fantasies and interests you feel comfortable experimenting with. I have my clients make lists of their red, yellow, and green lights. Reds are the things you know you don’t want to try; yellow the ones you’re unsure about; and greens those you feel perfectly comfortable with. Making these lists can be a fun way to keep the chemistry going.
- What will we do when we fight about sex?
It’s inevitable: You’re going to fight about sex at some point in your relationship. Having a game plan beforehand could make such conflicts more manageable. Do you have communication strategies that you already know work well for your relationship? Do you have a sex therapist or marriage counselor you know you could call?
- How can each of us continue to nurture our individual relationships with our sexuality?
You may be married, but you’ll still have your own relationship with your body and your sexual desires. What can each of you do to maintain that? Examples might include regular exercise, taking yourself on date nights, masturbating, finding ways to minimize stress, or pursuing individual sex therapy.
- What are our wishes for our honeymoon?
Many couples go in to the honeymoon with huge expectations, but the reality is that almost half of all couples are too exhausted to even have sex on their wedding night! Try to create realistic expectations, and discuss what feels important. Do you want to prioritize sex over your other honeymoon activities? Do you want to experiment with something new (positions, toys, or lingerie), or do you want to have slow, intimate sex? (Check out my previous article, 7 Tips For Fantastic Honeymoon Sex!)
Hopefully this experience will help you realize that conversations about sex are an important part of any healthy relationship!