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Learn From These Mistakes Before You Have Knowledge About S*x.
Well, Honey, people have been having S*x since Adam & Eve, you will figure it out, too.” That is the most sexual education kids get when asking their parents for advice about S*x. Pretty exhaustive, I'd say. Sexual intimacy is one of the most vulnerable experiences we will engage in this lifetime. Few experiences can replicate the deep emotional & physical exposure that accompanies being sexual with our partner. Despite the magnitude of the impact that S*x can have on the marital relationship, studies revealed that few people are prepared for this anticipated event and aspect of romantic relationships.

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In the research, it was found that most couples made a positive transition to this intimate area of their marriage. However, for a good portion of the samples, even those who reported a positive S*x life, many reported that despite their ability to traverse that new experience there was so much they wish they had known before and early into their marriage.

Sexual Knowledge
Overwhelmingly, one of the most consistent messages received from the participants was that they just didn’t feel prepared with enough knowledge going into marriage and engaging in sexual activity. One female respondent state, “I was so uneducated & unknowledgeable about S*x & sexual acts, that it was embarrassing. We learned to talk along the way but it took a few years.”

In fact, only 28% reported any knowledge of human sexual response and less than 7% reported any specific knowledge of how to make love. We know that the large majority of our sexual knowledge comes from the parental message we receive while growing up. If individuals grew up in a home where abstinence was the clarion call, most of the parental education is can be summarized with “Just don’t do it.” Onto junior high and high school, the large majority of their education is sexually transmitted infections, maturation, & birth control. For the lucky few, they may have taken a human sexuality class in college. But even then, respondents reported that they felt unprepared going into marriage.

Don’t be afraid to look for material that is in line with your values, get educated, visit a medical and/or mental health professional before and after marriage. Our society is saturated with the message about sexuality and how it should or shouldn’t be. Further, most of our conceptions of S*x and sexuality come from our parents and family. From the time we can understand the language to high school graduation, we will have received thousands of messages about how to view our own bodies, relationships, marriage, S*x, and our own sexuality. From religion, family, media, and our own experience with sexuality we develop what some scholars call our sexual self-concept or sexual scripts. messages we tell ourselves about S*x and what to expect when it comes to being sexually intimate and what it means to be a sexual being. Some of our sexual scripts can be very positive as participants reported some satisfaction with what they learned from parents and formal S*x education.
Other messages can create insecurity and negativity as one female stated, “I was taught growing up S*x was bad, dirty and wrong and we didn’t talk about it. When I got married it took a while for us to talk through my fears and for me to grow out of shame and into acceptance and enjoyment. We just took it slow though it was emotionally devastating.” Finally, many participants said that they “thought it was going to be like the movies.” 

Despite our past or current sexual scripts, it is important for adolescents and adults to develop and hold on to positive, healthy, and correct messages about S*x and sexuality.

Become aware of your own sexual scripts and share these with your partner before & after marriage about what you learned about S*x and sexuality from family, school, friends, media, &religion. Invite your partner to also share their sexual scripts with you & both should practice empathy & understanding as hear about their view of S*x& sexuality.

Emotional Safety
We are hard-wired to connect to others and specifically to our romantic partners. When we don’t feel emotionally safe, our brains are wired to emit signals of danger.

As S*x is one of the more sacred, private, and intimate acts in our relationship, if one doesn’t feel emotionally safe, S*x will struggle to be consistently satisfying and pleasurable.

Your partner is the most important person in your life, and together, you are embarking on one of the best areas of marriage. While you may both be insanely in love, the likelihood of you both also being nervous and apprehensive is high. Therefore, be kind, soft, patient, understanding, and gentle with each other.

Sexual Communication
According to studies, only 44% of couples talked about their expectations about the wedding night before marriage. This is staggering. Thus, a successful transition into sexual activity that arose from these data was that couples need to communicate before and after their marriage about their expectations, thoughts, and emotions about sexual intimacy.

We know from our own findings and dozens of other studies that couples who can talk about their S*x life together are significantly more sexually satisfied than those who can’t or don’t. The studies also found that the large majority of married individuals indicated that both men and women strongly agreed with the statement, “Looking back, I wish we had communicated about S*x more before we got married.”

As one of my favorite quotes from these studies, one male participant stated, “For the love of all that is holy, talk about it! If you have no sexual experience, there are so many unknowns, you can’t just figure out by guessing nor is it realistic to think that your partner should just ‘know’ what you are feeling if they really love you.”

A few items that should be discussed before your wedding night are expectations of frequency, the wedding night and honeymoon, boundaries (what you are comfortable with).

While some may argue that it is impossible to talk about something you’ve never experienced, I would argue that we can still discuss our sexual scripts and messages that were formulated up to that point and our general expectations. It is also important to discuss when and how you are going to communicate about S*x when it is less than satisfying or faltering. The “when” to talk about it can be summarized by stating the couples should discuss their S*x life often because people develop and change over time as well as their preferences can change. Further, the “how” to talk about their S*x life is to approach it with acceptance, understanding, and love. This creates safety.

You must create a safe environment and push yourself to discuss these important issues surrounding sexual intimacy. Couples who talk about their S*x life have better S*x and more of it. When couples can gain adequate knowledge, cultivate healthy sexual scripts, create an emotionally safe relationship, and learn to safely and frequently discuss their S*x life, the love-making will be significantly more satisfying and contribute to the overall health of the relationship. In closing, one last piece of advice from a participant when asked for advice for couples making the transition into sexual intimacy, he stated, “Make sure you take your clothes off.” Now that is some sound advice!

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