I remember climbing into Patrick’s pick-up truck in a fog of glittering sparklers. I remember noting that there was a giant penis shoe-polished on to the passenger side window. I remember taking an Instagram of us driving the few blocks back to our hotel. I remember being very excited about getting my shoes off.
And I remember being so, so exhausted. After our wedding, as soon as we got back to the hotel, I put on my tent-iest, most shapeless dress and some comfy Toms, curled up on the couch and said an enthusiastic “Yes!” to my favorite question, which is: Do you want a beer?
We’d stocked up the suite’s fridge with beverages and invited anyone who wanted to after-party with us to stop by post-reception. In the weeks before the wedding, I thought we might have something of a post-wedding rager with all our out-of-town friends and really get to sit down and hang out and talk, the way you really can’t do at a wedding reception.
I was wrong. I was the most tired, sleepiest person who had just made a lifetime commitment to the man of her dreams ever. I really wanted to see all my old (and new!) friends. I really wanted to hear all about how the second floor of our hotel appeared to be hosting an extremely snazzy dance party. But mainly, I wanted to go to sleep.
So that’s what I did. I told everyone I was super sleepy and thank you for coming, but there is a bed with my name on it and I’m going to go get in it with my new husband. It was my last act of ‘It’s my wedding day, I get to call the shots.’ I looked with longing at the bottle of Johnnie Walker Black, unopened on the table. I told myself its time would come.
I, however, would not come. Not that night. Not on my wedding night. Because sex sounded like the most exhausting hassle. It sounded like something I should do and not much like something I wanted to do right that second.
Maybe I am the worst wife ever for not wanting to have a six-hour post-reception bone-a-thon, and my marriage is doomed because we didn’t consummate it at the first possible opportunity. I don’t care. Sleep was the release I needed.
I also knew that there was no way my over-analytical brain wouldn’t try to read something into the wedding night sex. What if it was weird? What if I didn’t have an orgasm? What if we forgot how to do it? What if, what if, what if.
Wedding days are stressful and important days. They are days when people ask you an inordinate number of questions about tablecloths and mood lighting. They are not, I think, a day to imbue with the requirement that you have the best and most perfect sex of all time or else it means something.
Patrick and I were married for like, a full 14 hours before we were married, if you know what I mean, and I think you do, because the word ‘sex’ is in the headline of this column. It was so nice to wake up the next morning, and have a leisurely and well-rested and pressure-free go at it.
After all, we’d lived together for over a year by the time we got married. It’s not like we were going into our wedding night blind. Tab A had Slot B pretty well figured out. It certainly wasn’t what 16-year-old Andrea, making ‘True Love Waits’ pledges at the church altar, had envisioned for herself.
As a teenager of the right-wing Christian variety, I prided myself on my virginity and also spent about 90 percent of my time trying to figure out ways to have orgasms with boys that didn’t involve vaginal penetration. I’m not saying it makes sense, but it was definitely a major pastime. I knew that on my wedding night, I would do that very special thing with that very special man, and everything would be just the way Jesus intended it.
Fast-forward a little over a decade, and I’m drooling on my pillow instead of at the first married sight of a penis. Things change.
You hear about people who go on no-sex-sprees in the weeks before their wedding because they want to rev up the wedding night. I can see the appeal in that, the building of anticipation. I could jam on that. But I can also see the crushing disappointment that comes from putting so much emphasis on the successful performance of one particular activity — a notoriously fickle and shifty one — at one particular time. You just planned and executed what is “supposed” to be the greatest day of all time forever in your life amen, and then you’re “supposed” to have the craziest firework-spewing sex of all time? My ladybits clam up just thinking about it.
My advice: take a “whatever happens, happens,” approach to getting it on that night. Really, take that approach to all things wedding-related, because shit is going to go awry. And that’s fine. It’s also fine to have high expectations. But don’t hang your future, your happiness or your future happiness on them.