by Tracy Moore
Popular culture tells us that everything in love leads to the altar, and everything in sex leads to doin’ it on your wedding night. No matter that some 75 percent of us get hitched about as virginally intact as your average bunny rabbit — we still seem to treat wedding night sex as an important ritual: It consummates the marriage (if you’re religious), for one, but it also symbolizes finally coming together as legal and symbolic partners, no matter if you’ve been doing it for months or years. But studies of wedding-night sex find that after the sweet yet stressful slog that is getting married, a lot of people find that the night isn’t quite what they imagined.
One 2016 survey of 1,000 couples found that 52 percent didn’t have any sex at all that night. Respondents indicated the biggest reasons were being too drunk or too tired to get it on after a long stressful day of beaming, photo-taking, socializing and dancing. Others said they were traveling immediately for the honeymoon the next morning and needed sleep more than amore, while others said they wanted to keep partying with friends.
Another survey found that some 9 percent of couples don’t have sex on the big night because the stress of getting married led to an argument before the night’s end. Yet another survey found that in 4 percent of couples, the woman’s period got in the way. (Might we suggest that this is no reason to abstain, all other interest in doing it being equal that night.)
When asked on Reddit a few years ago what their wedding night was really like, people let loose with all manner of stories about how it really went down. “Everyone always talks about wedding night sex, but then you hear that it doesn’t happen nearly as often as you would think,” the user asked. “So how was YOUR wedding night? Did you actually work up the strength to do it, or were you so beat that you couldn’t?”
One person answered that they had managed to have sex, “but it almost felt like an obligation,” explaining:
We had been on our feet for 12 hours, dressed up in more clothes than we’d ever worn in our lives, talking to people, dancing. By the time we got to our room, we’d have both been content to just go to sleep, but we powered through it…
Others chimed in with agreement. “It was basically the, ‘Boy, glad that shit’s over with’ sex.”
Many of the responses echo this sentiment: running around for hours, drinking way too much, and being too exhausted to make it official. Some people admitted they settled for sex-like activities instead. “The whole-body effort of sex seemed an impossibility so I gave a BJ instead,” another commenter wrote. “Less effort and we get credit for doing something!
While that seems a bit anticlimactic, couples who had been together for years and were just excited to move through the big day with their lives and relationships intact didn’t seem too disappointed that they didn’t get it on. Instead they counted cash in envelopes, ate junk food and passed out.
“We got to our hotel,” one person wrote. “Ate hot fudge sundaes and crashed. We had lived together for a year. Having sex on our wedding night just didn’t seem like a big deal.”
I put the question to married friends, who gave similar answers. “We passed out and got up in like 5 in the morning to catch our honeymoon flight,” one woman told me. “We had sex, but it was like, guess we have to — we were so tired,” another one said….