Does Anyone Actually Have Sex On Their Wedding Night?

We’ve all seen the stereotypical depiction of wedding night sex on TV and in the movies—the groom carries his bride across the threshold into a hotel room that looks like Valentine’s Day threw up, and the couple proceeds to have missionary romantic sex and consummate the marriage. As heartwarming as that may sound, I was skeptical that most couples do this, especially after experiencing the exhaustion following my own wedding. Do most newly married couples actually have sex on their wedding night or is this yet another wedding tradition that is better left in the 1950’s (looking at you, garter toss)? I decided to consult a panel of experts my married friends to find out.

How Common Is It?

Although wedding night sex sounds great in theory, the majority of couples don’t do the deed on their wedding night: one survey found that 48% of couples actually had sex on the night of their wedding, and in my own informal survey of my married friends, only one-third reported having wedding night sex. This isn’t very surprising when you consider the wedding day in its entirety. In most cases, you’re up at an ungodly hour for hair and makeup and on your feet for hours on end posing for thousands of pictures, dancing, drinking, and pretending to like certain family members greeting guests. After over 12 hours of being “on,” there’s a good chance that either the emotional or physical exhaustion (or both) will get the best of you. If you do summon the energy to do it, you’ll be lucky if either party finishes before passing out. That said, if tradition is important to you and you would like to increase your chances of having wedding night sex, read on for some tips.

DO Pace Yourself And Have A Plan

If having sex on your wedding night is a priority for you, it’s best to work out a plan with your partner ahead of time. It’s no secret that a day’s worth of drinking will lead to sex that is about as enjoyable as a root canal—potentially painful and numbness is a prerequisite. If you have an after-party planned for late into the evening, it might be a good idea to find some time to sneak away in between the reception and the after-party, as one of my friends did. Or you might decide to forgo sex right after the end of the night and wait until the next morning, as a significant number of my married friends did. After all, by the time you stumble home, it will probably be the next day anyway. If you both agree that taking advantage of the open bar is a better use of your time (same), it may be better to use those couple of hours before passing out to drunk-eat pizza rather than wiggle on top of each other endlessly with no hope of a finale.

DON’T Get Carried Away

Given the sheer amount of hours and energy that make up a wedding day, even attempting to have sex on your wedding night is quite an achievement. Just like the best weddings are those that are an authentic representation of the couple, the same can be said for the sex that is had on the wedding night, if any. While it might sound nice to be carried over to a bed littered with rose petals while the poor man’s Kenny G. is inexplicably playing over the Sonos your bestie let you borrow, unless you are this extra in all of your sexual encounters, it’s best to keep things short and simple. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of googling “wedding night sex” and believing the utter bullsh*t hype you will no doubt encounter. For example, your wedding night is no place for a sexy treasure hunt or some erotic story time, unless that’s in your usual repertoire (and if that’s the case, please explain yourself). There’s no shame in getting some shut-eye after one of the longest days of your life, especially if you have a brunch or other activity planned for the next day.

Weddings come with enough pressure and expectations as it is; whether or not you decide to have sex on your wedding night should not add to the stress. If you have the desire and the energy to do it, then go for it and godspeed. But if you’re utterly exhausted, there’s no need to beat yourself up, either. Know that you’re in good company and you’ll have the rest of your life to make up for it.

Images: Sweet Ice Cream Photography / Unsplash; Giphy (3)

Amanda Reiss
Amanda Reiss
Amanda resides in New York City. When she isn’t busy judging, she can be found watching Bravo, drinking chardonnay and talking about her favorite blind items. You can follow her on Instagram @skichica8.