Where Logic Meets Love

The Myth of Amazing Honeymoon Sex

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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The Myth of Amazing Honeymoon Sex | Faith Permeating Life
This is a follow-up to Sunday's post. If you don't want to read about sex... don't read it.

I want to add one caveat to what I said about how most people use rules and fear when talking to kids about sex. In order to entice kids to wait until marriage, Christian parents and pastors alike reach for the same story: The Myth of Amazing Honeymoon Sex.

Jon Acuff describes it well in his hilarious book, Stuff Christians Like, saying that Christians like to rank honeymoon sex "slightly higher than the second coming of Christ." In other words, virgin Christians are really excited about Christ coming back and all, but they really hope they get that one chance to have sex first.

Why? Because they've been told that all of their hopes and dreams and expectations about sex are going to come true in the sex they'll have immediately after getting married.

This great post from the Good Women Project sums it up nicely:
In an effort to combat the encroachment of culture and make sex seem so utterly and completely worth waiting for, Christians can unintentionally spin lies of their own.

[This preacher's] was, “Don’t bother packing anything for your honeymoon. You don’t need clothes. You just need a jumbo pack of Gatorade to stay healthy for all the amazing sex you’ll be having. You can get dehydrated, you know.”
What a terrible lie to tell our children.

Explain this to me: How exactly are we setting our children up for magical and amazing honeymoon sex by degrading sex for the first 18+ years of their life and giving them no practical education about sex?

How is it doing them a favor to make sex seem like a terrible, dangerous thing... except, of course, for when they're married and will suddenly be an expert at having mind-blowing sex?

The false promise of honeymoon sex is just another lie told out of fear, a last-ditch effort to keep kids abstinent until marriage without having to actually talk to them about sex.

Don't you think that if kids knew how much patience and effort it takes to make sex really, really good, that they would be more likely to want to wait until they were with someone they felt completely safe with and committed to, than if they thought it was going to be super-fantastic the very first time?

I do. I think we owe it to our kids to stop lying to them and start educating them.

Were you told the honeymoon myth? Do you think there's any merit to it?


  1. I feel like this is (ironically) closely related to the myth of sex-as-litmus-test-for-the-relationship. They both imply that the quality of sex is entirely dependent on the the relationship's level of viability - in one case it's the magic eight ball that reveals the viability and in the other it's the sign from god that you did everything right and ensured that your marriage and sex life will be awesome. And, in both you are left in ignorance of the fact that, in a healthy relationship, you get better at it. How much worse is it for the Christian couple who have mediocre honeymoon sex and are left with a feeling of "oh god what have I done?!"?

    Sex shouldn't be the deciding factor in the health of a relationship. I mean, sometimes it is. If one person is gay and the other is straight, well the subject of sex will be a deal-breaker, won't it? But outside of that, there's a good chance that sexual problems can be solved over time though communication and practice. Maybe you need to go further and do some research about sexuality and common sexual issues (even more reason for sex ed classes to go beyond anatomy and physiology and explore the topic of pleasure - even if you choose to be abstinent before marriage, why should you have to enter your first sexual relationship totally blind about pleasing your partner??). Maybe you can even consult some experts. If you are compatible in every other way, there is very little reason to think that unsatisfactory sex should ruin what is otherwise a happy and healthy relationship.

    Am I crazy or does every post you write really come down to "More education please!!!" ;) haha

  2. @Macha
    I also think that the idea of "sex-as-litmus-test-for-the-relationship" stems from the false notion of sexual compatibility, that having a good relationship depends on finding a good "sexual match," as opposed to finding someone with whom you feel comfortable exploring your sexuality. Like you said, if every other part of your relationship is great, you can work on making sex better over time.

    How much worse is it for the Christian couple who have mediocre honeymoon sex and are left with a feeling of "oh god what have I done?!"?
    Exactly. That's what bothers me so much about this false promise, especially if it's coupled with the belief that your sexual ability is a fixed trait. It's not worth setting someone up to freak out at the outset of their marriage just to make them adhere to your beliefs about when they should start having sex.

    Am I crazy or does every post you write really come down to "More education please!!!" ;) haha
    Haha, well, maybe the ones about sex, at least. Although I'm not so much pushing for more education as better sex ed. Right now most sex ed is based around a model of fear and resignation--showing kids pictures of STDs in an effort to scare them away from having sex, and then teaching them about how to prevent pregnancy and STDs if they do insist on having sex. There's nothing truly healthy or helpful about this model.

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  4. @Hannah J. Holmes
    That makes total sense! It's pretty rare for a TV or movie plot to include a person having sex for the first time to begin with, and then when they do it seems like it's more like, "And happily ever after, they finally had sex." You definitely don't see the awkwardness and the slow learning over time because, well, that wouldn't make for great TV :)

  5. Seriously though, what is a Christian who has saved themselves for marriage supposed to do? I mean you get the idea of how to have sex, but have no idea how to make it GOOD. You aren't supposed to watch porn and all the educational material doesn't talk about the SPECIFICS. Yes, you're supposed to comfortably learn WITH your new spouse, but if neither one of you have no clue what you're doing....it can be a LONG while before you figure ANYthing out. Is there a realistic resource (non-pornographic) for virgins?

  6. So glad other people feel the same way. Me and my husband got married about 7 months ago and sex is still difficult. We didn't have full out penetration on the Honeymoon because I suffer from vaginismus (muscle spasms in the vulvar area). In fact, we didn't really do much on the Honeymoon at all in terms of sex. But we did have a lot of fun. It was amazing, in fact.
    At first, I cried a lot about it because I felt like my expectations weren't met, but now I realize that sex takes time and effort. It's not suppose to come easy because it's a journey and adventure about learning.
    Like Macha said, I felt like 'what have I done' at a point, thinking that I should use sex as a measuring tool, even though we were happy in every other aspect.
    I wished I was told that it doesn't have to work perfectly at first. It took us two months to just get the basic act right, never mind make it easy. There was a lot of anger and tears (from my side, hubby is very patient and loving), and it was all because I had a pre-formed idea of what sex must be like when you're a newly wed.
    Hard lesson to learn, but at least now I know what it's all about, and one day my children will be told the truth - it's not easy, but with the right partner and patience, it's very rewarding.


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