Once upon a time (well, when more of us were virgins on our wedding night) first night sex was a huge deal, with a great amount of expectation placed around it - think fireworks, earthquakes, comets in the sky type of explosions.
(Clearly this was a myth invented by a man since a woman's experience of her first time, barring Anastasia Steele, is 'ow, ow, get that thing away from me').
However now, considering so many of us either a) aren't virgins and b) have probably lived with each other before the big day, is the news that only 48% of people actually manage to have sex on the wedding night, such a big deal?
According to a survey of over 2,000 people, 52% didn't manage to have sex, and 17% of those confessed that they waited more than three days after the day.
As you may have guessed, alcohol was the biggest culprit. 24% of men were too drunk to have sex even if they wanted to, and 16% of women were too tired and fell asleep.
Clearly, the idea of a first night has changed. Emily Dubberley, leading sex expert and author of Garden of Desires, says: "While this isn't a scientfic study, the results don't surprise me. False expectations and pressures for sex to be perfect on your wedding night may make some people feel nervous or tense.
"Add in the numerous potential stressful factors on the day, from event organisation to conflict between friends or family or simply copious amounts of drink flowing and it's no wonder many people aren't in the mood. Some people may also choose to enjoy spending time with all their friends and family while they have the opportunity to see everyone in one place."
In the study, conducted by VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, nearly 72% agreed that sex on a wedding night was not as important as it had once been.
Emily adds: "There's no right or wrong as to whether you should have sex on your wedding night - it's up to the pair of you to decide. If consummating your marriage on your wedding day is important to you, you might decide to take some time together before the reception.
"You might agree to enjoy the reception until a certain time then leave together. You may want to go with the flow and see where the evening takes you. Sex is only one part of being married, and how/when you have it is up to you: there's no need to feel pressured into sex by society, even if you have just got married. Taking the pressure off will help you relax and truly enjoy your wedding night."
WE DIDN'T HAVE SEX BECAUSE...
- 1. The groom was too drunk (24%)
- 2. The bride was too tired and fell asleep (16%)
- 3. The bride was too drunk (13%)
- 4. Had to look after our children (11%)
- 5. We had an argument before wedding reception ended (9%)
- 6. Needed to leave for our honeymoon (9%)
- 7. Stayed up all night partying/celebrating with guests (7%)
- 8. The groom was too tired and fell asleep (4%)
- 9. Neither of us felt like having sex (4%)
- 10. Other (3%)
Keeps Your Blood Flowing
According to Dr. Jennifer Berman, co-founder of the Female Sexual Medicine Center at UCLA, orgasms increase your circulation, keeping the blood flowing to your genital area. This in turn keeps your tissue healthy!
It's A Form Of Cardio
Although it can't be considered an alternative to daily exercise, having an orgasm is a cardiovascular activity. "Your heart rate increases, blood pressure increases [and your] respiratory rate increases," says Berman. And because it's akin to running in many physiological respects, your body also releases endorphins. Sounds like a pretty fun way to work your heart out.
Lifts Your Mood
Feeling down in the dumps? An orgasm might be just what you need to pick yourself up. In addition to endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin are also released during orgasm. All three of these hormones have what Berman terms "mood-enhancing effects." In fact, dopamine is the same hormone that's released when individuals use drugs such as cocaine -- or eat something really delicious.
Helps You Sleep
A little pleasure may go a long way towards a good night's rest. A recent survey of 1,800 women found that over 30 percent of them used sexual release as a natural sedative.
Keeps Your Brain Healthy
Having an orgasm not only works out your heart, but also your head. Barry Komisaruk, Ph.D. <a href="http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/tips-moves/orgasm-news" target="_hplink">told <em>Cosmopolitan</em></a> that orgasms actually nourish the brain with oxygen. "Functional MRI images show that women's brains utilize much more oxygen during orgasm than usual," Komisaruk says.
It's A Natural Painkiller
One thing that Victorian practitioners may have been onto is that orgasms can work to soothe certain aches and pains -- namely migraines and menstrual cramps. (So now you know what to do next time you have a headache if you don't feel like popping an Excedrin.) According to Berman, the contractions that make up an orgasm can actually work to evacuate blood clots during your period, providing some temporary relief.
It Relieves Stress
Most of our lives are so hectic that it's hard to even imagine being relaxed. However, it turns out that <em>sexual</em> release can double as <em>stress</em> relief. Not only do the hormones help with this task, Berman says that being sexual also gives our minds a break: "When we're stressed out and overextending ourselves, [we're] not being in the moment. Being sexual requires us to focus on one thing only."
Gives You A Healthy Glow
There actually might be something to the idea that we "glow" after sex. The hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), which shows <a href="http://www.ivillage.com/secret-health-benefits-sex/4-a-283856" target="_hplink">increased levels during sexual excitement</a>, can actually make your skin healthier.
Aids Your Emotional Health
Last but not least, when you know what it takes to make yourself orgasm, you may increase your emotional confidence and intelligence. "When you understand how your body works and ... [that it] is capable of pleasure on its own, regardless of your partner status, you make much better decisions in relationships," says Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., a sexologist and certified sexuality educator. "You don't look to someone else to legitimize that you're a sexual being."