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Have you considered putting the breaks on sex for the weeks leading up to your wedding? This popular, self-imposed celibacy has been a wedding day preparation tip since what feels like the dawn of time.
We had to ask: Why? Why take sex off the table? Will it really increase desire? Is it worth the wait?
Wedding night sex is something we all think about. It is a once-in-a-lifetime (maybe, probably, hopefully) experience. We want it to be special. This is probably where the advice to wait came from: The idea that if we hold off on sex, we'll want it more.
While there is certainly some merit to this argument, this adds a host of other pressures and anxieties to the days and weeks leading to your nuptials. Is holding off on sex before your wedding day a good idea or is a bust? Let's discuss.
There is increased pressure to perform
The glaring red flag in this advice to be celibate is that it increases the pressure to perform because so many people believe that wedding night sex should be "perfect." If you take sex off the table, you're not just building up happy, excited nerves; you're building up scary, anxious nerves. Even if you've been having sex with your partner for years on end, there is a risk of performance anxiety if you add on cinder blocks of expectation.
"Performance anxiety-about erections and orgasms-can affect both men and women, making them so anxiety-ridden that they cannot feel pleasure from sex," warns Dr. Patti Britton, master sex coach at Sex Coach U.
Don't let it get to you. "I always coach couples to take themselves off the pressure-cooker burner. Relax. Stop expectations for perfection, even in bed, and find joy, fun, and humor if things don't work well the first time," Britton says. If taking sex off the table is going to make you a jumbled mess, don't do it. There is no need to go off sex with someone you love just because you want to make sex hotter. That's silly. There is no need.
No sex means more stress
You know what is super stressful? Planning a wedding. You know what is extra, super stressful? Planning a wedding while you're not getting laid.
Sex is a stress reliever. It releases the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Orgasms bring down cortisol levels, the body's natural stress hormone. It is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies. Depriving yourself of pleasure may not be in your best interest.
Additionally, there is tension between partners when planning a wedding. It's inevitable. If you remove sex from your life, the small disagreements and arguments will only feel more painful. Sex increases bonding between couples. It instills a sense of closeness in a way you can't have without making love. If you stop having sex, you're taking away that crucial time to connect.
On the plus side, can refraining from sex increase desire and anticipation?
There are a few benefits to staving off sex. "Couples may find that their self-imposed 'dry spell' helps increase their desire for their partner, and may encourage them to really want sex on their wedding night," says Debra Herbenick, associate professor at Indiana University and author of The Coregasm Workout. "So, the primary advantage is to increase arousal."
While we're all about you being as relaxed and ready as possible before the big day (whatever that entails) if we're being honest, wedding night sex is kind of overrated. Don't get us wrong, it's fun and exciting. You're married now. That's great! But the sex doesn't need to be this ridiculously overhyped fairy tale. Being relaxed before your wedding day feels far more important. If having sex makes you less stressed, have sex. If it feels like a burden and the last thing you want to do is get down and dirty, you don't have to do it.
But, might we suggest oral sex over intercourse? If your partner takes time to serve you while you breathe into your body, you may find sex in the weeks leading up to the wedding are just what the doctor ordered.
See more: Do You Need to Have Sex on Your Wedding Night?
It's about what you want
In the end, it is entirely up to you. There are good and bad things about putting sex on the back-burner. It's really about what works in your relationship and if you and your partner want to wait for the big day.
"This really should be a mutual discussion and decision-nothing that someone puts on their partner, without their partner's buy-in," says Herbenick. "If a woman wants to try this, I'd encourage her to let her fiancГ© know why this is important to her. Maybe she wants to reconnect in a special way on their wedding night. Maybe she wants to really increase their desire and arousal and have an unforgettable night."
Have an honest conversation with your fiancГ©. He or she may have strong feelings either way. It's a choice that the two of you should make together. Just remember, it really isn't a big deal. It's sex, not the Olympic games.
Gigi Engle is a sex educator and writer living in Chicago. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @GigiEngle.