Pity the Virgins – Wedding Night Blues

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Pity the Virgins 1

Written by Dr. Marty Klein.  Dr. Klein, a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified Sex Therapist, sociologist and distinguished author, is a first-time Jewrotica writer.  Read more of Dr. Klein’s work on his blog.

Rated PGSay there are 50 million weddings a year around the globe. I figure about 85% of those wedding couples contain at least one virgin. At least half of them have two virgins.

I saw one of those couples today in therapy. Mr. A and Ms. B have been married twenty years; when they wed she was a virgin, while he had had intercourse a few times with someone else. Their wedding night was an unconsummated mess, resulting in tears and confusion. Several days later, on their honeymoon, they tried again—“and we failed again,” Mr. A recalled. Her vagina didn’t get wet enough, he couldn’t get his penis in, and eventually he lost his erection. They each took turns blaming themselves; the next morning they took turns blaming each other.

For years, sex was an infrequent, discouraging hassle. Now they can’t remember the last time they did it.

They revealed a variety of reasons besides the wedding night disaster. Years ago she refused to let his niece stay in their home during semester break; he was distant and cold during her subsequent miscarriage; she was bitter rather than supportive when he lost his job; his new job required travelling to China, and he started to get massages there with “happy endings.” She was crushed when she found out, and brought them to my office.

But no matter what we talked about, it seemed we periodically returned to their unhappy wedding night. “I didn’t know what to do,” Ms. B acknowledged. “I expected him to lead, to guide, to explain. When he couldn’t, I felt abandoned.” “Yes, replied Mr. A, “all the pressure was on me, and when things went wrong, you made it clear it was my problem to figure out. And I couldn’t.” Neither of them has forgiven the other. I don’t think they’ve forgiven themselves, either.

It’s too easy to say they got off to a bad start and never recovered, although it’s true. Their personalities weren’t a very good match, and their sexual visions were mismatched, too. She imagined a gentle, kind, knowledgeable but wholesome man; he imagined a sexy, enthusiastic, curious but wholesome woman. What their bedroom needed was an extra pair of gentle hands—and wise eyes, a confident smile, and an extra heart—but of course none came their way.

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Dr. Marty Klein has been a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist for 31 years. A tireless advocate, Marty has published extensively and has given over 700 keynote speeches, training programs, and popular lectures to groups.
  • I really appreciated this article. Before I got married, I received a lot of unsolicited advice from a number of parties – including my old NCSY advisor – about what to do and not to do on my wedding night. It’s ultimately up to the individuals involved and what makes them feel comfortable, but – for those with little physical experience and especially for those who observe the laws of niddah and may not be able to touch for a week or two after intercourse – taking it slow after the wedding seems to make a lot of sense. There’s something to be said for build-up and exploration. And I appreciate the days of creation analogy at the end.

    Has anyone else received unsolicited advice on this, like I did?

    Did this article introduce a new idea to anyone, or is it “old hat”?

    • Banana

      It’s definitely not a new idea for me. I have spoken to several jewish individuals about how there is a rise in divorce rate among jews and part of the issue is what is described above. I do find it interesting how long the suffering persists, how many years the couple decides to stay together, because they dont want to let the community know that there is something wrong in your relationship. They would rather put on a fake show rather than find fulfilling life. Now sometimes you can work on doing so in your own relationship but when you cant… there is a looming fear of divorce.

  • YES. Yes to all of this. I shudder to think of how insanely awkward and unsatisfying so many wedding nights are.

  • Anonymous Internet Commenter

    Oh my god the thought of a “traditional wedding night” makes me CRINGE. I’m sure there are couples who have a great time, but I can’t imagine it being anything other than painful or awkward for most people…..

  • Anonymous

    I was a virgin on my wedding night and it ended in tears – he couldn’t get in, I didn’t know what to do, necessitating a midnight phone call to a Rabbi, a second attempt and then more tears, followed by seven days of not touching which all made me just think that there must be something wrong with me. When I asked my kallah teacher what it would feel like, and what I should know – her great wisdom was imparted to me: “it’s kind of like a stick.” What she really needed to have told me about was KY Jelly. So, maybe I can be that kind of Aunt from now on, but I would advise that in addition to the gift of a lamp, some lubricant might not be a bad idea either…(with specific instructions not to use it on the lamp…!)

    • I’m sitting in a cafe, getting strange looks as I laugh out loud thinking of your visual (using lube on the lamp). Wow.

      I’m sorry that your experience was negative, but I’m glad that you plan on making yourself available to friends. I’ve become very comfortable talking to young kallot about sex and have informally become the person that a lot of my friends and friend-of-friends turn to for advice. I’m happy to do this for the same reason that I take on most of my projects. I think “If only there was something that dealt with X or someone to tell me about Y”… and then I try to fill the gap as best I can.

      Anyway, thank you for sharing your story and keep on spreading the good word!