Compiled by Tunde Ajaja - Nigeria
It is no news that after wedding ceremony, newlywed couples usually rush to their bridal suite or hotel room to have some post-nuptial romantic exercise or sexual congress. It is usually one night too many for many, mainly for the romp in the sack (great sex), and the eager consummation of the marriage that follows that long and enduring expectation is usually historic and unique.
According to some religious beliefs, people are not expected to have sexual intercourse until they are legally married, hence, the high sexual plans and expectation built around the wedding night cannot be over-emphasized.
However, in spite of the high expectation and readiness of either or both parties, studies have shown that many end up not having sex on the wedding night. Perhaps the tradition of wedding night sex is fading away.
Reasons adduced for this trend include exhaustion, fatigue, intoxication, physiological stress and emotional overload. Regardless, weddings are beautiful and lovely, but they can be exhausting and tiring.
One of the studies pointed out that the groom being too drunk to make love, the bride falling asleep and couples having arguments during the wedding ceremony, especially at the reception, were popular reasons why couples don't consummate their marriage. While another study emphasised that the refusal or inability of many to wait until marriage before having sex has reduced the significance and once-upon-a-time importance attached to wedding night sex.
In this study, a United Kingdom-based stationeries company, PaperShaker, surveyed 1,000 newlyweds. It was found that the biggest reason for the decline in wedding night sex was that many people don't wait until marriage to have sex.
In fact, about 16 per cent of the participants admitted to having more sex since becoming engaged. While 25 per cent said they did not have sex on their wedding night. Also, about 60 per cent said they slept with two or more of their wedding guests, more so because about 30 per cent said they invited their ex-lovers to their wedding. Men were more guilty of this.
It could be deduced that majority of couples getting married have already been around the block in the bedroom together, so the rush to finally do it on their wedding night isn't nearly as intense or necessary.
Commenting on the study, a relationship expert, April Masini, said sex on the wedding night used to symbolise the end of virginity that was guarded until marriage unlike now that it has become more fashionable to have sex before marriage. "Because sex before marriage is now the norm, the tradition has lost its meaning, so sex on the wedding night might not have the significance that it used to," she said.
In another survey by a money-saving website, VoucherCodesPro, which involved 2,128 newlyweds, it was found that more than 52 per cent of the participants didn't have sex on their wedding night.
There were many reasons given for this unfulfilled expectation. These include the bride or the groom getting drunk, the bride or the groom being too tired and falling asleep, couples having argument during wedding reception, travelling to their honeymoon destination and looking after or being distracted by their children, for those who already had children before marriage.
Other reasons given by the participants include staying up all night partying and celebrating with guests and that neither of them felt like having sex, for whatever reason.
The Marketing Director, Voucher Codes Pro, George Charles, said the emphasis of sex on wedding night for married couples is no longer a huge factor because of several reasons.
He said, "It may be that the stress and pressure of organising a wedding take the main priority, especially considering such a large proportion of couples have been together for years.
"From this study, we gathered that about 52 per cent said they did not make love on their wedding night while 17 per cent of them waited for more than three days after the ceremony.
"Of those who did not consummate their marriage on their wedding night, 24 per cent said it was because the groom was too drunk. 16 per cent said it was because the bride was too tired and fell asleep, while 13 per cent said the bride was too drunk. In four per cent of cases, it was the groom who fell asleep.
"Furthermore, 11 per cent said it was because they had their children to look after, and nine per cent admitted that they had an argument before the wedding reception ended, hence, they could not have sex."
According to the report, nine per cent of the participants said they spent their wedding night travelling to their honeymoon destination, while seven per cent stayed up all night partying and celebrating with guests. Interestingly, only four per cent said neither of them felt like having sex.
Other reasons given include being busy with saying goodbyes, revelling in some shindig with friends and colleagues in attendance, and in some cases, while the bride or groom was busy with friends or attending to friends and making sure all was well, the partner had gone to sleep.
According to one of the participants in the survey, she said her bridegroom left shortly after the reception, and she was the only one who said goodbye to their guests. "When I finally got the chance to break away from the crowd, I returned to my honeymoon suite to see that my drunken husband had locked me out. He shut the door and slept off.
"I knocked, I banged, I yelled and called his cell and the room phone over and over, until some other guests in the hotel called the security to stop me. I had to go down to his parents' room and confessed what had happened and spent the night with them.
"The most surprising thing was that my husband was utterly oblivious to the chaos, mayhem and embarrassment he had caused the night before. He wasn't aware."
It is also worthy of note that many couples see wedding as a once in a lifetime event, thus putting on a celebratory nature to make it memorable.
In another survey by Chillisauce, an events company in the UK, 67 per cent of British couples don't actually have sex on their wedding night. About 5,000 people responded to the wedding survey.
Meanwhile, a survey by an online dating site, WhatsYourPrice.com, which polled 11,243 of its married American members showed that nearly half of American couples don't consummate their marriage on their wedding night, as about 42 per cent didn't have sex on the day.
Commenting on the study, a psychologist, Prof. Toba Elegbeleye, said there is a possibility of drunkenness and tiredness on wedding day due to the number of activities that characterise the ceremony, but that tiredness would be a stronger factor than drunkenness. He noted that wedding in this part of the world usually comes with travelling, which could be tiring.
He added that wedding night sex has lost relevance because many couples these days would have satisfied themselves sexually before wedding and there would be nothing to look forward to again.
He said, "In the time when people go into marriage with their virginity, wedding night may symbolise an exciting experience and something to look forward to, but nowadays, the cases of couples who haven't had sex before wedding are very rare. This is because people would have had all the sex they needed for their lifetime before the wedding day that they may not be in a hurry to have sex that night.
"Also, for people who have not had sex before wedding, they may be faced with the issue of anti-climax because of anxiety and some physiological stress because anxiety about sex hampers performance. So, issues of tiredness, drunkenness and inability of couples to refrain from sex before wedding all make wedding night sex to be not so achievable and interesting."