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Sex and The Wedding by Donna Schaper contributing writer

ay too much has been made of the wedding night, that storied moment when we lose our virginity, have uncomfortable sex and live happily ever after. Way too little has been said about real sex, about the 90 year old single gay man who goes to therapy for his impotence, because he still hopes to find a “life long” partner, or the real wedding night of two mature women who are just too tired to do anything but sleep. Many people wonder if they have a normal sex life. Very few do. That’s because there is no normal when it comes to sex, not even a new normal. Instead there are many private behaviors that qualify as sex and some are done with eyes and ears, others with more private parts, still others that qualify as erotic and not sexual – and finally some that are both erotic and sexual, both bodily and bodily plus. Ironically, before, during and after the wedding festivities, sex (as we normally minimize it to the actual act) is often rare. Before, we get that breather known as the engagement period when the initial rush of excitement of knowing a new partner fades. Something newly erotic develops, which is a safer kind of sex, one where we know what our partner likes and a little bit more

about how to communicate effectively with each other about what our own needs are. During the wedding itself, which is now a weekend and not an hour, couples are usually exhausted from the non-erotic obligations of tablecloths, napkins, and what Aunt T might say to Uncle B. Two dynasties are merging, whether they are royal or not, and these mergers often change our focus. I often joke with my partner that if the family visits, sexual opportunities will diminish. We enjoy before, and after, but rarely during the obligations of family, many of which head us straight to our psychic memories of being eight years old and consequently less inclined to be sexual. Friends are a differently complicating matter. It is the rare wedding today that does not include our old friends, some of whom were our partners. I have had many couples tell me that they felt “guilty” because they were not dressing for their fiancee on their wedding day so much as their ex. The last thing they wanted to hear one of the guests whisper was, “You look great but you used to look better.” -By the way, these articulations rarely happen out loud. Instead they happen in that inner dialogue which often eclipses whatever we appear to be saying while holding a glass of champagne, and they may or may not be what the other person is accurately thinking

Vol. 5 Issue 2 Autumn/Winter 2010 21

Volume 5, Issue 2  

Autumn/Winter 2010

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