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This article is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of the new book From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage.

Give yourself the gift of sexual wholeness by participating in Laura’s new “Sexual Wholeness Workshop for Women” on Saturday, September 19, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah.


With engagement and wedding season upon us, many worry that they do not know enough about sex and have no idea what to expect. Others think everything will just happen naturally. Some wonder what all the fuss is about, as if to say, “What’s there to know?”

Well, there are some important things to know. Understanding how men and women are wired differently and learning about some of the more specific intricacies and inhibitors of intimacy are key to creating a sextraordinary marriage. It is also especially important for a new husband to understand some of the subtle complexities of his wife’s sexual functioning. To begin a marriage with negative experiences—especially those that are sexual in nature—can create deep wounds in the relationship that can last for many years.

Getting educated about this sacred yet important topic can alleviate fear and even provide some confidence about this great gift God has given to husbands and wives.

Key Sexual Differences between Husbands and Wives

While there is a lot of information that can be delved into more deeply after marriage, comfort and confidence during the honeymoon and early stages of life together will come to those who are at least somewhat familiar with important intimate information, one example being key sexual differences between husbands and wives.

The following is just a brief overview of a few key differences. These concepts will be very helpful in you understanding one another and knowing how best to approach intimacy so you both have an uplifting and enjoyable experience from the beginning:

  1. Desire is More Physical (Men) / Desire is More Emotional and Relational (Women). For men, sexual desire is more physically based and initially driven by hormones. That makes male sexual desire more constant and more immune to contextual factors which more commonly affect women. For women, who lack the higher levels of testosterone of men, desire is linked to how connected they feel towards their spouse, and how they feel about themselves, their body, and the marriage relationship. It’s not just a matter of whether they like the idea of having sex, like it is for men.
  2. Ready to Go / Need Warm-up. Because of the physiological driving factor for men they tend to be ready to be intimate more quickly and more easily than women. Women tend to need more time to warm up both mentally and emotionally in order to first feel connected. Although less warm up for women may be needed in the very beginning of marriage because of the newness and excitement that come with being intimate for the first time, husbands still need to be aware of this need for warm up as it will most likely be the case for his bride throughout the marriage.
  3. Sex as a Reaction / Sex as a Decision. With the physical versus emotional foundations of male and female sexual DNA, husbands in general are automatically responsive and ready for sex, while women need to make a more conscious decision to proceed sexually even though they may not technically feel desire quite yet. This is less true in the beginning of marriage when the newness and novelty of sexual relations tend to carry a woman into lovemaking more easily.

    Sex is a decision for men as well, but in the heat of the moment they don’t need to ask themselves if they want to or not. Their wiring makes it easier for them to more readily want to. Women generally need to make a more conscious decision to be intimate than men do. This makes it especially important for a young man to develop mastery over his desire. Only then will he be able to match his young wife’s arousal, rather than getting ahead of her. On the other end of the spectrum, young women often need to embrace and develop their sexual desire and “wantingness.”
  4. Need to Bridle Sexual Energy / Need to Embrace and Nurture Sexual Energy. While there is a percentage of men and women who do not fit the stereotype, as a general rule men and women have almost opposite challenges in their sexual makeup. Men need to learn to bridle or master their sexual feelings. Women generally need to more fully embrace, nurture and welcome their sexual feelings.

This is only a small fraction of the things that one needs to know before the wedding night but provides a taste of what kind of knowledge is needed to be as prepared as possible for the wonderful adventure of marriage!

As you become more educated about this compelling yet tender experience (and have an ongoing open dialogue with your best friend/fiancé(e) prior to marriage) you will gain sufficient understanding of what your first experiences may be like. Sharing with each other and merging your expectations will bring greater confidence and diminish any fears. As you step into the unknown about your sexual relationship, trusting in your loving Father in Heaven, you can have faith that everything will work out.[i]


[Excerpted from Chapter 4 of Laura M. Brotherson’s new book — From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage.]

Stay tuned for additional articles in this series…

Other articles in this series include:

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BIO — Laura M. Brotherson, LMFT, CST, CFLE

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist, Laura M. Brotherson is the founder of “The Marital Intimacy Institute“ with a mission to help couples create “sextraordinary marriages.” She counsels with couples, individuals and families in private practice (and online) and is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy–specializing in healthy sexuality, sex therapy, and sex addiction. Laura is the author of the best-selling books, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage, and now her latest book — From Honeymoon to Happily Ever After: 23 Keys to Prepare for a Sextraordinary Marriage.

As a Certified Family Life Educator, Laura is also actively engaged in providing marriage education through “Couples’ Cruises,” articles, newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, “The Marital Intimacy Show” podcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is a regular contributor to the KSL Television “Studio 5” morning show. She is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy to help build strong marriages and families. Laura and her husband, Kevin, are the parents of three grown children and are the founders of StrengtheningMarriage.comyour trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages … intimately!

Connect with Laura:
Instagram: @StrengtheningMarriage

[i] See Doctrine & Covenants 122:7.