How to Connect With Your Partner on Your Honeymoon—Sexually and Emotionally

Whether it's your first time or your 1,000th time, these tips will foster intimacy.
Megan Lierley
by Megan Lierley
Updated Oct 20, 2021

For seemingly as long as marriage has been around, society has put a shocking amount of pressure on honeymoon sex. Historically, it was expected that newly married couples would have sex for the first time on their wedding night, with some customs going so far as to check the sheets for blood the next morning.

Thankfully, we've done away with that tradition, but we've still managed to uphold the pressure of the "hot honeymoon" in other ways—lacy lingerie gifts at the bachelorette party, anyone?

Sex is an important part of relationships, and it's understandable that you want to start your marriage off with a bang (sorry, had to). But if there's one thing sex and relationship experts agree on, it's that intimacy can come in so many different forms, and we'd be doing ourselves a disservice to place all of our focus on one act as the most important part of the honeymoon experience.

Here, relationship experts Kristen Mark, a sex and relationship researcher, and Tracy Ross, a couples therapist, share their ideas on everything you actually need to know about honeymoon sex.

Take the Pressure Off

As important as having great sex may feel while you're boarding the flight to your honeymoon destination, remember that marriage is all about the long game. You've just committed to spending forever together, after all. The sex you have with your new spouse on your honeymoon—however fantastic or boring or anything in between it may be—is not indicative of every sexual experience you'll share for the rest of your lives.

"The honeymoon is not supposed to be the pinnacle," Ross says. "Instead, it's about laying the foundation. It's a very unique moment in time."

Most people would agree that if you had a week's worth of incredible sex but fought the rest of the trip, the good sex wouldn't be enough to make the honeymoon successful. There's so much more to this special trip.

"Don't let the honeymoon be this thing that has to involve only the most mind-blowing sex—think about the honeymoon as a way to just connect with each other in all the ways, not just sexually," Mark says. "That will take some of the pressure off. It's about celebrating your decision to spend your lives with each other... that involves a lot more than sex."

While newlyweds may dream of a getaway spent having sex and adventuring, in reality, you just finished wedding planning, hosted a huge event, socialized for days straight with all of your friends and family, and likely traveled to a new destination for your honeymoon. It's OK to feel tired and spend some time not doing anything in bed but resting and recharging.

"Obviously, it would be great if you had the best sex of your life on your honeymoon, but that's really not realistic," Ross says. "You're usually exhausted and drained. So the thing to think about instead on a honeymoon is feeling intimate and connected. Intimacy and connection can mean a lot of things, but it doesn't have to mean sex."

How to Feel Connected

Ross says honeymoons are a great time for exploration and play. She describes it as a, "frozen-in-time moment where the rest of your life is blocked out so you can focus on each other." Take this time, she says, to talk about what kind of sex and intimate life you want to have, and explore in a playful, no-pressure way.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

1. Take a broad look at intimacy.

Mark recommends taking a broader view of how you define sex and intimacy within your relationship. After all, simply cuddling in your hotel room on your first night as a married couple may feel incredibly intimate to you.

"Taking a romantic stroll on the beach hand in hand at sunset can generate a great deal of intimacy between two people," she says. "Spending quality time together where you're not being pulled away from each other due to daily life stressors can also generate a great deal of intimacy. Sex and intimacy can both look a lot of different ways."

2. Use the time to talk.

As always, open communication is hugely important for ensuring you and your spouse are on the same page. "Talk with your partner about what [sex and intimacy] mean to them, and allow that conversation itself to facilitate intimacy between you," Mark says.

Take advantage of this special time together to have conversations about what you want from the future—in regards to both your sex life and all the other important components of your life together.

Ross says couples often struggle to talk about what intimacy means for them, and a honeymoon could lend itself to these conversations. "Expand your definition of what sex and intimacy mean to you because it doesn't have to be what everyone thinks of," Ross says.

3. Make a sexual menu.

Similar to talking about your broader hopes and expectations for intimacy, Ross recommends creating a "sexual menu" that includes what you and your partner might like to explore in the future.

"I ask couples to make a sexual menu of anything they want to try," she says. "People feel embarrassed, but anything is OK here. It's a good time to set the tone." Consider things like sex positions you want to try, sex toys you'd like to experiment with, and new-to-you forms of foreplay.

Remember that you don't need to tick off any menu items on your honeymoon, but it's something you can do to feel excited about the future together.

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