Whether it be for religious reasons, nerves, or just straight-up timing, some people choose to wait until marriage to have sex for the first time.

And whether it’s as magical as a double rainbow or awkward as an ob-gyn visit, one thing’s for sure: Sex on your wedding night is anything but predictable.

Here, nine women get super honest about the waiting game and their pursuit of matrimonial bliss.

1. “There was so much tension and build-up the months before the night. We waited until the night after the wedding, which was the first night of our honeymoon. We married young, so we rented a cottage about one hour north of home and stayed for four days. I had so many expectations and fears going into it.

What if I did it wrong? What if it hurts? What if I hate it and he loves it? We both waited until marriage, but had done second and third base before. That made it a little less scary. It was nice to have someone with me who was just as nervous as I was. We set candles and dimmed the lights. I always imagined a romantic, passionate first time.

However, it was awkward and very funny. I would have died from embarrassment if he hadn’t been so calm. The first time only lasted about 40 seconds. It hurt a lot for me; I was too nervous to get wet naturally. We cuddled in bed after and laughed about it. Within the next few days, we had sex around 12 more times.

Each was a little less painful and during the last time, it actually started to feel nice. It’s been a year now, and sex is so much better. We communicate what we like and dislike. It’s like having a personalized vibrator that knows exactly what you want when you want. I’m so thankful I waited for the right person.” —Sarah

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