After I got married, tons of people asked me if it "felt different." I think this question comes partly because there are plenty of reasons that it seems as if it might not. For many people today, the wedding night is far from the first time they've had sex, and it doesn't necessarily mark the transition from living with parents to living as an adult or the moment that a couple begins to live together.
I've heard some people answer that question by saying that they don't think it's different to be married, but I don't agree. For me, marriage is different from living with a partner in many ways. It may not be romantic to say while talking about a story that I wrote about a wedding, but a lot of what I know about marriage came from getting divorced. When I went through my divorce, I learned exactly how tied to my spouse I was. For the first time in my life, I couldn't pack up my CDs and clothes and just leave. I had to disentangle myself legally, financially, and emotionally. I had to break the tiny family that my spouse and I had formed together, and I had to leave the larger extended family that I had been accepted into. I also had to back out of meaningful spiritual and emotional promises that I had made.
When people get married they tie themselves together far beyond the personal connection that they have. They connect themselves to each other in the eyes of family, state, and, if applicable, the appropriate deity or deities. I've read a lot of articles bemoaning what a big deal people make out of marriage and criticizing how much money couples spend on tying the knot and how caught up they get with planning details. I'm not out to support the wedding industrial complex, but I think it is a big deal. Marriage has been seen as a major life transition in many cultures throughout history, and it's appropriate to treat it as such.
I do, however, think that some things have to change in response to the practice of living together before marriage. For example, it doesn't make sense to me for a couple to register for an entire kitchen's worth of appliances if they already have a kitchen. Similarly, I think expectations for the wedding night need to be adjusted. For many couples, it's not their first time together, and it might not be the best time or the most romantic time. I do, however, think it's a significant time, and it deserves attention. In my recent release, One Flesh, Leticia and Rosalie are getting married, and as part of the process of planning, they define what they want out of the wedding night. They go farther with that than I've done in my life, but I admire the conversation, and I it's one that couples should have. Marriage, including the wedding night, is different from living together, and I think it's good to steer that difference consciously.
Leticia and Rosalie are planning their wedding, wanting very much to make their special day one to remember, but Rosalie has something else weighing on her mind, one more thing she wants to make as special and as memorable as the ceremony itself—their wedding night. Rosalie wants to be with Leticia in a way that neither of them had ever been with anyone else. But finding something that would be a first time for both of them turns out to be harder than expected.
As it turns out, there is one thing Leticia has wanted to do but has never trusted anyone enough to allow herself to overcome the fear of it. And it's something that Rosalie has never done either.
The women discuss the idea of fisting as a means of connecting and forming an intimate bond with each other, one that they've never formed with anyone else. They've never loved or trusted anyone else they way the love and trust each other, and they are determined to find a way to make it work.
"I'll call tomorrow to tell the church how many flowers we want to order," Leticia said, sighing and folding her notebook closed. No matter how many neat lists she made with her favorite purple pen, the sheer quantity of wedding-related details was overwhelming. "Can you call the caterer back, Rosalie? I still feel like they sneaked a charge in somewhere, but I can't get a straight answer out of them about it."
Her fiancée smiled indulgently. "Better yet. I'll go in person on my lunch break, and they won't know what hit them."
"Great." Leticia rubbed her temples and closed her eyes. She'd wanted to go to bed early, but another evening of wedding planning had made that completely impossible. She was excited to be marrying her one true love and all, but it was easy to lose track of that when she had fourteen phone calls to make and her mother demanded an e-mailed progress report every single night. "That's got to be enough for now."
Leticia stole a quick glance at Rosalie. She'd changed into a cute pair of pajamas when she got home from work, the childish pattern an odd contrast with her sophisticated coppery makeup. Leticia briefly fantasized about peeling the clothing away, revealing her lover's curves and smooth brown skin. Unfortunately, at that very same moment, she had to stifle a yawn. She was so damn sleepy. They would need to get to bed immediately if she was going to give Rosalie proper attention.
"We can't quit planning yet," Rosalie said. "We haven't discussed the most important thing, and it's coming up soon."
Leticia groaned. She flipped her notebook open again and paged through her color-coded, highlighted lists. "We've talked about everything I had listed for the day, and we even went over things that have deadlines coming up in the next few days. I don't see what we're—"
"The wedding night," Rosalie purred. "We haven't discussed that at all."
There was no mistaking the sparkle in her eyes. Leticia actually blushed, the way she had at Rosalie's makeup counter the first time they met, when the other woman's soft words of praise, roughened by the obvious desire in her voice, had gotten Leticia so hot and flushed it had been impossible to identify the correct shade of foundation for her skin tone. She'd been forced to come back later, not that she'd minded.
Now that she'd figured out what Rosalie was hinting at, Leticia played innocent. For all her lover's passion, her Catholic upbringing had left her with an adorable aversion to using direct language. Leticia loved to watch Rosalie get flustered while trying to explain her naughty desires. She batted her eyelashes and focused on her notes again. "We've reserved our hotel room the night of. We've got our plane tickets to Puerto Rico for the honeymoon a couple days after that. Everything appears to be in order."
"The wedding night," Rosalie said, apparently oblivious to Leticia's teasing. She rolled her hands through the air, one over the other, the gesture an invitation to take the word "night" and run with it. "The whole reason I wanted an afternoon wedding was so we could have plenty of time together. Afterward. In the hotel."
"You mean to take a good, long nap? I'm sure we'll be tired after dealing with all the guests, and coming down from pre-wedding nerves, too." Leticia couldn't resist continuing the act.
"Not a nap. But I am talking about what we might do in bed."
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Annabeth Leong has written erotica of many flavors—dark, romantic, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. Her lesbian stories have appeared in the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Lesbian Cops, Circlet Press's love-spell anthology Like Hearts Enchanted, Lovecraftian erotica book Whispers In Darkness, and others. When not writing erotica, she is frequently reading it. She has lived in six states in various parts of the United States, and traveled to most of the others. Annabeth believes passionately in freedom of speech, rights for people of all sexual orientations, and the need for compassionate religion. She loves shoes, stockings, cooking, and excellent bass lines.
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