‘If She Says It Hurts, Don’t Stop, Do It Faster’: Ultra-Orthodox Men and Women Describe Their Wedding Night

Ultra-Orthodox Israelis talk about being matched with their spouses, learning the facts of life from marriage instructors and the dramatic experience of the wedding night

A wedding dress.
Credit: Lea Golda Holterman
Shira Elk
Shira Elk

The Facebook post said simply, “Tell us some of the weird things you heard from your grooms’ counselors and bridal counselors.” But someone reading the responses might have thought they were taken from a horror movie: “If she says it hurts, don’t stop, just do it faster so you can finish faster”; “The bridal counselor told me that even if the bed fills up with blood, I shouldn’t be frightened and I should try to smile”; “I told the bridal counselor apprehensively that I wasn’t sure I was attracted to him. She quickly dismissed that and said, ‘No, no, everything is fine, you can’t know until after the wedding’”; “The bridal counselor told me reverently how much of an obligation it is to fulfill the mitzvah on the wedding night itself, and not to put it off, even if you’re tired.”