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

2. “Before I met my now-husband, I had never really met someone who I wanted to be with. I’ve had my fair share of chances of course, but it never felt right. My now-husband was not a virgin when we met. I honestly wasn’t even planning on saving myself until marriage, but it was never a big part of our relationship. Of course, there were nights that we would have fun in the bedroom, and that would involve basically everything but sex. He knew I was a virgin and wanted my first time to be special. We would have long conversations about sex and what it meant to us, then I decided this is the man I’ll marry. When he proposed after two years of dating, we got married five months after. To say we were excited was an understatement. Between gifts from my friends and things I’ve been collecting, I had such a sexy wardrobe to wear over the honeymoon. The morning after we were married, he woke up with me on top of him in one of the sexy outfits I brought with me. There was a little discomfort the first time, but since then, our sex life has been great. I have nothing to compare it to, but neither of us are complaining. Sex has brought us closer together.” —Erica.

3. “It was nerve-racking. I thought I’d just save it until the right person came along, but who would’ve thought I’d save it until marriage! We did other things before, like oral and hand stuff, so I did worry because I knew his penis is so small. But size didn’t and doesn’t matter to me anymore, because our chemistry is what makes us feel alive during sex and during our marriage. He was not a virgin, and I made him get tested before he even proposed. It does get better with time. We’re still learning about each other’s bodies.” —Clementine

“We had sex on our wedding night. I was a virgin until marriage, but my husband lost his virginity very young and has had sex with countless women. I guess sex was more of a letdown than anything. I was extremely discouraged by my lack of experience and also insecure in knowing that he’s had a lot of previous experience. I’ve always been led to believe that sex for the first time will be awkward, maybe painful, but so great because you’re exploring new things together. But since we weren’t exploring something new together, sex wasn’t what I expected it would be. It brought out a lot of insecurities in me, and I haven’t been able to overcome all of those insecurities just yet. I think sex in a marriage is a whole lot deeper than just two bodies. It’s hard to explain. But I was let down. Some aspects have gotten better. I feel more confident in what I’m doing. The insecurity in having less experience than my husband, and my husband having far more experience than me is still there.” —Anna, 23

5. “Sex for the first time after I got married was terrifying and it hurt like hell. We were so excited to finally to do it that we did the deed in the limo on the way to drop us off at the airport, which was a terrible idea. Didn’t work out so great, so we had round two in our honeymoon suite in Bora Bora. My husband was not a virgin before we met, so it got difficult at times, but he made it. [Waiting until marriage] was important to me for religious reasons, and I had been raised to do so. Sex since then has been mind-blowing because I’m getting to try all these different things I’ve never gotten to! We’ve been married for a little over a year now and the sex is still great!” —Margaret

“It was horrible. Not even joking. Waiting until marriage is the biggest regret I have in life. We had sex on our wedding night, and it was just awful and hasn’t gotten any better, and we’ve been married for four years. It causes so many issues in our relationship and we have grown apart tremendously. We don’t even sleep in the same bed anymore. My husband was not a virgin when we married, but I was for religious reasons. He had sex with his high school girlfriend. I wish I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself to be a virgin. If I could go back and change it, I would.” —Natasha

7. “I was a virgin until the night after my wedding. Growing up, it was never an option to not remain a virgin and I genuinely believed that if I had sex before marriage, no one would want me. On the night of my wedding, my husband carried me into our hotel room and set me on the bed. We had done so many other things that the first part came natural. We had great foreplay and then he asked me if I was ready. I was chomping at the bit to finally get it over with and honestly it was so anticlimatic — in every way. I had been fingered, so it didn’t hurt much, but it felt awkward because I didn’t know how to move to make it feel good. It was my husband’s first time too and he had the best time. I didn’t climax until almost eight months in. You just really have to know your body, and the only way to do that is to have sex more and more, communicate, and be willing to try new things. The first time I came was when I asked if he would eat me out for a while before and then when we were having sex, he started to rub my clit. I didn’t even ask him to do this, but it hit the spot, and now I come all the time.” —Megan

8. “My ex-husband and I went to the hotel straight after the wedding reception. It was awkward. We laughed at the thought of what was going to happen. We didn’t know anything about foreplay, so we just turned down the lights and played some sexy music. We didn’t know where to put his penis. There was a lot of awkward poking until we got it right. It was sloppy, we only did one position, and he finished in about three minutes. He asked me, ‘Is that it?’ I took a shower and cried for about 10 minutes. When I went to bed, he was asleep. My ex was also a virgin and told me he married me to have sex on our wedding night. It taught me that sex is just a thing and if I could do it again, I would have just had sex — would have saved a marriage and $30,000.” —Amanda.

9. “I was a virgin, but my husband wasn’t. We waited until our wedding night for sex, but had done everything else prior. I thought I was fairly prepared because I wasn’t sheltered or anything like that. We had sex on our wedding night and it was way rougher than either of us expected. I had trouble relaxing from the crazy day. I bled, which wasn’t a surprise, but I was surprised that I continued bleeding for about a week whenever we had sex. It’s a month later, and it’s much better now! The trick? Lube. Lots of lube. His penis physically cannot hold any more amounts of lube. We thought we were using enough but you can never use enough.” —Ashley