Let's say a couple has had sex before marriage, has perhaps been living together for weeks, months, or even years. What happens when you finally make that commitment? What is marriage? For most people it's a public commitment to be faithful, to be monogamous with one another, to really focus on one another and stay there through thick and thin, sickness and health, and to pool their resources, whether those are money, parenting skills with children, or sexual feelings. What I've found so often happens with couples who've been happily living together, suddenly it's, "Oh my God, I have this performance thing that is put on me, things are going to change once I've made this public commitment and announcement, things will never be the same." We can't just relax into our sexual pleasures. We somehow have to do something different.
If I am the man, I have to take charge because that's what men are supposed to do. If I'm the woman, there's a lot of baggage in our culture that goes along with marriage that says that men are supposed to be on top. I call it the "cultural missionary position," where it's not okay for women to be equal anymore. Women somehow have less say. So couples can get scared that this is going to be the setup that things are going to change. In preparing for marriage, again I say that you may need to get beyond the cultural norm that says men are bigger, better, stronger than women and that women really don't want sex, women are "the weaker sex," we're not equal.