Who else thinks “sexy” wedding shower games are strange?

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Enjoy these Ass grabbing panties. Love, YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW
Enjoy these Ass grabbing panties. Love, YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW
I'm fortunate, in many respects. As a second-time bride, I'm not expecting a wedding shower. As a consequence, I am spared the bizarre rounds of public humiliation that pass on Pinterest as “shower games.”

Has anyone else noticed these games? And the number of them that circle around “naughty” ideas? Bring underwear that represents your personality, and make the bride guess whose knickers are whose… Play sexy truth or dare… Decorate undies for the bride with a message/instructions to her partner-to-be… Write down everything the bride says while opening gifts and recite it at the end as her “wedding night” commentary… Make undies with handprints on them so the bride knows where to get “handsy” with her partner… Have a sex toy-themed “honeymoon scavenger hunt,” etc…

I understand that some of these come from our socio-cultural anxiety surrounding the traditional fact that a wedding is when a virginal girl becomes a sexually experienced woman. There are a host of traditions around the world that deal with this. Bedding ceremonies, charivari processions to accompany the newlyweds to the bedroom, all kinds of fertility rituals. These all deal with our social discomfort with the transitory phase of life a young bride is going through, and are often meant to decrease the anxiety or pressure surrounding a young couple who might be feeling a little less than up to the task of getting down to business. That's all part and parcel of the wedding ceremony itself, after all, in a ritual theory context.

That's likely where you get “lingerie showers,” where experienced women give the bride underthings and nightgowns and such, to hold her in good stead as a married woman, and give her advice about her marital duties. (Unsurprisingly, these are apparently very popular in certain Evangelical subsets where female virginity is prized, especially in the ones that reserve first kisses for the altar. My partner's family is of this stripe of Evangelical Christian, and I have been invited to some.)

But the “naughty party games” feel like a different thing… as if they're designed to be specifically humiliating.

I don't know if that's the case, or if that's my social anxiety talking. But I can think of nothing less funny than having my aunties and mother make sexy underwear for for my future husband, so I know where to put my hands when we get down to the business. I mean, honestly. It feels awful, as if the purpose is to put the bride's sexuality on display in order to mock it.

Maybe I just have the wrong kind of friends. Maybe I am sexually repressed and don't want to talk about my bedroom antics with friends and relations who have known me since I was tiny and didn't know how to wear lipstick. Maybe I'm an anxious introvert who is no fun at parties (probably true).

Does anyone actually think these are a good idea? And I mean specifically for a wedding shower, where people are ostensibly giving you appliances and shit like that — not a bachelorette party, which is more likely to be just friends of the bride. Do people think having a sexy scavenger hunt where grandma looks for dildos and lube is a great idea, and I'm just a prude? Or do other folks feel an unpleasant tone, too?

Comments on Who else thinks “sexy” wedding shower games are strange?

  1. Hi there! I think it’s kind of weird. I love ALL my girlfriends, and all of my family women, but, I don’t want sexual advice or to guess what they wear for their partners in the bedroom. While I am not offended by sexuality, I think that kind of thing should be reserved for a private conversation. Even if your private conversation includes 3 or 4 of your best friends, I don’t want to see the sexy that they put on for their partner because it should be reserved for their partner, ya know? So, I agree…and I’ve already even nixed the stripper thing because male strippers kind of weird me out. lol

  2. Having never been to one of these myself, just hearing about this makes my skin crawl. This sounds VERY awkward and humiliating to me.

    • Thank God that someone else see this as a crazy thing to do.
      I was recently invited to a shower with this ‘game.’ It’s so embarrassingly stupid. I will pass.

  3. I think you have to know your audience. I definitely would not appreciate these kinds of games at a shower in my honor and my poor mother would be absolutely horrified. Perhaps if you have bride who is super open about sex stuff and her family and friends are the same way, then maybe it would be ok.

    I didn’t have a shower, but at my bachelorette party (tea at the Plaza Hotel) we played a sort of guessing game that I thought was cute and fun. My maid of honor had emailed hubs with a list of questions about us (how did we meet, favorite colors, who’s the boss, etc.). At the tea the ladies took turns reading me the questions, then I had to answer and then they would tell me what he had answered. I got most of the answers right! I thought it was a fun way to have a game that was about us, and put me on the spot a little bit, without being super embarrassing for me or my guests.

  4. How I imagine this going:

    FH “I like that [insert thing received at lingerie shower].”
    Me “Thanks! Your mom gave it to me”

    That right there is what I call a mood killer.

  5. How funny, I also grew up in an Evangelical environment (Baptist). As someone whose gone to numerous bridal showers, I alwasy found it amusing and actually funny when I saw women who are normally conservative and also prudish, let loose and open up.

    My family tends to have a wild sense of humor so for me, seeing my grandmother play some wild bridal shower games was both funny and made me cringe. I dont think any of the games or favors are meant to humiliate the bride, I think its just an excuse for those women who have been married to have fun with the bride. I’ve never been to a shower where the guests and family purposefully made the bride feel humiliated. I see it like a rite of passage so to speak. I think if sexual humor isnt something you’ve grown up use to, then it could make one anxious.

    Not all showers have to be wild, whatever fits your comfot level I suppose.

  6. No you definitely aren’t weird! I banned all of that stuff from my shower and luckily my MOH rocks. I’m okay with it for a bachelorette but I can not imagine talking about sex in front of my mother or worse, his mother! I’m not at all a prude but it is just not appropriate in my opinion. I’ve seen it work (it did for a friend’s shower) but I just can’t stand that kind of stuff and I also resent the implication that I don’t already know what to do at 34 years old! 😛

  7. I’m in the UK and I don’t really get the difference between a shower and a bachelorette party. I had my hen party this weekend (which I think is the same as the bachelorette?) and there was drinking, dancing, and yes some games and lewdness… The purpose of these was definitely entirely to humiliate me but only in a fun way! They gave me silly presents, but it’s not like the ‘sexy’ underwear they gave me is something that they actually think is sexy, they just wanted to make me wear it over my jeans and look like an idiot for a while. I didn’t have any family there, only friends, but plenty of people do invite family.

    Would people have something like that and a shower as well? What’s the point of a shower – do you get actual serious presents? Do men do something equivalent?

    • In my personal experience the Shower tends to be more family and home oriented, generally gifts for the home and couple are “showered” on the bride and it’s all very sweet and innocent. Ive seen gifts of lingerie, but it’s usually very 40s movie peignoir type stuff.

      The guys don’t really get an equivalent party. I’ve seen “Jack and Jill” showers but those are generally awkward at best.

      It’s far more “brunch with great aunt Gertrude” whereas the bachelorette party is with close friends and tends more toward the “penis crowns and male strippers” angle.

      I’ve seen some incursion of the sexy party stuff into showers in the last few years and it always comes off *massively* weird.

    • Kate,
      In the states a bachelorette party is sort of like the bride’s last hurrah as a single girl. Typically one goes out with her friends, partakes in things that commemorate the single life (dancing, drinking, or just hanging out with your girls for that matter), and that’s usually where the lewd/silly fun you mentioned above comes in. In my personal experiences bachelorette parties are for friends and family members close in age (cousins, sisters). Bridal showers on the other hand are a more subdued affair intended to include a wider range of guests (mothers, aunts, grandmothers, family friends). They can be coed or ladies only and gifts are given. Many of the gifts are serious presents. One shower I attended had a Hawaiian theme because that’s where the honeymoon was going to be so all the gifts were things they could use: travel gear, scuba gear, beach towels etc. In other circumstances it can be things for the new couple: appliances, bed sheets, or yes, lingerie. And though games can be played at a bridal shower, the one’s I have witnessed have been less sexual in nature (making wedding dresses out of toilet paper for instance). Again, this is all just in my personal experience and I’m sure it varies for each bride and culture.

      • Related question – if the “shower” is when you give home-orientated gifts, what do you give as wedding gifts? (Obviously you can give whatever you want, but I mean traditionally.)

        Seems like most of the “shower” elements you guys have mentioned are covered by either the hen party or the actual wedding day, at a UK wedding at least.

        • Typically, wedding gifts are some form of money. I’ve seen people bring physical gifts off the couple’s registry, but most bring a card with a check or gift card inside.

          So the shower is usually held to get the couple started with homey items, like kitchen utensils and bed sheets and bath towels. The bachelorette party is usually held to get the bride started with her sex life (but recently this has been turning into just a fun outing, like a spa day or a tea party). Hopefully this clears some confusion up 🙂

          • Thanks! Useful info, just in case I ever get invited to one by an American friend…

            The bachelorette party = hen party thing seems pretty equivalent. But I had no idea about the shower thing. In Britain, the homey-items-from-the-registry stuff is normally the wedding presents. Just in case you ever need to know! (Maybe unlikely.) 🙂

        • (since I can’t reply on your “Useful Info” post)

          Whether the wedding gift is cash or a home gift seems to vary by culture and generation, both are considered entirely legit by most people though. You used to see a lot more physical gifts at weddings but that has been changing pretty noticeably even over the last decade.

          Weddings (like everything else) are staggeringly expensive here (NYC metro area) and the two dominant cultures in my area (Italian and Jewish) are big into “Nest Egg” style gifts so cash is becoming WAY more common.

          Generally you pick a full amount you want to give between however many parties you’re attending (engagement, shower, wedding, whatever) and split that up accordingly, so if for example I were unable to attend someone’s shower the money that would have gone toward that gift gets folded into their wedding gift.

          • Thanks everyone! That does kind of clear it up – but isn’t it (sorry if this is massively stating the obvious) deeply weird that the household items are all given to the bride as presents, rather to the couple on their wedding day? I would LOVE it if we had a tradition that all the older female relatives could get involved in, I would even get on board with the marriage advice, but not if it meant telling me to do housework.

            Hawaiian shower sounds amazing though. If the groom didn’t get a shower, then that lady 100% won at the honeymoon.

          • I actually had a shower just the other day called a Couple’s Shower. It was equally held for both me and my fiancé, the gifts were addressed to both of us, men were there and having a good time, he opened half the gifts and I the other half. It was much better than singling me out (the socially awkward person) and leaving him out of it when he was going to use most of those homey items more than me. I insisted that if I was being thrown a shower, it would be a couple’s shower and nothing less would be acceptable. I was not going to make it all about me

  8. It’s funny, because I actually find the whole idea of having a bridal shower and receiving any gifts really awkward (especially in a serious way). Having a funny game would actually put me more as ease about the concept. I guess it’s because I’ve been on the giving side of things and have stressed out about money (once went to 2 bridal showers, 1 bachelorette, and had to buy the bmaid dress, etc for 1 wedding; and I was bmaid for other weddings that year too!). Also it just seems wasteful, FH and I already live together and have most of what we need, do we really need more stuff? It made sense back in the day when you moved out of mom and dad’s house to go live with your husband, but now it’s different. And I can’t throw stuff away, what about the environment!?!

    While some of the games you’ve listed sound creepy and weird, some of them I’ve played at other people’s shower and thought they were pretty fun (like everyone bring a pair of panties in a brown bag and the bride guesses who brought it – if she guesses wrong she has to wear the panties on her head). And most panties I could probably find room for in our 1 bdrm apartment (as opposed to a toaster or something).

    As for awkward because this family member is here, it’s mainly a non-issue for me. My family has a pretty raunchy sense of humor, so these kinds of games are right up their alley. Most recent Christmases included a couple of games of “Cards Against Humanity” between xmas dinner and dessert. FH family is lives far away.

    So for me personally, put panties on my head! That sounds way more fun than the guilt of not really wanting the material things that were bought so generously for me. But to each their own, there’s nothing wrong with not wanting that kind of party either!

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