Here’s a question I wrestled with before I was married: is it okay if we don’t have sex on our wedding night?
The short answer is: yes, definitely okay!
That was challenging for my fiancé (now husband) and I to even consider, because we were both eager to experience the joys of marital intimacy. But my chart was looking like I might be ovulating on our wedding night, and we had some concerns about the possibility of a "honeymoon baby."
In hindsight, I wish I had known that we didn’t have to feel such pressure to have sex on our wedding night. Mostly because it was a lot to leap from kissing to...everything else in one night!
On the “Preparing for your first time” page of this website, you’ll find the following caveats for engaged couples to consider:
There are many valid reasons the couple may choose to delay intercourse:
Some couples may be worn out by the events of the wedding day and want to wait until the next morning when they are better rested.
Others may find it helpful to slowly build their physical intimacy over several days.
Maybe the bride has just started her period (stress can really mess up a woman’s cycles!).
Maybe the woman has been charting and knows will likely be fertile on her wedding night and the couple has discerned, through responsible parenthood, they should try to avoid pregnancy at this time.
With these considerations in mind, it is important to remember that sexual union is a key part of your Sacrament of Marriage. Couples should avoid delaying intercourse for a prolonged period of time out of fear or anxiety. Also, couples who choose to slowly build up to intercourse after their wedding should maintain a level of reverence so the husband does not intentionally climax outside his wife.
I was so excited when Christina Valenzuela, owner and founder of Pearl and Thistle, shared a couple of blog posts that further explore some of the nuances of this question. I will admit, even after studying these subjects for my Masters’ degree, I still get lost when I attempt to delve into Canon Law and more legalistic terms. So I love that Christina has interest in helping translate it for people like me. Specifically she answers:
Does waiting to have sex for a period of time after your wedding mean you “aren’t actually married” until you do have sex? (The short answer is “No!”)
What does it look like from a spiritual/emotional/practical level to avoid sex on your wedding night, and possibly into your honeymoon?
With Christina’s permission, I have linked to her blog with some excerpts below. I hope you find her resources as helpful as I have!
"If you have discerned a serious reason to postpone pregnancy at the beginning of your marriage, I just want to let you know that you are not alone in feeling anxious, worried, or even angry that you might need to abstain on your wedding night or even all through the honeymoon…
[When you marry] you become a living icon of Christ and the Church…even if you haven't had sex yet, because that is what marriage does for us.
The average married couple will not have sex once a day.
But they will do dishes, fold laundry, cook meals, share a laugh, and pray together daily (okay, the last one is aspirational for all couples, but we definitely should!)
I guess that means that my first recommendation if you are staring down the barrel of a sexless honeymoon or an abstinent wedding night is to invite you to ask God to help you see the little graces right now in your engagement, and to prepare you to receive and be aware of the BIG graces He will give you in the “little things” of your marriage.”
Thoughts on Validity, Consummation, and Navigating NFP on the Honeymoon: