Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Delaying relations on wedding night

29 September, 2006


I have heard that some rabbeim recommend that on the wedding night the couple not consummate (have vaginal intercourse), but instead engage just in foreplay, thus allowing for additional physical contact on the days following the wedding. Is there a respected opinion about this?


Most rabbis are concerned about the practice of delaying relations, since it places the husband in a situation where hotza’at zera levatalah is likely. Further, if the couple continues to delay intercourse, there is a higher likelihood of the kallah’s becoming niddah before they have had relations.

On the other hand, some couples do feel uncomfortable with the idea of going from no physical contact directly to intercourse.  Given this anxiety, or extreme exhaustion if it was a late wedding, many rabbis permit a couple to delay relations until ready, so long as they are reasonably certain that the bride will not become a niddah through menstruation prior to consummation.

If relations are delayed, an attempt would ideally be made sooner (as in the early morning after the wedding or the second night) rather than later.  In addition to the general halachic concerns mentioned above, it is important to take into account that many couples do not succeed in completing relations on the first (or even first few!) attempt(s).

Even if they have not yet consummated their marriage,  the couple should observe harchakot in public after the first night to preserve their privacy.

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