Unconsummated marriage is a term that is used to describe a situation in which sexual
intercourse between a married man and woman has not yet taken place. The exact
prevalence of this phenomenon is unknown, but is thought to be more common in more
traditional and religious cultures. This may be due to several factors including lack of
information, insufficient premarital education, a cultural context strongly proscribing
sexual behavior, and the expectation that intercourse take place immediately after the
wedding, necessitating a radical shift from sexual abstinence to sexual intercourse. The
term "unconsummated marriage" therefore, is somewhat self- limiting in that it implies
a social problem rather than a sexual one. It also fails to take in to account the distress
of so many couples in committed relationships who are not married, do wish to achieve
sexual intercourse, and for one or a combination of reasons, are unable to.
Unconsummated relationships, therefore, is a more accurate and inclusive description.