In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity.
When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal.
Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognised union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between the spouses married to each other, between the spouses and any resulting biological or adopted children of theirs, and between spouses and their affinity (in-laws and other family through marriage).
The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned.
Today, just four do: California, Connecticut, New York, and Washington.