Paying for Lack of Sex

Here is an article I just found:

The 51-year-old man was fined under article 215 of France’s civil code, which states married couples must agree to a “shared communal life”.

A judge has now ruled that this law implies that “sexual relations must form part of a marriage”.

The rare legal decision came after the wife filed for divorce two years ago, blaming the break-up on her husband’s lack of activity in the bedroom.

A judge in Nice, southern France, then granted the divorce and ruled the husband named only as Jean-Louis B. was solely responsible for the split.

But the 47-year-old ex-wife then took him back to court demanding 10,000 euros in compensation for “lack of sex over 21 years of marriage”

All I can say is ONLY 10,000 euros?? For 21 horrible years of sexual nothingness? The damage that has been done to this woman’s health and psychological well-being by this travesty of a marriage can’t even remotely be addressed by this puny sum.

Of course, it isn’t the husband who needs to be sued, though. The ex-wife in question should find people who raised her in the belief that staying in a sexless relationship for convenience-sake and then demanding money for lack of sexual fulfillment is a normal approach to one’s sexuality. She also needs to ask herself whose fault it is that she never tried to work on her severe sexual and psychological issues and, instead, made a business out of selling her sexual life or lack thereof. If even at the age of 47 she can’t take responsibility for her own weird choices and wants somebody to pay her for their consequences, what future does she have?

What is positive, however, is that the idea that a healthy sex life is crucial to one’s well-being is gaining ground.

16 thoughts on “Paying for Lack of Sex

  1. Surely this is a double edged sword. It removes the right to say “no” from everybody. Well at least the right to always say “no”. After this judgement, I wonder how often it is ok to say “no” to a spouse in France.

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  2. Wow. Although…while I agree with you that 21 (adult) years without sex sounds pretty hellish, I’m also kinda horrified that the court is treating sex like a legal obligation for the husband. Of course the woman shouldn’t have been made to go without sex, but it’s even more important that if he didn’t want sex, he shouldn’t have been forced into it. (Which he wasn’t, but this verdict sets kinda a dangerous precedent for the future.)

    In such a tough situation though, it’s hard to say what the best solution would have been. If he had been a sexual person before and stopped desiring it suddenly, then he should have at least tried therapy of some sort to see if it helped. Then again, maybe he did. The article doesn’t really say. And once it became clear that he was just never going to have sex again, maybe they could have negotiated some sort of open relationship so she could stay married to him but not be deprived of sex…but then again there’s such a stigma against that. It might have worked or it might not’ve. Failing all else, I suppose she probably should have left much earlier…but I can’t imagine how hard that would have been, since she probably loved him and kept hoping things would change. And she was probably being told by other people that lack of sex is a bad reason to leave a marriage. So it’s a tough situation all around. But punishing him is certainly the wrong way to go about it.

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    1. “I’m also kinda horrified that the court is treating sex like a legal obligation for the husband… In such a tough situation though, it’s hard to say what the best solution would have been”

      Well, I think the solution is very simple and has been achieved. Either the wife had other men and/or women and/or inanimate objects stand in for her husband, or she went without sex too, and finally dissolved the ridiculous relationship in a court of law.

      About being horrified at treating sex as a legal obligation under law, I don’t quite see why, in this instance. Sex and cohabition was most certainly a legal obligation for women under European law not too far back. Accused women would not be granted divorce on grounds of asexuality of sexual abhorrence of their husbands. They would be arrested and deposited back in their husband’s ‘care’, with the threat of being produced before a court if they continued to resist their husbands. The violence suffered by a woman in the course of resisting was not actionable.

      The attitudes are not comparable. This ruling didn’t seek to enforce the man to start performing sexually within his marriage, or else. It merely laid the blame of the divorce at his door, where, if his wife’s accusations are true, they most certainly belong. My only problem with the verdict was that it didn’t include the points about the woman’s behaviour that Clarissa pointed out. This certainly wasn’t a one-way street.

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      1. ” Sex and cohabition was most certainly a legal obligation for women under European law not too far back.”

        Sure, but I don’t think that was a good thing. I consider it progress that that isn’t the case any more.

        “This ruling didn’t seek to enforce the man to start performing sexually within his marriage, or else.”

        And my comment acknowledged that. THIS man wasn’t forced into sex. But what about the next one, now that this precedent has been set?

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        1. But surely, Melissa, expecting sex in a marriage is not a radical new development that will now threaten all humankind?

          Or is it only ‘withholding’ when women do it?

          Or is it — be still my heart — that people really think there’s something terrifying in a man being told, “It is not unnatural for your wife to expect sex from you. The reason she is leaving you is because you won’t provide it”? To leap from this to “Marital rape is acceptable because it means married people are having sex with each other!” is surely, well, a leap?

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          1. “But surely, Melissa, expecting sex in a marriage is not a radical new development that will now threaten all humankind?”

            No. I didn’t say that.

            “Or is it only ‘withholding’ when women do it?”

            No. Didn’t say that either.

            “Or is it — be still my heart — that people really think there’s something terrifying in a man being told, “It is not unnatural for your wife to expect sex from you.”

            There are probably sexists who are terrified by that. But I’m certainly not one of them.

            “The reason she is leaving you is because you won’t provide it”?”

            If you actually read my comment, you’ll see that I’m in full support of her leaving him for that reason, even though I empathize with how difficult it must have been for her.

            ” To leap from this to “Marital rape is acceptable because it means married people are having sex with each other!” is surely, well, a leap?”

            Huh? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

            I’m just saying that the judge’s ruling that “this law implies that ‘sexual relations must form part of a marriage’” seems to be setting a precedent that requires sex to be a part of marriage. I don’t find this to be a logical leap at all. To me, (and to most people, I would think), the word “must” implies something that HAS to happen. It implies requirement. And fining the man for not providing sex does give a very strong implication that he was being punished for it. How does “you must have sex, whether or not you want to, because the law requires it and I could successfully sue you for 10,000 Euros if you don’t” not constitute coercion?

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    2. “so she could stay married to him but not be deprived of sex…but then again there’s such a stigma against that.”

      really? In 2011? In France? Huh?

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  3. I’m sorry but in this case I’m wondering what if anything did she try to do before going so long in a sexless marriage. And I also wonder how this would have played out if the genders were swapped (I honestly don’t think this would have flown as relatively under the radar if the genders were swapped).

    And like llama I’m a bit worried about what doors this could open. Imagine another sexless marriage but the one that wants sex cheats and when caught THEN tries to divorce and sue like in this case.

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  4. “I’m sorry but in this case I’m wondering what if anything did she try to do before going so long in a sexless marriage.”

    Yes, she could have been more proactive in the relationship which includes seeking counseling or psychological help. We don’t know the full story and there are always options. Sometimes people don’t see them, but other times convenience and fear of options and the unknown is what keeps many people stuck.

    She may have had successive relationships with the same kind of patterns and this is true of so many people when they don’t deal with their own psychological and emotional issues.

    These people had emotional issues and that is what manifested in their marriage/relationship.

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    1. This is actually an interesting point.

      Are there any readers from France hanging around this thread? Maybe they could enlighten us as to the existence of penalties for adultery in divorce proceedings. They seem to exist in some European countries but I’m not sure about France.

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  5. The danger here, as I see it, is that the French government saw fit to intrude into a relationship as basic and private as a marriage. And for the woman to seek damages from her husband is absurd. She should have been required to perform some sort of community service for wasting the court’s time. If a couple decide to live together with “benefits”, so to speak, that is their own business. It is certainly not the business of the judiciary!

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    1. If people decided to contract a legal marriage and involve the state in their intimate relationship, while getting significant benefits for involving the state (tax breaks are one example), how can they be upset if the state continues intruding?

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  6. What’s next, will spouses start suing their partners for having Too much sex. Or will they seek damages because, although they had plenty of sex, it just wasn’t “good” sex? My God, why don’t people carry things out to their logical conclusions before reaching a decision concerning a matter?

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