After twenty-one years of marriage and two children, the Family Court of Nice in January 2009 granted Monique a divorce from Jean-Louis due to the "exclusive fault of the husband", specifically, the husband's lack of activity in the bedroom. However, that wasn't the end of it. In May 2011, the Court of Appeal in Aux-en-Provence ordered Jean-Louis to pay Monique € 10,000 ($14,057 USD; $13,891 CAD) in damages for "no sex for years." (The couple are both 51 years old.)
Jean-Louis apparently tried to refute the alleged abstinence by claiming health issues including chronic fatigue due to his work schedule. The court however did not feel this was a valid excuse for having no intimate relations at all with his wife. Monique said the lack of sexual relations contributed to the failure of their marriage and the court agreed. Citing article 215 of France's civil code, which states married couples must agree to a "shared communal life", a judge ruled this law implies that sexual relations must form part of a marriage.
"A sexual relationship between husband and wife is the expression of affection they have for each other, and in this case it was absent. By getting married, couples agree to share their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other."
The French newspaper Le Parisien pointed out that the wife never did specify just what her sexual expectations were. The French national average is, according to the paper, twice a week. Did the wife expect more than that? Less? Neither the law nor marriage contracts offer any precision about what may qualify as acceptable or not which leaves any judge free to decide what they think is appropriate according to the circumstances.
Newsweek back in 2003 cited some studies which laid out numbers describing the general state of affairs.
* Married couples say they have sex 68.5 times a year, or slightly more than once a week.
* 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which is how the experts define sexless marriage.
In my blog Sex: 1% vs. 99%, I calculate that we only spend 1% of our time having sex. There are 8,760 hours in a year, that is, 24 hours times 365 days. If I go with an average of sex once a week and let's say I assign 2 hours to the act of sex, I would get 104 hours, that is, 52 sessions times 2 hours. 104 divided by 8,760 works out to be 1.19%. The point of my article was to show that we spend 99% of the time not having sex so we better make sure that we are compatible with our partner. But, I do add the caveat that sex is so very important to a relationship that if that 1% sucks, it is going to spoil the other 99%.
The Sex Starved Marriage
Michele Weiner Davis, a marriage counsellor known as The Divorce Buster, comes from a school of thought that any marriage can be saved. In her book The Sex Starved Marriage, she emphasizes the importance of sex in a marriage and sets out methods for a couple to rekindle the physical part of their relationship.
Sex is an extremely important part of marriage. When it's good, it offers couples opportunities to give and receive physical pleasure, to connect emotionally and spiritually. It builds closeness, intimacy and a sense of partnership. It defines their relationship as different from all others. In short, sex is a powerful tie that binds.
Two-thirds of divorces are filed by women
In this blog I run over several sources which confirm this statistic. I quote Dr. Willard Harley, a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor who explains the reasons for this statistic. He simply states that women tend to be more concerned about their marriages than men. And while the reasons for divorce may be things like physical abuse, infidelity, alcoholism, etc., he says the number one reason why women file for divorce is neglect.
The most common reason women give for leaving their husbands is "mental cruelty." When legal grounds for divorce are stated, about half report they have been emotionally abused. But the mental cruelty they describe is rarely the result of their husband's efforts to drive them crazy. It is usually husbands being indifferent, failing to communicate and demonstrating other forms of neglect.
Does divorce make us happier?
In this posting I cite a 2002 study which covered, as the authors called it, the "divorce assumption": stay married and be miserable or get a divorce and become happier. The conclusions are surprising in that this study found no evidence that unhappily married adults who divorced were typically any happier than unhappily married people who stayed married. That in itself is a surprise, but there's more. The researchers found out that two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later.
Unhappily married adults who divorce ofttimes have to face to new problems caused by the divorce itself. Yes, you may be happier without that evil @#$%^* spouse but now you have to deal with financial problems, reactions of the kids, custody battles, support payments, etc.
Unhappily married adults who don't divorce but remain committed to the marriage, two-thirds of the time, eventually work things out and are happy again. Hmmm, so ya can't stay mad forever? Sooner or later that evil @#$%^* spouse is going to say something you find funny and a good laugh mends broken fences?
If a man pays a woman to have sex, he runs the risk of a criminal record and seeing his name published in the newspaper. His reputation is tarnished because he can't keep it in his pants. Now, here's a case where if a man does not have sex with a woman, he runs the risk of being fined and seeing his name published in the newspaper. His reputation is tarnished because he did keep it in his pants. Can you say "merde"?
So what is an acceptable amount of sex? How often do married couples "do it"? Newsweek stated the average - I'm guessing in the United States - is 68.5 per year or 1.32 times per week. The French newspaper Le Parisien wrote that in France the average is twice a week. Whew, twice a week? I'm going to have to start eating my Wheaties. Maybe I should shoot for quality not quantity. Do I get extra points for the Venus Butterfly?
Wikipedia: Sexless marriage
A sexless marriage is a marriage in which little or no sex occurs between the two partners. The US National Health and Social Life Survey in 1994 (Laumann et al. 1994) found that 2 percent of the married respondents reported no sexual intimacy in the past year. The definition of a nonsexual marriage is often broadened to include those where sexual intimacy occurs less than ten times per year, in which case 20 percent of the couples in the NHSLS would be in the category. Newsweek magazine estimates that 15 to 20 percent of couples are in a sexless relationship. Dr. Phil calls sexless marriages "an undeniable epidemic" and he notes that "loss of sexual desire can severely affect a marriage". Studies show that 10% or less of the married population below age 50 have not had sex in the past year. In addition only 20% or less report having sex a few times per year to monthly under age 40.
Divorce Busting, MicheleWeiner-Davis - June 29/2010
Not Enough Sex in Your Marriage: The Sex Starved Marriage [Video]
Are you married to someone who’s sexual desire is completely different from yours? If you are, you’re not alone. Did you know that one out of every three couples has a sexual desire gap? This happens so often in my practice that I decided to write a book called The Sex Starved Marriage and I’m going to define what I mean by that, because it doesn’t mean the couples aren’t having sex at all. A sex starved marriage is one where one spouse is desperately longing for more, touch, more physical closeness, more sex, and the other spouse is thinking, “What is the big deal? Would you just get a life?” But to the spouse yearning for more touch it’s a huge deal because it really is about feeling wanted, about feeling love, about feeling connected. And when this major misunderstanding happens in marriage what also happens is intimacy goes out the door. They stop sitting next to each other on the couch. They stop laughing at each others jokes. They stop being friends, they don’t even spend time together anymore. And this truly places the marriage at risk of infidelity and divorce.
Newsweek - Jun 29/2003
We're Not In The Mood by Kathleen Deveny
Some psychologists estimate that 15 to 20 percent of couples have sex no more than 10 times a year, which is how the experts define sexless marriage. And even couples who don't meet that definition still feel like they're not having sex as often as they used to. Despite the stereotype that women are more likely to dodge sex, it's often the men who decline. The number of sexless marriages is "a grossly underreported statistic," says therapist Michele Weiner Davis, author of "The Sex-Starved Marriage."
my blog: Does divorce make us happier?
Two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later.
my blog: Two-thirds of divorces are filed by women
In 1988, on average 61% of the time, the woman was the petitioner. If there were children involved, the stat was 65% and without children it was 56%. It was only around 7% of all cases where the husband and the wife together petitioned for divorce. This means that 93% of the time, it was only one spouse who petitioned for divorce. The table, dating from 1975 to 1988, consistently shows that women petitioned for divorce twice as much as men.
my blog: Michele Weiner Davis: The Divorce Buster
Weiner-Davis believes that many more marriages can be saved and her goal, first and foremost, is to see a couple not divorce but work it out. Yes, she admits that not every marriage can be saved but feels more traditional methods do not do what is necessary to give a couple a new path to follow.
le Parisien - Sep 3/2011
Condamné pour ne pas avoir assez fait l’amour à sa femme
Un divorce de deux Niçois a été prononcé aux « torts exclusifs de l’époux ». Jean-Louis a même été condamné à verser 10000 € à son ex-femme pour « absence de relations sexuelles pendant plusieurs années ».
RTL - Sep 3/2011
Condamné pour ne pas avoir assez fait l'amour à sa femme
[There are 3 audio recordings en français taken from French radio about this story.]
Il ne pourra plus lui faire le coup de la panne. A Nice, un divorce a été prononcé après 20 ans de mariage, aux torts exclusifs de l'époux. Jusque là, rien d'absolument exceptionnel, sauf que cet homme a été condamné à 10.000 euros de dommages et intérêts pour ne pas avoir assez fait l'amour à sa femme.
The Telegraph - Sep 5/2011
Frenchman ordered to pay wife damages for lack of sex
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”.
La Dépêche du Midi - Sep 7/2011
10 000 euros d'amende pour ne pas avoir assez fait l'amour à son ex
Il est des lois dont on ne soupçonne guère l'existence ou dont on peine à croire qu'elles sont effectives. Et pourtant… L'abstinence sexuelle peut coûter cher.
L'Article 215 du Code civil
Les époux s'obligent mutuellement à une communauté de vie.
La résidence de la famille est au lieu qu'ils choisissent d'un commun accord.
Les époux ne peuvent l'un sans l'autre disposer des droits par lesquels est assuré le logement de la famille, ni des meubles meublants dont il est garni. Celui des deux qui n'a pas donné son consentement à l'acte peut en demander l'annulation : l'action en nullité lui est ouverte dans l'année à partir du jour où il a eu connaissance de l'acte, sans pouvoir jamais être intentée plus d'un an après que le régime matrimonial s'est dissous.
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