French Woman Sues Ex-Husband for Sex

6 Sep

A 51-year-old French man is being sued by his ex-wife because he did not have sex with her for much of their marriage. Here is the link for the story but I summed it up with that first sentence.

When someone has committed themselves to a monogamous marriage, it is understood that person they are committed to is the one and only person they will have sex with. Practice and theory are quite different but this idea is what it is and these two people have chosen this with their own free thinking minds. Of course, I’m assuming no one was forced into this arrangement.

The Frenchman’s lawyer argues on his client was not sexually active with his (ex) wife due to work stress and illness.

I’m a little repulsed by the idea of sex being my “duty” to anyone. I have sex with someone because I choose to, not because I have to. Okay, I’m not a little repulsed; I’m disgusted with the phrasing. Even though someone has vowed to be with their partner “until death do us part,” assuming they used traditional Christian vows, does anyone owe anyone else sex? Even your life partner?

I do think having sex with your partner is a vital and essential part of taking care of their well being but that is also a deeply personal thing. I am choosing to allow that person inside my body, or in a man’s case he chooses to be inside of someone else. I firmly believe in traditional marriage values but I also believe that I have ownership over my own body, no matter what. I feel my partner has that same authority of their body. No one gets to decide for me what I do with my body and no one should pressure me either.

This woman’s move to sue her ex-husband for lack of sex disgusts me. Sue him for many things, if you wish, but you have no ownership over his body.


7 Responses to “French Woman Sues Ex-Husband for Sex”

  1. WM September 7, 2011 at 5:49 am #

    I see your point, sex should be a gift but not a duty even in marriage, but here is the other side of the coin… human touch and intimacy is a need just like breathing. if you enter into a contract with someone, and marriage is a contract, that denies their right to meet a need outside of marriage, then the partner takes on the responsibility for meeting that need. Would you feel the same if the husband denied air to the woman?

    In the end, he did not meet her need, the contract was voided. she apparently felt she worked hard enough in the marriage that she should have done more as well and so she is suing for past damages. {smiles}

    • April Lee September 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

      I agree that human touch is completely necessary. You and I both see eye to eye on that one. *smiles* I have been in one relationship that felt completely empty of any physical intimacy for two years. That was torture enough. I did feel like I was not getting everything I needed.. so I left. I would not have done well if I chosen to marry him but I don’t think I could sue for him these “past damages.”

      What if it is a matter of different sex drives? Should people be punished for that? Did she push him? Did she make him feel guilty all the time? Did she positive reinforcement? Did she do anything to encourage? I truly don’t know how to gauge this.. all I know is that the idea of suing someone because they didn’t have sex with you while married to you, upsets me at a basic core level. We can rationalize anything but is it right?

  2. wm September 8, 2011 at 2:37 am #

    All good questions, but not relevant. First, an important detail you did not sum up was that she successfully sued. The court decided these questions. He was negligent. No rationalization. She won damages. As it turns out only $14,000 which is a silly amount of money for 20 years of suffering, but she was making a point I suppose in suing.

    Back to your basic core level. You have your feelings, but those are not in question. What is in question is should there be a basic expectation of intimacy in a marriage? Can one partner continue to say no without expectation of recriminations? The question is NOT on acting out of duty, because of course at any one particular moment a person can decline due to lack of emotional attachment or whatever, but it is up to that person that continuously declines to recognize a basic need of their partner is not being met and work to meet it at some point. Work on the mood. Work on whatever the problem is that is keeping that person from meeting their partner’s need. And if that person doesn’t want to work on it, be honest and say so. Let the partner know so that person can decide how he or she wants to get those needs met. Just don’t be surprised if that includes someone outside of the marriage.

    Likewise, the suit is not about one particular night but rather an aggregate of nights over a long period of time. Does a partner really have the right to withhold intimacy from a marriage and expect the other marital vows be kept? The court decided no, and I agree.

    • April Lee September 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

      The court decides for and against a lot of things. It doesn’t make any of it right or wrong. That really isn’t important to my questions, really. My reaction and questions can be summed up with this: I don’t think suing someone for lack of physical intimacy is right. You and I completely agree about it’s importance, especially when you’ve committed yourself to someone for life. Last night I came to the conclusion that marrying someone means if I chose to have sex I have sex with that one person, not that I should have sex with that one person.

      I completely agree with you that he should’ve worked on this. That’s his partner. I don’t understand why he did not try harder. That also makes me really upset. I do think it’s truly awful to deny someone intimacy (you know strongly I feel about this) and I really sympathize, on a small scale compared to her experience, with this woman. I understand the case made for this and a part of me agrees, a little because I think denying your partner intimacy could be considered a cruel thing.

      However, she had the option to walk away from her marriage and she chose to stay. Perhaps if this was somehow abusive I might agree it was completely right for her to sue her ex-husband. Maybe it was. I don’t know the case but from what I know now, though I understand and can rationalize it, I don’t think it’s right. If he manipulated, if he was abusive, if he somehow made it so that it was impossible for her to leave, then I could agree with this motion. She chose to stay in a partnership lacking intimacy for 20 years. If she wasn’t abused, if she wasn’t manipulated, then I don’t see the point in suing for this. They had children together and if they stay together for the children, okay. But still, she chose to stay with him.

  3. Amanda Papenfus September 15, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    Yeah I thought that was ridiculous when I saw it too. I agree, intimacy is essential to a marriage. If it’s lacking, there’s a reason. He cites stress and medical issues. That’s valid, and there are ways to work around that, usually. To her point, it’s also valid for her to want to have sex. If he was continually denying her, and not due to an inability or discomfort that having sex caused, then there’s an issue. What troubles me about the court’s decision is that she won a law suit….that essentially says in the court’s eyes a man or woman has to have sex with their spouse. If that case is used as a precedent it could have negative implications for spousal rape cases. On top of that, she stayed for 20 years by choice. Lack of intimacy is possibly grounds for divorce in that situation, but it’s not grounds for a lawsuit.

    • April Lee September 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

      “What troubles me about the court’s decision is that she won a law suit….that essentially says in the court’s eyes a man or woman has to have sex with their spouse. If that case is used as a precedent it could have negative implications for spousal rape cases.”

      That is precisely what I’m worried about as well. Also, a friend of mine pointed out French culture is different than ours (I’ve read a lot of stories lately about issues with sexual harassment in the work place in France). Still, this worries me.

  4. Amanda Papenfus September 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    Well culture is one thing, forcing people’s rights is another. It’s part of certain cultures to make women cover themselves up, walk behind their husbands, and basically be at their mercy…just cuz it’s cultural doesn’t mean it’s okay. Granted, this happened in France, but my worry would be some one over here gets the idea to do the same thing, some lawyer argues it well enough, and it becomes American precedent that this is okay. It’s perfectly fine to want to pursue divorce if your spouse stops having sex with you; that’s between you and your spouse. It’s entirely enough to sue for damages for a situation you chose to stay in, for something your spouse chose *not* to do with his/her body.

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