Woman Appeals To European Court Of Human Rights After French Courts Say Sex Is ‘Marital Duty’

by : Cameron Frew on :
Woman Appeals To European Court Of Human Rights After French Courts Says Sex Is 'Marital Duty'PA

A French woman has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after courts ruled having sex with her husband was her ‘marital duty’.

An appeals court in Versailles had found the 66-year-old woman to have ‘violated’ her marriage by refusing to have sexual intercourse with her partner – furthermore, she was solely to blame for her divorce from her husband because of it.


He had credited their separation to his wife not having sex with him. While there should never any obligation to have sex with someone, the court dubbed it a ‘a serious and repeated violation of the obligations of marriage, making the maintenance of a shared life intolerable’ for the husband, leading to her reaching out to the ECHR.

Woman Appeals To European Court Of Human Rights After French Courts Says Sex Is 'Marital Duty'Pexels

While baffling, the ruling had been recently approved by the Cour de cassation, according to The Connexion. It’s only one of four courts of last appeal across the country, and France’s highest judicial court, holding jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters.

After the court sided with the husband and agreed she’d failed to serve her marital duties, as of March 17 she as appealed to the ECHR in a bid to overturn the ruling. The woman, who hasn’t been named, argues it marks an ‘intrusion into her private life and violation of her physical integrity’, according to two associations connected to the woman.


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Both parties, known as ‘la Fondation des femmes and le Collectif féministe contre le viol’, described the appeals court’s decision as ‘archaic’, particularly honing in on how it suggests women do not have the right to deny consent to forms of sexual relations as part of marriage.

In a statement, they said: ‘47% of the 94,000 rapes and attempted rapes per year [in France] are perpetrated by the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim. Marriage should not mean sexual servitude.’

While the woman has chosen to remain anonymous, she’s commented on the initial ruling leading to her ECHR appeal. ‘It’s a sentence from another era. I’m outraged,’ she said.


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Life, divorce, France, Marriage, Now, Relationships


The Connexion
  1. The Connexion

    French court says marital sex 'duty', wife puts case to ECHR