Not tonight, Monique! Frenchman ordered to pay ex-wife £9,000 for not having sex after marriage
By Tim Finan
Last updated at 5:09 PM on 5th September 2011
A reluctant husband has been sued for £9,000 by his wife for failing to have sex with her for ‘a period of several years’.
The 51-year-old Frenchman, named only as Jean-Louis, neglected his matrimonial duties to wife Monique in Nice, who sued him for 10,000 euros (£8,700) and took her divorce case to an Appeal Court.
The court in Aix-en-Provence heard that the couple had been married for 21 years and raised two children on the French Riviera.
But the strains of work and illness prevented Jean-Louis from fulfilling his matrimonial duties, his advocate pleaded.
Announcing her decision the judge quoted the French civil and penal code, which requires both parties in a marriage to respect ‘lifelong community’ requiring them by law to have sexual relations.
Whereas sexual abstinence in a couple, together with violence and infidelity, are cited regularly in hundreds of divorce claims in France, it is extremely rare for a husband or wife to pay financial damages for specifically failing to satisfy sexually.
The last similar case in France dates back to the year 2000.
In recent years the traditional image of the French lover par excellence has taken a battering from statistics.
The country that put the ‘French’ in front of kiss and purports to speak ‘la langue de l’amour’ is in the process of losing its libido, it would seem.
Representatives for the unidentified French man at the Appeal Court in Aix-en-Provence said the stresses of work had taken their toll on the couple’s sex life
A survey by the French Institute of Public Opinion questioned 1,000 adults and found that 76% of them ‘suffer relationship problems that due to a poor sex life.
Half of those also polled said they had ‘no desire’ to make love.
More than a third of French women confessed to citing headaches, fatigue or ‘not in front of the children’ as excuses for saying no. One in six men admitted similar excuses.
Figures show that one in three traditional French marriages ends in divorce.
Growing numbers of French couples are opting for civil solidarity pacts known as PACS .
PACS, contractual agreements also available to same sex partners, were introduced by the government of Lionel Jospin in 1999 and were signed by 700,000 couples during the first ten years of the new legal arrangement.
The new deal has become so popular in France that the expression ‘être pacsé’ is used as often as ‘être marié’ to mean ‘having tied the knot’.