Traditionally the French have been viewed, particularly when compared to their proper British neighbors across the English Channel, as the personification of the motto, Toujours L’Amour (Always Love.) The French are known for taking long, languorous lunch hours so that couples can repair home (or elsewhere) mid-day for an amatory liaison before completing the second half of the work day.
But in a ruling that may have — as it were — reverberations in boudoirs all over France, a judge there has awarded a Frenchwoman $13,200 two years after her divorce, when she sought damages to compensate her for a 21-year um, dry patch, during which her husband failed to have sex with her even once. That computes to $652 a year or $1.79 a day.
It may cause French couples to think twice before claiming a headache should postpone lovemaking.
According to this morning’s Telegraph in London,
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”.
The ex-husband claimed “tiredness and health problems” had prevented him from being more attentive between the sheets.
But a judge in the south of France’s highest court in Aix-en-Provence ruled: “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 sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other.”
For any Americans thinking that Provence would be the ideal place to spend those retirement years, just be ready for…a lot of action. That French judge has made crystal clear what is expected of you under Article 215 of the civil code. I’d say the husband is lucky the law isn’t part of the penal code. He could be facing a stiff sentence.