So much for the myth of great French lovers: 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.”
Cosmopolitan executive editor Nicole Beland was appalled: “I think it’s obnoxious, it’s insane. Getting married does not guarantee that you’re going to have sex on tap for the rest of your life,” she said on the show. “If your partner does not want to have sex, you have to get to the root of the problem.”
But Matt Titus, author of “Why Hasn’t He Called?” firmly disagreed: “Eighty percent of the time, you should acquiesce to your partner’s request for sex, whether you want to or not.” To Beland, he added, “I’m so happy that I’m not married to you.”
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.
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.