A Wife is not a Personal Sex Slave – Marriage Myths Debunked

She’s not a slave. She’s not a prostitute. She’s an EQUAL partner with all of her rights intact

She’s not a slave. She’s not a prostitute. She’s an EQUAL partner with all of her rights intact

I’m still astonished at the number of people who feel that a husband is entitled to sex with his wife regardless of her wishes. I think it’s obvious from the language that these individuals view their life partner as a glorified prostitute (that I banned this guy later for abusive language just shows the degrading way people view women in general).

I think this arises from a fundamental misunderstanding of what marriage means. Many men seem to think that marriage is a contract where a man takes care of a woman, provides for her needs, shares half of everything he has with her…and in return he gets sex whenever he wants. This is not conjecture on my part. I’ve spoken to many men and heard this argument not just on my blog, but from many people who you expect will know better. If you view marriage this way, then a wife is indeed a prostitute. With the big difference of course that it’s illegal to rape a prostitute! From this perspective, a wife has even fewer legal rights in India in this matter than their sisters who work the streets.

For the most part, such people make up these arguments devoid of any legal proof. They assume the nature of marriage based on some half understood fantasy, sometimes bolstering their argument by references to “the good ol’ days” when the evil feminists weren’t around to demand uncomfortable stuff like equal rights etc. So let’s debunk some marriage myths.

Myth 1: Marriage is to “Take Care of the Woman”

To my mind, this is the biggest marriage myth in India. Many people of both genders view marriage as a support system for a woman as she transitions from the care of her parents to that of her husband. For this, she needs to fulfill her duties, one of which is on-demand sex.

Fact

The reality is that marriage is a contract between equals. Whatever personal equation exists between a husband and wife has no legal bearing. A man can privately agree to care for a woman in exchange for something or nothing. That’s his choice and whatever arrangement they work out has no force of law. Whether the woman takes care of the house, produces babies, or sits at home doing nothing is between her and her partner. The law assumes no such default maintenance. Consequently, the woman maintains all of her legal rights including the right to her own body. It’s a different matter that it’s an enduring shame and a huge blot on the Indian legal system that marital rape is legal here in stark contradiction to every other civilized country on the planet.

Myth 2: A Wife is a Glorified Prostitute

In this fantasy, a wife has to pay her husband back for the “help” given to her by providing sex on demand – amongst other things. According to them, a wife who doesn’t cooperate is breaking a trade agreement!

Fact

A marriage has no “trade agreement” and no “give and take” from a legal point of view. Of course in any relationship the two individuals have to compromise and come to an agreement about how they’re going to live together, but this is strictly between them – between two individuals and has nothing to do with the government. A wife is not obliged to give anything to her husband that she doesn’t want to.

Myth 3: Marriage and Sex are interlinked

This mindset feels that marriage is the only place to have safe sex. Women “save themselves up” for their husband (the reverse need not be true!) and sex is the defining feature of any marriage. A safe haven for the man’s sexual needs. She’s basically a repository for his seed.

Fact

There is no legal link between marriage and sex. You can have sex without getting married and you can get married without having sex. Of course, if one party wants to have sex and the other refuses to do so, they can get a divorce. But the Indian legal system is beginning to realize that reasons for divorce are irrelevant. The court or the government doesn’t want to hear about your internal squabbles and problems. You want a divorce? Fine, here take it and go. Don’t regale us with your reasons for why you want to get divorced. Again, this concept hasn’t fully gained maturity in India unlike other civilized countries which list “irretrievable breakdown” as the only reason for a divorce. It doesn’t matter why the marriage is broken. Lack of sex, personal issues, adultery, or whatever the hell. The courts are not interested.

But these myths seem to be very persistent in India – and not just amongst the men. Even women are brainwashed into thinking that they can’t be self sufficient and need to lean on a man for financial support – and their worth as a person is so low that they need to “hook” the man via sex and without it, they have nothing.

First and foremost we need archaic Indian laws to catch up with the rest of the modern world. Marital rape is rape. We don’t need flimsy distinctions between the two.

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Comments

  1. @Desi Daasi, I went through your blog.

    It is one thing for a woman to willingly, joyously make the choice you have, to accept traditional gender roles. That’s actually not at really what traditional gender roles mean.

    They are all about submission without choice.

    In fact, given Indian history, it is such a luxury to be able to make that choice, that to some extent you owe it to modern feminism (not extreme feminism, merely the sensible kind), that you had that choice.

    It is another thing for a woman who has no choice – who is treated like a slave whether she considers herself one or not. That is not your experience, if I understand correctly.

    Reply

    • In reply to Anon

      @Anon: Traditional roles are about “submission without choice?” As a Woman, you have a choice. Don’t marry, Or tell the man upfront that you as a woman “expect him to do the laundry, clean the house, cook the food, raise the kids and then also bring home a paycheck without any expectation of sex from you and if at any time you don’t like his performance, you will walk away from the marriage and take half his assets and his kids”

      State that upfront and if a man happily agrees to marry you. God bless the both of you. The problem is that most women won’t say that, because very few men will willingly marry a woman like that, unless they are forced to do it.

      Today’s marriages ( at least in the US and some western cultures) are also about “submission without choice”. The submission of the man to a nightmarish marriage, because he cannot afford to get divorced, lose all his money and kiss goodbye to his kids. Yes “marriage” as “men hating feminists” want to redefine it, is “making a man submit to a woman without providing him any benefits in return”

      BTW, don’t discard traditional roles that easily. We went from a few hundred family units of humans to a population of over 6 billion today, all under “traditional roles”. Man as provider, woman as caretaker is what made human civilization work and no amount of revisionist history by feminists will change that. Facts are facts.

      We have just started down this disastrous path of “gender equality” in the last 40 years, and you can already see the chaos in the societies of the west. Astronomical divorce rates, broken homes, children raised without both parents, family courts that openly discriminate against men and much much more. Yes, some women have benefited from this, but society as a whole has definitely been a loser.

      Reply

      • In reply to Desi Daasi

        @desi daasi I think you are avoiding the middle ground. It is not a question of ‘no expectation of sex’ or ‘100% sex whenever required’. It is a question of each couple working out what mutual sexual satisfaction means in their relationship.

        It’s not black or white. A woman can have freedom in her sex life with her husband without frustrating her husband. I wrote a detailed comment explaining this stance.

        Reply

  2. @Anon: This is what Bhagwad thinks in response to my question on the duties of a wife “In my opinion, the “duties” of a wife which she can’t opt out of are the responsibility to declare her marital status on tax forms, to declare it on visa applications etc…I think these are the only “duties” a wife (and any spouse) has, don’t you think?”

    Oh my Good Lord!!

    With all due respect to Bhagwad, if our ancestors had lived by this “delusional view”, humans would have disappeared from the face of the earth. It really saddens me to see a man talk like this. Part of the reason, misandrists are winning in today’s culture is because they have co-opted men like Bhagwad who make utterly ludicrous statements like the above.

    If a woman has no obligations in a marriage and neither does a husband, why marry at all? Why impose an additional burden on the legal system and society which then has to deal with an unhappy marriage, divorce and children that are now raised in single parent homes.

    By the way, does Bhagwad feel that a mother too has no “obligations or duties” as well? If being a mother imposes some duties on a woman, why doesn’t being a wife impose duties on her as well?

    I would never suggest that a man forcibly rape his wife, or any other woman. Only weak and tyrannical men do that. I am saying that marriage is an agreement between a man and a woman. If you enter into marriage, both the husband and wife are under certain obligations because marriage is a social contract amongst humans that developed to ensure our survival as a species.

    A husband is obliged to protect, provide and sustain his wife. When they have kids, he has to be a good father. He cannot be a deadbeat husband or father. He cannot sleep around with other women and break his wife’s trust, unless they mutually agree to an open or polygamous marriage. He is obliged to do those things. Yes, he is required to do those things. Otherwise he is a bad husband. Period.

    A wife also has “duties” and obligations under marriage. One of her duties is to “Consent” to sex when her husband needs it. Please note, I am saying “Consent”. Yes, this is one of her duties, because the husband has given up his right to have sex with other women, whenever and however he wants. He signed away this right consensually to be with her by marrying her. She found a stable provider who will raise her kids with her. Is she supposed to get all these benefits and give nothing in return?

    If a woman denies her husband the joy of sex in a marriage, while he remains a committed monogamist, she is being a cruel and capricious wife.

    If a wife refuses to “Consent” to sex when her husband needs it, I would prefer he just divorce her and look elsewhere. The problem is that our culture strongly discourages divorce, so what is a husband supposed to do? Just masturbate or refrain from sex or visit a prostitute? What is your solution?

    Reply

    • In reply to Desi Daasi

      “Why marry at all?”. Good question. In my case, my wife and I got married because she wanted to take me to the dentist and her boss was more willing to give her leave to take her “husband” instead of her “boyfriend”. So we got married!

      It’s also made things easy for us in terms of getting a dependent visa etc. So you see? Lots of benefits in getting married!

      Both parents (not just the mother) have a legal obligation to take care of their minor child who had no choice but to be born. Completely different from a willing partnership between an adult man and an adult woman :)

      “because marriage is a social contract amongst humans that developed to ensure our survival as a species.”

      Sorry to contradict you, but you’re just making up your own definitions of what you want marriage to be. Marriage is nothing but a piece of paper that names one partner as the “husband” and the other partner as the “wife”.

      That’s it. It’s just terminology. Nothing more. If I’m wrong, you’re welcome to show me those parts of the law which say otherwise.

      Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Giggle. You sir are something else!!

        Your statement that “Marriage is nothing but a piece of paper that names one partner as the “husband” and the other partner as the “wife” is demonstrably wrong and it is easy to prove that it is wrong, because marriages occurred throughout the world even before we had a “defined legal system” or “even before paper was invented”. I am willing to guess that a large majority of humans would laugh at your definition of marriage.

        It is not me, but you who have made up your own definition and turned marriage into a “caricature”. It is sad that you think it is “just terminology”, but I guess you are welcome to that opinion. I can see how under your definition, the wife has no obligations in a marriage, but wait till she takes you to court when she wants a divorce. Then you will realize that “marriage” gives women “a lot of privileges” even if you as a “man” are “unwilling to hold them responsible for any of the responsibilities”

        Hugs and lots of luck in your “married” life

        Reply

      • In reply to Desi Daasi

        Umm…does it matter what marriage used to mean? What matters is what it means now since we are only bound by the rules now and not hundreds of years ago. I notice you haven’t quoted any law to prove your point.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Yes sir, it matters what marriage “used” to mean.

        Even in today’s jurisprudence, there is the concept of “precedence” or “Stare Decisis”. Even the highest courts of the land(India included), don’t just “interpret laws without giving proper deference to precedence”.

        Doing otherwise would create chaos and unpredictability in our court systems. Nobody would trust our laws or find them dependable. Precedence is only overruled when there is a very very good reason to do so.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precedent

        May I respectfully suggest, that your reason for “ignoring” “the precedence of what marriage means” is based on nothing but your individual fantasy. Even the legal system that you cite to prove that marriage is just a piece of legal paper would not agree with your observation.

        Reply

      • In reply to Desi Daasi

        “Precedence” only applies to actual…you know…law laid down in courts. And that means the codified statutes. Which I notice, you still haven’t given a single example of.

        Let’s talk facts. Give me some legal writing that supports what you say. Or else, you’re just huffing and puffing. In other words, a waste of my time.

        Reply

      • In reply to bhagwad

        Giggle
        I show you the proof of precedence and state that current law also considers marriage a “social contract” by the way it handles divorces, alimony, adultery, polygamy, child support and you still come back with “show me proof”.

        Please refer to the “Hindu marriage act” “Hindu succession act” “Hindu Code bills” for details if you want.

        BTW, If you still think that your assertion is right that “Marriage is nothing but a piece of paper that names one partner as the “husband” and the other partner as the “wife” and imposes no obligations on either party, why don’t you try testing that hypothesis by attempting to sign “two or more” of such pieces of paper simultaneously. You know, like you can do when you buy a home, or register a business or sell your car etc etc.

        You will have your proof very quickly on whether the country you live in agrees with your outlook :-)

        The very act of signing one of those pieces of “marriage paper”, puts an obligation on you, not to marry another woman. It also places an obligation on a wife to “not deny you sex”. That is the definition of social contract, just to clarify. It also opens up your estate to your wife. That is another social contract. It compels you to pay child support and alimony to your wife. That is another social contract. All these social contracts are enforced “by law” but they are social contracts and place obligations on both partners.

        Women can’t just get married and refuse to have sex with their husbands. Same is true for husbands btw.

        The Delhi high court has granted divorce to at least one man who was denied sex by his wife on the grounds that it is mental cruelty.

        http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Divorce-epidemic-due-to-sex-starved-marriages/articleshow/12397561.cms

        Even courts in the US have held that a “sexless marriage” in which there is no sexual activity to speak of for an extended period of time, despite clear requests, and usually involving one person holding sex over the other person as a weapon” is grounds for divorce. The court may ask for proof that you have been to counseling for the issue, or that the spouse had refused to go to counseling for it. There is a legal precedent and understanding that when you get married, there will be sex”

        In other words, Both men and women getting married are “obligated to provide sexual pleasure to their spouses” None of that “the only duty of a wife is to declare her status on marriage and visa forms” nonsense.

        I am not sure that any of these will convince you anyway. I would not be surprised if you still came back and said, “show me more proof” or “that does not prove anything” or some such thing.

        Hugs

        Reply

      • In reply to Desi Daasi

        Keep in mind that India has some of the most backward marriage laws compared to other civilized countries. In the US for example, just about every state has “irreversible breakdown” as the sole cause of divorce (Colorado is one example). Meaning all that’s necessary is for the two parties to agree to divorce. The court doesn’t care about whether or not one spouse is not getting sex. This is called a “no fault” divorce.

        In India, marital rape is legal. That doesn’t mean we accept it and say “that’s the law”. We fight to change it. Similarly, we have to fight to change the wrong perception in India that marriage is more than just a piece of paper. It isn’t.

        Still, nowhere have you shown that a spouse is obligated to provide sex. Do you know what obligated means? It means that failing to do so is a criminal act. Show me which law says that a spouse is legally obligated to provide sex?

        Sure, the couple can divorce. But they can divorce for any reason, not just for not having sex. Let the couple divorce. Who cares? It doesn’t mean there’s any obligation.

        It’s just a matter of time before India’s laws catch up to the rest of the modern world.

        Reply

    • In reply to Desi Daasi

      @Desi Daasi, my position is not necessarily Bhagwad’s :)

      In principle, what you’re saying is, marriage has obligations on both sides. I agree. That’s true for any relationship.

      Here’s the thing though. Each and every couple gets to set their own expectations from each other.

      There’s no universal standard. Of course, healthy sex is part of every good marital relationship.

      Firstly, I would say that the husband also has an obligation to satisfy his wife sexually. It is not one-sided. There are husbands who are not in the mood when their wives are.

      Secondly, if my wife doesn’t want to have sex 10% of the time I initiate, that’s not a problem. I simply walk away. Because 90% of the time, our sex drives match. So it’s not an absolute thing that a woman must consent all the time. I don’t see why that sort of absolutist condition is required.

      What you’re referring to is the situation where sex drives don’t match at all. Where the wife doesn’t feel like 50% of the time or more. Now this is a problem like any other problem between couples. Maybe the woman has issues with sex due to her past. Maybe the husband doesn’t know how to get her in the mood. Maybe he’s hurting her in some other area of life. Who knows?

      The couple must try to work it out with a holistic approach and honest communication. That’s the solution. Sadly, many human beings simply aren’t that mature. That’s life. So I’ll admit the solution isn’t the best. But it’s the only one. And if there is no solution… they must either moderate their sex life expectations, or break-up.

      In other words, I see the situation you depict as a very individual-individual, case-by-case scenario with so many different causes & solutions. It is hard to see why a woman should be forced to consent to sex with a man, 100% of the time. Surely, if things are healthy and working for both, she will want to have sex with him regularly enough!

      Reply

      • In reply to Anon

        Would you use the same standards if let’s say the husband said

        “I don’t know, I don’t feel like holding down a job, or I want to hold down a job only 50 or 60% of the time, lets sit down and discuss how “what you are doing” is not making me feel motivated to bring in the dough. Lets work out a holistic approach. Let’s just moderate your expectation of me. Why do you expect me to work all the time? Why are you being such an absolutist. I feel like I want to play cards at the local liquor shop, why can’t you be more accepting of my goals and needs. Why don’t you work a little harder or take up two jobs and fill up the hole in our finances”

        If you are willing to accept and celebrate a husband like that, then yes, you have the right as a woman to “shirk” off your responsibilities as well. God help your marriage though

        My guess is most women would call such a man “a loser, a deadbeat” or something worse and would nag their husbands to death if he even came close to suggesting it. All this “absolutist” perspective would get thrown out of the window.

        “Absolutist” only seems to apply when the “husband wants something”, then today’s “modern women” want to have holistic discussions, two way agreements, etc etc.

        But when a guy balks at being a provider, or says “he wants more alone time” or “spend more time with his guy friends” “or “tosses his clothes around the home willy nilly” etc etc “oh boy, the proverbial s**t hits the fan. No woman would tolerate “Why are you being an absolutist” argument under these circumstances.

        My advice to wives: Give your husband sex whenever he wants it, however he wants it, wherever he wants it. Do it joyfully, even if you are not in the mood. It is such a small gesture. “Go ahead. Be his personal slut” Then see how he treats you. It is the simplest way to have your husband fall head over heels in love with you and be infatuated with you for a long long long time. Trust me on this one. When you rebuff him, you are sending a strong message that you reject him as a person.

        My advice to men: Of course you shouldn’t rape your wife. Do I even have to say it? but don’t just meekly take it when she says she is not interested in sex or will give you sex only when she feels like it. Make it clear that sex is important to you and since you are married, she needs to make this a priority.

        Couples who don’t have regular sex in their marriage, eventually grow apart and don’t have good nurturing relationships.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/27/sex-and-marital-satisfact_n_4870013.html

        Hugs and Kisses

        Reply

      • In reply to Desi Daasi

        @desi daasi, I like your spirited replies and perspective. It’s been a while since I’ve had such fun in a discussion.

        I hope it’s clear that I have nothing against traditional values per se, provided they don’t violate basic freedoms and human rights. For example, there are conservative communities in India where women are forced to marry someone they dislike. As long as that sort of traditionalism stops, traditionalism is fine.

        Your point that traditional values have lots to offer is well taken. It’s important to note that there’s a difference between forcing people to take up those values, and people embracing those values themselves. The world today offers multiple options.

        The argument that the traditional values populated the planet while today’s liberal, equality-driven values have produced broken homes is very simplistic. It’s a dramatic statement which sounds good but is actually simplifying things too much. I could have easily said, Indian traditional values have produced a mindlessly-breeding, idiotic population that has no sense of future planning. The consequence is a poverty-stricken, desperate 1.2 billion, of whom a shocking 700 million are severely lacking in nutrition, education, and job-opportunities. Our nation is a global laughing stock because half our people do not have toilets. Whereas Western liberal values have produced a well-educated, well-nourished, healthy population, which dominates global economics & production (and in terms of raw providership, global manhood). Both your statement & my statement are dramatic nonsense, because they summarize complex phenomenon like poverty and broken homes into overly simple theories.

        Your point that women are absolutist about their expectations of men, is no longer always true. Some women are willing to support their husbands take up a freelance career. Or run their business, which would provide that flexibility. Or take up a job themselves.

        The modern world provides so many different options and alternatives, that these old set in stone rules are no longer set in stone. What you say works for you, and perhaps many, many women. But there are others who wouldn’t agree with you. Ambitious career-driven women, or women who are willing to co-run a business with their husbands, just to name two types.

        There are some categorical statements you make. ‘No woman would ‘ or ‘no man should ‘. But there are different types of men and women. Some men are ‘alpha’. Some less so. Some women are top dog. Some less so. Some women are fiercely independent.

        In essence, most of the things you say are ‘always’ true are only ‘sometimes’ true. I am even willing to agree they are true for a majority. But the minority for whom it is not true is very large in numbers, and growing by the day. You are not accounting for these differences in personality and situation.

        It is beautiful that you’ve found such fulfillment and mutual understanding with your husband. It’s just that the whole ‘my way is the best way for everybody’ a bit unbelievable. There are many, many ways and paths to a good marriage. There are many different pictures of a beautiful marriage. Everybody needs a beautiful relationship with their husband or wife. Not everybody needs to use the exact format you used.

        Hugs & kisses back at ya :)

        Reply

      • In reply to Anon

        Oh My gosh! I would never dream of stating that “It is my way or the highway”, specially given my nature.

        I think we agree that “Traditional gender roles” work for a “large majority” if not “for all” men and women.

        My point is that such roles did not evolve by accident and we should not carelessly fling them aside and adopt alternative ideas unless we can rigorously test them and show that they are beneficial to society as a whole in the long run. Just because some roles are beneficial for some, does not mean they benefit society as a whole.

        Having said that, I agree that “there is no magic bullet for everybody” We must each find our own way.
        Hugs

        Reply

  3. Vishal Saurav says:

    @Author, about myth 1, that is not a myth but reality under Hindu adoption and maintenance Act, according to which a wife is entitled to be maintained by her husband for life. It is the duty of husband to maintain her wife and right of wife to be maintained by husband. Now question arises why a man should be forced to maintain other individual if he doesn’t want to do so? In such situation, can we term it as ‘Marital loot’, ‘Marital extortion’ of husband by his wife?

    Reply

  4. I LOVED this post… even the law needs to catch up. There is such a thing as “REstitution of conjugal rights” and absence of sex is legal grounds for divorce!

    Reply

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