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Is There a Legal Right to Expect Sex in a Marriage?

By Senior Associate, Family Law

In the past few weeks there has been a lot of publicity about the role of sex in marriage. 

A recent news article described how an argument erupted between an American husband and wife about how much sex they were having, resulting in the wife posting her husband’s “sex spread sheet” online.

Intimacy can be an important part of a marriage but there is no legal right to expect sex in a marriage. Without consent, sexual intercourse may be treated as rape.

A lack of willingness to have sex in a marriage could be relied upon by a spouse seeking a divorce. Whilst this alone might not be sufficient grounds for a divorce it may be perceived as “unreasonable behaviour” which may provide evidence that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The act of adultery can also be a fact which can be relied upon to get a divorce if that person finds it intolerable to live with the person who has committed adultery.

Sex can therefore play a key role in any marriage.

If the marriage has not been consummated due to incapacity or wilful refusal then the marriage may be voidable. This means that the marriage will be treated as a valid marriage until a Decree of Nullity has been obtained.

If there has been non-consummation of the marriage in these circumstances then it may not be necessary for the couple to divorce and the marriage can be ended by obtaining a Decree of Nullity.

Amy Harris is a Family Law & Divorce Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

For more information about getting a divorce or a Decree of Nullity, call the Divorce Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers for a free initial consultation. Call freephone 0800 916 9054 or contact us online and we will call you.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers have offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Merseyside & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.