Saturday, May 16, 2009

Marital obligations

Also in The Times, but on a slightly lighter note, I enjoyed Gary Slapper's Weird Cases column yesterday. The weird case in question this week concerns a Kenyan man who is suing the leaders of a coalition of women’s groups who organised a seven-day boycott of sexual relations with men, as a protest at the country's economic and political problems. The man has issued civil proceedings, claiming that his wife had refused to honour his conjugal rights because of the campaign. "Whether an absence of sex for seven days is a legally actionable wrong is not specified in most countries", says Slapper. I rather doubt somehow that we will see this tested over here...

What was tested, however, was whether a wife was in breach of her marital obligations when she repeatedly badgered her husband for sex. As Slapper points out, these were the facts of a 1960 divorce case: "To rouse him into copulation she would, in the early hours of the morning, “pull his hair, catch hold of him by the ears, and shake his head violently to and fro”." Unfortunately for the husband, however, by giving in to her demands he was adjudged to have 'condoned her cruelty'.

Divorce work was clearly more interesting back then...


  1. Any productions of Lysistrata recently in Kenya?

  2. Clearly, it has been playing in the Nairobi Globe!

  3. I'm glad I wasn't around in 1960 if foreplay consisted of hair-and -ear pulling...

  4. No, doesn't sound much of a turn-on to me either. :-)


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