MARRIAGE RIGHTS: I’ve been married for nearly a year and a half now and my husband wants to be more adventurous in his sex with me – doing all kinds of things that I feel very uncomfortable with. He says now that we’re married he can do what he likes with me. Some things he wants to do are against my religious beliefs. At least once he forced me to have sex when I didn’t want to. Do I have any rights about this?
These ‘forced-sex’ activities in marriage have come before the courts a number of times. It is a crime in many of the States for a husband to force sex onto his wife – if the wife does not consent. This means that in certain circumstances a husband in marriage can be charged with raping his wife. There is a misunderstanding among some men who think that just because they are married they have absolute ‘conjugal’ (marriage) rights to have sex anytime, anywhere and any place and without consent. Sex without consent is a crime inside and outside of marriage. I suggest that you and your husband obtain the services of a professional marriage counselor who can help you to assert your rights in these matters. But be warned; if your husband is not responsive – not prepared to respect your rights and thinks he can abuse his position as a husband against the law, you will have to decide whether to stay in the marriage. Be careful: if you do not complain it could be construed you are consenting to his demands – a creative defence lawyer for the husband could put up the defence of estoppel – if you’re not complaining, you’re consenting.