1. People & Relationships

Seven years of withholding sex went too far in the eyes of an Italian court, which has ordered a Sicilian man to pay alimony to his wife for refusing conjugal relations.

The man, whose name was given only as Francesco, decided to punish his wife Piera after she opposed him in a family argument - a punishment that lasted seven years.

The highest Italian appeals court called the man's actions - or rather, inactions - an "offence to her dignity" and said it constituted grounds for separation.

The court also ordered him to pay alimony to his now former wife and their children, born when their marriage saw happier times, and carry the legal costs of the case.

"The refusal to have sexual and affectionate relations over seven years with his wife constitutes a very serious offence to her dignity and has caused frustration with serious consequences for her psychological equilibrium," the court judgment stated.

Withholding sex seems to be a common method of punishing a spouse. We've all heard about the wife who gets mad and sleeps on the couch or turns her back to her husband in bed. Somewhere down the line we learned that cutting our spouses off sexually was an acceptable way of expressing our anger. In my opinion, to do so is a type of abuse...sexual abuse and emotional abuse.

We all need to have boundaries, limits on behaviors we will not accept from our spouse. There are far more productive ways of setting boundaries and expressing our anger than cutting our spouse off from the very thing that bonds us together intimately. Next time you contemplate pulling a Francesco, stop and think. Do you really want to send the person you love the message that you don't desire them sexually?

Comments
July 16, 2007 at 11:26 am
(1) MCK says:

I have been sleeping on the couch for over a year. I don’t consider it a form of abuse – the thought of him touching me makes my skin crawl. Our marriage is dead. There are several issues but the one that drove me to the couch is the fact that over the last 2 years there have been 2 specialists say that he needs to smoke outside because the smoke is hurting me – he refused. I simply cannot be around the smoke and I resent him very much for putting his habit ahead of my health – to me, THAT is abuse.

July 16, 2007 at 12:20 pm
(2) Cathy says:

MCK, I don’t understand how you sleeping on the couch is solving the problems you have in your marriage. It certainly isn’t solving the problem of second hand smoke. Cutting him off sexual doesn’t take care of that issue if you are still living in the same home with him and he is still smoking in the home.

What you are doing is playing a game of “tit for tat.” He resents you so he refused to stop smoking in the house. You resent him so you have cut him off sexually. You are both playing the role of the victim and if you have been on the couch for over a year it sounds as if you are both stuck in the victim role.

It’s sad when marriage gets to the point that all it is, is two adults trying to punish each other. Instead of helping each other through life, you are now working against each other.

The marriage isn’t dead. If it were you would be long gone. Not hanging around engaging in a power struggle.

August 20, 2007 at 4:43 pm
(3) Merissa says:

I don’t think anybody should withold sex unless it’s because of a health concern. If Your that miserable with someone, than you shouldn’t be with them, because all your going to do is push them away, and if your not careful they may find it elsewhere. Why shouldn’t they, your using lack of sex as a sort of revenge, they may see it as I can seek revenge too, I mean why shouldn’t I – your doing it to me.

October 7, 2007 at 11:41 pm
(4) Joe says:

Your analysis sounded dead on until I read your advice – pack your bags and get out. When you have kids, that is a very unpalatable option. No sex is better than losing your children.

October 17, 2007 at 10:44 pm
(5) Lana says:

I’ve been in a nearly 2 year relationship with my boyfriend. We haven’t had sex in over 6 months. He is 39 years old, has a stressful job in the military and he says that he is very stressed, tired and he sleeps for long hours at a time. He drinks alot and previously used to joke about taking Viagra, Watching a porno flick and drinking a cold one in the past. I’ve never experienced anything like this. I love him, However I also have lots of love for me too. Any advice?

October 17, 2007 at 11:29 pm
(6) Cathy says:

Lana, my ex was a military guy with a “stressful” job who was tired all the time also.

He had time for pornos and masturbation but no time for an intimate relationship with his spouse.

You have a decision to make. If you stay in the relationship he isn’t going to change. He won’t wake up one day unable to keep his hands off of you. The sex life you have now is the one you will always have. Miracles rarely happen and in your situation it would probably take a miracle.

If you can accept things as they are now and be happy with a sporadic sex life then continue on with the relationship.

If, however you need and want more you should think seriously about whether or not you belong in this relationship.

The sexual rejection will eventually chip away at the love you have for yourself if you aren’t careful.

November 11, 2007 at 10:07 pm
(7) sandra says:

I just ended a 2-year relationship with my boyfriend (he dumped ME). We has sex no more than 6 times (all in the first 6 mos.) For a year and a half I was begging him to have sex with me. And when I asked (ever so nicely) he would say, “Well if you keep asking, you know it’s not going to happen” What the heck? I have never felt so unattractive, so unwanted, there is nothing worse than loving someone and being shot down constantly. He was manic-depressive and receiving treatment during the entire relationship; he was able to acheive an erection and was capable of sex for the first 6 mos and his treatment never changed, nor was his personality affected. He just didn’t want to do anything -he didn’t work a single day we were together, had no goals, and he’s 35. I was patient and supportive, I believed in him, and never pushed the issue (I’d suggest sex once every month or so), but in the end he dumped me b/c “he still doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life”. I guess I’m better off b/c we didn’t have kids, wanting your partner to desire you and show the same affection is not to much to ask, the need for physical contact is a basic need. (Sorry for the long rant, but this just happened and I’m PISSED)

May 12, 2008 at 3:40 pm
(8) Michelle Michini says:

I have to say that I am very disappointed in the man that I married. Greg Stewart and I have been together for one year. Greg makes every attempt to avoid having sex with me. I am beginning to think that he may be gay. He is a Marine and very manly acting, so in the beginning I had no reason to suspect that he was gay. We have not consumated our marriage and we have not gone on our honeymoon. He makes excuses not to. I have confronted Greg about me suspecting that he is gay, but he just gets angry and says that he is not. Something is wrong, a man does not marry a woman and refuse to have sex with her. I am very hurt and I want out of this relationship.

July 9, 2008 at 4:38 pm
(9) tony says:

I’m tired of initiating, tired of rejection and tired of once a month at best. I’m tired of all the excuses. The reality, women get married thinking every wish they had will come true.Sex becomes the bargaining chip, get her a gift, spend the money and sex might happen. Deal wioth the reality that college for kids means less for us and sex goes out the window.

Women complain “all the good men are taken” they read their romance novels and really think this is what life should be. Sex is inigral in a marriage, it is the intimacy that defines that one couple. Any wonder women are the ones to initate divorce most often. It;s not allare abused or their husbands are unfaithful, its their living in a fantasy and seeking still to find it.

January 24, 2009 at 12:01 am
(10) Steve Ward says:

MCK says:
I have been sleeping on the couch for over a year. I donít consider it a form of abuse – the thought of him touching me makes my skin crawl. Our marriage is dead. There are several issues but the one that drove me to the couch is the fact that over the last 2 years there have been 2 specialists say that he needs to smoke outside because the smoke is hurting me – he refused. I simply cannot be around the smoke and I resent him very much for putting his habit ahead of my health – to me, THAT is abuse.

***I think is time for the 2 of you to go your own seperate ways. I always smoke outside simply becasue it stincts. A burnt cigarette smells horrible.

May 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm
(11) Lost in VA says:

My husband as withheld sex from me for 14 years. I don’t miss the sex from him. I threaten and he knows that I have lovers which keeps me sane. It was the first five years of him letting me believe I was unattractive and dumb. I’m still suffering from that. I’ve been afraid to find a job for fear of failure. My self esteem is shot. But there is a part of me that feels the only revenge is that he has to take care of me. He claims that his not wanting sex is just fine. I think he is having sex with men. I can and won’t compete with that.

November 21, 2009 at 9:52 am
(12) E says:

I am 29 years old, married for one year to a 25 year old. Our sex life has never been great: we recently went for 8 months with no sex and we’re young newlyweds! It’s not me: I would have sex every day. She is very unaffectionate and says she is scared of sex. Only porn will get her turned on, which makes me mad because it’s not me that she wants, or so it seems. To me I think she just doesn’t like sex. I keep waiting for something to change but I guess that’s unrealistic we’ve probably had sex 20 times total. She treats me like a rapist when I come onto her, and sexual rejection hurts me in a deep way because i was molested by a woman as a child, who then rejected my “friendship” out of guilt and fear of getting caught. I was 5 years oldÖ anyway, I cheated. We have a baby girl. I feel sexually abused and tormented, overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. The only reason I don’t want divorce is our baby girl who I love so much. I don’t ever want her to feel uncared for. Help!

March 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm
(13) avery says:

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June 1, 2010 at 7:05 am
(14) Na Zdrowie says:

Iíve been visiting your blog for a while now and I always find a gem in your new posts. Thanks for sharing.

March 29, 2011 at 1:11 am
(15) Ace says:

Let me tell u what i think as a man and as in their shoes…

When we want sex you ladies might think that we are perverts or too sexually active, this was a humiliating kind of view to male basic needs. So…subconsciously the idea of revenge had been sip into d mind and it manifest into not giving sex as a form of punishment.

Most healthy males are sexually active but when time to inflict revenge even at the expense of destroying d relationship(sadistic act). In actual these males satisfy their needs from masturbation, affairs or visit places that provide services … 1 hour or less can get d job done. You will not notice he had his urge satisfied.

So how to fix it? Answer : Force Sex

Every men love being rape by attractive woman n it was best fantasy ever. Are u attractive? Go dress sexy n doll up a bit.
Men love attractive women forcefully or seducively unzip thei peepee n consume it right away – no question ask-
….what a turn on !!!

October 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm
(16) Lonley says:

I just came across this article and it was like a light turned on. My husband is passive agrresive and with holds sex. I have blamed myself for a really long time, beat myself up thought I was ugly and no one wanted me.
All my friends tell me I’m smart , beautiful( I think OK looking def not gross) and a great person and I never beleived them. I am on antidepression meds and have tried to harm myself( over 2yrs ago), always thinking that there must be something wrong with me.

July 7, 2012 at 5:09 am
(17) mary says:

I’ve been married to a I love very much for 22 years, After our honeymoon he began avoiding sex. Eight months later he told me he couldn’t stand to look at women’s bodies (genitals), altho he is not gay. Turns out he was sexually abused by a woman when he was very young. Over the years, he has also said unkind things to me, forgot important dates, etc. I realized at some point that denying sex is one tool in a set of passive-aggressive behaviors to punish me. to take out his hostility against women. He has been in therapy for sexual abuse on and off for our entire marriage with few results. We never have sex anymore. I am tired of living in a sexless marriage, feel cheated and tricked, and find it increasingly difficult to be sympathetic and caring while he “heals”. What about my feelings of rejection, hurt, humiliation? All the books say be caring and understanding. Why doesn’t he have to be understanding about my needs and feelings? Marriage is not a ONE WAY street, is it?

July 7, 2012 at 5:09 am
(18) mary says:

I’ve been married to a I love very much for 22 years, After our honeymoon he began avoiding sex. Eight months later he told me he couldn’t stand to look at women’s bodies (genitals), altho he is not gay. Turns out he was sexually abused by a woman when he was very young. Over the years, he has also said unkind things to me, forgot important dates, etc. I realized at some point that denying sex is one tool in a set of passive-aggressive behaviors to punish me. to take out his hostility against women. He has been in therapy for sexual abuse on and off for our entire marriage with few results. We never have sex anymore. I am tired of living in a sexless marriage, feel cheated and tricked, and find it increasingly difficult to be sympathetic and caring while he “heals”. What about my feelings of rejection, hurt, humiliation? All the books say be caring and understanding. Why doesn’t he have to be understanding about my needs and feelings? Marriage is not a ONE WAY street, is it?

March 7, 2013 at 9:57 pm
(19) worthless says:

It was near Christmas that my stepson was arrested for domestic assault and jailed. After I took over the presents that I had bought for his daughter, my wife announced that I had committed adultery taking gifts into the household that he got himself ejected from. My wife announced that sex and affection were with now out of the question.

I simply said that she was wrong.

After about four years, I was the inbetween that reunited her granddaughter to herself and her son, but she never forgave me. As for myself, I always thought that things would change, but even when she died ten years later, she never even sought out my hand to hold.

My thanks to those who bother to read this. I wasn’t quite so terrible: even without, I was always happy to see her after work.

July 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm
(20) Matt mosler says:

Ive been married 16 years and have one child. I fell in love with my wife the first night I met her. I have always been there for her and supported her in every way. We had been trying for 4 years when she finally got pregnant. The odd thing was that after the 3rd year, I had to remind her that we had to have sex if we were going to have a baby. our son is 11 now and I love him with all my heart, but since his birth, I have been mother and father, She admits to not being a mother and says she wasn’t cut out for it. Now after giving over half of my life to her, I am alone, for 6 1/2 years now, she has been sleeping in the other end of the house and refused to have sex with me. Even though I have been denied sex for almost 7 years, I have not cheated on her, nor have I ever. I really don’t know how much longer I can live like this, it is really humiliating.
For any person that would do this, you are hurting the person more than if you were to just leave. This is the most difficult thing in life that I have ever dealt with. I love my wife, I just wish she still loved me.

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