Marriage Without Sexual Intimacy = Ground For Divorce?

In recent years, I have seen more clients come to me for a divorce because they are in what they call a marriage without sexual intimacy.

Is no sex in marriage one of the grounds for divorce in Singapore? Now, it is important to note that there is only one ground for divorce in Singapore- the irretrievable breakdown of marriage. To prove irretrievable breakdown of marriage in Singapore, you can use one of the following facts:

  1. Unreasonable behaviour on the part of your spouse;
  2. Adultery on the part of your spouse;
  3. Desertion;
  4. Separation for a period of 3 years (with consent from both parties to proceed with divorce); and
  5. Separation for a period of 4 years.

If you are in a marriage without sexual intimacy and you lead separate lives from your spouse, you may be able to file for divorce using “separation” as a reason.

If your spouse refuses to engage in intimacy with you, this may (in some cases) constitute unreasonable behaviour on the part of your spouse. Similarly, you can use that as a reason to file for divorce in Singapore.

Marriage Without Sexual Intimacy = Abuse?

A Malaysian MP came under fire recently when he said in parliament that: “[women] insult their husbands and refuse his sexual needs. All these are types of psychological and emotional abuse.”

In response, Marina Mahathir, a women’s rights activist, said that the MP had an ignorant view: “Women have a right to say no to sex… It is ridiculous to say men are abused if women say no to sex.”

See: “Denying husbands sex is abuse: Malaysian MP”, Channel News Asia, 26 July 2017

While I think it is incorrect to call the refusal of one party to engage in sex a form of “emotional abuse”, a marriage without intimacy can certainly lead to divorce.

If you are in a marriage without sexual intimacy, and you want to learn more about your options, contact us today!

You may also be interested to read more about:

1. Divorce and Separation

2. Annulment (Nullity) of Marriage

3. Children’s Issues

4. Matrimonial Assets

5. Maintenance Issues (Alimony)

6. Family Violence


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