Thanks to decades of feminist misinformation the term conjugal rights is today most often associated with marital rape. The truth, as is often the case, is more complex than feminists would have us believe.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines conjugal rights as:
: the sexual rights or privileges implied by and involved in the marriage relationship
: the right of sexual intercourse between husband and wife
While the Cambridge dictionary defines it as:
the right to have sex with the person you are married to.
Both definitions are gender neutral, which is notable considering the association the term carries today of men forcing themselves on women.
Conjugal rights exist in both the ancient concept of marriage as well as the modern concept of marriage. Feminist ideologues and others have encouraged confusion in the concept of a person’s right to sex in marriage. In the modern Western context, a married person does not have a right to sex with their spouse at a particular time but they continue to have a right to sex in their marriage. Many societies recognised the concept of annullment for a marriage that was not consummated. This concept is distinct from divorce as an annulled marriage is taken to have never occurred. Even today many jurisdictions retain the option to annul a marriage that has not been consummated.
When a couple marry, even today, there is a presumption that each will have sex with the other. The exception is a chaste marriage agreed ahead of time. While rare, marriages like this exist today as they have historically. The Shakers are an offshoot of the better known Quaker religious movement. Shakers require adherents to have chaste marriages. This means that they can only expand their community through converts. Not surprisingly requiring adherents to have chaste marriages makes recruiting difficult and today there are few Shakers remaining. Most people who marry want to have sex, at least initially.
It is true that until recently men could not be charged with raping their wives in Common Law. Feminists often claim this meant that men had a right to force himself on his wife. This ignores the fact that men who were violent to their wives were often charged.
The feminist notion of The Patriarchy is, at best, a gross over-simplification of societies today and in the past. But we shouldn’t give all adherents to this idea the benefit of the doubt. In many cases claims about The Patriarchy are just a bunch of lies. Discrediting The Patriarchy is outside the scope of this article but is covered well by existing and planned works.
Conjugal rights vary across religions. In Judaism wives have a right to sex with their husbands but husbands do not have a right to sex with their wives. The Talmud even defines the frequency of the husband’s sexual obligations based on his occupation:
Men of leisure, who do not work, must engage in marital relations every day, laborers must do so twice a week, donkey drivers once a week, camel drivers once every thirty days, and sailors once every six months.
The three major Abrahamic religions all grant women a right to sex in marriage and one of them doesn’t even grant that right to men. Contrast this to the nonsense that feminists spew about the state of women’s lives historically. The feminist historical narrative is so pervasive that even many anti-feminists buy into it, but this will change.
The cover image depicts the Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron. The Cave is the Secret Headquarters of The Global Patriarchy.