By Harold Ayodo

Q) Dear Harold,?

We got married in a colourful church wedding eight years ago and have a daughter aged five years. My husband and I have good jobs and recently bought a family home where we live. Unfortunately, I’m getting depressed as my husband denies me my conjugal rights. It can take up to four months before he grudgingly gives in to my demands. I have tried talking to him to find out if he may be having an affair as our matrimonial bed has no life. Can I use the law to demand for my conjugal rights?

Tracy, Nairobi

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Dear Tracy,

It is not possible to go to court to seek orders to compel your husband to perform his conjugal responsibilities. It would be better to consider seeking professional assistance from a qualified marriage counsellor and discuss issues out.

The law treats denial of sexual intercourse among spouses as cruelty, according to precedence set by the English case of Sheldon vs Sheldon in 1966. According to the case, the court granted a wife orders to divorce her husband for denying her conjugal rights, which amounted to cruelty — a ground for divorce.

According to Lord Denning, the Judge, the persistent refusal of sexual intercourse by the husband for long without excuse caused grave injury to the health of his wife.

He argued that spouses have rights and responsibilities that should be fulfilled in matrimony. Legally, local courts can apply such precedents (landmark judgments) by courts in Commonwealth countries.

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