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Is the conceptual possibility of sexual intercourse between spouses required for a valid marriage to be initiated?

Asked by: Reactionary
  • It is based on reason and commonsense.

    To justify my answer, I investigated three subquestions: Is the possibility of sexual intercourse necessarily required for marriage? If so, does this aspect require actual sex to occur to validate the marriage? Finally, if marriage does not require intercourse to be actual but only potential, is the marriage invalidated should intercourse become impossible?

    1. The possibility of sexual intercourse is a necessary component of marriage. After all, there would be no point in marrying if just to support each other emotionally, since this is just as plausible outside of marriage as inside it, for I can emotionally support my mother, but not feel the urge to marry her. In the same vein, if all I wanted to do was live with someone but not have sex with them, I could just get a roommate. In but a third case, raising children with someone does not imply marriage, or else two people who run an orphanage would might as well get married. When you think about it, a commitment to support the other person sexually should they want it and should it be practicable seems an obvious component of marriage, and this seems at least one of its defining characteristics, without which a relationship would not be marriage. Thus, marriage requires the possibility of sexual intercourse.

    2. Does the possibility of sexual intercourse need to be actualized? No. If that were the case, then if you had never had sex with your spouse before the wedding, and you did not actually have sex until after midnight had already struck, then you would not be married on your wedding day! Surely this is absurd. Or, suppose that a man and a woman get married, and then a natural disaster hits and they are separated before having sex. Would we say they are not married? Not at all! We would say, "The husband and wife need to meet back up!" not "The man and woman need to get back together so they can get married for real." Thus, a marriage is valid when the wedding happens, not when the spouses have sex.

    3. If, 1. The possibility of sex must be present for a marriage to be possible, and 2. Actual sexual activity need not take place...If one spouse loses all sexual function (need penis removal or something like that), is the marriage over automatically? This would seem to be wrong. Imagine a wedding ceremony, in which the two spouses say their vows. On the way home, a gunshot rings out and the man is been castrated. Is the marriage just over, nothing to be done, even with medicine? It would seem, rather, that the husband and wife can choose to end the marriage if nothing could help, but also could choose to keep the marriage going.

    Circumspectly, a marriage needs 1. The possibility of sex to get going, but 3. Doesn't need that possibility to continue, and 2. Doesn't need sex to actually take place either, to be valid.

  • Hmm what are the usual marriage vows?

    In sickness and in health, til death do us part, to have and to hold....Nope. Nothing in their about sexual intercourse.

    What about in he requirements to obtain a marriage licsence? Nope nothing about sex there.

    What about the fact that no one has any right ever to decide if anither persons marriage is or isnt meaningful? Yeah about that. Leave other people alone please.

  • Marriage is an institution and doesn't need sex to be valid

    Marriage is an institution and it is also an identity: how a person sees him/herself within the context of that relationship. If you are a room-mate to someone, there is a certain distance between you and the other person: the type of relationship you have with your room-mate is different to that of your wife or husband - even without the sex. No many people would go travelling with their room-mate; but you're more likely to go travelling with your wife or husband. Also, If you are husband and wife , you have also pledged a commitment with each other as a couple (potentially for life) and this defines you as part of your identity (and place in the world, if you like). You don't need to have sexual intercourse in order to consummate the marriage, nor is the marriage less valid because of its absence.


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