Marital debt

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In Christianity both men and women have a right to sex in marriage. In Middle Ages Europe this was known as the marital debt, and unlike today a husband or wife had to have sex whenever the other desired it. Feminists will claim that men had control of women's bodies but the historical record makes it very clear that this worked both ways.

Matheus of Boulonge married a widow, Petra, who apparently had a very high libido. Poor Matheus complained of having to have sex with his wife 15 times per day.[1][2]

Leaders in the Christian Church in the Middle Ages struggled to reconcile the need to procreate with the presumed need to deny sexual pleasure to Christian men. One Church Father postulated that a man could give his wife an orgasm and avoid having an orgasm himself:

Returning the debt to one's wife is nothing more than making your body available to her. Hence, one often renders the debt to his wife in such a way that he does not satisfy his pleasure, and conversely. Therefore, in the aforesaid case, I can so render the debt to my wife and wait in such a way until she satisfies her pleasure . . . . I can, if I wish, withdraw, not satisfying my pleasure, free of all sin, and not emitting my seed of propagation.[3]

The wording makes it clear that he is providing sexual pleasure to his wife, not the possibility of getting pregnant.


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