Sexuality is a cornerstone of women’s family role as wife
A healthy sexual life is said to be the guarantee for a good marriage. For some, the prevailing norms endorse the perception of wives as sexual objects. This view is based on many existing facts and practices. For example, a man may “own” more than one sexual partner through the system of polygamous marriage, in which husbands’ pleasure and gratification are at the centre of women’s sexuality. In general, wives’ sexuality is based on values and practices that aim primarily at satisfying their spouses’ needs. Worse, husbands have the implicit right to impose sexual intercourse on them. There is even a common saying that suggests ignoring all conjugal quarrels, particularly those that occur at night. In fact, the notion of ‘marital rape’ is just laughed at, as nonsense coming from elsewhere and irrelevant in this cultural context. The prevailing norms of moderation, discretion and obedience surrounding wives’ sexuality safeguard the status quo. However, there are also people who believe that beyond this apparent inequality in sexual relations among couples, marriage provides women with a respectful context and means for sexual fulfilment. For them, married women have the rights to request and enjoy sexual intercourse, in perfect harmony with religious and customary requirements.