A village council in India has banned love marriages, thus requiring that all women who enter into a marriage do so only under an agreement of prostitution:
The new policy banning marriage for love will ensure that no woman ever go uncompensated when she has sex.
Traditional marriage values in the village stipulate that marriage is an exchange in which both partners must have their needs met. Local customs require that when a man desires to take a woman as his long-term sex partner, he offers her something in return–either something material, or the promise of a relationship based on love and intimacy. Unfortunately, the village men who choose love marriages have failed so miserably to give the women happy relationships that the council decided to do away with love marriages completely, as they inevitably lead to the man’s stealing the woman’s services under the guise of caring about her as a person.
Village elders now have grounds to question men about when they last had sexual intercourse with their wives, and whether they compensated their wives as required by the marriage contract. Elders may interrogate men whose wallets seem too full or whose possessions appear new while their wives look like they have not been shopping in a while. The policy even allows for 5 a.m. bedroom raids to check whether the husband has left cash or gifts on his wife’s night table in return for the previous evening’s sex; those husbands who are found not to have left payment will be subject to a trash can search in which village leaders and local community watchmen may look for recently used condoms, empty bottles of lubricant, etc. If evidence of coitus is found, the men can be fined (according to the average local cost of one call with a working girl).
Some hailed the decision, praising the council and emphasizing the negative consequences of love marriages. “It is very painful for the parents, specially [sic] the girls’s family, because such marriages dent their respectability,” said one woman whose daughter decided to forego a love marriage in favor of supporting herself under multiple prostitution agreements. She is now on her way to earning a university degree. The mother stressed that it is a shame–and a form of theft–when social arrangements cause young girls to squander their beauty and natural assets.
Others disagreed with the decision. One village resident complained that requiring men to pay for sex is damaging to their self-esteem. “I would have been happier if the council had completely banned men from buying sex. It is too degrading to hand over money after you have sexual relations with the woman who is supposed to always desire you regardless of what you give her. It is dehumanizing to have to buy someone’s body and the council should have forbidden it completely.”
I personally believe that people should be able to marry for love if they choose, and the council should be concerned with enforcing prostitution contracts that the involved parties have agreed to, rather than requiring that everyone enter into a contract of prostitution even if that is not what they’d prefer for their sex lives.
Still, I am glad to see that someone is standing up for women!