Marriage is more than sex just as singing is more than making noise but you can’t sing if you can’t make noise and you can’t be married if you can’t have sex. Malawi religious leaders have backed the legal provision of the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill which provides grounds for annulling a marriage, if one partner is impotent.
Impotence refers to the inability to have sexual intercourse while infertility or sterility refers to the inability to procreate. For example, a healthy woman who has a hysterectomy is infertile but not impotent. In contrast, a woman who has a vagina that cannot accommodate the male member is impotent but she may still be able to become pregnant through illicit means like artificial insemination or IVF. This means she is not infertile even though she is impotent.
The religious leaders have backed the provision which stipulated that marriage can be annulled on the grounds of impotence.
They argue that marriage has to be free, it also has to be a full and total gift of self, which includes the bodily gift of self through intercourse.
“If one is impotent, marriage cannot be there. If that impotence is by nature, that person cannot be allowed to enter into marriage,” said Father Emmanuel Chimombo, who is acting publicity secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), as quoted by The Nation.
Commenting in his personal capacity but of course advancing the stand of Catholic church, Chimombo said the Catholic Church considers marriage as a Sacrament that has a number of effects.
The Catholic Church says a cohabiting situation would be a near-occasion of sin for a couple that is striving to lead a non-sexual relationship because one partner is impotent, which includes abstinence from all forms of sexual arousal.
While critics say impotent couple can licitly engage in sexual activity they are physically able to enjoy such as passionate kissing, fondling, mutual masturbation and oral stimulation, the church feels a married couple that engages in arousing activities must complete the act through intercourse or they will have sinned.
Reducing sex to only oral stimulation and mutual masturbation is like reducing eating to only chewing and tasting food without digesting it. It distorts the purpose of these acts and takes them out of their proper orientation towards being a total gift of self through life-giving love
But CCAP Livingstonia Synod’s general secretary the Reverend Levi Nyondo said marriage is not only about bearing children through sexual intercourse.
“As Christians, we draw our lessons from the Bible. Look at the story of Abraham and Sarah; they had a child after living together for 100 years without one.
“There are couples that have been blessed with a child after staying together for more than five years, and what if they had taken action within two years of their marriage to divorce? How many divorces were we going to witness? Who defines permanent impotent, anyway?”
The new bill, in Section 77 (1), states that the grounds for nullification of a marriage may be “that the respondent [the one sued] was permanently impotent at the time of marriage” or “that the respondent was at the time of the marriage suffering from a sexually transmitted infection”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :