To have intercourse is among the marital duties, as confirmed by the Italian Supreme Court (order no. 4756/2017). Refusing to have sexual relations, therefore, constitutes a violation of the obligations of moral and material assistance provided for by the Italian Civil Code.

In order for an infringement to be recognized a systematic refusal is necessary. Thus, the hypotheses in which the sexual relationship is denied occasionally or for different needs and unavailability of the spouse are to be excluded: otherwise, the physical constriction can configure the sexual violence.

According to case law, this systematic refusal may constitute grounds for obtaining separation by charge, thus putting at a serious risk the right to alimony.