INDIA: Divorce has become "sexy" there

Over the years we have done several posts on marriage and divorce in India. Comparatively speaking, India continues to have one of the lowest rates of divorce in the world. This is due in part, it seems, to their cultural norms & nuances that include arranged marriages v romantic marriages (and how those are constructed and managed) and other variables. Indeed we did a post years back How to Avoid Divorce: 10 Lessons from Indian Marriages about the lessons to be learned from Indian marriages as a sort of hedge against divorce.
But all is not so cozy in recent years. Blame it on the success of Bollywood, I don’t know, but there is definitely a cultural shift going on in India and it is beginning to impact the sanctity and longevity of Indian marriages. Speaking of Bollywood, we have also blogged about various Bollywood actresses and other Indian personalities’ divorce stories and more and more of these personalities are helping to make divorce less of a “stigma” in India. That, and the fact that there has been a marked increase in “romantic marriages” vis a vis “arranged marriages.” Indeed, along that same vein we should mention that Karishma and Sunjay Kapoor have finalised their divorce after seven years of separate living according to India Today. Read more.
Recent media reports such as the BBC (it was claimed that there has been a 100% increase in the divorce rate in India) have led us to reevaluate the situation in India in recent years. It seems that things are achanging in India on the divorce front. Divorce is becoming more commonplace as the cultural taboo is softening and as Indians become more “westernized” in their attitudes and tendencies and worldview with respect to marriage and divorce.
Indeed, there is apparently a divorce “epidemic” in India. A couple of years ago, the Times of India ran an article about how “sex-starved marriages” are leading to this divorce epidemic:

NEW DELHI: Sex-starved marriages leading to divorce are becoming an “epidemic”, the Delhi high court has observed, while granting divorce to a husband, maintaining that denial of sex by his wife amounted to mental cruelty. The man argued that in the five months he and his wife stayed as a couple after marriage, they had sex only 10-15 times. Dismissing the wife’s plea against divorce, Justice Kailash Gambhir noted in his order earlier this week: “Although it is difficult to exactly lay down as to how many times any healthy couple should have sexual intercourse in a particular period of time as it is not a mechanical but a mutual act, there cannot be any two ways about the fact that marriage without sex will be an insipid relation.” More

It is this article and a few others that have led our editorial team to surmise that the divorce rate in India has become a very “sexy” issue; but not in the way you probably thought when you first read the headline. It is “sexy” in the sense that sex is often at the root of the problem – some kind of sexual incompatibility – and this is driving couples to the divorce courts in droves.
India has always been a society where sex and sexual compatibility are HUGE. Before marriage couples routinely run their horoscopes to see, among other things, if they are “sexually compatible.” If you have any doubts about how much sex matters in Indian society, look at the population. You do not become one of the top 3 most populous countries in the entire world if there isn’t a whole lot of sex going on. But also remember that this is the country that gave the world the Kama Sutra! So sex factors very highly in the Indian’s world view and in how they see and understand marriage. And when that starts to break down – the sex, that is –  so do marriages. And this might explain, at least in part, the reason for this recent spike in India’s divorce rate.
The question now becomes, why all of a sudden more and more Indian couples are finding that they are sexually incompatible. Are they not running their horoscopes before marriage?!