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What is Loss of Consortium?

Let’s talk about sex.

Got your attention, right? You gotta admit: it’s a much better hook than "Let’s discuss loss of consortium."

The term loss of consortium is often used as a euphemism for sexual intercourse during the well-mannered and highbrow proceedings of a court case. But in reality, loss of consortium is like a good relationship: they’re both about more than just sex.

Loss of consortium also refers to other, non-sexual aspects of a marriage (or civil union, or domestic partnership, or common-law marriage) that serve to strengthen its bond, such as:

  • displays of affection like kissing or holding hands
  • going on dates or attending social gatherings together
  • offering advice and support when your partner has a problem
  • listening to your partner complain about his/her stressful day
  • acting as a companion during your partner’s activities

So as an example, let’s take two hypothetical men who were passengers in a serious car crash caused by a drunk driver. One sustained a brain injury that quashed his libido and eliminated his desire for sex. The other sustained a traumatic brain injury that left him in a semi-vegetative state. The wife of the first man would be bereft of sexual intercourse; but the wife of the second man would be deprived of not only sexual intimacy, but also those other activities listed above. Both wives would be eligible for monetary damages for loss of consortium, but the second wife’s dollar amount would probably be much higher.

It should be noted that loss of consortium is not relevant to unattached or single people. Though they might be entitled to various other damages, loss of consortium would not apply because they do not have a serious, monogamous relationship with another person.

That’s your sex education loss of consortium lesson for today. Even if you don’t remember any of this information, you did learn another euphemism for sex. That’s invaluable instruction, right?