An Italian woman who signed up to a bizarre contract promising total sexual and mental submission to her husband is now suing him for divorce and mistreatment after seven years of "slavery". The woman from Padua signed the explicitly-worded agreement with her then boyfriend in 2004, when she was 24. They married in 2006 but the relationship eventually fell apart and the couple separated last year.
The woman, now aged 31, has shown the two-page contract to her lawyers to support her demands for a divorce and accusations of physical abuse. She also accuses her former partner of stalking her since their split. The contract stipulated that she be considered a "slave" to her husband, a property manager who was 10 years older than her. He was referred to throughout the contract as her "padrone" or master. Neither has been named publicly because the case is before the courts.
"The slave agrees to obey and to offer herself for the satisfaction of the desires of her master," the contract read. "The slave agrees to place her body at her master's disposition, to be used at his pleasure." Any "infraction" would be punished, the contract stipulated, with the woman expected to accept the penalty with "humility". As part of the unusual accord, the husband agreed that he would not subject his wife to "coprophilia, bestiality, asphyxia/restriction of breathing, branding by fire, any activities involving weapons and any acts in general which could permanently mark her physically".
It also stipulated that if, during their sadomasochistic sex sessions, the husband went too far, the woman could call a halt by using two agreed signals – either saying the "safe word" Mario or banging her hand three times against the nearest surface. The husband, now aged 41, argues that she signed the pact entirely of her own volition and that their activities were always consensual. It is now up to a prosecutor, Sergio Dini, to rule whether the wife has grounds for her claims of physical abuse, or whether her accusations should be dismissed out on the basis that she apparently consented to her husband's extreme tastes in the bedroom.