Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
n. the male's inability to copulate. Impotence can be grounds for annulment of a marriage if the condition existed at the time of the marriage and grounds for divorce whenever it occurs under the laws of 26 states. It should not be confused with sterility, which means inability to produce children.
IMPOTENCE, med. jur. The incapacity for copulation or propagating the
species. It has also been used synonymously with sterility.
2. Impotence may be considered as incurable, curable, accidental or temporary. Absolute or incurable impotence, is that for which there is no known relief, principally originating in some malformation or defect of the genital organs. Where this defect existed at the time of the marriage, and was incurable, by the ecclesiastical law and the law of several of the American states, the marriage may be declared void ab initio. Com. Dig. Baron and Feme, C 3; Bac. Ab. Marriage, &c., E 3; 1 Bl. Com. 440; Beck's Med. Jur. 67; Code, lib. 5, t. 17, l. 10; Poyn. on Marr. and Div. ch. 8; 5 Paige, 554; Merl. Rep. mot Impuissance. But it seems the party naturally impotent cannot allege that fact for the purpose of obtaining a divorce. 3 Phillim. R. 147; S. C. 1 Eng. Eccl. R. 384. See 3 Phillim. R. 325; S. C. 1 Eng. Eccl. R. 408; 1 Chit. Med. Jur. 877; 1 Par. & Fonb. 172, 173. note d; Ryan's Med. Jur. 95. to 111; 1 Bl. Com. 440; 2 Phillim. R. 10; 1 Hagg. R. 725. See, as to the signs of impotence, 1 Briand, Med. Leg. c. 2, art. 2, Sec. 2, n. 1; Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales, art. Impuissance; and, generally, Trebuchet, Jur. de la. Med. 100, 101, 102; 1 State Tr. 315; 8 State Tr. App. No. 1, p. 23; 3 Phillm. R. 147; 1 Hagg. Eccl. R. 523; Fodere, Med. Leg. Sec. 237.