2012: Women in the West African nation of Togo recently called for a sex strike in protest of the continuing occupation of governmental leadership by President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has been a force in Togoan politics for several decades. Gnassingbe has been accused of election fraud and using police and military force to subdue his detractors, and opposition leader Isabelle Ameganvi hopes the strike will bring attention to the need for change. USA Today reports:
"We have many means to oblige men to understand what women want in Togo," says Ameganvi, leader of the women's wing of the coalition.
She says she was inspired by a similar strike by Liberian women in 2003, who used it to campaign for peace.
Abla Tamekloe, who lives in Lome, the capital, tells the AP that the strike is a good thing that will help win the release of children jailed by the government.
"For me, it's like fasting, and unless you fast, you will not get what you want from God," she says.
411 BC: In Lysistrata, a stage play by Aristophanes, a group of Greek women decide to end the Peloponnesian War by withholding sex from their husbands. While she initially meets with resistance, titular heroine Lysistrata quickly convinces her friends that their refusal to bed their husbands until war’s end will bring about a fervent desire for peace:
Lysistrata: We must refrain from every depth of love.... Why do you turn your backs? Where are you going? Why do you bite your lips and shake your heads? Why are your faces blanched? Why do you weep? Will you or won't you, or what do you mean?
Myhrrine: No, I won't do it. Let the war proceed.
Lysistrata: By the two Goddesses, now can't you see
All we have to do is idly sit indoors
With smooth roses powdered on our cheeks,
Our bodies burning naked through the folds
Of shining Amorgos' silk, and meet the men
With our dear Venus-plats plucked trim and neat.
Their stirring love will rise up furiously,
They'll beg our arms to open. That's our time!
We'll disregard their knocking, beat them off--
And they will soon be rabid for a Peace.
I'm sure of it.
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