- Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Saturday to call for a sex strike in protest of recently-changed abortion laws across the country.
- “Until women have legal control over our own bodies, we just cannot risk pregnancy,” Milano said in her tweet.
- Sex strikes are actually quite common – Polish women protested sex in 2016 after abortion was almost banned in the nation, Colombian women did the same to protest against violence in 2006, and Italian women followed suit in 2008 to stop a dangerous fireworks show.
- Some of the earliest sex strikes occurred in the 1600s, when Iroquois women boycotted sex to stop unregulated warfare.
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On Saturday, Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike to protest changing abortion laws across the country.
“Our reproductive rights are being erased,” Milano wrote on Twitter. “Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.”
“I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on,” she continued.
Our reproductive rights are being erased.
Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.
JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) May 11, 2019
Alyssa Milano’s call for a sex strike was immediately met with backlash
On Twitter, many people called out the actress for seemingly promoting abstinence and taking control away from women.
Please stop feeding the narrative that women are providers and men are consumers of sex. Bribing men for equal rights with access to our bodies is not how feminism works.
— feminist next door (@emrazz) May 11, 2019
Apparently this is Alyssa Milano’s idea. I don’t get how punishing people on our side is going to help. And from what I’ve seen the anti-choice people are all thanking her for advocating for abstinence. I think this one backfired on her.
— Keri McClendon (@miseceltic) May 11, 2019
The problem though is that it’s essentially abstinence only sex education & giving anti-choice people exactly what they want. Does this mean that if repro rights never improve then no more sex? I understand we’re at a critical point in abortion access but this may backfire.
— Helen (@Helen_W_159) May 11, 2019
However, some supporters also joined the conversation, and thanked Milano for creating a “pro-life strike.”
We conservatives call it abstinence. Thanks for join the Pro-Life movement!
— Jeannie (@JeannieBell71) May 11, 2019
Lol you mean abstinence is a way to avoid pregnancy? And it's a choice to abstain? This is easily the most pro-life strike I've ever seen. ????????????
— Sydney Vaughn (@AHumanPerson7) May 11, 2019
Sex strikes have actually been happening for centuries
In 411 BC, playwright Aristophanes wrote “Lysistrata,” a Greek comedy in which women boycott sex in attempts to end the Peloponnesian War. While the play was fictional, it foreshadowed real-world events that followed in the future, which are now often referred to as Lysistratic non-action protests.
For example, Iroquois women living in the 1600s turned that story into a reality with a sex strike of their own, according to the Global Nonviolent Action Database.
At the time, men of the confederacy were responsible for handling war – they decided when it would take place, where it would happen, and who they would fight against. Iroquois women, who were largely against unregulated warfare, eventually decided to take matters into their own hands.
Because it was widely believed at the time that Iroquois women “knew the secret of birth,” according to the Global Nonviolent Action Database, they chose to withhold sex from men in hopes of ending war. They also held back necessary war materials, such as corn and moccasins.
As a result, Iroquois women were eventually granted power to veto any wars within their tribes.
Lysistratic non-action protests became especially popular in the early 2000s
Back in 2006, women living in Pereira, Colombia held the “strike of crossed legs,” according to the Guardian. Girlfriends and wives of gang members took part in the strike, and aimed to end gang violence by refusing to have sex with their partners.
At the time, a number of women involved in the strike vowed to continue protesting until gang members returned their weapons to the police, and attend vocational training at the local mayor’s office.
Two years later in Italy, women of Naples decided to boycott sex in attempts to end a dangerous and illegal fireworks show, according to BBC.
“If a sex strike is what it takes in order to get the attention of our men, husbands, partners and sons, then we’re ready for it,” Carolina Staiano, one of the campaign’s founders, told Italy’s Ansa news agency in 2008, according to BBC.
Unfortunately, the strike didn’t go as planned. According to the Guardian, the fireworks show continued, and led to the death of one man and injury of 70 people in 2011.
Women from Kenya to Poland have participated in sex strikes
An example of a successful sex strike occurred ten years ago in Kenya. In 2009, the country’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga and President Mwai Kibaki were at a months-long standstill and refused to speak with each other, according to the Guardian.
Their lack of communication threatened the country, and women of Kenya began to worry they would face outbreaks of violence.
To protest, Kenyan women held a week-long sex strike, and even called on the wives of the prime minister and president, as well as sex workers, to participate, according to the Guardian. The strike lasted the full week, but came to an end when the two leaders finally agreed to speak, according to the Global Nonviolent Action Database.
Most recently in 2016, thousands of Polish women took to the streets on “Black Monday” wearing dark clothing. They did so to protest and mourn the potential loss of their reproductive rights, according to BBC.
At the time, lawmakers in Poland shared a law draft, which would have banned abortion throughout the country. If the law had passed, women who previously had abortions would have faced up to five years in prison, and doctors who completed abortions would be subject to jail time.
However, as result of the “Black Monday” protests, Polish lawmakers disregarded the draft, according to the New York Times.
While it’s unclear if Milano’s sex strike will end up being successful, it’s apparent that her idea is, at least, not the first of its kind.
- Read more:
- Alyssa Milano stands by her defence of Joe Biden but says he needs to learn what’s appropriate: ‘He might not get it, and then f— him’
- ‘I am proud to call Joe Biden a friend’: Actress Alyssa Milano defends the former vice president amid accusations of misconduct
- Alyssa Milano’s phone was reportedly confiscated during the Kavanaugh hearing
- Alyssa Milano is supporting Christine Blasey Ford at the Kavanaugh hearings: ‘I needed to be here to show solidarity’
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