Power

Withholding sex from bad men won’t fix anything

Lysistrata my ass!

Power

Withholding sex from bad men won’t fix anything

Lysistrata my ass!
Power

Withholding sex from bad men won’t fix anything

Lysistrata my ass!

There are so many things I am not supposed to do these days, for what we broadly understand to be “political reasons.” I should not drink through plastic straws (you can pry my bendy ones from my cold, dead hands thank you), I should not read David Foster Wallace (fine, Infinite Jest is very long and I am lazy), I should buy things from the Good Brands and not the Bad Ones (but also all brands are bad, however keep in mind there is no ethical consumption under capitalism. Yeet me into a hole.) It can be very hard to keep track.

One behavioral mandate tends to pop up like a viral STI whenever men are being terrible, which is to say every few days: That it is high time we ladies enact the “Lysistrata protocol” — in which women join together en masse and commit to not fucking the bad dudes. You know, the Trump supporters, the rape apologists, the pro-lifers — may we women bring them to heel through a staunch refusal to have them in our beds. If they want to regulate our reproduction, then we can fight that battle on their chosen grounds; if they insist on this line of attack then we must weaponize sex.

In the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes’s famous comedy, titular character Lysistrata convinces her fellow women to withhold sex from their husbands until they agree to end the interminable Peloponnesian War — a fitting scenario in that the modern calls for such a strategy make me want to ram a spear through my own skull.

Let’s begin with the most obvious objection to this strategy: just what sort of women do you imagine are regularly fucking these dudes? I myself have had the good sense to never have knowingly bedded a Republican. This is less a political position than a historical preference for men who belittle me for my incomplete knowledge of Gramsci, and the geographical privilege of living in areas where guys tend to be extremely, perhaps alarmingly, pro-choice.

But even outside of my personal experience, the constituency of women who would be willing to withhold sex in support of Roe — and would also have ample opportunity to do so — is vanishingly small, if not completely fictional. Republican women are just as hideously excited about confirming Kavanaugh as their male counterparts. We will find no common cause there.

If there does exist some unknown number of strategic honeypots who may, through careful Tinder sorting, begin to mold the contours of male thought well, good luck to them. I imagine they would have to be very attractive and frankly if we are trusting attractive people with our political salvation I welcome the rising seas.

Even if this was all a viable path to liberation I deeply resent the implication that women are responsible for policing the politics of men. It asks both too much and not enough of us that our sexual decisions serve a higher purpose. Much like plastic straws, the structural problems we face will not be overcome through individual choice. If I did meet a man in a bar and somehow, on the way back to my apartment realized he held problematic opinions about reproductive justice, leaving him in an Uber might be the correct decision but it will not open up a new Planned Parenthood in Kansas.

And if I did decide to take him home, because the world is mean and petty and each day brings fewer pleasures, the morning-after guilt should be of the regular sort and not the fact that I let down the sisterhood. I’m tired, my bills are overdue, kindly get off my dick about who I sleep with.

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