Lysistrata’s Rule For World Domination

[Editor’s note: Kamilla Ludwig has written a fantastic commentary on the current debate over Planned Parenthood funding (and modern sexual mores). It’s not for young readers, but it is definitely something that parents should be talking about with their children. Sexuality is a beautiful gift to be treasured and cherished–not abused and misused.] Click “more” to read Kamilla’s piece.Lysistrata, one of the rare surviving plays by Aristophanes (first performed in Greece in about 411 B.C), tells the tale of a woman on a mission to end the Peloponnesian War by calling for all the women to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers until the men lay down arms and end the war.   Such actions have occurred from time to time since then, but I would guess a call for a Lysistrata-like sex strike is not the first action which comes to mind when thinking about what women who support Planned Parenthood might call for in order to get Congress to restore funding.  But that is indeed the case where just last week, Slate blogger Jocelyn Nubel (who called for the action) noted, “a direct correlation between what’s being threatened and what we individuals can do to assert our cause.”

By now, most of us are aware that the craven Republicans have tossed defense of the defenseless overboard and restored Planned Parenthood funding to the budget.  So Nubel’s call for action is moot, but it does bring up some interesting food for though.  In other words, the truth will out.

Truth number one: abstinence is possible.  Never mind all those Planned Parenthood commercials and their campaign to further corrupt the Girl Scouts, here we have a vocal supporter with a national platform letting the cat out of the bag.  If you want to stop having risky sex outside of marriage, it is possible to do so.

Truth number two:  women hold the key.  In the fallen scheme of things, men want sex more than women.  And men are willing to modify their behaviour to get it (just Google to find some of the times Lysistrata’s challenge has worked to effect change in the real world as it did in Kenya in 2009).  Men, even some Christian ones, aren’t going to act chastely towards their intended or the other women in their circle of influence if it isn’t required of them.  You probably wouldn’t be able to stay on a diet if you worked in a bakery, either – constant temptation will have its effect and it women don’t expect men to behave like Christian gentleman, the men are less likely to do so.

Truth number three: if we play by the Sex and the City rule which tells us we can have sex like a man without it affecting us, we will lose.  And, we will lose more than a man.  We are more susceptible than men to many sexually transmitted infections which leave us with more devastating consequences.  And, unlike a man, we can’t just walk away from promiscuity without the worry about a pregnancy we weren’t “ready” for.  Ah yes, all those services Nubel is worried about Planned Parenthood being unable to provide.

Jacob served seven years to win his beloved Rachel.  Having been deceived on the wedding night and finding himself bound to her sister Leah, he worked a further seven years to win the woman who had captured his heart.  Can you imagine a man doing that today?  Even a faithful Christian man would be tempted by the ready availability of alternatives in much of our culture to pack it in and say, “Seven years?  You must be joking.  I love her, but why should I labor seven years for your daughter when  an easier alternative is waiting for me at the neighborhood bar.  No, even sitting next to me in church on Sunday morning!”

As blogger Simcha Fisher noted in her post on this story:

“[Nubel] can’t imagine having sex that isn’t risky.  She can’t imagine making love with a man and not subsequently needing to be tested and treated for disease. She can’t imagine intimacy that’s not inextricably linked with an appointment to be wrapped, plugged, scarred, burned, twisted, snipped or poisoned in order to protect you from conceiving a child. In other words, she has no idea what sex is for.” (emphasis in the original)

Neither, we might say, does Planned Parenthood.

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