Actress Alyssa Milano, per The Inquisitr, made news over the weekend when she called for a “sex strike,” in order to protest restrictive anti-abortion laws that have been passed of late in several states.
“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. I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on,” the actress said on Twitter.
If Milano was hoping to draw the support of legions of others to her cause, she doesn’t appear to have succeeded. In the first 24 hours after the tweet, Milano’s call for a sex strike has mostly been opposed or derided in most quarters — even among her fellow feminists and other supporters of abortion rights.
Milano, predictably, has had her call mocked by conservatives and others generally opposed to left-leaning political activism by celebrities. But others have criticized the effort as counterproductive, if not insulting.
“I hate this,” the feminist writer Jessica Valenti tweeted. “I hate the idea that not having sex is a punishment for men but not for women – I like sex! Why should I deprive myself of it?” Valenti, as well as many others, also pointed out that the sex strike formulation leaves out women who have sex with women and others in relationships that are outside the traditional man/woman monogamy model.
Alyssa Milano called for a "sex strike" to protest anti-abortion laws. It didn’t go over well. https://t.co/1WHSAMMZVs
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 12, 2019
At least one famous person signed on to Milano’s strike. Bette Midler tweeted this weekend that “I hope the
#womenofGeorgia stop having sex with men until these indignities are overturned.”
The idea of sex strikes goes back at least as far as Lysistrata, an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes that dates back to the first century B.C., and told the story of a group of women who sought to end the Peloponnesian War by withholding sex from their partners. The idea was adapted to inner-city Chicago violence by director Spike Lee for his 2015 film Chi-raq.
Other recent calls for sex strikes have included a call from singer Janelle Monae in 2017, who said (per Mic) that women should stop having sex with men “until every man is fighting for our rights.” Also, commentator Wednesday Martin wrote a CNN op-ed last year arguing that “women’s sex strike against service sex, a refusal to do it out of a sense of obligation, would force us to confront… basic inequalities.”