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Kenya’s sex boycott
Why the nation's women decided to withhold sex, and why one Kenyan man sued his wife
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ome crises call for the most drastic measures imaginable,  said Jessica Strul in The Frisky. Last week, some Kenyan women’s groups staged a seven-day sex boycott to protest political violence that has left 1,500 people dead since controversial 2007 elections. Even the Kenyan prime minister’s wife “got in on the (non) action.” But not everyone’s happy—Kenyan James Kimondo is “so mad at his wife for withholding sex” that he’s suing her. (BBC) “Dude, really?”

Kimondo’s argument, that a sexless week traumatized him and gave him backaches, said Russell Smith in Canada’s The Globe and Mail, “is pretty much the same argument we used to try on our girlfriends in high school.” But the sex strike draws on even older history: the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata. That women-withhold-sex classic is often revived as a feminist or anti-war statement.

With violence, including rape, rampant, the sex boycott “was probably necessary,” said Clay Mugandap in Kenya’s The Nation, but it was also like “teaching a person who does not have food how to use a fork.” We Kenyans too often think women “give” (or, worse, are forced to give) sex to men, who “receive” it. Women using “their genitalia as a weapon” reinforces the notion of sex as a tool or transaction, instead of something to be shared.

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