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Sex strike succeeds in Colombia

Women in a rural Colombia said they wouldn't have sex until a road that connects their town to the rest of the country was paved.
Legs 6 28 11Enlarge
(Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

Women in a rural Colombian town have denied their husbands sex for 38 days.

They said they would continue their "Crossed Legs Strike" until a road that connects their town to the rest of the country was paved.

Now local authorities have acceded to the women's demands and agreed to pave the road, according to Colombia reports.

So can the 300 women and their husbands resume their bedroom romps?

Not yet. The women said they would continue their strike until Oct. 11, when the construction actually begins.

About 40,000 people live in Barbacoas and the surrounding hamlets, and the only access to the area is a treacherous, mountain road that stretches 35 miles to the nearest town. Torrential rains and landslides have wrecked heavy damage on the road over the last year. The commute, which used to take four to six hours, now takes 10. 

Sex strikes are nothing new. They go back at least to the the Ancient Greek comic play "Lysistrata," in which women withheld sex from their husbands as a way to end the Peloponnesian War. 

Recently in Belgium, a senator suggested women withold sex until an agreement was reached to form a government. In 2009, Kenyan women pledged a week-long sex ban to stop political infighting.

They're not even a new tactic in Colombia. In 1997, the country's military chief called for a sex strike among the wives of paramilitaries, guerrillas and drug lords to work for peace. In 2006, wives and girlfriends of gang members in the town of Pereira reportedly withheld sex from gangsters who failed to turn in their arms.

But are sex strikes effective? Writes Nona Willis Aronowitz at GOOD:

At face value, this political tactic is as old-fashioned as it gets. It paints men as horny brutes and women as sacrificial gatekeepers. Sure, boycotts always involve self-denial, but the tone of a sex strike is never mutual sacrifice. ...

But context is everything. The women in Colombia aren't simply playing the sex card; they're connecting their life-or-death struggle to their future children. 

Follow Stephanie on Twitter: @stephaniegarlow

More from Que Pasa: Colombia's friendlier face to the world

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/que-pasa/colombia-sex-strike

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