(c) 2012, Davd
Recently, i was referred by some other website, to one called “The No Access Sex Strike”. It seemed to me to be mimicking Lysistrata, but with less style and eloquence1. Instead of wanting soldiers to stop fighting (and often killing) one another, the site’s operators seem to want the “rights” to enjoy sex and kill foetuses without restrictions. One of the implicit themes, it seemed to this reader, was: Women should have all the rights, men and foetuses, none—and the men should pay for it all. I could not readily imagine a greater departure from the human equality earlier Feminists used to preach2.
As a man and a former foetus, I see things differently: I should have as many rights (or if you think in more elaborate terms, as great a total of rights) as a woman has: My word should have equal weight, subject only to equal and reciprocal rules of credibility. I should not be a legitimate target of the other sex’s violence, and forbidden to defend myself in-kind.3 I should not be punished more harshly for the same crime (if in future i committed crime[s]) and i should have the same standards to meet if i wanted to get hired for any job.
I should have equal consideration for custody and companionship of any children who i might be obligated to support. (Those women who complain that men do not have to undergo pregnancy and breastfeeding, i remind that women do not get conscripted for military service nor to fight forest fires, and that Morgan  assures her readers of both sexes that breastfeeding is very enjoyable for mother as well as baby.)
But if a man has fewer and smaller rights than a woman, a foetus often has none4. There has been a pernicious verbal trick played for too long, whereby pregnancy is treated as a matter of one woman’s body—as if the human life she carried did not exist. If there is no distinct, separate human living inside a woman’s uterus, dependent on her for its life, then there is no pregnancy. If there is an unborn human, genetically distinct from her, inside a woman’s uterus, dependent on her for survival, then wouldn’t real human equality imply that she has a duty to care for that unborn fellow human?
(A young woman lawyer told me, a year or two ago, that Foetal Alcohol Syndrome was far commoner than it needed to be, mainly because pregnant women who drank heavily could not be restrained in the interest of foetal health—it was possible to demonstrate a high risk of serious damage to the foetus, but the foetus had no legal existence and no right to protection.)
For about two generations of time—some fifty years—“North American society” has been trying-out sexual freedom and the empowerment of women at the expense of men and foetuses. It seems the sponsors of the “No Access Sex Strike” consider the trial a complete success; but the above are some of many indications that it is not. My reaction to their message is that one week of sex-strike is far too little. Several years of “sex strike” might be more appropriate. Extended abstinence, especially of the presently promiscuous, might slow the spread of STDs that has resulted from excess sexual “freedom”. It might give us time to find out how to make every child a wanted child without killing millions who should not have been conceived if they were not wanted. It might give some of us time to recognize the value of fathers. (another url can be found below.)
So my advice to the “sex strikers” is: Don’t “uncross your legs”5 on May 6th. Copulation is not a necessity; its main function is procreation, which function you seem rather more eager to frustrate than to facilitate. The surest way to avoid procreation is—abstinence. Abstaining for one week is not nearly long enough, though.
Abstain until you are in a lifelong marriage (it wasn’t Men’s-Rights Advocates who wrecked the marriage format that worked for many centuries); and if-in-doubt, wait for a marriage with an extended family in support. After overstepping the prudent limits to sexual license which your own grandmothers propounded, limits which are prudent because they minimize the spread of STDs and give every child born a much greater assurance of economic and social nurture, one week of abstinence is a paltry token-gesture indeed.
Fathers are valuable—real fathers, not “walking wallets.” (cf. Amneus, 1999; Mandara, Rogers, and Zinbarg, 2011; AVfM Fact Sheet; Price, 2011) Lifetime marriage keeps fathers and children together. If that is too much for some mothers, then father custody is at least as valid as mother custody, and arguably more so: Children in their fathers’ care, i have repeatedly read, are safer on-average from violence and sexual abuse, than children in their mothers’ care.6
The privileges for which you propose to “strike,” i contend, are harmful to women; claiming so much privilege tells women they are entitled to more than society can provide them all, encourages imprudence with regard to STDs, and treats a week of sexual abstinence as a Big Deal. I do favour a “Big Deal” increase in sexual abstinence—meaning months to years, not a mere week—for those who are not married in the sense shared by Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.
So do go ahead with your “Sex Strike”. Don’t just cross your legs; cover them and keep them covered in the presence of the opposite sex, and your bosoms also, for months not days, while these problems get the kind of hard work that a week cannot achieve. Don’t strike by only abstaining from intercourse—abstain from displaying your sexuality. Rediscover modesty.
To be consistent with sexual abstinence, don’t present a contrary appearance: Be sure to dress and conduct yourself modestly—as a way of breaking bad habits, you could start by adopting the customs of Roman Catholic nuns circa 1955, and then relax that discipline very cautiously—and don’t make even joking passes at men. If you want to be really rigorous, never meet a man without a chaperon, at least not until you have agreed on your prenuptial contract7. Don’t be surprised if the man provides the chaperon: We don’t want to be subjected to the “Potiphar’s Wife treatment” (Berne, 1964: 127-8; Genesis 39).
Reading the Sex-Strike site has reminded me of many reasons for men’s “marriage strike”, and i do encourage the men reading this to sexual restraint as well. I also remind all-and-sundry that women receive far more taxpayer subsidy than men do: Isn’t it hypocritical to demand that women’s clinics be funded far in excess of what men’s clinics receive? If the genders were reversed, if women’s programs of all kinds got what men’s programs receive, and men’s programs received what women’s programs now receive—then protecting and extending women’s programs, or trimming-back men’s, would be a fair-minded move toward equality. Does it not follow, that protecting and extending men’s programs, or (more likely when Governments are running deficits) trimming-back women’s, would be a fair-minded move toward equality today?
One week isn’t one-tenth long enough for a sex-strike; it might not be 1% long enough: A lifetime would be more appropriate for many people—and for those who would like some safe and responsible sexual pleasure, make available to all women and men who want it, a lifelong marriage form that has the support of the law and can be enforced.
I’m not saying everyone will choose it. I am saying that many millions of men—and women—who wanted to choose traditional, lifelong marriage have been denied their choice. (I would agree that it is desirable to design other forms of sexual “company-keeping” that afford men equality in police treatment and legal proceedings, should conflict occur that involves “calling the Law”; and to make them effective, equal treatment must be so recognized by men as well as by the presently privileged sex.) I would even go so far as to recommend that a general sex strike continue until marriage and family law give equal power to men8.
A sex-strike, i can support; the purposes of extending promiscuity and privilege, are not good reasons for anything.
Amneus, Daniel, 1999. The Case for Father Custody, Alhambra, California: Primrose Press
http://www.avoiceformen.com/mission-and-values/about/ (Many sources are cited in this page)
Berne, Eric, M.D., 1964. Games People Play. New York: Grove Press.
Mandara, J., Rogers, S. Y. and Zinbarg, R. E. (2011) “The Effects of Family Structure on African American Adolescents’ Marijuana Use.” Journal of Marriage and Family, 73: 557-569.
Morgan, Elaine 1973 The Descent of Woman. NY: Bantam.
Price, W. F., 2011, “The Man who Inspired Fathers’ Day” The Spearhead, June 19
Shackleton, David, “Feminism Exposed: Our blindness to feminine evil”
3. I did not write nor intend, “I should be allowed to hit women the way women are de-facto allowed to hit men today”; i intend that violence against men should be condemned the same as is violence against women, which might result in a less strict standard for men and more strict standard for women, than obtains today..
4. Whether a foetus should have as many rights as an adult, or some substantial but lesser [bundle] of rights, is a complex question involving many special considerations (e.g. severe disability, maternal ill health that might lead to two deaths rather than one if an abortion did not occur) but to grant a foetus—a separate being from its mother, which is alive and is human—no rights, is evil.
7. Kibbutz experience indicates this might not be necessary if you and he have a long history of non-sexual friendship going back to the age of toilet training. However, with your privilege to impose a burden of proof on men by accusing them of sexually displeasing you, i would recommend to my fellow men that we support universal chaperonage until we gain equality in legal credibility.
8. The recommendation, more specifically, is for the unmarried to abstain and the harmoniously married to continue the practices that have maintained their harmony. Long-term harmonious cohabitants, it does not advise either way.