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Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 14:54 UK

Would you withhold sex to get your way?

Ida Odinga and her husband Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya
The sex strike is backed by Ida Odinga (R) wife of Kenya PM Raila Odinga (L)

Women all over Kenya are currently on a "sex strike".

They hope that by denying sex to their partners for seven days they can stop the infighting which has plagued the national unity government in Kenya.

What started as a movement by female activist groups has spread far and wide, recently being endorsed by Ida Odinga, wife of Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga.

Sex has been used as a political weapon in the past. During Liberia's 14 year long civil war, fighting was successfully halted by a small band of women who took on the warlords, armed with the threat to withhold sex.

Have you ever used sex as a bargaining chip? Do you think this kind of peaceful protest is right or effective? Africa Have Your Say would like to hear from you.

If you would like to join Africa Have Your Sayto debate this topic LIVE on air on Wednesday 6 May at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published. You can also send an SMS text message to +44 77 86 20 20 08.


Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Your comments:

Politics of the genitals as opposed to politics of the belly. It is a start, hitting men were it hurts the most. Their brains will be erect! They will need to ejaculate some sense!
Emmanuel, Durban, South Africa

I must say I find this campaign sort of demeaning to both the men and the women; everything between partners boils down to sex. Are men really sex freaks? There are better ways to bargain than using sex. It defeats the whole purpose of the campaign! There's more to those you love than having sex with them.
Chi, Pretoria, South Africa

My girl once used it on me and it worked very well. She got what she demanded but the second time she tried I did not give in.
Mbuh, Bamenda, Cameroon

When you are denied something, you will die for it and since it's your loved one who possess it, you come down for it. When you want things under the bed, you have to bend.

Lechipan, Costa Rica

These women activists who are calling for sex strike are very misleading. They are very loyal to their husbands. They do not practice what they campaign for in their own homes. Ordinary women should not listen to what these vocal women say. My message to the rest of the women is that they should not listen to these vocal women activists as they may just be misled and put their marriages in jeopardy. Sex strike is not feasible in Africa where women are supposed to submissive to their husbands.
Kelvin, Lusaka, Zambia

I have had the thought that 'a hungry man, is an angry man'. The African man is completely different kettle of fish. If you don't give it, he'll either bash you senseless... or walk out of the home to seek for ever-ready open arms. Now, if the call-girls and prostitutes were to join the strike - then the ground would not be so shaky for those who are in on the protest. But are they? Ha! I don't think so. In fact, they must be thanking the withholders with all their hearts for the market that's coming their way! Would I withhold from my man - pshaw! There are more cunning ways to fight a man that brings him to his knees in submission! Over and out!
akosua, accra, ghana

Kenyan women denying sex is naive and base on stupidity. It not the solution. The real solution is for Odinga and Kibaki to be honest with each other and move the country forward. Sex is not the issue here but cooperation base on honesty. What the western media is using this action as if to say we African men our whole lives are sex? Sex don't influence our decision.

Seltue, Liberian in Uppsala, Sweden

Sex withhold can not be the solution on the big not but on a small basis it work. Since sex is a unifying factor for a man and woman it creates room for the people to discuss about certain problem existing and how to go about it before having sex thus but on the other hand i don't think that withholding sex for a partner works especially in this world where the un married are the majority, prostitutes want money and i thank it can even cause more hatred between couples because of misunderstandings.
Emmanuel, Kigali, Rwanda

It may be too early to evaluate the success of the sex boycott. The ladies however may have attained without knowing a major achievement. They have brought the taboo subject of sex in the public arena. This is beneficial in demystifying sex. It was challenging to support survivors of sexual violence when i worked in the Kenya because many of them were not comfortable in talking about sex and sexuality. Most people even those married rarely discuss sex. I think the women should utilize sex as an advocacy tool more often...We need however to change its name from sex boycott to something that will not be seen as punishment to the men..but as an expression of societal disgust.. all in all bravo ladies bravo
Muchela, Dar es salaam, Tanzania

While I have never used sex as a bargaining chip I have certainly refused it when my husband has really ticked (unable to use the words I want) me off! While this might seem to be a peaceful protest to females I would tend to think that men would get testier being denied!? You go girls!! Men have to stop fighting and going to war and learn to use words! Everything you need to get along in this world you learn in kindergarten...Keep your hands to yourselves, be kind and don't take others toys!
Maasies, Indianapolis, USA

Funny that people like Maasies of Indianapolis use this primitive means. Now that seven days are over, has it worked? I hope we wont see a month of abstinence prior to the general elections. Oh well, why don't we quarantine the wives of the electoral commissioners? I guess that will thwart rigging!
Joseph, London, England

I like the idea of what these women are intending to achieve! but how long gonna it take?
Alfredo, Saurimo, Angola

In African tradition when a woman deny sex to her husband, if not serious she can be excommunicated from that clan
Turyamuhika, Jinja, Uganda

Yes, I think its very good, it is a tool which if used, will affect everybody both male and female, do you think sex is enjoyed by only men?
Uchenna, Zaki Biam Benue, Nigeria

I laughed a lot after reading this news on the BBC:"Kenyan men cannot even abstain for two days", it says. If this is true, care must be taken for estrangement of many couples. Also, this suggests two things: 1-having sex is a favour women do to men; 2-women are too weak to convince their husbands by dialogue. Anyway...im deeply sorry for Kenyan men.
zeferino, maputo, mz

These women should have considered a Kitchen protest to push the hungry men together, not sex and a hell of people out there don't even care about !
Christopher, Berlin, Germany

Sad, really sad that the only means available for Kenyan women to express their dissatisfaction with the current government is to use sex. What message are they conveying about women? Use your bodies rather than your brains. What happened to demonstrations, no-food, stay away from work etc. This sets a very bad example, a woman's strength is much much more than a sexual being.
Tony, Luton, Bedfordshire

I doubt the sincerity of women to this course. Many of them will submit to their husbands behind closed to prevent them going out to brothels hereby shattering their marriages.
Omokaro, Benin City, Nigeria

Sex is one of the most powerful tools in the world. The misused of sex is damaging most offices. Sex is still use to get and secure jobs. In schools sex is use for grades. The peaceful protest is right and will be effective because most men don't do without sex. But one thing I know is that most women need sex than even men. Biblically speaking, the protest is wrong.

George, Voinjama, Liberia

Using what you have to get what you want is a common phrases hear in Nigeria especial among young ladies' perhaps they have forgotten that even the so called 'Bottom Power has its limits' it's laughable & at most they will succeed in ridiculing them selves. Can't these women do better than that?
mazi, lagos, nigeria

No doubt, the week long 'sex strike' is being done with only the best intentions in mind. Nevertheless, I am doubtful it will have any significant effect in mending the huge political rifts in a shaky coalition government. It is a powerful statement though of just how bad things are in a country which was only recently doing well economically.
Mark, Kenya

Any strategy that will end war and violence in a region is a good one to go after. I support the women of Kenya who will be using this strategy. I think that there is nothing wrong with this type of peaceful protest. Women are free to choose whether or not they want to have sexual relations with a man.
Jessica, Westchester, USA

Such ideas is interesting but I don't see them go far because most men in African society do not respect family democracy.
Chinedu, Awka, Nigeria

I am really doubtful if these women will be able to achieve their objective. Most African women believe that by denying sex to their husbands, they will be tacitly promoting promiscuity and thereby jeopardising their marriages.
Joseph, Freetown, Sierra Leone

I agree with Joseph from Sierra Leone. Using sex as a bargaining chip for any reason is highly questionable. The withholding of sex and complete abstinence are not synonymous. In the end is anyone victorious? I can honestly say that I wouldn't deny myself sex with my husband to make a point.
Tammy, Sooke, Canada

The question is: do most African men care about sex from their wives? They have young concubines scattered all over town. They might not really feel the impact of the sex strike.
Ifeoma, Nigeria

Well, if it succeeded in Liberia 14 years civil war, then its certainly good but I think sex is mainly for the marriage, and marriage was instituted by God and any of the two partners should be able to have sex at will and not to use it as a bargaining chip as per say, Let's also know that its not only the man who need sex but the woman as well, if women refuse men sex then they are also denying them selves at the same time.
Yuh, Tiko, Cameroon

(expletive!) no!
bob, nairobi, kenya

This strategy is quite lame and funny . How many African men have sex with only their wives. Am not sure the use of sex as bargaining chip will be very effective in this situation. Rather the women should device another means in which they push their agenda forward.
Adekugbe, NY, USA

you can't used sex as a bargaining chip, because majority of the house hold in Africa where supported financially by the men, by withholding sex will jeopardise the marriage morally and financially, where as the men will find someone who will give him sex and spend his money.
Mohamed, Atlanta, USA

I advise all married women in their 40s to stay away from this strike else you will only return to see a young lady servicing your husband. So be careful with this so-called sex strike.
Abugri, Jasikan, Ghana

Sex is part and parcel on humanity, I mean Its something that has to do with nature, then why cant someone make a strike over it?
Ibraheem, Khartoum

Using sex as a protest is degrading to women and the whole of Africa. Unlike in the western world, the average African doesn't lose sleep for not having sex. Can the so called so called ' female activist' group do better than that? Their action is directed to attract western news media, but not to solve the problem at hand.
Yebgeta, Ethiopia

Yes i positively agreed with all women, who came up with this talented ideas it is about time for all women to stand up and stop the senseless killing of their children.
mahmoud, USA

As a woman, it shames me that this is the best we think we can do instead of coming up with sensible, constructive ways of tackling our problems. Kenyans, wake up. We need to start using our heads and demand proper leadership.
Wairimu, Kenyan in the US

Denying men sex, anyway you will you know whether women do not later at home really offer sex to their partners. Secondly, in depends on his attitude towards sex, because am telling you, some men may have nothing to miss really. Did you know that to some men sex is a burden?? Thirdly if one woman restricts, the other may not, so they will go to the mistresses. Its a mis calculation.
Phiona, Accra, Ghana

Withholding sex as a tool for compromise typifies the African woman in the 21st century as a sex object. Why not go on strike by refusing to prepare food for the men at home or even serve them in restaurants? Then and only then will men put on their thinking caps. Feminists the world over will be aghast at this "sex sanction" strategy.
Danny, Sierra Leonean in Diaspora, London

Does any serious person think these politicians get their fair share of sex from their wives? Come on!
Henry, Lagos, Nigeria

These women are just helping other women who are sex starved to take over their men, boyfriend or "booty call" for now .They are even not sincere to their cause. I am quite sure if Lisa says no Sarah will say yes ...
Rodney, Greensboro, NC



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