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Sex-Deprived Kenyan v. Lysistrata’s Daughters, NGO

May 9th, 2009 1 comment

I find myself unduly interested in the sex life of a Kenyan man.

A while ago, I compared the political courage of Liberian women to the moxie shown by Lysistrata and company. Lysistrata, a creation of the comic playwright Aristophanes, was an Athenian woman who led her Greek sisters in a sex boycott until the men stopped their childish and destructive Peloponnesian War. The brave women of Liberia didn’t withhold sex (any more than usual, I guess) but put themselves in harm’s way to make their point.

But the comparison I drew pales beside the real thing: Since I posted that story, Kenyan women were urged to follow Lysistrata more literally — by withholding sex. The difference is that the scales are now balanced by a different concern on the other side; the increasingly fractured coalition government in Kenya. How riveting! If women are going to withhold sex because political parties can’t get along, expect an immediate and permanent decline in the U.S. population.

Perhaps in recognition of the stakes’ being less dramatic than those raised by the Peloponnesian War, the women’s groups organizing this “boy”cott called only for a one-week moratorium on the conjugal act. As far as I know, the groups issued no detailed regulations as to what counted as forbidden sex for purposes of satisfying the moratorium. Former President Clinton could have driven a truck, inter alia, through that lack of precision.

Apparently, though, even that ill-defined, short-duration prohibition was enough to drive one James Kimondo into a litigious frenzy (and perhaps other frenzies). According to this story, he has now filed what would once have been called, at least in the U.S., an “alienation of affections” claim against an entity called the G-10, a sort of collective that houses a group of women’s activist groups. His lawyer said that the suit alleges that the ban “resulted in stress, mental anguish, backaches and lack of sleep.” (Backaches?)

The tort of alienation of affections is mostly a relic today. Its gist is that a third party’s meddling caused a husband (always a husband, of course) to lose the “affection” (sex, mostly) of his wife. It didn’t require adultery, because the idea, to quote Norma Rae, was that the intruder was “in [her] ha-id “(“head,” in Standard English). The tort has little traction in our age and culture, where women are believed to be “people” —  capable of deciding for themselves, thank you, whether to alienate themselves from their husbands. Along the same lines, sort of, men are no longer allowed to rape their wives, either. Male privilege has waned as female autonomy has waxed.

Speaking of waxing (or its absence), Kimondo’s lawyer must believe that his client’s inability to obtain such waxing for his naughty bits still has some legal merit in Kenya. Maybe it does, which would thereby suggest that women have yet to gain the same status there as here — the activists overcame his wife’s fragile will, poor thing. They are to blame, not her. This position is inherently unstable, though, because it changes the alienation of affections narrative to render it self-contradictory. The tort only works if men are the ones o’erbearing frail female will, not if it’s a sister-to-sister thing. Then, who’s empowered as between this woman and these activists? Who can say?

Naturally, I’d like the case to proceed so we can learn about the couple’s sex life, which Kimondo has decided he’s willing to put on display for a possible payday. And how big a bonanza is possible, really, from a week’s worth of missed sex? Admit it — by now you want the details, too.