This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Last month, women in a civil rights group in Togo called a weeklong sex strike to try to force the president of the West African nation to resign. Members of "Let's Save Togo" planned to withhold sex from their husbands to pressure the men to take action against President Faure Gnassingbe.
The opposition says his family has ruled Togo for too long. Withholding sex for political goals has a long history. It was used in ancient Greece. In the play "Lysistrata," the women of Athens decide to stop having sex with their husbands until the men end the Peloponnesian War.
But do sex strikes work? Pepper Schwartz is a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle. She says the idea is good for making news headlines, but it takes a lot of work.
但性罢工有效吗？佩珀·舒瓦茨（Pepper Schwartz）是西雅图市华盛顿大学的社会学教授。她说这个想法有利于做头条新闻，但它只是白费功夫（take a lot of work）。
PEPPER SCHWARTZ: "If you're talking about a few days where women make a point, I think that works. If you're talking about turning a whole nation around because nobody's getting any, I wouldn't put hard money on that because I don't think people stick to sex strikes. Yes, it's good to bring consciousness to your mate, [but] it's probably hard to stick to. Three, if you do stick to it too long, you might lose that other person's willingness to support your issue. So it's a tricky thing. I think it's a good headline, a lot harder to put into practice."
But pro-democracy activists in Togo say a sex strike during the civil war in Liberia gave them cause for hope. In two thousand three, Liberia had been through fourteen years of war. Leaders of the group Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace organized a series of nonviolent actions. Those included a sex strike.
多哥支持民主的活动人士表示，利比里亚内战期间的性罢工给他们带来了希望。2003年时利比里亚已经经历了14年的战争。利比里亚和平运动妇女联盟（Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace）的领导人组织了一系列非暴力活动，其中就包括性罢工。
The actions earned the group's leader a share of the twenty-eleven Nobel Peace Prize. Leymah Gbowee shared the prize with two other women, including Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. She became Africa's first democratically elected female president in two thousand six. The third winner was Tawakkul Karman, a women's rights activist in Yemen.
这一行动让该组织领导人蕾曼.格鲍伊（Leymah Gbowee）与包括利比里亚总统埃伦.约翰逊-瑟利夫（Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf）在内的另两名女性共同获得了2011诺贝尔和平奖。约翰逊-瑟利夫于2006年成为非洲第一位民选女总统。第三名获奖者是也门女权人士塔瓦库尔.卡门（Tawakkul Karman）。
Yaliwe Clarke is a lecturer in gender studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
YALIWE CLARKE: "I think if there's a sharing of the gains of this approach with other African women, then it will inspire them just like in Liberia -- this, the way in which the Mass Action for Peace, the methods that the women used in Liberia for the Mass Action for Peace. They've been written about, a film has been made, so now, you know African women are saying, 'Well, we can do that, as well.'"
But Pepper Schwartz at the University of Washington says women need to hold real power in order for something like a sex strike to work.
PEPPER SCHWARTZ: "They only work in proportion to the amount of power women have in a society. In other words, you have to have a certain amount of power already to tell your husband no. In some societies your husband would pound on you or, you know, enact his own kinds of revenge, but you have to have a society where a man respects a woman's opinion and her desire to say no and will, in fact, respect her for it."