Alyssa Milano Declares a #SexStrike, Sex Workers (and Others) Cross the Picket Line

Photo of Alyssa Milano at a demonstration in front of the White House.
Alyssa Milano's call for a #SexStrike became the object of online scorn Saturday. (Victoria Pickering via Flickr)
Actress Alyssa Milano called for a #SexStrike on Friday to protest anti-abortion laws, but sex workers, libertarians, conservatives and many feminists are treating idea as a joke.

It’s the Tweet that launched a gazillion snarky comments. On Friday, May 10,  actress and lefty activist Alyssa Milano took to social media to urge a #SexStrike by the nation’s cisgender heterosexual females as a protest against draconian, state anti-abortion laws.

But her feminist cri de coeur provoked a tsunami of ridicule from folks across the political spectrum who blasted the idea as counterproductive, regressive and downright loony.

Known for her roles of years past on TV shows such as Charmed and Melrose Place, the 46 year-old Democrat recently joined several Hollywood types in announcing their intention to boycott the state of Georgia over its harsh new “heartbeat” law, which effectively bans abortion six weeks into a woman’s first trimester, before most women know they’re pregnant.

Then on Friday evening, Milano doubled down, tweeting that women’s “reproductive rights are being replaced,” and declaring that, “Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.”

She encouraged her sisters in the struggle to “JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back,” asking folks retweet her call for a #SexStrike.

By mid-Saturday, the hashtag was trending across social media with some women and men supporting Milano’ revenge-abstinence movement, referencing the ancient Greek comedy Lysistrata, in which the women of the Greek city states band together to end the Peloponnesian War by denying coitus to their belligerent menfolk.

But most commenters seemed to regard Milano’s suggestion as a punchline, at best. Conservative wags pointed out that the move was actually pro-life, because it would help end unwanted pregnancies, while many left-wingers and feminists criticized the concept of a #SexStrike as propping up the patriarchy by prioritizing heterosexual relationships between cis men and women to the exclusion of members of the LGBTQ community.

Feminist author Jessica Valenti dedicated a Twitter thread to how much she hated the idea, writing at one point that, “The idea of a – where sex is something men seek and women withhold – is the same regressive model of sexuality that Republican men use to legislate! No thanks.”

Faith Naff, a “queer/feminist” writer out of North Carolina, seemed to echo the thoughts of many when she tweeted that a #SexStrike, “insinuates women are a sex supply.” She added that it also “erases queer women” and “ignores the reality of rape.”

And Ella Dawson, a senior social media editor at @TEDTalks, took to Twitter to write that a #SexStrike, “reinforces women as gatekeepers to sex” and was “the opposite of helpful.”

Sex workers and their allies, as you might imagine, found Milano’s notion ludicrous, joining their fellow feminists and activists in dissing the idea, often with a generous dollop of humor.

Sex worker, researcher and PhD candidate Christina Parreira coaxed “civilian women” to “please do this,” as, “Sex workers could use the boost in income!”

NuruMassage”  took the opening offered by Milano to practice a little capitalism, tweeting, “Hey Guys [if] you’re not getting sex and you’re in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago call me.”

Author, filmmaker and “Honest Courtesan” Maggie McNeill, as usual, was not suffering idiots, when she fired back at one moron, calling the #SexStrike “adolescent bullshit intended to please bourgeois white women,” and reminding the target of her derision that, “I get PAID to have sex and I have a whole CAREER in fighting for women’s right to control our own bodies (sexually & otherwise).”

Conservatives were practically rubbing their paws in glee at Milano’s #SexStrike, reveling in the irony, a sign that the Hollywood star had played right into their hands.

Right-wing commentator Michelle Malkin cracked wise, asking, “What if Alyssa Milano called for a #SexStrike and no one came?” To which, she added, “Oh, wait. I guess that’s her goal.”

And South Carolina Republican political operative Daniel Bostic tweeted, “I just woke up and liberals are now campaigning for abstinence. 2019 is so weird.”

One of the better Tweets came from a Bernie Sanders parody account, which had the Bernmeister opining  that, “It’s unconscionable that we have to have a sex strike in the wealthiest nation in the world.”

As a result, promised Sanders, “I will not rest until sex is free for everyone.”

While the pro-choice crowd should be outraged and mobilized to action over the Georgia law, one of several such laws that are threatening women as part of a Handmaid’s Tale-style effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, Milano’s #SexStrike, despite the support it’s receiving online from some earnest-yet-gullible lefties, seemed deader on arrival than Karl Lagerfeld’s corpse.

Or as Democratic activist Holly Figueroa O’Reilly put it to her followers, “Can we just refuse to fuck Republicans? Because I’ve been doing that for damn near 50 years.”

And ICYMI, check out the latest in the Backpage saga:
New “Evidence” in Backpage Case Reveals Government’s Flawed Prosecution

About Stephen Lemons

Stephen Lemons is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering everything from government corruption to white-supremacist gangs. In addition to Front Page Confidential, his work has appeared in Phoenix New Times, the Los Angeles Times, Salon.com, and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report magazine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.