In this article, I consider the sex-strike in Lysistrata in the light of contemporary medical theories. I suggest that the young women who perform the sex- strike feature as (symbolic) Hippocratic patients who struggle with the symptoms of the condition of the “wandering womb.” Although some scholars have noted the medical vocabulary with regard to male pathology in Lysistrata, there is no study to date which considers the female sex-strike in the context of medical pathology. Through the perpetuation of the women’s pathological condition by means of the sex-strike and the overt manifestation of their disease, men are forced to comprehend fully and appreciate the importance of the reproductive role of women in the city. In this way, the traditional medical idea of the female as an unstable object, always in need of being brought into equilibrium and stability, is manipulated in the play by the women, who make the men realize the dangers their war policy entails: far from just threatening them with suspension of sex, the women force the men to face the real danger, sterility and cessation of reproduction.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 1-20
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.