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It is currently planting season in most parts of East Africa. For most rural homesteads, people wake up around 4 AM and go to the farm to plant or weed until 10 AM when the Sun starts getting unbearable.

Ideally, all adults and teenagers in the house who is not going to school or work and is in good health is supposed to be out in the field. Well, that’s not how things are working out in Oyam District, in Abok sub-county in Uganda. It appears the men have neglected their responsibilities in the farm, and would rather spend their drinking then coming home late at night demanding for food and sex.

Being the stronger sex, men’s contribution to the farm work would go a long way towards providing food security for the households. The lack of their participation often leads to less-than-ideal harvest from the fields. So the women in Oyam have collectively made a resolution to deny the men sex until they join them in the farms and make a positive contribution.

Helen Odur, chairperson of a women’s farmer group in the Abok sub-county says a resolution was reached in mid-April to deny any lazy man sex until they go back to the farm. The women group argue that not even the lazybones can do without sex, and the approach is much better than denying the men food.

Deny Sex v/s Deny Food approach

The women believe that denying man sex, works better than denying them food. Denying them food often leads to domestic violence as often the men would resort to getting physically abusive with their wives.

It is also socially unacceptable to deny anyone food; more so if it’s your own family. However, the sex denial approach seems to be effective, as most men would shy away from making the issue public. It would appear demeaning to them to cause chaos in the homestead because their wife denied them sex; and so, instead of resorting to being physically abusive to their wives, they take the diplomatic approach and give in to the women’s demands.

Nelson Adea Akar, the chairperson of Oyam District council, agrees that the approach taken by the women will be instrumental in eradicating poverty in their areas. He believes that the lifestyle adopted by the people in the internally displaced people’s camps, most of the community cannot go without alcohol or sex.

He is urging women to deny sex to any lazybones husband who does not want to go to the farms and would rather spend all their day wasting away drinking alcohol.

Somewhere in Apac District, women tried this trick [of denying lazybones husbands sex] for only a week, and it worked so well,” said Adea.

Doesn’t Sex Denial in marriage lead to fights and divorce?

Not everyone seems to agree with the new approach the womenfolk are taking in Oyam District in Uganda. One social worker, Joyce Ajok says the approach would only lead to increased cases of domestic violence.

What a woman wants [in any relationship] is actually satisfaction, and it doesn’t make sense for you to suggest that men should be denied sex,” says Ajok.

Brian Yeko Ongora, a resident of the District, agrees that the move would only lead to more cases of wife battering and divorce.

Some men come back home drunk, and the wife rejects his advances, and he ends up beating the woman or chasing her away.

Related: Ugandan Court Rules: No Bride Price Refund If Customary Married Couples Divorce

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