In his play Lysistrata, Greek playwright Aristophanes gives a comic account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War – a 30 year old war between Athens and Sparta. How did one woman bring an end to such a deadly war?
In the play, Lysistrata (the female protagonist) becomes sick and tired of men treating women like simplistic hedonists incapable of functioning on their own. She believes that the war is a result of irrational men making stupid decisions and the long war is a waste as young, nubile women are aging away. She holds a convening of the women of various city states and proposes that the women must rise up to stop the war. Lysistrata’s plan is simple: withhold sex from the men until they cave (i.e. a sex strike). The women are reluctant at first, but agree to join her. They then take over the acropolis of the city, setting up a safe haven for women, barring any man from entering.
The men initially scoff at this revolution and try repeatedly to lay siege on the acropolis. However, they fail and the women continue to not provide any sexual pleasures to any male. The men constantly make snide comments about how women are hysterical and only seek pleasure, but sooner or later, they become desperate for sex. One by one, desperate men (sporting “burdens”, i.e. erections) come to the acropolis, pleading for relief (funnily, some women desert the acropolis in desperation for sex as well). The women take the men in, but only to tease them and leave them disappointed.
Eventually, the men (of both Athens and Sparta) cave and surrender, agreeing to end the war. There is a hilarious scene during the peace talks where Lysistrata brings out a stunning young girl named Reconciliation in front of the men, quashing any complaints or objections. Even the men who protest against the women’s demands are overcome by their lust and want(/need) for sex. Once peace is declared, the men and women all come together in the acropolis for singing and dancing, celebrating the women’s success in ending the war.
Although the play is only a comic exploration of the battle of the sexes, it clearly shows the power women have over men, and how they can use that power to easily control men.
Capricorn is the Zodiac sign for those born between December 22 and January 19. The symbol for Capricorn is a goat with a fish tail instead of hind legs.
The model for Capricorn is the god of shepherds, Pan. Pan had the upper body of a man but a lower body of a goat and was famous for his sexual behaviour (he is often portrayed in art with a massive penis). He is also famous for his music, especially his hauntingly beautiful pan flute performance. But how did a god with the top half of a man and the bottom half of a goat come to represent a constellation where the top half is a goat and the bottom half is a fish? The back-story of Capricorn is related to that of Pisces; that is the story of how the monster Typhon gatecrashed a feast of the gods. While Aphrodite and Eros transformed into a pair of fish to escape Typhon, Pan turned himself into a goat to run away. However, when he reached the Nile River, he hurriedly tried to change into a fish but messed up the spell, with only his lower half turning into a fish. Just before he crossed the river, he saw that Typhon was attacking Zeus, so he let out a horrible screech to scare Typhon, allowing Zeus to escape. Zeus returned the favour by drawing Pan’s image at the time in the form of a constellation.
There are many interesting medical facts regarding sleep, but there are strange pathologies that stand out even more from them. Sometimes, cases resembling sleepwalking are reported, where the patient unconsciously has sexual intercourse with someone else. After waking up, the patient has no recollection of the event, and thus may face a very awkward situation the following morning.
Sexsomnia, or sleep sex, is a rare sleep disorder; to be more specific, it is a type of NREM parasomnia (performing complex actions while asleep). This disorder is quite different from REM sleep disorder, as no dreaming occurs during NREM sleep. Therefore, the sexual behaviour is not due to the influence of an erotic dream, but rather the primitive brain functions acting on basic instincts, as higher brain functions are shut down during NREM sleep. According to reports, sexsomniacs act almost lucidly during episodes. As it was discovered quite recently, less than 15 years ago, it is under heavy research. However, due to patients feeling too ashamed of the disease or not remembering the events, the number of reported cases is low.
This disease is not directly harmful to the patient, but it can be very problematic socially. It ruins relationships and may even lead to rape. But as the law defines rape as “a conscious act”, sexsomnia is often used as a defence in trials. It is important to note that it occurs in both men and women. Within relationships, the general complaint is not that of rape, but rather exhaustion. Interestingly, as the primitive brain is not being controlled during the episodes, sleep sex is known to be more vigorous than normal sex. Due to this, patients and their partners often exhibit carpet burns.