It is important to understand that the ancient Greek comedy "Lysistrata" serves as an example of how, throughout Greek drama, civil unrest is often defined and framed in terms of gender and sexual conflict. For example, female choruses, the Furies, male supremacy, female protest and incest have all been used as dramatic vehicles to convey a variety of issues, problems and disasters, including war and the subversion of traditional morality and values. In this way, the theater served as the primary forum for civic dialog among the ancient Greeks.
In Aristophanes" "Lysistrata," women refused to engage in any sexual activity with their husbands in order to demand that the warfare between Sparta and Athens be brought to an end. The reader cannot help but smile when Lysistrata demands the women repeat the oath: "To husband or lover I"ll not open my thighs though he bring proof-of-love of monstrous size" (Lysistrata 260-264). The oath becomes increasingly threatening to the men with the women swearing they will not "wiggle with my toes stretched at the roof" (277) and "nor crouch like carven lions with arse in air" (279). .
"Lysistrata," demonstrates the depth of loathing for the war that was prevalent throughout Athens after the ruinous campaign to Sicily. The play goes far beyond sexual innuendo and provides a great deal of insight into the timelessness of human sexuality and desire. The war between Athens and Sparta is of relatively little significance when compared to the war between the sexes. Aristophanes also clearly intended to make a political statement regarding the foolishness of continued Athenian military aggression. Of course he was not seriously suggesting that a sex strike could be a legitimate way bringing the Peloponnesian War to a close. It is much more likely that he wanted to suggest that the actual motivations for the war should be suspect. Lysistrata's scheme to force the men of Greece to the peace table could never have been successful.