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These are desperate times in Belgium, now entering its 241st day without a government. That puts the nation just eight days away from beating the world record, previously set by Iraq - unless something changes soon.

To spur negotiations between the bickering political parties, the impasse has led to some creative solutions. A Belgium comedian, for instance, has proposed that men stop shaving in protests.

But this week, with worries about market instability growing, a female senator urged a more intimate incentive - suggesting that the romantic partners of the politicians involved go on a "sex strike" until their partners settle their differences.

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Urging the bed partners to "garder leurs jambes fermées," Marleen Temmerman, also a respected gynecologist, called on "the spouses of all negotiators to withhold sex until a deal is reached."

Ms. Temmerman cited Kenya has an example when the women there urged a "sex strike", even financially compensating prostitutes who participated, after conflict between the Kenyan president and prime minister risked destabilizing the country. "The impact was never scientifically proven," Ms. Temmerman is quoted saying, "but after just one week there was a stable government."

As the idea of a "sex strike" dates back to ancient times. In the Greek play Lysistrata, the title character convinces the women of Greece to swear an oath of chastity until their husbands will agree to a peace treaty to end the Peloponnesian War. Eventually, the men come around.

Will it work in modern Belgium?

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