Sex, sex sex sex sex sex sex. It’s not like we don’t think about it. Why don’t we talk about it?
Have you had sex before? Who do you have sex with? Do you enjoy it? For many desis, these questions make us a little uncomfortable. I mean, of course we’ve done it (just look at all these adorable babies), but don’t some of us just want to do it for the simple reason that it’s an enjoyable and essential part of any relationship? In this day and age, is sex still a taboo word? Well, let me unequivocally answer my own questions: I’m a South Asian woman and I have had sex before, I have sex with my boyfriend and yes, I really do enjoy it.
See, that wasn’t so tough! So what is it? Granted, discussing the intimate details of my bedroom activities with Amma, Appa and Aunty Nina is not something I’d necessarily want to do—but why do we rarely talk about it with our peers? If we’re all living in our individual sex cocoons, how do we know what we’re doing? Are we doing it right? Is there more than one way? Where do we get our information from? Are we all just literally and figuratively, reaching in the dark?
No matter how many references we make to the Kama Sutra and the increasing raunchiness of the entertainment industry, what we do in our own day-to-day is kept in the closet. Dilshad, a 30-year-old management consultant claims, “A lot of this has to do with the idea that sex is a bad thing—that we shouldn’t be doing it, especially if we aren’t married. And if we’re married, it’s to have a family.” Is that something any of us still believe?
There are plenty of important reasons to talk about it. Sex must be safe, physically and emotionally, and if we build walls around it, we may never fully understand its effect on our relationship and individual behavior. How do we educate our own daughters to grow up with a healthy attitude to it? What about our sons? Do we let them have their own cocoons? Where will they learn? From Bollywood, where women are either virgins or vamps? Or desi television, where sex is so non-existent the heroine wakes up every morning in a neatly pleated sari and perfectly coiffed. In real life, there are plenty of questions we’d all like to ask, and maybe even some we’d be able to answer. Shouldn’t we share this collective knowledge the way we share our butter chicken recipe?
And what about enjoying sex? If we’re doing it, shouldn’t it be fun? Sonali, a friend who’s been married for 4 years claims, “It may be taken for granted that a man enjoys sex, even seeking it out, but a woman in our culture can never admit it.” And she’s right, there’s a definite gender bias when it comes to our dialogue. But with the ladies in our community continuing to break boundaries and make a stand for inequalities, is sex the final frontier? How many of us feel at ease even telling our partner that it’s something we like? If we don’t talk about sex, can we ever really feel sexy?
This column is called No Sex In The City. Not because we aren’t having it, but because we rarely talk about it or acknowledge it. We’re all hiding away in our cocoons, waiting for someone to make the first move. It’s time, as a community, that we change that. It’s time we do away with the stigma attached to the word and to own it. So here goes:
Sex is necessary. Sex is normal. Sex can be what you want it to be. Sex must be consensual. Sex can be quiet. Sex can be loud. Sex is desi. Sex is global. Sex is for women. Sex is for men. Sex is fun. Sex is good for you. Sex sex sex sex sex se sex…
The author is a single Indian woman in her late 20’s who has lived in many cities around the world. She hopes her experiences and thoughts will help bridge the generational gap between South Asian parents and children worldwide. ‘No Sex in the City’ is inspired by the popular TV show ‘Sex and the City’ which captured the attention of diverse viewers across the globe.