The society I live in – despite being relatively modern, independent, intellectual, and career oriented – has failed to offer some simple explanations, solutions or reasons for certain age-old practices that we follow. One of such practices is ‘sex after marriage’, recently modified to ‘sex-dependent-entirely-on-the-fact-that-we-will-marry’ (a.k.a the practice of marriage-dependent sex). I question this practice under the claim that fucking is as basic to human existence as eating, sleeping, breathing, and shitting. It is as basic a requirement for living beings as food, shelter, clothing, love, care, respect, freedom, and that is probably because it embodies so many of these basic requirements. Ten minutes of a humping and jumping act involving all sorts of bodily fluids envelops in itself the feeling of one’s own self being, and one’s attachment to someone else.
Our old Indian society, trapped in the shackles of its beliefs, values, and traditions, often repeats to the new generation, ‘Sex is for procreation, not for recreation.’ In a polar opposite, western societies – the American Pies and the Naughty Americas – display sex as an extreme form of recreation akin to loud music, disco dance, party drugs, fast cars and video games. But how accurate are either of these? Amidst all the paparazzi around sex, we forget that not just human life but all living creatures -fishes, reptiles, birds, mammals, all of them – from time to time seek the touch from another one of their species. A search for this extended sensation of a feeling of life, of mutual existence, of coexistence, shouts that sex (for all living species) is much more than either recreation or procreation.
The society that I live in disregards, or rather, looks down upon obtaining this feeling of coexistence. The society that I live in disapproves of ‘making out’, or having sex unless 1) you are married, 2) you are a ‘slut’ or 3) you are being physically abused. Yes, this is a society which doesn’t accept its kids making their own choices regarding the person they want to do the nasty with, but constantly does nasty things to its kids, teenagers, women, and weaker males without consent, without acknowledging it, let alone trying to curb it.
We think that this society I just talked about is made up of old narrow minded, parent-grandparent people. NO. This society that I talked about is us: me, my friends, siblings, cousins and classmates. Do we have affairs? Do we make out? Do we use (and misuse) a lot of condoms? Except for a lucky few, the answer for the majority of the unmarried young population in cities is NO. With the advent of education (graduation/post-graduation) and careers for people of all genders, the average age of marriage in any Indian metropolis for the city’s educated engineers, doctors, lawyers and managers has gone up to 24-27. And with it comes a huge flock of 25 year old virgins: both male and female.*
In this matter, I often consider the economically marginalised to be luckier than the rich and modern. At least the poor can enjoy the cheap fun of their bodies rubbing and colliding against each other in their thatched or tin-roofed slum rooms with a weak, not-capable-of-serving-its-purpose door. At-least they get married by 16-21 and are given permission to have a sexual life. However, this marriage at a young age and a lot of nasty acts without any protection isn’t all perfect, and often results in 20 year olds with 2 or more kids and no idea how to take care of themselves, forget the care of the kids. But here, rather than focus on what the underprivileged sections of society do, I would rather look at what the ‘rich and modern’ do with their children.
It seems highly ridiculous for a society to expect its 25 year old sons or daughters to not have any sexual desires, to not masturbate, to not watch porn, or to not have the wish to make out with someone. The existence in itself of these countless 25 year old virgins heavily repressing their sexuality, thanks to the cultural conditioning of listening to parents, family and society without thinking, is frightening. From where I stand, there seems something highly wrong with the youth, something highly subdued and altered. Stripped of their sexuality and turned into asexual beings, they appear happy to wash off in the shower or rub in the bed and muffle their already silent voices. A whole era of crazy and sweet experiences has been taken away from young people whose only crime was to be born in a sex-averse nation. From where I stand, I see a wild sexual being trapped inside everybody awaiting its release, passing 7 years of its sentence, watching its peak years pass by only to be released from its prison with lost potential.
Like the Nehru-Gandhi speeches for the independence of the nation, presented loudly and boastfully on wooden stages, I too feel like giving a speech for the independence of the sexual being. After all, how can a whole nation that comprises a collective of individuals be independent and free when one of the most important rights of their being is controlled by laws, rules, society, traditions, doubts, mistrust and fear?
If only I could, I would say something along the lines of, ‘Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, now the time comes, when we shall redeem our sexuality, wholly, substantially, and in full measure. At the stroke of midnight, when the world sleeps, your bone shall straighten and legs shall open. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in our personal history, when we open our wings, when an age ends, and when the sexuality of our being, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment, we convert that utterance, into a moan, a roar, a loud cry; into an orgasm.’
* Statistics from India Today, Nielson Sex Surveys
Q1: Were you virgin when you got married? (74% Yes, 20 % No, 6% N.A)
Q2: Have you ever tried masturbation (43% Yes, 51% No, 6% N.A.)
Q3: Do you talk about sex openly with your children and family? (14% Yes, 73% No, 13% N.A.)
Another version of this piece was first published on Women’s Web.