Why Young Women Shy Away From Talking Sex And Sexuality
Global  
Shethepeople

Some time back, as I was #netflixandchilling with Sex Education in the privacy of my room, my mother, like most other Indian parents, entered without knocking to remind me of the gazillions things I should be doing instead. My mother’s keen eye didn’t miss my hasty action of minimising the video on my laptop. I tried my best to evade the gazillion questions regarding my oh-so-suspicious virtual activities that followed. However, afterward, I couldn’t help but think about why I couldn’t come clean to my mother. After all, it wasn’t like I was watching pornography. But years of conditioning have ingrained sex and sexuality as such taboo subjects in every young woman’s brain, including mine, that even uttering these words in the context of a harmless show’s name, leave alone discussing, seems unfathomable for most of us.

 

 

That Which Must Not Be Named
 
Throughout Harry Potter, the villainous Lord Voldemort is referred to as ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’. Sex and sexuality have assumed similar connotations vis-a-vis Indian women. Indian society continues to view women as Virgin Mary prototypes, who cannot possibly think or talk about things as promiscuous as sex and sexuality. Consequently, the mic has never been passed to us on these topics. On the contrary, young men clearly possess the upper hand here as a patriarchal society like ours gives them more freedom in every sphere, including sexual agency. They have to face far less policing and, in fact, are even encouraged/expected to have knowledge about sex as a testament to their masculinity.
 
The only times most young women are allowed to even remotely approach the subjects of sex and sexuality are when they begrudgingly concur with their family’s condemnation of women who seem comfortable with their sexuality. These instances are almost always followed by the family members’ fervent gratitude for their own daughters or sisters’ obliviousness of such a concept. Thus, the only discourse on young women’s sexuality and desire is a negative one and includes no real thoughts or opinions of the section in question.
 
A Sexless Existence?
 
The relegation of women to a voiceless, sexless existence inevitably strips them of any kind of sexual agency and expression. It is socially acceptable for a young woman to discuss sex only at the time of her marriage. Like most Indian societal concepts, this is a deeply flawed one. For till this auspicious moment comes, the lack of communication has already spawned issues like negative body-image and misplaced notions of pleasure. As society continues to evolve, several sexual concepts and identities now have a name that helps people understand them and by extension, themselves in a better way. If young women cannot talk about something as basic as sex and sexuality, how can they ever hope to explore more complex ideas like asexuality, demisexuality, and bisexuality?
 
Indian society can live in blissful denial for all it wants. But the fact remains that even if young women can’t talk about sex, they are most probably having sex. Thus, it’s time that young women are recognised as mature beings who have a right to voice their thoughts and opinions on sex and sexuality as they deem fit. We are not asking for sex to be a part of conversations at the dinner table. However, it also need not be the hushed-up taboo that it continues to be for young women.
 
 

 
 


 
 


 
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