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Of Sexual Desires And Exploring Sexuality: Why Should Men Have All The Fun?

More from Nishtha Relan

By Nishtha Relan:

We all have our moments of insanity. During one such insane incident, when some college friends, some very close and the others, a little more than acquaintances, and I had decided to spend the whole night outside, on the streets and then in a park, we decide to play ‘Truth’, and ask each other embarrassing questions, that obviously turned sexual. What surprised me the following morning, while going to college, sleep-deprived, was that we had said way too much without needing a single drop of alcohol as an excuse. A guy friend rebuffed the option of a relationship, and casual sex too, in favour of masturbation. Women happily confessed to having lesbian or bi-curious fantasies. Somehow, talking about our sexual needs had come so easily, that we didn’t really giggle a lot or get scandalised at all.

A still from the recently released movie 'BA Pass'
A still from the recently released movie ‘BA Pass’

I recalled my first sexual experience, how it had turned out so natural, that I had repeatedly shrugged my mental faculties to think why I wasn’t guilty. And then it hit me. The small town girl, who had always prided herself on being seen as innocent, hated the pretentious mask of virginity and had in herself a violent, needy woman who, just like the friends she had suddenly discovered liberation from the restrictive patriarchy with, could openly proclaim how horny she could be. Sex isn’t scandalising anymore, and neither is being vocal about it.

The first time we realise that we are sexual beings can be a rather interesting time. We get scared of the influence it has on our minds, it is awfully riveting. We start exploring ourselves, breaking all the rules of parental advice against inappropriate touch and exploring our own bodies, still unfamiliar. And the freaking hormones going everywhere! Whom could you have talked to? Hopefully, that phase has long passed for us, and we have realised that virginity for women is just a construct; that once you lose it, no meteor falls on the earth, no skies thunder, you just learn about a new experience. But s*x is always a hushed word. The parents would rather not talk about it, lest you take it for a validation. And the guys have their way of keeping score and bragging about it. I am just so glad to see the girls being just as comfortable with talking about sex, minus all the immature giggles.

You’d probably know about the KNC ‘Confessions‘ page on Facebook that came up with the wave of numerous confession pages. Like the other all-girls’ colleges, women, there, show frustration over lack of testosterone in the environment and crib about the teachers, but they are also very vocal about their lesbian or bi-curious nature, and their need to sexually satisfy themselves. They share personal experiences of hot, kinky sex, or of unsatisfactory sex, of one night stands or the convenient bed buddies, and let people know that experimentation is the In-thing right now. They stand by each other when guidance is needed. Many people follow the page for the sensational thrills, and consider it another example of women’s institutions fostering fast-and-loose women, and some others love to create nuisance, but say what they may, it is delightful to see women finally getting comfortable with their bodies and sexuality. There is nothing “Haaww” about it anymore. Things are out in the open, and the more you look away from them, the more they follow you. You have all the sex toys available, all the chocolate syrup being utilized, in a rather fun way! And people know, and are smiling and smirking about it. Not like it didn’t happen in the last decade, but now, the veil is being lifted, and it is so liberating. And the ones lecturing about our morals, worried about their future wives turning out to be more experienced than they ever could be, are crackling and seething. But what the hell! *grins*

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  1. Raj

    Let me get this straight : Most men and women are heterosexual and you say that these men enjoy sex(with women no doubt), yet you blame patriarchy when women act regressively about sex and withhold it from men. See the problem?

    I frankly blame women as well(some not all) when it comes to sexual dynamics. Many women demand marriage in lieu of sex and in case they don’t get it, they threaten with rape cases. I call them false rape cases, though legally they are valid rape cases since the woman in the relationship is allowed to retroactively withdraw consent. This needs to change and women should be more in control of their sexuality rather than being ashamed that they are being used.

    Recent examples :
    http://www.dnaindia.com/pune/1855786/report-mba-student-files-rape-case
    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-15/pune/40589360_1_suspect-hinjewadi-software-engineer

    1. Nishtha Relan

      And Raj, seriously. Again, I shall have to explain to you that it is not my hobby to pick up the word ‘Patriarchy’ and start ranting against it. If I keep my stand, I must have a reason for it.
      I am not saying that you have perpetrated patriarchy. In fact, a lot of times, it isn’t even visible on the surface of a situation; it is very deep seated into the way the social structure and ideologies work. The very example you gave is one where patriarchy is targeting both men and women.

      So the links you gave aren’t really the worst of the matter. There are cases out there, against men, that are actually false. And the law often sides with women in such cases, yes. But do you, despite seeming to be so intelligent, not see that this is just a cause of another, huge root problem? Patriarchy is ingrained in the minds of the women so bloody well, that they cannot even think about trying to be independent, to live on their own, after they have had sexual relations with a man. Marriage is such a stupid concept, you see, and the awful society, which feels the need to control everything, from its land to its women, works it way into our minds and makes us victims of mental impairment, all of us.
      I am not supporting these women, definitely not. Or even giving an excuse for them, because the same excuse would then back stupid men up. I am just saying, that yes, it is patriarchy in its post-modern context that is at work here. Don’t be irritated just because I used the word.

      I don’t mean to generalise it against ALL THE MEN; there are definitely liberated, egalitarian men out there. I am just pointing out we have always been stigmatising female sexuality. We should just stop being such hypocrites now.

    2. Raj

      Thanks for your reply. Here are my responses to your points :

      1) Our society used to be(and somewhat is) traditional, tribal and regressive. It had gender roles which oppress both men and women. Men had the burden of fighting, killing , getting killed while building the society (through employment) and through defense (wars policing etc.) .Women were protected so they may have the burden of raising the kids and running the household. Both are victims here.

      2)Let me elaborate the burden that men have faced since you(and I) already know the burdens that women face. Men have been bred in a way that they could be disconnected from their emotional selves and instilled with a suicidal tendency which is often called “chivalry”. That a man may live for the sake of the society and also die for it. That a man may go forth, take risks to his life to provide value to the society. His value is measured by what he achieves, be it in the field of wealth, power, learning and strength(in combat) . For this suicidal tendency he will be given a badge of honor, respect of the society and a chance to procreate i.e. he will get married. If he just sits at home, cooks and cleans, he is unlikely to get married and this his line will end when he dies. Not so for the woman.

      3) A specific topic of burden that men exclusively face is war and defense of the society. This idea that young able-bodied men may NOT serve in the army, is rather new. Conscription was the norm. Millions of men (and rarely women) have been slaughtered while defending their society. Before the advent of modern medicine even a moderate gash would be demand an amputation. Between 1862 to 1864, over 2% of USA’s population was killed (that would be 6 million today) . Guess what, all of them were men. In WW2 , Germany and USSR lost over 10% of their populations in combat. Again, mostly men. USA had male conscription as recently as 1970s and many Nordic countries still have it today. Only for men.

      Even today, the most dangerous jobs are done by men and men often die for while performing it. An average man lives 10-15% lesser than the average women, because he spends most of his life earning for his wife and kids. The stress, the pollution etc. he faces reduces his life expectancy. A career women too who spends her life in the same manner also has her lifespan reduced, so it isn’t a gender thing.

      4) So if our society is and has been what you call patriarchal, then how come men are treated in such a disposable manner? How is it that despite most researchers being male, women have higher life-expectancy whereas 100 years ago it was the same (assuming the man didn’t die an unnatural death before 40) ? How is it that despite most of the police and army being staffed by men, more men die die to violence?
      Because these men do not think ” I’m man, I’ll just work for other men”. And neither do women. But there are those who will try and gain political mileage by promoting such views.
      And if both men and women are oppressed is there really any point in using the term patriarchy? Would it be fair to blame Islam (and thus followers of Islam) for terrorism whereas muslims also suffer heavily due to it. Would it be fair to blame mustaches (and thus the ones who maintain a mustache) for the crimes of Hitler and Stalin even though many moustached men fought against them?
      So would it be correct to blame “rule by few males” (and thus everyone who is male) for social ills, even though the vast majority of males have suffered due to it? It does end up blaming all men since the word itself is a male word.

      Coming to the other point about the “false rape” (and thanks for being decent enough to acknowledge there are different types of rape cases; I get a lot of threats for pointing it out) : I was trying to say that a woman need not feel she was used if she has sex. She should enjoy sex for the sake of sex and not for the marriage it may lead to. Do men get sentimental about their semen when they have sex but don’t end up getting married? They may feel sad about not getting married but it is almost never because they had sex and it didn’t lead to a marriage.

    3. Nishtha Relan

      Dude. Okay. I am laying it down again, very clearly, for you to read and understand that we both stand on the same friggin side. I remember telling you before that I KNOW THAT PATRIARCHY VICTIMIZES BOTH MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE! I have told you that I agree when you see that men are just as constricted as women are! I don’t know which stupid person has given you the idea that Feminism is about putting women ahead of men. Feminism means equality, side-by-side, and I only try to bring out the condition of women because men still have more power, however they are restricted. The son might be helpless in front of the father, due to patriarchy, and he will use that excuse, without thinking, to control his sister. Similarly, many women, without thinking, will stereotype themselves. I know it works both ways man. I am only giving leverage to women because they need it to be able to at least speak out. Mean don’t even see this subtle form of oppression very often, their minds being so well conditioned. For women, it is more direct, and more visible. Thus, my approach.

      I sympathize with you over the sad state of affairs that you presented with the statistics, but really man, you are just ranting now. I could just as same name and recount instances of lack of basic hygiene and health care for pregnant women and dowry and domestic abuse.
      I am NOT doing that, because it DOESN’T serve any purpose to the point I am trying to make here.

      Trust me, if I could help it, people would be way over the stereotypes and ideologies and apparatuses. I really hope you have understood what I said.

    4. Raj

      And I’m asking you to STOP CALLING IT PATRIARCHY!
      Feminism and masculism are two sides of the same coin. If you are one of those 2 and truly believe in equality, then why aren’t you the other? Are you a masculist i.e. MRA also ? I am neither and I oppose movements that are based on discrimination, whether positive or negative discrimination.

      And many feminists don’t see the subtle(or even the obvious) forms of oppression that men undergo due to the facade of power they are led to believe. Men are also treated like crap by the society which includes women too. There is no excuse in this day and this age for men to be accounting for over 98% of the work-related casualties whether in war or fixing power lines.Women need to step up here and feminists should also be fighting for such glorious jobs rather than just wanting more female board members in companies. There is no excuse for mothers to allow their sons to do this kind of jobs (fathers are also to blame but focusing on women here.). I’m surprised that so many feminists are unable to see the rampant mistreatment of men and are content with blaming men as oppressors.

      I may be ranting and I do have valid points. Not once have I said that women don’t have it bad. Of course, health care for pregnant women and dowry and domestic abuse are social ills we need to get rid of. But does that mean we ignore the plight of male victims of the same and equally bad issues?

    5. adya00

      There is a difference between feminism and femininity, and feminism it has nothing to do with masculinity. Feminism is the fight for equal rights of women.
      As for men being accountable for 98 percent work related casualties, do you want me to start about the casualties of pregnancy and birth, which just about all women have gone through and go through, even before marriage(rapes), or even when her husband is not doing his job of providing for them and is a drunkard.
      Feminists do not go over the fact that men have it bad too, but there is a reason the system is called ‘patriarchy’ and not ‘matriarchy’.
      If in your opinion men and women are equal, then why does the woman have to changer her surname after her marriage, (and do not say a lot of women are not doing it today because the majority are), and why are children not given their mother’s names as well.

    6. Pratiksha

      Like she said…she is on BOTH SIDES and nobody’s ignoring the “men problems”. It’s just that THIS thread is about the whole “do’s and don’ts” crap that most of the girls have it unloaded on their heads right from when they are young. You talk about a very pointed population who are not influenced by patriarchy, she’s talking on a larger scale which is indeed true. The way the girls, for a fact, are almost forced to have stereotypic opinions about the “taboo”, okay, so it’s “sex”, is something that is the point here. How important sex education is and getting over false notions that they grew up with and if they try to breakfree from these, there’s this whole society pointing daggers at her. And forget the society, the person in question will be the one consumed with guilt over “what-have-i-done” because these “values” are so deeply instilled into their minds that it becomes all about the conscience thing which has to stop. This is roughly what we are discussing here. If you have to sulk about the ‘guys issues’, it has to be in another thread.

    7. Kani

      Four succinct points that should clear your issues.

      Point 1: This article is specifically about the issue of women’s sexuality and its repression by society. It is not about men’s issues. Your argument is basically like complaining to a Geography teacher that shes not teaching you Maths.

      Point 2: Are you aware of what patriarchal or a matriarchal society actually mean? Which do you think ours is?

      Find definitions here:
      Patriarchy: a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line OR (if you want to talk about power) a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it.
      Matriarchy: social organizational form in which the mother or oldest female heads the family. Descent and relationship are determined through the female line.

      So whatever is happening within the context of a Patriarchal society. This point is not up for debate, you cant call this society anything else.

      Point 3: Has the fact that it is a patriarchy contributed to both women’s and men’s issues? YES. Those in power will repress those not in power- FACT. Those in power will be expected to uphold that status- ALSO FACT.

      Point 4: What is desirable- A society of equality with neither group in a position of power or repression. = Feminism.

      (Masculinism that promotes equality is actually called Male Feminism. Feminism is a movement for equality- the word feminism is misleading in that it suggests female superiority but actually advocates no such thing. Of course extremes in both groups exist.)

    8. adya00

      Raj, why do you think this happens.

  2. Saumya Sahni

    When it comes to virginity, since ancient ages, it has always been about girls losing it and the right age or the “morals” to lose it. She is termed as a slut if she loses it before the “right” time. Nobody questions the males. Albeit, a change in scenario can be observed as girls have definitely become open about their sexual needs and experiences. This percentage is still not very high but yes a step towards the right direction.

    In a country like India, where there is nil sex education, people develop misconceptions about sex which might be detrimental. Being open is essential in order to clarify these misconceptions. It is high time, we treats sex as a need rather than as a “taboo”. Rightly pointed out, there needs to be less “hawwww” about it. According to a bunch of recent surveys, men now prefer women with some sexual experience in an arranged marriage contrary to those times where it was a big deal if a woman disclosed to a man about losing her virginity, she was considered impure.

    Times are changing. Hence should the regressive mindsets. Virginity is subjective. everybody has her or her own lines of demarcation between “right and wrong”. Those “rights and wrongs” are highly subjective and ought not be judged upon. Judgmental attitudes are only going to enhance patriarchy even more. A guy does not become a stud once he loses his virginity. Similarly, a girl doesn’t become a slut if she expresses her desires openly or loses her virginity.

    1. Raj

      Men have been treated like disposable throw and use objects. The disposiblity of their virginity is in line with this thinking.

      And what’s this thing about “Judgmental attitudes enhancing patriarchy”? Is it really necessary to mindlessly dump all evils on some ill-formed notion of “patriarchy” when men by and largely have been treated like crap, their semen included?

    2. adya00

      You only need to read the epics to see that semen is considered almost holy, it is called the ‘vital fluid’ and it is such that anywhere it falls life is created. What is absent from that era is the fact that the semen is just the half truth, or even one third. A woman’s egg is also needed to have a bay, and only her body is capable of doing the job.
      So, how do you think semen is treated like crap?
      And how are men treated like disposable objects?

    3. Nishtha Relan

      Precisely. It’s time we left all the shitty judgement and superficial morality lectures aside, and get on with our lives. Real lives.

    4. prasun dwiwedi

      Now , i am telling you a true story , a few years back i was studding in a fashion college so called top college of fashion in India , since i was from rural n small town background i was very shy !, i wont talk to a woman whatever may be the urgency ! most of d women wd talk to me but i wd respond them in a crisp manner ,i didnt have idea how to talk to a woman as my whole studies concluded in boys colleges ,so! it was pattern making class , I entered the class late ,girls were taking measurement and all the mannequins were occupied ,when i entered the class she greeted me as usual n extended her hand i also extended my hand as a token of respect if i dont do dat it wd be dishonor for a lady ! she told me ,all the mannequins are busy so how ll you measure ? jocularly ! i just said her i wd write my own measurement , she just smiled ! then i came back to wait for d mannequins n sat beside my male friend , he asked ;what was she talking about ,i told him d story ,after a few moment she came to me and scolded me before whole class that i was talking about her measurement , i wanted to take her measurement , see d bad luck ,how ever u try to protect yourself from sleaze, if its in ur fate ,your white cloth has to be stained , my friend was also astonished as i didnt say anything which can hurt her feelings n if she had any problem she shd have told me at the same time, i told her .I cdnt say any thing i just digested all d insult but it haunts me even now cuz i have been an abstainer to save my honor n respect but still i was disrobed for no reason !Even after dis incident she didnt stop talking to me and i listened to her while i wanted to say her, please dont talk to me …………By this story i m trying to say, dat girl shook hand wd me talked to me even when i didnt want to talk to her said whatever she wanted to say even unacceptable things n i didnt say anything bad to her but look at her attitude! please women we dont need u we r respectable person we can remain without women but cant bear insult ……………..for no fault if u think some person dont worth talking please dont do but dont disrespect someone like dis………………

    5. Raj

      I really didn’t get the measurement part. Are you saying she thought you were talking about her measurements as in her body measurements? How did she conclude that?
      Anyway you should definitely ask a trusted friend to intervene and clarify.If you are comfortable in Hindi, converse in Hindi than trying to speak broken English, If things are already patched up, let it go. Life is too short to bear such pointless grudges.
      Regarding your inability to to communicate effectively with the opposite gender, you are the victim of our repressed and segregated society. But rather than pitying yourself you should improve yourself. You should try and improve your image. Dressing up and grooming yourself properly, learning to speak properly (especially in English) etc. will help you a lot in the long run, especially in your line of work where you will meet a lot of women.

    6. prasun dwiwedi

      There are lots of stories ,i m telling you one more about the misbehavior of women – I used to appear in a mock test for certain competitive exam in a coaching ,i have a habit of humming when i feel lonely or happy .I was waiting for the papers to b distributed but some students were yet to come , i started humming with very slow volume as i was feeling lonely , a girl sat behind me but i didnt notice and i continued my humming ,after a few moment when i turned back i saw her and stopped my humming and see the fun she started telling me that i was singing to tease her ,i convinced her i sing so slowly that a person seating beside me cant hear den how can you say i was singing because of you . And let me be honest ,i have a great passion for music and i always sing seriously and with concentration i cant concentrate on other things while singing and one more thing she was so ugly that a common man would not like to even look at her .. I dont feel any hesitation in talking to a man however he may be big but due to this kind of behavior i fear to talk to any women irrespective of their social class.

    7. Neha Jha

      The fact that u say “she was so ugly nobody would sing for her” just indicates how you are! What if someone says the same stuff about u? We women are raped, harassed all the time. Do we start killing men? Why do u have to group all women in the same category?

  3. Saloni

    one of the best articles I’ve read here! Awesome!

  4. Neha Jha

    Loved this article! Obviously, the changes are bound to happen. Sex was never supposed to be a taboo! Our country is the land of ‘Kama-sutra’. But, let me tell you, there are still loads of people who loathe sex as if they’re planning to die a virgin!!! And, even in my city Bhubaneswar, there are many women who go for virginity-restoring surgeries! I find that ridiculous too. Its all in our twisted culture. Boys are taught that no matter if they bedded any girl, they have to seek a virgin bride! That is such a big bias! I would actually want no one to question my virginity because its not their business! But, I have no issues having a man who HAS had sex sometime in his life. Experience matters! If my man is not a virgin, chances are he will know the trick and so, I have a higher chance of pleasure and satisfaction. Its time men and their mothers should think the same too!

  5. Debasis Tejas

    As long as Sex is Seen as A Fun. .Both Men & women have the Equal Right to Enjoy it…But if you want to Prove that Being Modern,Liberal,Open & Mature is Depicted by Enjoying Sex as Per your Whims(Both Men & Women Included) Unless You Stay Single,Be assured if Tomorrow your Son/daughter Come home & Disclose they had Sex/ they want to have it as they Wish with Anyone You should Politely Give Thumps Up..Above all they are Also human being with a Free Spirit & They will imbibe the Qualities as per their Perception…Her again Don’t paint My Comment as Patriarchal..My Point is Of Morality not Desire/ Whims.. to have Sex….Sex is Just a Desire to Live a Moment & A Necessity Of Evolution……Woman/Man Both are Free Spirit their Perception decides their Future Discourse…In My View Unequal Absorption of Western Ideas By a Traditional yet evolving Society is the Main Cause of all Evil against Gender…Take South East Asia for e.g Erstwhile Powerhouse of Tradition & Family Values is Now in Shambles..

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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