By Akshita Nagpal:
Women talk about sex, yes – you heard it right. On Women’s Day, Love Matters India asked women about the change they want to see around sex and sexuality.
“Young women are so ashamed to say anything to do with sex or organs that are considered related to having sex. Words like sex, breasts, are so difficult for them to say aloud. I want this hesitation to go.
Secondly, women need to know about safe-sex practices because it really affects them if there’s an accidental pregnancy, or they get a sexually-transmitted disease. This knowledge should be available to all women, right from teenagers and young adults.”
*Aarna, 25, health professional
“Sex should not be forced on the woman; it should be a choice. She should be able to say when she feels like having sex and when she doesn’t. Being able to say this is so important!
Secondly, sex after marriage is not just for making babies. But there is so much societal pressure to get pregnant. It should be her choice about what she wants to do with her body.”
Amita, 31, artist
“Before expecting any change in society, there should be openness between partners, whether married or not. A woman should be able to tell her sexual desires to her partner without being labelled as uncultured or ‘extra-free’.”
Ishita, 29, homemaker
“I want to see women get more say. Men presume that the sexual acts they like are the ones that will also be liked by women. That’s what I want to see being changed. Women’s ‘no‘ is also always inaudible to men.”
Sharda, 24 years, postgraduate student
“There is no concept of sex education in our country! I know women in my peer group who use these contraceptives without any know-how about their usage. For instance, some are popping emergency-contraceptive pills at a worrying rate. Sex education with regards to abortion and contraception should be improved to improve women’s sexual choices.
In relation to the act of sex, I would like everyone to understand that women are also active pleasure-seekers.”
Harmanjeet, 25, teacher
“Openly talking about sex is taken in a negative way – like on this road, if I talk about it, people are going to stare at me for doing that. I would like people to be educated in the real sense and be more open-minded with regards to women talking about sex.”
Kaashvi, 18, college student
“I wish that women won’t be put to shame for putting forth their sexual desires. The desire for sex comes naturally to men and women alike, just like puberty comes naturally to them. Similarly, men’s testosterone urges are so glorified. But, women being hormonal is not understood. All this has to be understood as an extension of sex.”
Tanya, 36, playschool teacher
“There is too much pressure on women to maintain their virginity. This needs to go. Sex needs to be taken more lightly. Personally, I don’t care about these virginity expectations. But a lot of us get affected by it.”
Shayna, 22, nurse
“Just like men are not asked about how many women they have slept with, women should not be asked how many times they have had sex. It’s as simple as that.”
Anupa, 25, lecturer
“There should be more solidarity among women when talking about sex. Each woman should be respected for her choice of having sex, or even not having sex. If, as a single woman, I don’t have sex, I should not be judged as being less of a woman or being an infant.”
Ishita, 25, media professional
“I am an urban, working woman, with a lot of privilege. Yet, there was nothing or no one to tell me about deriving pleasure from sex, in ways other than intercourse. We need to popularise these ideas to let women discover about sex and sexuality, say, through some sex-education portals. Maybe this would move the idea of sex beyond intercourse, because sex is more than that.”
Mriganka, 26, management consultant