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7 Essays On Sex Every Desi Woman Needs To Read

Consent, body-image, shame, sanskaar – casual sex is confusing for many, many reasons. But at least you're not alone in that confusion.

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Rebecca Hendin / BuzzFeed, ‘Nudes 9’ by Erin M. Riley (2013), Kama Mama by Aeneastudio


"There is a word for Indian women who have casual relationships. Actually there are several. Slut. Whore. Randi. These are the words used by men who are confused that a woman didn’t call them after sex. The words men use to describe women who do call are: clingy, crazy, needy. There is no way to avoid shaming. All you do is get to choose the kind of shaming you are subjected to."

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"When I was five years old, my grandparents had a maid who effectively played Scheherazade to my older cousin and me for a few weeks. Every night she told us what Literotica.com would classify as ‘erotic horror’ or ‘BDSM’. Only with a lot of sultans and whips and silky boudoirs — much like the old translations of Arabian Nights. Unlike other things that turned me on at ages 5,6, 7 — including occasionally the careful touch of the men who abused me — her stories just made me slightly gaaah-what-what-was-that. In fact, that roughly sums up my relationship with BDSM — especially on Literotica."


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"The women on my Twitter feed watch porn. The women you study with, work with, and commute with watch porn. In 2015, 30% of PornHub’s Indian viewers were women – and that’s just one website. Your mothers, daughters, and sisters are deleting browser histories and selecting the “porn” tag on PirateBay just as much as their male counterparts. Women have sexual desires, and we actively seek out sexual pleasure, irrespective of whether or not it comes with a penis attached."



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"One question raised was a feminist one: “Why would you submit to a man?” Being a feminist myself, this question was indeed something that had bothered me in my teens. I still hadn’t begun to think about the concept of “play” then. Play: a bit of gambol and frolic, games and mind games, blind man’s buff, doctor-doctor, teacher-teacher and house-house. Play: joy, exuberance, and most of all, forgetting rules and how the “real world” works. As play began to enter other aspects of my life, my thinking became lighter, my eyebrows became unknit, and laughter was at the edges of many things. My personal brand of feminism became more complex, more inclusive, and more joyful. And I no longer worried about being tied up by, kneeling to, surrendering to, or being ordered around by a man or a woman in a sexual situation."



"As our bodies change, so do our relationships to them, and the most intimate photographs are often not the ones taken for others, but the ones that women take for themselves.

'I think I was about 14 or 15 the first time I took a naked picture of myself,’ writes Heena, a stunning 21-year-old designer from Bengaluru. ‘No one asked me to do it; I just did it out of curiosity with my digital camera. After I clicked the picture I saw a thumbnail of the photograph and my immediate reaction was to delete it. I was ashamed and embarrassed and not comfortable enough with my body. Forget showing it to others, I didn’t even want to see it myself.’"



"I blamed myself for wanting sex too much before I was married, for good girls are not supposed to enjoy being kissed — and not being able to do it (in the prescribed way) afterwards. Patriarchy had made me afraid of sex, and just getting married didn’t change the many years of conditioning, the psychological and even physical barriers I had put up against my own pleasure."



"When I was sixteen, a guy seven years older than me told me he liked me because I was smarter and more mature than women his age.

My high school boyfriend told me that he liked me not only because I was “pretty, smart and funny” (teenage male thinking is remarkably complex), but because I was the ONLY girl he knew who was all three of those things. He was a top athlete in school, so you know, only the best girl was worthy of the boy."

Swati Daftuar is a commissioning editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Mumbai.

Contact Swati Daftuar at Swati.Daftuar@buzzfeed.com.

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