By Akshita Chugh
Female Sexuality is just treated like a box of rasagullas (sweet) in front of diabetic patients. They all crave it, secretly lure for it, salivate when it comes in front of them, but secretly deny its existence in their lives. They all list its harms and disadvantages at the drop of a hat, but do not hesitate to binge when no one is looking. Alas, this is the cage for female sexuality in India. SheThePeople decided to throw light on this subject and we talked to a young woman, who has been using her platform to talk about sex. masturbation, female orgasm, and everything under the sun related to sex education. Meet Indraja Devpriyam. After completing her education from General Law College Mumbai, she is now planning to become a counsellor and make huge strides in normalising the S-word and everything related to it. Sex therapy might be a possible goal in future for this talented female.
1.What are the most common misconceptions about female sexuality?
“The most common misconceptions about female sexuality is that it does not exist. A lot of us have been taught that female libido does not exist. We have no sex drive, that is most commonly assumed. Instead of looking at a woman as a subject in the context of sex, she is looked at as an object. This is nowhere close to the truth. Libido is essential for everyone and women are no different.”
2.Are there any myths propagated with respect to women’s anatomy which need to be busted? Especially with respect to pop-culture?
“So there is an extremely common myth we hear everywhere like a rumour, you know. It is said that when a girl has sex or is not a virgin it can be predicted from her body and “chaal-chalan“. For example, a lot of women might gain weight after marriage which is directly related to them having sexual intercourse. If a girl matures early, has weight around her butt or chest, it is frequently assumed that she is having sex which is not at all true. Representations in media are often skewed and incorrect, to say the least.”
3.How do you think the concept of purity is introduced for women’s sexuality but not men’s sexuality?
“Women regulate themselves before anyone else can. It is so deep-rooted inside our environments to censor sexual thoughts and ideas that we destroy them before they can even take form fully. Sexuality for a woman is supposed to involve so much shame and disgust, that we are drenched with loath every time we are associated to this concept. An ideal woman is not supposed to have sexual desires. That is the reason we pick up these cues rom our environment and try to control the perception of people around us. We are hyperaware of our bodies and therefore associate lack of sexuality to purity. This is also a reason why victims of sexual assault undergo massive trauma because we believe something is wrong with them rather than the culprit.”
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
“I was sexually harassed at the age of 11. It wasn’t that I was not aware of these things. I was a pretty well-read kid. I was smart and confident. I knew what happened to me was wrong. I still could not speak up about it for 6 years because I felt that I did something wrong and felt disgusted with myself. I felt like I had lost something. After I opened up about it, I got to know that the same person had also harassed a girl I knew. So a culture of silence, a culture of shame, actually helps people get away with these heinous acts.”
4.What resources do you think are there for the perusal of the youth for certified sex education?
“There are great resources online but one must be smart enough to know when to consult a doctor. If anything is remotely harmful or feels out of control, a medical consultation must be made and one must not wait for an emergency to occur. Having said that,Â it is completely normal to freak out when you are trying things for the first time. Specially in the Indian subculture of shame around sex, you are bound to feel anxiety even in the most normal feelings. We lost two most renowned revolutionaries this year: Dr. Watsa and Dr. Betty Dodson.Â Dr. Watsa’s book “It’s Normal!” and the website of Dr. Betty Dodson are actually terrific resources to get a headstart and get comfortable. Dheere dheere normalize ho sakta hai, if you read about it. That is what gave me an inspiration, honestly.”
5.How can we destigmatise the concept of female sexuality inside our own houses?
“We have to proceed with caution here. One must these troubled test waters after discretion. Understand that your parents have their own upbringing and conditioning and it is difficult to dismantle that at once. Recognise the extent of liberal conversations your household can have. Agar aapko lagta hai it can get abusive or toxic, then do yourself a favour and do not have that conversation. Else, it would just create additional problems for you which weren’t even there in the first place. Aap conversation kar sakte hain, only if you feel your parents would be receptive and kind to your views.”
6.How does porn skew our imagination and expectations?
The kind of mainstream porn most people consume is just an air-brushed and choreographed version of sex. There are mainly 3-5 positions tried, same tape of moaning on repeat and it massively confuses people about how sex happens. Sex organic hota hai, it is not a Nach Baliye dance competition. There is so much pressure on both men and women. How will they enjoy the act? Women are conscious of their bodily insecurities. While on men, the insane hype around lasting longer or penis size, is a topic of gigantic discussion everywhere. There is so much shame associated with sex. In order to feel pleasure, you have to be present. Such insecurities rob you of that.
7.Why are people insecure of their bodies more because of social media and does that affect their sexual confidence?
“As per a survey I recently read, women on an average correct their body posture and looks 4 times in a minute when they are in public. Ek minute mei chaar baar hum yahi sochte hain, ki hum kaise dikh rahe hain.Â
If in a public space, we are so massively aware of our insecurities, then in a vulnerable and intimate position, that will just multiply. Aesthetic dikhna sex ka goal hai hi nahi. There is just a male gaze hidden inside us. We look at ourselves with disgust because of that. Several people approach me as to how they cannot enjoy and orgasm in loving partnerships because of this.”
8.How is it important to explore one’s sexuality as a woman in India?
Honestly, this is the best time. We can have more conversations around this now. There are safe communities, safe spaces which are open to us. The very fact that you can order sex toys from the comfort of your house is amazing. Meri mom ko pata hi nahi tha, that females could orgasm till the age of 35 when she already had had two kids. She felt cheated. She felt robbed of this pleasure. Non-judgmental support is extremely important. You become more confident when you embrace your sexuality. And that starts with looking at it as normal and valid.