Below The Belt

Don't ban: Indian women love porn too

Is it simpler for us to exist as mute recipients of pleasure and penetration?

 |  Below The Belt  |  4-minute read |   11-07-2015
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Last year, while researching for my erotic novel, Sita's Curse, I conducted a poll on 30 women I knew personally - settled all over the world. All of them were asked the same questions.

Do you watch porn?

Do you masturbate?

Ever had cyber sex?

Will you pay to have sex?

Does your husband like watching porn with you?

Do you like lesbian porn/BDSM/interracial/animal porn?

Honestly, very few of them answered. Some gave me an earful, saying I was nuts. But it was the question on masturbation that left most uneasy -perhaps because self-pleasure is considered dirty, derelict, dangerous. Plus there is the fear of being caught.

Stains, stink, shame!

I'd almost given up on the "dumb idea" when one night, a friend, who was married straight after college, called in from California. "I only orgasm when I watch porn," she confessed. "I'm hooked. I even sex chat at times. I make sure my husband doesn't know. Ever since my second son was born, internet porn's been my lifeline. I wish I could do it with my hubby. Porn just makes me come alive. It's liberating, especially since in Kolkata we were banned from watching even Blue Lagoon. My favourite is interracial. I dig African-American men. They have …"

India - The porn hub

In the last couple of days, a lot written has been written on the legal ban on watching pornography in India. Pornography drives the web.

India has the third highest number of internet users in the world, estimated to cross 300 million soon. Statistics show that 60 per cent of the traffic is pornography related. Porn is also one of the most searched keywords on Google in India. And yet in our patriarchal, Bharat, the female voice and argument is missing, even in this recent debate on banning pornography.

Why is it that we naturally assume that porn is a male thing? Does it muddy our ideas about how Indian women should be? Is it because we would then look at them as sluts? Someone with "gande thoughts" - a horny, oversexed woman, who exposes too much. Smokes heavily, maybe? Drinks too. Is an irresponsible parent…

Is it simpler for us women to exist as mute recipients of pleasure and penetration? The woman on top, the woman who wants to be spanked, in boots and leather tights, and a dog collar, a woman who asks for sexual gratification unabashedly - Do we want her to remain an anomaly?

All this despite a survey in November 2014 in a leading online magazine based on data released by Pornhub - one of the world's largest adult websites - which claimed that the percentage of Indian women watching adult videos on the site stands at 25 per cent, two per cent higher than the worldwide average. Perhaps we should take note of Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, authored by Gail Dines, a US academic. The book asserts that pornography is much more than benign titillation - what people drool over could actually throw insight into a woman's sexuality and male behavioural traits.

We need to also ask why female pleasure must always exist with male approval. Why are most Indian men lousy in bed as lovers?

Long before Sunny Leone took her place, Savita Bhabhi, an Indian pornographic cartoon was a widely followed internet sensation. How do we justify why Bhabhi - a buxom, promiscuous housewife, who, ignored by her husband, engaged in lusty romps outside the lakshman rekha of her marriage - had to be banned by the government in 2009?

Did she blow the lid off the actual state of Indian marriages? Did Savita Bhabhi expose scores of desperate housewives who seduce salesmen and their younger brothers-in-law?

Yes for sex chat, no for sex education

Will we ever accept that most women are squeamish when it comes to talking about sex? That mothers hide their sanitary napkins and rarely get intimate with their spouses in front of their kids, and porn practically functions as a necessary tool of sex education? The Podar Institute of Education conducted a sex survey where out of eight thousand girls and women surveyed, 49 per cent learnt about sex after watching porn with friends.

If "couple porn" is recommended by sex experts to spice up one's dull sex life, then why this hypocrisy when it comes to women? Why isn't someone banning obscene, double-meaning lyrics in Bollywood item songs and dumb jokes on television shows like Comedy Nights With Kapil, where women, including the transgender community, are routinely picked on? Or even our prime time serials, which bask in rampant sexual and emotional violence?

Writer

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu Sreemoyee Piu Kundu @sreemoyeekundu

The writer is an ex-lifestyle editor and PR vice president, and now a full-time novelist. She's the author of Faraway Music, the best-selling female erotica, Sita's Curse, You've Got The Wrong Girl! and Cut. Last year, she wrote the internationally acclaimed work of non-fiction on single women in India, Status Single. A leading columnist on sexuality and gender, Sreemoyee is also the recipient of NDTV L'oreal Women of Worth Award in the 'Literature' category.

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