Women want it too!

The original title for this post was “Women want sex too!” The only reason I changed the title was to pursuade corporate filters to let the URL through. Does anyone remember how I had to re-title “The Naked Face” to “The Bindi-less face”?

I found this post by IHM quite thought provoking. I’ve been trying to work some things out in my head about this whole women as sexual beings thing and this post came at the perfect time! Anyway, on we go to the actual stuff…

I feel that society, at some level, has not come to terms with the empowerment brought about by the invention of female birth control (and to some extent, disposable hygiene products). Imagine society before the Pill was invented and birth control lay in the hands of men. Imagine society where abortion was illegal and/or unavailable. A society where a menstruating woman could not step out of the house simply because there was no way for her to. Of course, in such a world it was women who had to be “careful” because it’s ultimately a woman who pays for an unwanted pregnancy.

Cut to today. Yes, the ads for sanitary pads border on the are obnoxious. But they exist. And their very existence proves that we’re starting to acknowledge women have periods. Something does happen down there. We have a birth control pill that a woman could even take in secret (if need be) and not get pregnant against her will. A woman could use the morning after pill. In India, at least, she can legally have an abortion as soon as she knows she’s pregnant but doesn’t want to carry the embryo to termΒ (yes, dear anti-abortionists, it’s not a baby at 8 weeks, it’s not a fetus even. It’s just an embryo. And a fetus is not a baby until it’s born). Abortions are perfectly legal until 12 weeks and an adult woman in India can opt for one without anyone’s consent. So says the Punjab High court.

Now that we don’t have to worry about getting pregnant, we can actually think about having sex when we want to, not just when we are sure it’s ok if we do get pregnant. There’s a second, more dangerous implication lurking here. Now that we have birth control, even an “illegitimate” child can be a choice, not a curse. In other words, a woman can decide whether she wants to be a single mother. How empowering is that?

I’ve heard a lot of apologists for backwardness say, “Oh! But maternity is a fact and paternity is faith”. No, idiot. It’s not. Have you heard of something called a DNA test? You can now be perfectly sure who the father of the baby is. Or to be precise, who isn’t.

Where does that leave us? In a world where women can finally separate child-bearing and sex. And, just like the ads say, do whatever they like during their periods.

Here comes the twist. Society hasn’t caught up yet. We also live in a world where women have been conditioned to not want sex because, as the Telugu proverb goes, “Whether the leaf falls on the thorn or the thorn on the leaf, it is the leaf that suffers”. Where women are the leaves and men are the thorns, get it? Even though a woman can finally go ahead and do everything she wants to, society still wants her to be the child-bearing family nourisher. Worse, a woman is still considered defective goods if she can’t get pregnant. A good example being an angry mother-in-law who called up my MIL (a gynecologist) and demanded to know what was wrong with her daughter-in-law. The poor DIL had produced one child (presumably a girl) but was unable to get pregnant again.

Of course, this birth control explanation is an over-simplification but I do think there’s some merit to the idea. I remember how, in any “periods education” session conducted by Whisper representatives in our school, all questions would ultimately be, “If I do X, will I get pregnant?” Getting pregnant was the ultimate scare (can’t find the right word but I need to wrap up soon) against getting into a relationship. Take that away, and poof! half the monster crumbles.

The question is, what do we do with the other half?

ps: I will be editing this post later. It’s totally unfinished but I’ve run out of blogging time!

19 Replies to “Women want it too!”

  1. So sad. Society has not caught up, and has no desire to either it seems. You know I actually think way back in the day India was more open about sexuality and we have regressed over time.

    And thanks! I will be using the DNA test thing as a comeback for people who say stupid things like ‘ohoho maternity is a matter of fact, paternity is a matter of opinion’.

    1. I don’t think it was ever ok for women to act on their desires. but yes, we’ve regressed to the point where we deny they even exist!

  2. Loved it! We are supposed to be passive and receive and tolerate…I suppose that’s why a lot of people don’t like me, coz I make no bones about being ‘active’ and have no shame whatsoever.

  3. Hmmm. Also think about this. Now that I can control my pregnancies, why exactly do I need to be married ? Frankly, I depend more on my army of maids than my husband to ensure that kids and house are taken care of. Not to undermine his parenting, he is a great father, but well .. I can manage well when he is travelling on business. But one of my maids does not show up and there’s chaos!

    So, now I can not only choose when and how many kids to have. I can also bring them up pretty much on my own.

    I am waiting for your post on.
    “The question is, what do we do with the other half?”

    πŸ™‚

    1. There’s no need to be married! That’s why women can finally opt for live-in relationships and not “get in trouble”. Also, I agree that we women have delegated half the hassle of childcare (outsourced the hassle part, keeping the fun part) but to maids instead of fathers. Is that a good thing?

      1. Yeah, not a good thing. Now a days men do a lot more than the previous generation, but well… we’ll take a few more generations to get them do it like a woman πŸ˜€

    1. A lot of men have yet to figure out that women are people. We can hope for metaphorical differences later. Good to have one male reader comment on a so called female topic πŸ™‚ Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Very well said!! and we continue to be a hypocrites constantly engaged in contradicting our own senses about the so-called societal values, beliegs and environment!!

    leaf on the thorn and vice versa, seems to be finding place in many languages! – common sense, perhaps!

    1. I think it’s a common saying across cultures just as the one thing common across cultures is treating women as second class citizens.

  5. To the point and correct!!
    “In a world where women can finally separate child-bearing and sex.” – This is going to take a long long time, at least in India. It does happen in hush hush ways, but it’s time everything.. and i mean everything – starting from a woman’s individuality to her need to acknowledge her primal needs.. should come out in the open. And with its acceptance in the society, her true liberation would take place.

    1. Yes! It will take a long, long time and a lot of optimism to see this change through to the end. But I’m positive it can happen. Talking about this stuff is a good first step, IMO

  6. People are not only acknowledging periods, they are also getting accustomed to PMS. Finally Yay for us(?)…I’ve been trying to call you for ages. Not able to reach you on your phone. Call me when you get time. No access to e-mail/n internet at home and restricted access in office. No smart phone which is working smartly either. SOS!

    1. My smartphone is working smartly, but not as a phone :-/ Will call you once I get back to Chennai.
      And yes, we’ve come quite far. There was a time not so long ago when doctors thought even menstrual cramps were in a woman’s head…

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