When I was in college, I participated in every Indian woman’s rite of passage – listening to “first night” stories in a hostel room surrounded by squealing 18-22 year olds. The stories I was forced to hear were approximately like this. Flowers, a glass of milk, a pawing husband, and the woman’s sense of desperation (or is it cluelessness?), pain, and eventual enjoyment. The pawing husband is perfectly depicted in this masterpiece of a scene from Sekhar Kammula’s Godavari.
This is what happens when we equate sex with marriage. Marriage becomes a license for sex. You cannot picture a marriage without sex and you cannot picture starting a marriage by just talking, and getting to know each other. Moments like this cheapen sex more than anything else can.
Scenes like this are not the only thing that could (do) happen. As a consequence of sex being firmly tied to marriage, there are only two types of Indian women. The kind who know about sex before they are married and everyone else. This song says it all! Listen, “Main kya thi mujhe kya tumne bana daala/ Ek gori ka tumne ghoonghat utha daala”. So there we have it folks! Woman, dare not lose your innocence!
What if this innocence is forcibly taken from us? Well, then we have people making statements like these about rape and loss of virginity and claiming death is preferable to dishonour (whose dishonour?) They make these statements in all earnestness and they truly believe in what they say. Watch Sushma Swaraj as she tries to convince people that rape zombifies women and makes them a zinda laash (Dear Sushmaji, all humans are by definition zinda laash-es)
So earnest are these people, in fact, that some take it forward a step and believe women who don’t have the decency to die when raped should be hanged.
But yes, you’ve figured it out by now, gentle reader, I’m just exaggerating to the point of ridiculousness. All this can’t happen just because we decide pre-marital sex is bad, right? No. All this happens because we even care whether pre-marital sex is good or bad. Why should we care what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own home? We live in an age of contraception and DNA tests. As a society, we have ways to keep family trees organized and that’s all we really need to care about from a law enforcement/property inheritance/general creepiness perspective. Do we really need to police other people’s decisions?
If sex means so much to someone that they only want to have it with only one person, then so be it. If sex means so much to a person that they can’t bear the idea of being restricted to one sexual partner their entire life, that’s their choice too. If like Samantha in Sex and the City someone’s a trysexual and will try anything once, more power to them! Sex is too basic a need to be judged in absolutes.
I have no opinion on whether Pre-Marital sex is “Yes” or “No”. I only made the choice for myself and the decision as well as it’s consequences impact only me and my spouse. When we spoke about this topic early on in our relationship The Hero said,
India’s the only country where people lie about being less sexually experienced than they are
And that, dear folks, sums it all up quite nicely. Pre marital sex, you ask? I couldn’t care less. I recommend no one else does, either.
A post for the Indiblogger contest here.
ps: if you liked this post you might like these…
A review of Shikhandi and Other Tales They Don’t Tell You
A post about Love, lust, and attachment
pps: My dear, sweet, (Benagli) Mishti numbing your soul as a consultant: If I do get a copy of this book, please, please send me your address and I will have this express delivered to you two days after I get it.