Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

A Guest Post by Rucha.

As someone who is still figuring myself out, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a country where I could explore my sexuality via the Internet *ahem* to see what I liked and disliked, even though I live in a VERY conservative family, I wonder how it would be for young adults living in India who have such repressed ideas about sexuality and a tremendous focus on studies and getting a job. When it comes time for arranged marriage, they are automatically expected to marry the opposite sex and then usually have intimate relations on the first night! Even in US fundamentalist circles, there is a year given to getting to know each other. But in Indian arranged marriages, you have to decide in 1-3 meetings if you like each other or not (never mind getting to know each other-the elders think that can happen AFTER marriage!)

Never mind figuring out what TYPE of sexuality you have, how do you even know you HAVE a sex drive/sexuality if you are pushed into it like that after repressing it for that long? How many Indian couples are actually physically attracted to each other? There is no room for not being “sure” of your sexuality, it is assumed that you are straight and like men/or women even if you have never had a relationship before! Also what if you find out on your wedding night you are not attracted to your SO?

I think this happens to women more than men, because men often place importance on a woman’s beauty during the marriage search, but if a woman sees an unfortunate-looking man but with a high salary, her relatives will often try to downplay the importance of physical attractiveness because of the higher financial stability. I know that happened to my mom, when she was meeting a guy who had glasses and did not look very good but came from a rich house. Her aunt and uncle tried to convince her that you have to take everything into consideration, including education, good family values, etc, not just the face. Another trick is to say that good physical appearance is temporary and will go downhill with age.  Fortunately she did not end up marrying him or I wouldn’t have been born!

I read a story about how a devout man, who had never watched a porn film in his life was married to a similar devout woman. On their wedding night, he had no idea what to do and had to call his parents for steps! I think that it is truly more sad than embarrassing. How can you get married with putting something as important as sexuality on the back burner and just hoping the problem will go away or resolve itself with time?

I read another story about a woman who was best friends with a guy and so when pressure started for her to get married, she married him. In 10 years, they had intimate relations only 2 times and it was only when she was pressured to have a child she figured out she did not like sex with men, wasn’t even physically attracted to him, her relationship with her husband was more of siblings, and she was a lesbian. Imagine how much pain and heartache could have been saved for all if she explored her sexuality before getting married. But again, there was the assumption that of course she is straight, why wouldn’t she be and that if there is a problem the couple will figure it out themselves behind closed doors.

I am interested to know what your readers think about my above questions and comments.

Also posted on – theindianamericanfeminist.blogspot.com.

Related Posts:

Girls morally bound not to have sex before marriage, says fast track court judge

“In my own company in a cosmopolitan city, I know women who were horrified on the First Night.”

Denying sex to spouse on first night ground for marriage annulment: Delhi high court

“why not marry them first and then have sex ? What prevents you from doing it ? Deep within YOU WANT JUST SEX and nothing more”

And what would have happened if this man had declared that he was gay and hence would not marry a woman?

Romanticizing innocence, chastity and related taboos for women.

“There is so little conversation about a woman’s desire for sex that a lot of people simply assume it doesn’t exist.”

Of Love, Lust and Respect

Where Consensual Sex is Rape, and Forced Sex a legal right.

Panchayat orders girl to marry her rapist because one way to make a Rape right is to make it Marital Rape.

Making Marital Rape a legal offence is the fastest way to make it clear that Rape means forced sex, not lost Virginity or Honor.

“Instituting the idea of marital rape raises the specter of a man going for long periods without sex even though he’s married!”

Would this crime have been reported if he had mercilessly raped her but not sodomised her?

Here’s why a 6-year-old rape survivor was ordered to marry alleged rapist’s 8 year old son.

“…offenders who raped unmarried (and virginal) women got higher sentences in contrast to men who raped married women”

“Girls should be married at 16, so that they don’t need to go elsewhere for their sexual needs. This way rapes will not occur.”

69 thoughts on “Question about Sexuality in Indian Arranged Marriages

  1. In the United States, same sex marriages are currently legal in only 35 of the 50 states.

    In 2006, an Indian prince came out as gay. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nish-gera/manvendra-singh-gohil-out-proud-and-princely-in-india_b_3132955.html

    In 1952, Alan Turing, considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence was prosecuted and horribly punished for homosexuality, which was still a crime in then United Kingdom. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing

    Change takes time, and is happening, steadily and surely, in India and elsewhere.

    If not anything, the population of India, should serve as evidence that sexual explorations are not so taboo.

    Like

    • “If not anything, the population of India, should serve as evidence that sexual explorations are not so taboo.”

      Sexual exploration by whom? Heterosexual men ,mostly.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Sexual exploration? So a population of 1.21 billion makes us a highly “sexually explorative” country?

      I disagree. The population is proof of widespread ignorance about reliable contraception; which means that, as a society are not even “sexually aware” enough to know that unprotected sex leads to babies.

      A study quoted on NDTV’s Swach Bharat campaign found that 71 per cent of young girls polled did not have ANY information about menstruation at the time of menarche, neither did they know that poor genital hygiene could cause infections in the vaginal tract and UTI.

      I bring this up because more than sexuality, it is women’s sexual health that is shrouded in darkness in our society.

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      • What is “poor genital hygiene”? I think you mean sex with men who don’t wash themselves. The female genital area, if left alone, doesn’t need more than a bit washing with clear water once in a while. I’d wager that washing the blood off after menstruation is sufficient.
        It is sex, i.e. intercourse, that leads to UTI, and I estimate that it is the main cause of UTI in women of reproductive age.

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    • I agree with you on all of the above points except – the point about the population of India – which I think is more the result of the pressure for everyone to get married and have at least 2 kids or more until they have a son. And it has little to do with sexual exploration. More like sex on demand (by elders who want to see their lineage continue).

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  2. Desi women’s sexuality is non existent until they are married. On the wedding night they have to prove competency to ride along. Get raped and not complaint. When man refuses to rape or even take sexual initiative she is expected to entice him with her womanly charms.

    A batch mate was raped on her wedding night, she ended up in the hospital next morning. But she forgave her spouse coz’ he was crying at her bedside. He claimed he had to score his friends told him or else I’ll become henpecked.

    It serves families to keep women ignorant about their sexuality coz’ then they’ll not challenge the sexually clumsy men nor will they compare them. If they knew about orgasms they’ll either make their own or they’ll demand or arrange one. They are discouraged to even explore their privates for this reason.

    Yes, Ruth Vanita in her work Same- sex love in India explores how gay men married women and kept their gay life a secrete where as women attracted to women bonded behind the marriage.
    http://www.srimatham.com/uploads/5/5/4/9/5549439/same_sex_marriage_-_r.vanita.pdf

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like

      • Generalizations are inevitable in such discussions and acceptable to an extent too ; having to provide substantiation of every claim or opinion will kill the discussion.

        But such a wholesale castigation of Indian men’s understanding of consensual sex, and making that alleged lack of understanding the reason why most women also never experience consensual sex is too much.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Women are not required/expected/asked to consent (it’s a given in marriage and forbidden outside marriage), or show more than dutiful interest or willingness.

          This is why we can’t see how marital rape is possible and why we define consensual premarital sex as rape. And this is why we believe that locking up women, forbidding mobiles, jeans, boy friends and Valentine’s Day would solve the ‘menace of rape’.

          One Khap leader actually said, only sex workers are immoral enough to wish to choose their partners, all other good women (including minors) would accept the partners chosen for them by their families/elders/community.

          Like

        • “But such a wholesale castigation of Indian men’s understanding of consensual sex, and making that alleged lack of understanding the reason why most women also never experience consensual sex is too much.”

          1. Men typically have a greater voice in Indian society.
          2. Yes, most men do not understand the term “consensual sex’.

          Simply look at the way indian movies have depicted sex for years together. Man makes advances, woman says “no no” ,displays passive aggressive behaviour and then cut scene.

          Look at the way rape apologists defend rape : “she was asking for it because she was wearing short clothes/was out at night/was drunk/other lame excuse”
          A woman saying “NO” does not seem to register at all.

          Look at some of the crasser comments on TOI msg boards on marital rape. They are along the lines of “sex just happens…cant ask for consent all the time:”

          3. Of course there are men who do understand the meaning of consensual sex.
          But if they were the majority, do you think that sexual harrassment of women
          would be propogated the way it is in India?
          Yes, I have several male friends who understand consensual sex.
          But that doesnt mean thats true for the rest of the country.

          4. The reasons for men not understanding the meaning of consensual sex is due to the way female sexuality is portrayed – good women are coy. They do what their partners want. Only bad women ask for sex.

          Can you honestly tell me that this is NOT the way most people in our country percieve female sexuality?

          5. And yes , a lot of women do not experience consensual sex because of point 2. If you live in a society controlled by patriarchal norms, and you happen to be on the wrong side of the system, you typically dont get what you want.

          6. Lastly, in my comment I said “most Indian men”. To somehow imagine that “most” implies “all” is a mistake on your part, not mine,

          Liked by 1 person

  3. IHM: Caution. Please read carefully before publishing. Censor freely if you wish to.

    Interesting subject!
    Compared to people in my age group (I am 65), you are fortunate in two ways:
    1)You grew up in liberal country where there are no social taboos against sex and sexuality.
    2)You had access to the internet from where you could get all the information if you knew the right places to look.
    3)Better quality porn is available now, more easily, and on demand.

    Compare this with the situation during my youth (1960s and 70s)

    Indian arranged marriages did suffer from a handicap, as regards sexual preferences. The subject was indeed taboo. I agree that woman suffered more than men. Men had the privilege of turning down women if they found they were not “turned on” when looking at them and could avoid marrying her, by giving any excuse from the several available. Most women did not have this privilege.

    So many thoughts come to my mind and though not directly relevant to the immediate topic, I hope I can express them freely here.

    Sexuality was repressed and was not even discussed, except in hushed whispers between close friends and more misinformation was spread than knowledge. (example: one drop of semen is equal to 40 drops of blood. So conserve it and don’t masturbate. Even Mahatma Gandhi recommends “self control”). Quacks had a field day scaring young sexually charged male adults who practiced self control for weeks before losing it all in one night in their sleep. In the by lanes of a small town I remember seeing a desi sex clinic run by a turbaned and moustached “Sex specialist” who advertised cures for those who “bled” semen! His leaflet circulated at bus stops and railway stations had titles screaming “खून के आँसू रोने वालोँ, जाग जाओ! अब भी समय है!”

    Parents would be acutely embarrassed at the subject, when the kids, even if they were teenagers or in their twenties were around. Soon the kids too avoided discussing with parents and elders. If the standards of those days were applied today, every single bollywood film of today would be given an A certificate.

    I remember, as a child of about 9 or 10, I asked my grandfather the meaning of “Romance”, a word I read in a story book. He hemmed and hawed and gave me some vague answers and deftly changed the subject.

    Porn of the type you see today did not exist in India. As an adolescent young boy , my first exposure to “dirty porn” was truly dirty. It was the crude line diagrams scribbled on the walls of the toilets in trains and on the walls of the public urinals. Sexually explicit Graffiti was common and spread form one public toilet to another. Just imagine! Information about sex was being knocked into our tender innocent heads amidst dirty and smelly surroundings! Would you blame us for believing that sex is somehow “dirty”?

    Samples of graffiti from those days (IHM, please censor this if you wish)
    1) The future of India is in your hand.
    2) यहाँ बडों बडो का पेशाब निकल जाता है।

    During my boyhood, porn films were rare. Only a privileged few had access. They were called “blue” films. I wonder why. There was nothing blue about them. They were available in 8mm or 16mm format and were clearly illegal. Porn literature was abysmal in quality. There was an anonymous author called “Mastram” (मस्तराम) often called Pandit Mastram who wrote disgusting stuff and it was enough to churn the stomach of innocents like us and give us a completely distorted picture of the beauty of sex and sex relations.

    Quality literature either did not exist or was extremely rare and never publicized. Vaatsyaayan’s Kaamasutra of course existed but none of us would dare be caught reading one. I saw my first copy of a Desi “sex education book” at the age of 19 and there wasn’t a single good picture in it. Crudely drawn line diagrams were used to illustrate the various positions. Good quality porn literature was published abroad in English and was of course banned in India. (I remember books like Lady Chatterley’ lover and other similar classics which I had the opportunity to read only after I crossed thirty). These books circulated stealthily. But one socially acceptable text book on sex was a book called “A marriage Manual” written by a doctor. A thoughtful relative had sneaked in a copy to me as part of my wedding gift in 1975.

    By the time I reached college, Foreign Magazines with explicit pictures had begun to be smuggled into the country. “Playboy”, “Penthouse” were the most popular. These were of course illegal and sailors and Merchant Navy folks were depended on to get old outdated issues from abroad and they sold here for fancy prices that the original publishers would envy. Some of my “naughty” friends were proud of their dog – eared copies which were passed on within a closed and trusted circle of friends and often exchanged. The bolder ones would bring it to school/college to “show off” their precocity. They often got caught, the magazine confiscated, the erring student was marched off to the Principal’s office and a stern warning would be issued. The magazines of course were never returned. Crude Desi versions of these foreign magazines started appearing (I remember a magazine called “Debonair”. Is it still around?) They were hampered by Indian obscenity laws and were a pale imitation of the genuine foreign stuff.

    Porn took off in a big way when video cassettes and VCPs and VCR’s were introduced during the eighties. I saw my first porn film at the age of 45 ! I was posted abroad and one of the ways we kept ourselves entertained and also in touch with India was watching Bollywood films on cassettes borrowed from a local video casette lending library. One of my colleagues who was less inhibited in these matters, one day proudly brought a “special” cassette and he invited me to watch. Mainly out of curiosity, I joined him. I couldn’t bear watching the stuff I saw for more than five minutes. The close-ups were stomach churning and it appeared I was watching a medical operation with so much flesh visible! I beat a hasty retreat and went to my room and got busy reading a good book! My first introduction to modern porn was a total disaster!

    Today, the internet has given a boost to porn. Storage is convenient, and safe. During our days, hard copies of porn literature and magazines had to be discreetly hidden (under the mattress was the usual place). Today this is not an issue at all.

    Homosexuality was of course considered disgusting and anyone who was naturally gay was careful to conceal it. They used to be the butt of cruel jokes. Today gradually people are realizing how common it is among a section of the population and it is gaining social ‘tolerance’ at least if not approval and acceptance.

    Compared to all this, the younger generation, has access to much better information, there are less taboos, (explicit four letter words have replaced the euphemisms of our time) and the enlightened attitudes to sex which came to us only as we approached middle age, are now common to young people, particularly in the urban areas. Now that smart phones are available, and communication networks have spread to rural areas, I am presuming that rural India will not be too far behind in catching up.
    I see progress and hope.
    Thanks for this opportunity to share some thoughts on this sensitive subject and I hope I haven’t embarrassed any of you.
    Regards
    GV

    Liked by 3 people

    • IHM,
      This comments deserves to be a proper post.
      GV,
      …presuming that rural India will not be too far behind in catching up.
      That won’t be happening anytime soon, hinterlands and rural areas even urban pockets thrive on the distorted gender roles and role models. Porn is essentially devoid of consent, and respect for partner(s) so it is only feeding violence not awareness.
      The mobile phones have only blurred the boundary of private and public. Easy access to technology has only made matters worse there is increase in voyeurism, exhibitionism and revenge porn.
      Everyday of my blog GGTS, the search engine terms are not only for desi sex but community specific and most disturbing are people looking for minors- chaild sex Indian desi (the child is misspellt because that is how it comes on) and other category is barely legal, then people are looking for community specific flesh marwari village sex, Bengali sex, etc.
      The change is miniscule in gender relations with regards to respect and consent, but we have to keep pushing boundaries and raise the bar.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

      Like

      • “Porn is essentially devoid of consent, and respect for partner(s) so it is only feeding violence not awareness.”
        I agree. Porn in a country that is severely lacking in sex education seems dangerous to me. We have neither the mechanisms nor the intent to regulate porn to be non–misogynistic. If we don’t change our attitudes toward women and women’s sexuality, porn become a new medium for violent expression. All of the patriarchal stereotypes can be played out in the porn arena – male dominance, female subjugation, unquestioned power and authority, child abuse, revenge and teaching independent women a “lesson”, and sexual slavery. What we desperately need is sex education – body awareness, health issues, women are very much like men are sexual beings, women are human beings with rights to their bodies, concept of consent, etc.

        Like

        • In India rape mms are watched as porn. And even a woman and child welfare minister (who was recorded watching such an mms, in the assembly ) – claimed to be watching it to understand rape.

          Like

    • This is such an interesting comment! As a girl growing up in India in the 1980s, my experience was basically a complete and utter absence of information through proper channels, but a great wealth of halfway-decent information from my mother’s Mills & Boon romances that I would read in secret. But there’s just no way to know what boys were taught, and what info boys had access to, right? So your comment, coming as it does from the other end of the great divide, is really fascinating.

      GV, I am unabashedly interested in all the gory details, if you are willing to provide. My excuse is that I am a writer and therefore I am interested in everything.😉

      1. Can you give more examples of misinformation and superstitions for men like the “one drop of semen = 40 drops of blood” myth? One myth I heard from my mother is I shouldn’t do any jumping jacks or vigorous exercise after puberty because otherwise my “uterus will fall down”. Hilarious! And saddening.

      2. What sort of erotica did Mastram write? In what way was it awful? I’m guessing there was a lot of rape fantasy going on? I can’t believe I’ve never heard of him but apparently he was famous to all the boys and men of the 80s, and there’s even a fake bollywood biopic about him! Amazing.

      3. I googled for the marriage manual you mentioned and found one written by Drs. Hannah and Abraham Stone. Is this the correct one? Used copies are available really cheap on Amazon US, and I’m all set to order immediately if it is the right one.

      Thank you again for your wonderful comment, it has really set the gears working in my mind. Women know so little of how men are introduced to the idea of sex, I mean, I’m trying to think of stories I have heard and all of them are pornographic fantasies, haha!

      Like

      • ” I shouldn’t do any jumping jacks or vigorous exercise after puberty because otherwise my “uterus will fall down”. ”

        “You shouldn’t use a skipping rope because your uterus will fall down” was one I heard in childhood.

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  4. Long time reader, First time commentor.

    While I think a lot of your questions are valid, I also think you are seriously underestimating the amount of exposure that Indian women have these days. Based on some of the stories that I heard of what went on in the girls hostel of our college, I would say that such instincts can find an outlet in many different situations. Girls are curious and girls will always gossip with other girls, mostly about boys, or about sex. Unless one is part of an extremely conservative group of friends with not a single wild girl in it, I think it is impossible to remain completely ignorant of all sexuality.

    Even the few conservative friends I have have surprised me with the boundaries that they are willing to cross pre marriage. From the outside these are precisely the virgin good girls who will obediently marry the guy of their parents’ choosing, no apparent relationships in the past, no protest right now. But sometimes it is exactly that knowledge of the life to come that pushes them to be more adventurous in the here and now.

    I think people tend to have the perception of Indians as extremely repressed, and I am not saying that isn’t entirely true, but a reputation for being prudes regarding the discussion of sex is not always the same as being clueless about it.

    As a 25 year old in India today, I am not necessarily worried about how much, or how little we think about sexuality

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I think people tend to have the perception of Indians as extremely repressed, and I am not saying that isn’t entirely true, but a reputation for being prudes regarding the discussion of sex is not always the same as being clueless about it.”

      very well said. Prudish does not equal clueless. Thank you.

      Like

    • The question becomes “When you say Indian, which Indians are you talking about – the ones who live in the cities, are educated and earn a sufficient amount or the ones who live BPL, in rural areas and have no access to education”

      I think what you have detailed is definitely true for large parts of urban India.
      I have definitely seen it myself. But is this the majority?

      “a reputation for being prudes regarding the discussion of sex is not always the same as being clueless about it.”
      Good point. Being prudish is not necessarily a bad thing.
      However i think that being prudish does lead to atleast SOME people being clueless about sex – how many parents actually discuss basic sexuality with their kids?
      The recent spate of child sexual abuse cases has a lot of people exclaiming “oh this never happened before”
      Fact is, it did. It simply didnt get this much attention before – due to the taboos on discussing anything to do with sex – including abuse.

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      • Since I was speaking from personal experience, I ofcourse meant the mostly educated urban women. But what I have come to realize more and more, is that in a country as closeted about sexuality as India is, I am not about to make any assumptions regarding the sexual knowledge of those who live below the poverty line, in rural India and otherwise.

        When I think of the close quarters that people in the slums live in, the absolute lack of privacy that leads to, it must be hard to keep the realities of sexual liasons a complete secret. Sometimes I think complete innocence and cluelessness is a luxury that comes with a slight bit of privilage.

        And I completely agree that parents are not always as forth coming and open about sex education as the should be. The point I was trying to make was that never underestimate the knowledge of friends. If boys passes around porn magazines, girls pass around new information they have found out about sex. And on a larger point, if society and parents are not likely to be a source of knowledge, I urge women to turn to their female friends for support and guidance.

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        • A lot of misinformation also gets passed around when there is no formal sex education, take a look at this:

          http://www.news18.com/news/madhya-pradesh/having-sex-frequently-can-reduce-your-lifespan-bjp-mp-alok-sanjar-665183.html
          Having sex frequently can reduce your lifespan: BJP MP Alok Sanjar

          ‘According to a report published in Hindustan Times, speaking at a programme organised to mark Bhopal Test Tube Baby Centre’s 10th Foundation Day in Bhopal, Sanjar said that having sex frequently can drastically reduce a person’s lifespan.
          He said that people used to treat sex like ‘yajna’ and prayed to God to come to their wives’ womb. But, he said that today they consider sex as a play.’

          Like

        • People may possess knowledge of the nuts and bolts aspect of sex.

          That’s fairly easy to glean. Based on my personal experience, I would conclude that a fair number of men from traditional families don’t understand that sex must be consensual and mutually pleasurable.

          My ex-husband used code language for indicating that he wanted sex. He’d march into the bedroom at 11 pm and fume and rage when I didn’t follow him.

          It took me two weeks to figure out that “I am going to sleep” was code for “I want sex”.

          The way he’d been raised, any honest conversation about sex was out of the question. Sex was simply a “wifely duty’, so he figured that he didn’t require my consent, or even my enjoyment of the act.

          There are many men like my ex-husband who think that sex with a wife doesn’t require her consent, or even her enjoyment or participation.

          Sex is something that Indian wives are duty-bound to provide so many Indian marriages function for decades without the couple explicitly discussing sex.

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        • “And on a larger point, if society and parents are not likely to be a source of knowledge, I urge women to turn to their female friends for support and guidance.”

          I would not put mine or my children’s sex education in the hands of boys passing around porn magazines. Teenage boys ogling women in these magazines and raised to never talk about sex and with the idea that sex is a guilty pleasure would be the most unhealthy sources of information regarding sex.

          Parents MUST play a role in educating their children and teaching them consent and responsibility and raising kids with a healthy, responsible view of sex. If parents lack the skills or the awareness to do this, turning to friends may not necessarily help, because the friends may harbor just as many misconceptions as the parents. Turn to a good book, instead, one written from a purely biological point of view to understand the basics of the human body and functions. And then proceed to books written by psychologists and social scientists to understand how sexuality has been viewed and misinterpreted through the ages by various cultures and for what specific reasons. And then form an informed opinion based on this body of knowledge.

          Liked by 1 person

        • The problem with a topic that no one talks about is that the uniformed person is forced to piece together clues and eventually make up some parts that are fuzzy to them.
          Another thing about being young is that everyone wants to be popular and therefore will listen to the popular guy or girl(no matter how stupid their theories on the matter).
          No one wants to look at the most credible source of information – the 10th std biology text book. Why would they? It goes straight from a thorough description of all the moving parts & fluids involved in sex straight to the horrifying chapter on pregnancy.

          In school I remember how a bunch of my 6th standard classmates “figured” out things – they bought a condom (What kind of shop sells contraceptives to a 12 yr old?) and went on a field trip to a nearby brothel.

          I had a friend who was in a relationship with a boy. Everytime they got drunk they’d full around a bit and 3 weeks later I’d get a worried call about missing periods and possible pregnancy. I would then have to ask her to describe what exactly they did(in a very clinical fashion) and then tell her whether it was possible to get pregnant that way..(I had a lot of patience back then).
          She’ d do this so many times inspite of me and others repeatedly telling her to use contraceptives or keep-it-in-your-pants-if-you-dont-understand.

          In university, I knew this girl who would have unprotected sex with her boyfriend because she had some aversion to latex.She’ then run around drinking papaya juice. It just never occurred to her that she may be vulnerable to diseases or that there were other ways to be intimate which didnt involve putting her health and future at risk.

          Even now most of my friends who are married or getting married talk about sex alright – they know the basics. But the discussion is largely centred on one topic – lets just say that it focuses only what the man enjoys. Nothing about what they like, or dont like.

          So in the absence of a culture that treats literature on sexuality and sexual health as important, NORMAL topics, the result of learning from your friends may not always be beneficial.

          Like

  5. I guess the general opinion is that Indians, particularly women are a sexually repressed lot, and most have no sexual experience prior to marriage. I feel most just act that way in order to not rock the boat and hence the myth perpetuates. Almost all the people I know well enough have fessed up to sexual encounters while single- with steady girl/boy friends to casual one night stands. this includes those from conservative backgrounds as well. Of course when you see their solemn faces, you wouldn’t guess, and they won’t talk about it to most people for fear of being judged.

    I agree with the writer that in arranged marriages people may not get enough time to get to know their partner, or maybe compelled to choose someone they are not attracted to. This was common in the past, but now things are changing. It is not uncommon for youngsters to talk for a few months before getting engaged.

    As for how many Indian couples are physically attracted to each other, there is no easy way to determine that. But if the population is any indication, it is not a totally alien phenomenon.

    Like

    • You said “As for how many Indian couples are physically attracted to each other, there is no easy way to determine that. But if the population is any indication, it is not a totally alien phenomenon.”

      Causation is not correlation. You don’t need to be physically attracted to each other to have sex, in many cases it is seen as a duty or given and so if it is not given it is taken.

      Like

  6. Good observations.
    I’m a 28 yr old bisexual indian woman.
    If it wasnt for the internet, T V and a set of encyclopedias that my parents kept for me in the house, I shudder to think of what life would be like for me. I was 18 when I realised that I was attracted to women. I realised I was attracted to men too when I was 25. I’ve never been able to express any of this to anyone in real life simply out of fear of being judged/mobbed.
    I’ve made my peace with the fact that I may never actually find anyone who I can be myself with, because I realize that I have it much easier than so many other people in the country namely:

    1. Lesbians in India – as i read somewhere, they are so repressed that there is no hindi word for lesbian. The absolute hate,disgust and venom with which suspected lesbians are treated with really makes me question what the point of preserving “our great traditional culture” is.

    2.Girls in the arranged marriage system – I have to ask, how can anyone encourage a system which says that any premarital sex (or cuddling/talking) with a boyfriend is bad and dirty but getting married and having sex with someone you met only once or twice just because your parents told you to is okay??

    3.Girls & women in general – Many of my friends who are now getting married have never masturbated, watched porn or been intimate with anyone in their lives before.
    This is not due to personal choice, but a belief that such habits are bad. Some of them who are married describe sex as some horrid thing to get over with. So many of them are unaware of contraceptives, diseases and basic hygiene associated with sex.
    Boys in every strata of society talk to each other about sex from as early as 10. By the time they’re 20 they know exactly what they like.
    In contrast, so many women dont even realise that they are supposed to enjoy sex! That it is not some horrid sadist-misogynist fantasy that involves pain!

    Like

    • very well said.
      I used to read word “rape” in newspaper but I dint understand it till class 8th. All I knew was its something bad n even my mother dint tell me its meaning till my 8th class science teacher explained “sexual intercourse” to us clearly, I owe a big thanks to him for this. But when I first got know about it, I couldn’t sleep and I always thought “how this can be possible”. My first experience of porn was at 19 when I watched a lesbian movie, that was when i dared to explore myself. Before this, I just thought this place is a dirty place for urine only. I could had never believe if somebody at that time told me about oral sex and also never believe that sex is a way to express love n have pleasure. For me at that time It was like an obligation to just to have kids. (this is how biology lessons explain)

      Like

  7. That’s something I’ve always wondered about and of course don’t dare to ask anyone. Can a mutually satisfying sexual relationship develop in an arranged marriage ?

    Like

      • It seems to me, mutual satisfying sexual relationships can indeed develop in arranged marriages. I know Indian “arranged couples” who seem to enjoy a level of intimacy and trust that is not attained in western “love couples”… As a westerner, it is very surprising, because I assumed you need this little special love/lust spark to light the fire. But it’s not something that you can discuss out of the blue with people, or is it ?

        Like

    • I guess. I know some happy couples who met the arranged way. Note that these were not forced. The people involved got some time to get to know each other before they made a decision.

      Like

  8. These are all good questions. In particular –
    “But in Indian arranged marriages, you have to decide in 1-3 meetings if you like each other or not (never mind getting to know each other-the elders think that can happen AFTER marriage!)
    Never mind figuring out what TYPE of sexuality you have, how do you even know you HAVE a sex drive/sexuality if you are pushed into it like that after repressing it for that long? How many Indian couples are actually physically attracted to each other? There is no room for not being “sure” of your sexuality, it is assumed that you are straight and like men/or women even if you have never had a relationship before! Also what if you find out on your wedding night you are not attracted to your SO?”

    Answer –
    Well, the purpose of an arranged marriage is to bring in a woman who will fit into the man’s family and play her assigned role with gratitude – child bearer, cooks the family’s familiar meals, caregiver for the elders, satisfies the man’s sexual needs, accompanies him to social events, maintains the family’s traditions, does the family pujas and vrats, and has a proper transition plan for the incoming d-i-l who will take her place.

    So, no one really cares if the husband and wife bond with each other. Because God forbid, if they did, they would start thinking about their own dreams and have their own vision for the kind of life they want to live together. Which doesn’t suit the clan one bit.

    So all individual expression must be suppressed. Any laughter or friendship between husband and wife is frowned upon. Time spent together without others is disapproved of. If the husband is even a little bit romantic or caring (brings her a beautiful saree or tucks her hair behind her ear), he is labelled “hen-pecked” or a “joru ka gulaam”. How is sexual exploration even possible without laughter, without friendship, without romance, without bonding?

    So the answer is no, they will not know what each other’s sexual desires or preferences are, or if they have compatible orientations. For the man, it is a hurried, hushed guilty pleasure that he will never explore fully. For the women, it can become a chore, a boring necessity, an obligation, due to socially conditioned repression and lack of sex education. For both, sex is an act that is required to produce kids. This is the absolute traditional Indian view of sex. Not Kama Sutra but how the everyday traditional Indian sees it.

    It is possible that this is changing due to increasing awareness and experimentation and dating among young people, although we do not know the exact extent of this change. It might make an interesting study for social behaviorists.

    Like

    • “For the man, it is a hurried, hushed guilty pleasure that he will never explore fully. For the women, it can become a chore, a boring necessity, an obligation, due to socially conditioned repression and lack of sex education. For both, sex is an act that is required to produce kids. This is the absolute traditional Indian view of sex.”

      I think this says it all.

      Like

    • I don’t totally agree with you WSMF. As you live in the USA, it must have struck you that most “love relationships” in the west are not random, but often happen between people of same background/education etc… It seems to me “arranged marriages” in India are an attempt to maintain social harmony. Obviously if you marry someone close to your beliefs and values, you will get less strain than if your marry someone who is totally different from your own background.

      And if people marry young and without previous sexual experience, then I guess ‘”nature” will get her way quickly. Some scientists claim the only goal of life is to produce new life. But I believe the sensual will eventually get to know sensuality, and the repressed to know repression. In the west. If you believe women’s magazines it seems even western women don’t enjoy sexual ecstasy very easily and don’t necessarily tell their partner about their fantasies.

      From my experience (in South India), I have noticed man an wife are not supposed to display marks of affection, so as not to leave other members of family out, but at the same time you can feel there is an unspoken very strong bond between spouses.

      I think women all over the world are as free as their mind are. xxxx

      Like

      • I think you have a rose-tinted view of Indians.

        Dissent and discontent is never voiced openly in Indian Culture. Just because women never express discontent, does it mean that they don’t feel it.

        The sanctity of marriage is held to be above the emotional well-being of both spouses.

        When I was in a bad marriage, I spent two years pretending to the world outside that I was in a happy marriage.

        By then I and my immediate family had realised that the marriage was irrevocably broken, but we could not reveal it to society because of stigma and ostracisation.

        As a non-Indian, you would probably not understand how damaging it is to participate in a charade for the sake of “society” and “family”.

        All humans crave the ability to live authentically and openly. Indians have two lives. One is their real life, full of broken relationships, addictions, abuse, heartbreak and injustice.

        The other life is for public consumption. The abused wife smiles cheerily and hides the reality of bruises and scars.

        The adult survivor of child sexual abuse pretends to be just another carefree college student.

        The rape victim picks herself up, weeps in the privacy of her bedroom, but doesn’t reveal even to her own parents, that the “friendly cousin/neighbour” raped her.

        The alcoholic pretends to be a normal loving father and husband. The family conspires to conceal and ignore the ugly truth of his alcoholism.

        The couple trapped in an unhappy marriage, soldier on in their dysfunctional marriage, living together but being oceans apart emotionally.

        The closeted gay man will seek anonymous, casual sex. He will marry and reproduce like ordinary heterosexual men, but will never muster the courage to confess to anyone, the truth of his sexuality.

        Conservative societies force their members to lead inauthentic, double lives. People suffer alone, in isolation, because of social censure.

        Indian society forces people to hide the imperfections of their all-too-human lives. Anything that mars the happy picture of “loving, traditional families” is swept under the carpet.

        Does that sound like a healthy society to you?

        When you look at Indian families,

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Sex is intertwined with religious ethos in India ! In my religion. There is this arbit term ‘ responsible sex’ – if its premarital its sin so there is no question of exploration at least for women ! Men have porn, ‘friends for convenient consensual sex’ if they want to cultivate such ‘friendships ‘! So yes in a way, once you get married you can jump on the bed and make merry ……consensual, attraction, compatibility be damned !Sex is for procreation for women and men and hedonism for men alone ! Of course,after marriage sexual compatibility doesn’t work then you go for divorce ,remarry blindly again,jump in the bed cycle continues !!!
    For me,repression as such doesn’t really exist in present society for a large majority in India even women ! Since our society is hypocritical about sex , young women these days find their ways !
    I am OK with restrictions on sex at present ,overt or indirect !
    Why ? Because sex ed in young women is absent !! At least relevant sex ed !
    in such scenario,teenage pregnancies if they become epidemic like in the West will be a problem for Indian women ! Teenage pregnancies can’t be handled in our society and they will take Indian women backwards !!
    Highly sexed societies, societies where sex is open freely available are struggling with same problems as us !
    Porn is not helpful if you want your dear son to respect women !
    Inherent control and balanced approach to sex is more required in our culture because of chikni chamelis and fevicols of Bollywood!

    Like

    • I have said it countless times before and I’m going to say it again: Please don’t lump all Western countries together as “The West” and then claim they all have the same problem. While in the U.S. teenage pregnancy is rampant thanks to crappy sex education, many European countries – lincluding mine – are at the bottom of world statistics about teenage pregnancies. In fact, we are far below India in this area. It’s mainly thanks to a rather open atmosphere about sex and the fact that teenage magazines inform teenagers in understandable, non-crass language about contraception and consent. It’s also no big deal to buy condoms in the drug store or even in the supermarket here. I agree with you though that in countries with bad sex education unwanted pregnancies happen all the time. And as many people pointed out before, porn is NO good sex education! It can be fun for adults to watch but should not be the only source for teenagers about sex.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have no empirical data or research to quote, but I have long believed that sexually conservative societies like India unwittingly create a fertile environment for sexual abuse and exploitation.

        It empowers predators and victimises victims further.

        From an Indian perspective, the US is a beacon for sexual, economic and social self-determination.

        We’re a society where even long married couples feel awkward having conversations about sex in the privacy of their own bedroom.

        Like

  10. I think there is natural sexual instincts for every human being or even in the animal kingdom. Not everything needs to be taught or learned. Almost everyone who could conceive had a baby within their first anniversary in my generation and quite happy about it. And as some readers have commented, even I get surprised by how openly many women discuss sex with their friends and associates in their age group. So generally speaking people have enough knowledge about sexuality is my opinion. Most people know how this works as sex is nothing new. It has been around and there is mystery, magic and a lot of good things going for it. So people will get it. We should not under estimate the Indian youth in this matter.

    Regarding sexual life in an arranged marriage – it works okay is my opinion, and I am not including sexual violence of any sort into this generalization. It is probably great for some, average for some and lacking for some. Just as any other aspect of life. This is an important aspect of life but how can you tell before hand. In the west where people find out if they are sexually compatible before they get married, have similar incompatibility issues later on with lots of severe consequences affecting their lives. It is not easy anywhere, just different sets of problems.

    The main issue I see is the street sexual harassment. I feel this may largely be due to certain individuals acting out due to sexual repression. This problem as I understand is quite unique to India and I always wonder the reasons for it being so widespread and why this is not sufficiently addressed.

    Sexual violence, acceptance of non heterosexual preferences and any other sexuality related issues definitely needs to be better understood and we all need more education on that.

    It is very hard to obtain the right balance. In the West where there is too much information readily available, I feel children are burdened with sexuality at a very young age when the brain is not ready to process this information. This can be as bad as too little information. And as they enter into their teen years, there is a lot of pressure to do it. The question frequently asked is – isn’t puberty related to sexuality. Isn’t it natural to have sexual desires right after puberty as these are natural and hormonal. So what is the appropriate age to start having sex. Should you be monogamous, as this means you have to wait till you find your long term partner or get married. Does this mean you are sexually repressed since age 10, 11 or 12 which seems to be the puberty age for girls these days. Is it wrong to control your sexual desires until whatever the appropriate age is. About 100 years ago, a person started their sexual life right after puberty and puberty was at 15 or so. But at 15 you were also considered an adult and life expectancy was half of what it is today. So there are so many questions that children and parents have today. The only answer I have is that sex is an adult thing, with immense mental and physical and financial responsibilities. Another person may have a different response to these questions as there is a wide range of what is acceptable.

    The universities in the West have coed dorms. There is a lot of under age drinking and casual sex. This probably is true in high schools too. There are teen pregnancies in high schools. There are lots of sexually transmitted diseases where now teen agers are given the HPV vaccine as a routine. Sexual liberation has its own set of problems.

    There are so many changes biologically, culturally and the digital world keeps us informed of the good and the bad all over the world. There is so much more personal freedom for the youth today than there ever was. And with freedom comes responsibility and choices have consequences. And I believe the youth today will work it out in their own way.

    These are my perspectives based on my experiences.

    Like

    • If you think that teenage pregnancies and underage drinking and casual sex happens only in the West, you have a lot to learn yet. I started drinking when I was 15, and many of my friends did too. You know what would have helped? Some information on good drinking etiquette and what alcohol is suitable for a person of that age. Not the fact that I hid it from my family.

      I knew at least 4 girls who became pregnant in school before the age of 16, and had abortions. Information on sex would have helped. Parental understanding and acceptance that girls are sexual beings would have helped. Instead, these girls went from pillar to post trying to get the problem solved. Those whose parents came to know thrashed them black and blue. They dealt with depression and a sense of worthlessness. These girls ended up in abusive relationships too. In the end, what would have helped was if parents had been forthcoming about how reproduction works, because one of the girls did not even know what a condom was or how babies were made. It would have helped if the girls felt able to tell their parents about the guys they were dating (who were invariably older and experienced).

      So no, sexual liberation does not ‘have its own set of problems’. That’s a myth. Right to obtain information on your own body and freedom to use this information to make decisions on your own body is a must for any civilised society. It is treating girls as human beings and telling them that even if they mess up, they still have a life to look forward to and a chance to succeed.

      Liked by 2 people

      • By mistake I clicked on thumbs down instead of up.

        Loved this line “even if they mess up, they still have a life to look forward to and a chance to succeed.”

        Will tell you my own experience. In college we had gang of 6 girls. So in our 4th year we all decided that before leaving college we should get some idea what it is all about. So from where we will get idea. We all turned to American pie. From somewhere we downloaded it. But it was not able to answer our curiosity.

        So whats next porn? Who will download it? Nobody wants to do it as there are chance that you can be catched by college IT department. If they catch girls then it will be embarrassment and maybe source of blackmail. So next source is BF aka boyfriend. Boys need all these TB of hard disk for storing this stuff only. But for BF also its an embarrassment to share such videos. Now you have to trick your BF. So some of my friends where able to get some mins with their BFs TB and copied it.

        Now we all are ready for the big moment. We played that on our laptop and within few mins we felt disgusted and some of us felt like vomiting. No issues we gave it a second chance. We were able to watch half of video and we felt disgusted. Thats what we felt about sex. And our partner of this act that is maybe future husband/BF is getting all his knowledge from these disgusting videos.Then what else they are going to learn about respect and consent of women in having sex.

        Most of the boys start watching it when they are in late teens and many girls don’t even watch it in late thirties. And one day both are supposed to jump in a bed and make life.

        What a perfect tragedy.

        Like

        • that is why we have to stop the porn and tell kids as home about bodies,hormones,relationships ,health ,sexuality at its expression.
          Also the purpose of marriage and family.
          This would be healthy if every boy and girl could talk at home about it.
          We also have to go against female body objectification by the media,
          and capitalists.

          Like

      • Everything that happens anywhere else in the world happens in India too.What is needed is to remove the stigma and taboo on sex, so that people might accept whatever happens b/w boys and girls as natural and not shameful and definitely not something that can be used to victimize someone further. I read Kamasutra at 14, but skimming through the comments it looks like many kids may not be well informed. So proper education about the subject is key. While teaching about contraception, maybe the notion of consent can also be taught.

        Like

    • You know which country has the highest number of “teenage pregnancies”? India. The only difference is that most teenage mothers in India are married, which makes it worse in my opinion.

      At least Western societies condemn teenage pregnancies and try their best to minimise them.

      We, on the other hand, see nothing wrong in pushing young, adolescent girls headlong into marriage and motherhood. Great Indian Culture and all that, you know.

      I’m tired of hearing unfounded claims that Western societies are worse off because of sexual permissiveness and a willing to air their dirty laundry.

      An adult survivor of sexual abuse can find avenues to heal in the West. They can join support groups, push for advocacy and greater awareness and not feel stigma because they were victims of CSA.

      How do we treat victims of sexual abuse in India? We shame them, silence them, ostracise them and judge them.

      Just because sexual exploitation is swept under the carpet doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in India.

      Western societies are less defensive about the existence of sexual exploitation. They acknowledge it’s existence, then take measures to combat it?

      Indian society turns a blind eye to the existence of sexual abuse of any kind. We live in denial and choose to shame and silence victims of any sexual crime.

      In my opinion, we become enablers of crime because we turn a blind eye to it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • @Ps. I’m a westerner and I like your view about the west. My view is that sexual education by institutions is generally good, but I see that really each individual must go through a difficult phase, the transition between childhood and adulthood, and nothing can make this transition easy. Kids are anxious about it, parents are anxious about it. As adults we can only give kids bits of relevant information with loving kindness and cross our fingers – and give support if things go wrong, what do we know after all❤

      Like

  11. the feminist want to rebel and break the back of the present system as they suffered in it.but for the pareto equation for 20% sufferers we cannot break it for the remaining 80%.The arrange marriage system and sexual norms needs reforms not bye-bye.
    1)Pre marital celibacy should be there for both sexes not just women.Woman should campaign for this starting from their own house.
    2)A woman’s no should be respected by men.
    3)Woman should stop trading sex in marriage for perks
    4)Couples should never be forced to marry any one they don’t like.
    5) extended family should give couple space to express each physically
    6)Caste should not be a deciding factor in marriage
    7)There should be discussion about sex ,relationships and responsibilities in families with kids and degrading porn should be regulated.
    i always see some people on this blog always play the victim.That the present system is bad we need to abandon it to get relief.We need to clean the house and not burn it

    Like

    • 1. Why? As long as its consensual & preferably safe, how does virginity affect society?

      2. Yes, but that means seeing women as equal human beings. Which is what feminism is about. Subjugating women is one of the building blocks of great arranged marriage system that you’re striving to protect.

      3. Define “perks”.

      4, 5, 6 & 7 are all important, defining points of the current system. Without these the current system simply does not exist. So how is your “reform” any different from the “breaking” that all of us poor,victimised and bitter women are referring to?

      And considering that most if not all women suffer in this system your percentage of sufferers should be closer to 50%.
      (maybe a little lesser, because of skewed sex ratios. Because of female infanticide. Which is again done mostly so that the parents dont have to bear the burden of a dowry for the arranged marriage.)

      Like

    • “The feminist want to rebel and break the back of the present system as they suffered in it.but for the pareto equation for 20% sufferers we cannot break it for the remaining 80%.”

      First, tell me how you got this figure of 80-20 from? Women who are not rebelling have been institutionalised, or are not in any position to break out. And quite apart from your statistics being false, a civilised society must strive towards complete freedom for EVERY INDIVIDUAL. If your 80% wants to remain in shackles, they can then CHOOSE to do so, while we 20% will break free without having to face stupid social consequences. So yes, let’s break the system and see for yourself how many CHOOSE to remain in these shackles. Those who want to remain in the old system can always choose to do so. The rest will break free.

      “Pre marital celibacy should be there for both sexes not just women.Woman should campaign for this starting from their own house.”

      Why? Two adults can decide whether they want to be celibate or not. It’s nothing to do with anyone else. Why is the onus of this brilliant campaign on the women? What about people who don’t want to get married at all? What about gays and lesbians and transsexuals?

      “A woman’s no should be respected by men.”

      How do you think men will develop this attitude if women’s individuality is not respected by society?

      “Woman should stop trading sex in marriage for perks”

      That will only happen when women achieve 100% equality in society, and equal rights at workplace, equal rights to work in whatever profession they want. First, stop telling women what they can or cannot do in life, stop telling them that their primary purpose in life is to get married and have children, stop telling them that they cannot work in certain fields, stop telling them that they cannot network and form long-lasting business relationships, then come back and spout this nonsense, because that’s just what it is.

      “Couples should never be forced to marry any one they don’t like.”

      Again, as long as the reins are in the hands of other people than the two people getting married, there will always be cases of couples being forced to marry. When to marry, how to marry, whom to marry, all will be decided by the owner of the piece of property known as the ‘bride’.

      “Extended family should give couple space to express each physically.”

      Ditto as above.

      “Caste should not be a deciding factor in marriage.”

      Agreed. But arranged marriage is the greatest enabler of caste in this country today. Unless we break the system, this is not going to disappear. Anyone who thinks arranged marriages can be continued and still break the caste system, is living in an utopian dream world

      “There should be discussion about sex ,relationships and responsibilities in families with kids and degrading porn should be regulated.”

      Agreed.

      “i always see some people on this blog always play the victim.That the present system is bad we need to abandon it to get relief.We need to clean the house and not burn it”

      Because people on this blog are victims of patriarchy. Don’t try to shut us up or silence our voices.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1)The celibacy thing came as a response to a lot of feminists only saying all restrictions are on boys not on girls.So i do believe in equality.i feel that sex is a powerful experience and sharing with a close long term partner is to be encouraged but not enforced.that is why i said that point.For those who think the other way please experiment for a few years and share it.
        2)arranged marriage with parental introduction and couples decision can work.
        All parties in society have to make a little sacrifice to clean it up.Anger ,ego and frustration never gave us anything in history. Working,talking to others and may be prayers have done wonders.

        Like

        • 1)”i feel that sex is a powerful experience and sharing with a close long term partner is to be encouraged but not enforced.”
          So why assume that only marriage can make someone qualify as a long term partner? Also, why assume that everyone else has the same opinion of sex as you do?
          Typically in arranged marriages, even though you may have spoken to your partner for only two weeks, you are expected to consummate within a month after the marriage. So this is is your definition of a “long term partner”? Someone you barely know,but are stuck with for the rest of your life?

          2)”arranged marriage with parental introduction and couples decision can work.”
          Why exactly do we need “parental introduction?” Why cant you simply find someone on your own?

          Like

    • You do realise, don’t you, that caste is the bed-rock of arranged marriages?

      In the arranged marriage system, having the same caste is a prerequisite, not just a “good to have”.

      Like

      • No neha i was given freedom by my parents to select any girl’s shaadi.com profile as long as she was an indian. Two of my male friends negotiated the same with parents .It all depends on us .Our parents want best for us.
        I just want to say that arranged marriage is not a bad thing some here make it feel like the worst thing to happen to a girl.Yes .i do understand a girl’s limitations in being intimate with an unknown man.
        So girls have to talk to their fiancee’s and many men are waiting even months to come that close.
        The thing is there is difference between arranged marriage and forced marriages.
        we have to eliminate the forced marriage.:)

        Like

        • I have no empirical data or research to quote, but I have long believed that sexually conservative societies like India unwittingly create a fertile environment for sexual abuse and exploitation.

          It empowers predators and victimises victims further.

          From an Indian perspective, the US is a beacon for sexual, economic and social self-determination.

          We’re a society where even long married couples feel awkward having conversations about sex in the privacy of their own bedroom.

          Like

        • I had typed a long comment but could not submit it. My phone decided to go to the previous page just as was about to submit it.

          I don’t have the patience to write it again.

          All I wanted to say is that I had an arranged marriage. I discovered within weeks of marrying, that I was just a subservient slave in my husband’s family.

          I was expected to change everything about myself to gain their approval, tolerate the disrespect shown to my parents and myself and be eternally grateful to my husband for marrying me and giving me the opportunity to “enjoy” subservience, disrespect and loss of basic human rights.

          Like many families, my ex-husband’s family expected me to take permission before making even a phone call to my parents.

          No, they weren’t illiterate villagers. My ex-husband had a PHD from a top British university.

          Not all families are like my ex-husband’s family.

          My problem with the arranged marriage system is that it doesn’t allow people to uncover fraud or obfuscation.

          There is a high degree of concealment of vital facts in an arranged marriage.

          It’s easy to fool or trick people. Thirtyfive years ago,my own extended family tricked a woman into marrying a man who had mild mental retardation.

          She had a master’s degree and she found herself married to a man who could not finish college.

          Divorce was unthinkable, so she made her peace and accepted it “as her lot in life”.

          In my extended family, I know many women who have been victims of arranged marriages thst have turned out to be abusive.

          One of my aunts is married to a man who is violent even after 35 years of marriage. She’s accepted it “as her destiny”

          Society gives such women no exit options. My problem with arranged marriages is that the onus of “making it work” is always on the woman.

          Nobody criticises the man for being a bad husband. Nobody hauls up the in-laws for being controlling and abusive. Why?

          Liked by 2 people

  12. Pingback: Please watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha – where a man is asked to Please adjust and save his marriage. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  13. Pingback: The video is speaking against the acceptance of rape, acid attacks, honor killings, forced marriages etc that are viewed as normal ‘Consequences’ for women. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  14. Pingback: “I’m baffled that Indians (not just men) truly think that virtue stems from being sexually chaste.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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