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Let’s Reject The Belief That A Woman Owning Her Sexuality Is A Slut, But Entitled Men Can Be Dudes

Posted: March 17, 2020

We expect women to be willing objects of desire for men, but expect them to deny their own sexuality, wanting them to be ‘pure’. That’s isn’t fair!

You are a ‘Sati Savitri’, ‘a sex bomb’ or a ‘whore’…When you put a woman into any of these categories, you deny the essential aspects of who she is … You make her all about just one thing –

Her Body!
Her Sexuality!
Her Sexual desire!

Ok for men to want sex, but what about women?

Society’s point of view is that men are ‘designed to want sex’, while women are ‘designed to withhold it’, which is completely untrue. Just like men, women have a natural and healthy desire to be sexual. However, because of influences from both society and family, many women are less likely to reveal their sexual desire.

The idea that sex exists primarily to ‘fulfill a man’s needs’ still lurks somewhere in women’s psyches, making equality, trust, and self-respect difficult to achieve. That a woman has to do it for him, give him pleasure, but somehow shouldn’t be able to take it, that a woman can’t ‘ask for physical pleasure’ is deeply rooted in every woman’s (and man’s) mind.

Statistical data makes this belief seem even more true. 83 million women use the emergency pill as contraceptive compared to 16 million men using condom, a five to one ratio.

Entitlement of men

Men have learned in our society that that sex with a woman is their entitlement. For a man, sleeping with a lot of women can be a point of pride. For a woman, it’s a point of shame. Don’t you agree these are contradictions and double standards?

Why is it considered shameful for a woman to be sexual?

Women assess their body and their sexuality through men’s eyes. They want to please. It’s sometimes like “My breasts are perfect… I love them but I like to wear a padded underwired bra to enhance them and make them look more sexy for my boyfriend.” Many women also follow a health care regime, diet and hit the gym just to feel more desirable to men, not really for their own health.

Culture, Society etc.

We live in a world where our culture persists in sending women mixed messages about their sexuality.

We want women to be objects of sexual desire, yet we expect them to be pure. We ask them to own their sexuality, but deny them easy access to birth control. Women who’ve taken an equal position to men in acknowledging their sexual nature are often accused of being ‘easy’ or ‘manipulative’.

As a woman you are not supposed to express your sexuality to the extent men do. You should hold yourself back. Don’t express your sexual need. Even if it’s okay for him to say, let’s do it, you shouldn’t.

Sex and sexuality have been terribly mixed up with being good or being bad without any reasoned discussion.

When women can’t claim their bodies

For many women, becoming a mother and shifting her focus onto her children can further interfere with her desire for her partner. Society feeds into this notion, indicating to women that now that they are a mother, it’s no longer appropriate to be sexual.

If you are cut off from such an essential feeling, you become less alive and less you. When a woman gives up her sexuality, she sacrifices an essential part of who she is. It’s not just about having sex, but about being acknowledged, and the acknowledgement of her full self, her physicality, and her wants.

The question of ‘sanskaar’

Unlike anywhere in the world, pre-modern India celebrated the sensuous bodily form. But changing time, things and discussions related to the body and sex have become a taboo.

Parents impose their own moral, religious or personal views toward sex onto their children, and this is particularly the case with girls. Little girls are taught to hide or repress their physical selves. Everyone from their parents to their peers may be sending them the message that being sexual is synonymous with being a slut.

Taking about sexuality with daughters

Developing breast, hips, body hair, menstruation happen in a barren, desolate, and often confusing landscape. The only sexual conversation happens with a girl (which can’t even be termed as a sexual conversation) is when she gets her first periods. And it goes like, “It happens to all, now you are grown up, live carefully.”

Teaching children, with words or examples, that sex is shameful, dirty, or not to be talked about, leaves an impression that is hard to outgrow.

We have to make bodies scared again. Healthy sexuality should be about consent, and a woman should freely and comfortably choose whether or not to engage in a sexual activity.

Let the divine be divine, and her choice …

First published here.

Image source: a screenshot from the film The Dirty Picture

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