A digital magazine on sexuality, based in the Global South: We are working towards cultivating safe, inclusive, and self-affirming spaces in which all individuals can express themselves without fear, judgement or shame
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CategoriesHuman Rights and SexualityVoices

When Pleasure And Pain Are Confused With Basic Rights

This is my story, very much a personal one, and probably the first of many more. I am sure many people might be confused with what has been put out here, but I am going to talk about it anyway. After all, sexuality and human experiences vary hugely from person to person.

Though I come from a very conservative family, being open about female masturbation and watching porn didn’t seem to bother me. Yes, people have oohed and aahed at me for being so. I am still the same, proudly.

Growing up, I was always this ‘good girl’ in people’s eyes – in the family, at school and at college too. The nerd who always aced exams and competitions. A bookworm, shy and introverted, I was usually miles away from boys, not that it was a conscious choice. But I was also the one who thoroughly enjoyed erotic literature, erotic art, romance, etc. So, probably from my early teenage years itself, the idea of embracing one’s sexuality, sexual preference, fantasies and kinks, fetishes, etc seemed totally healthy to me. Not once did my mind find fault with the idea of being open and authentic about one’s sexual choices, and homosexuality or bisexuality sounded perfectly fine. These ideas and opinion never changed and never will for me, though I still feel I haven’t yet completely explored my sexual side.

As smooth as my academic and professional life were, I did cross paths with a couple of individuals, and at 23, I married my then partner who was a couple of years older. It was sometime around this stage that things changed a bit for me. Something about being submissive in bed appealed to me, and I wanted to be controlled with a bit of BDSM and to ‘play’ in bed. I never felt like there was anything to be ashamed of about it, neither did I hesitate to communicate it to my partner. A healthy sex life always includes the freedom to experiment, gives room to understanding the deeper sides of one’s peculiar wants and desires, that in turn explain volumes about the person’s childhood and core character (thanks to Freud and Alain de Botton).

Little did I expect that not everyone understands sex or freedom of expression in the bedroom the same way as I did. A rather disgusting and unfortunate chain of events (mainly unrelated to our sex lives) led to bitterness in our marriage and things turned toxic within a few months. As a result, today I am freshly divorced, more emotionally independent, more open to addressing marital issues, and much more open to talking about the lives of women in our country, and don’t believe in having to brush any details under the carpet. But now that I look back, I do notice how bizarre things look when the sexual side of a person is confused with their social or emotional side. I can’t help but have noticed that when one’s social or public personality outside their intimate space is completely different from what it is inside, it takes a very thoughtful and emotionally stable partner to see and understand the almost invisible and messy boundaries. Though I am unsure how much of a role this played in the failure of my marriage, I cannot say that it didn’t either. Would I want couples to understand the issue in a deeper sense? Yes.

Does a woman who longs for domination and BDSM in bed believe in independence and freedom in day-to-day life? A big loud YES! And I don’t see why anyone should be surprised by it, but in an intimate relationship it does need to be communicated well and handled well. With time I’ve grown to be someone who never refuses to ask for what I rightfully deserve, both at home and in society. Though an otherwise silent and reserved person, I’ve always stood first in line to question any injustice or misbehaviour towards women, or anyone for that sake, in the workplace and at home too.

I believe that a woman (or any individual, of course) has a right to be heard and to be treated just like every other human being, and this includes her right to financial freedom, freedom to explore a career of her choice, freedom to decide when to marry or have children, freedom to decide whether to terminate or keep her unwanted pregnancy, and yes, freedom to explore herself sexually too. If I long to be dominated and controlled in bed, it does not and will never imply that I want the same in life outside of it. I am still a strong independent person, obviously, psychologically, very much a ‘normal’ human being, running after my other aims and ambitions in life, just like everyone else. Except that I tend to find it a bit difficult to deal with male chauvinism.

“You watch nude scenes in Game of Thrones, that’s why you want sex.” Hmmm…No.

“You like your hair being pulled in bed but you don’t let me grab you in public?” Yes!

“You let someone talk dirty to you in bed but expect respect and dignity otherwise” Duh! Yes!

“You let me blindfold you in bed but won’t let me choose your career for you?” Yes!

“You write erotic poetry on your blog but I don’t get to ask about your sex life?” Absolutely.

“You like being handcuffed in bed but demand an equal say in family decisions?” Yes, always.

These are just to mention a few. And I’d be lying if I said I am not surprised I had to face these lines and put up with them.

I do believe that every woman has to be given abundant access to her fundamental rights, she deserves as much respect as everyone else in the family or society irrespective of the choices she makes in her personal life, including her decisions on when to get married, when to have kids, where to work, etc. Even in the little things like what to wear and what to name her newborn. If these are issues we talk about openly, then let us not hesitate to talk about respecting her sexual choices and intimate fantasies too.

I understand that to a sexually uninitiated mind, BDSM and masochism may be hard to understand, as is the difference between sexual wants and social needs. But it doesn’t take much to look into the science behind sexual kinks and their importance in a healthy romantic and sexually active relationship. And it won’t take much research or maturity to see that a woman who lets you be her Master behind closed doors, strongly means it when she demands contraception or protected sex or doesn’t let her in-laws decide when she’ll bear a child.

Let’s celebrate women who embrace their sexual sides,women who are not embarrassed about their intimate desires and kinks, who are fearless in asking for what they want and deserve, and also every man who lets a woman be her true authentic self in bed and appreciates the beauty of everything that is a part of her identity.

 

Cover Image: Pixabay

Article written by:

I am Micky Nair, 26, an MBBS graduate studying to be a psychiatrist. I love English literature, enjoy painting occasionally, and have an obsession for house plants and gardening. I have a special admiration for Paulo Coelho, Cecelia Ahern and Dan Brown. I find honesty and mindful insight beautiful.

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