Imasha Costa – Editor of Arts and Literature for the UCC Express, lets us in on what it is like exploring the world of sexuality and masturbation as a young woman in a culture that says no.
This should get me berated by my own community, as I am technically not allowed to talk about it in public. When you grow up under an enforced traditional South Asian mindset, the topic of sex was always a hushed and dusted away topic that should not be mentioned, and should be kept under a tight lid at all times.
This lid is still there to this day, still present within the new generation of young communities -Millennials and Generation Z communities. You could say that there are those that have not been formed by these mindsets and that do have a different opinion when it comes to sex. That wouldn’t be untrue. But when it comes to the issues of sex, we are still haunted by the spectre of traditional conservative notions, no matter how modern we are. It’s not an easy thing to break down patriarchal dominance.
All casual sex and masturbation are big taboos within the community, and it is difficult to receive a proper sex education that allows us to understand what drives a woman’s body or anyone’s body. It took me years to finally understand my body and know that my clitoris was what actually gave me an orgasm. All that I remember growing up about the mention of sex, was ‘if you do it before marriage, you might get pregnant and then bring shame to the family name.’ I remember not asking further questions and resorting to keeping my thoughts to myself. I could not even bring up the word “female masturbation” because women were not allowed to get off by themselves, and they shouldn’t feel as much pleasure as a man would. Sex was something a man did, to a woman. Something that lingers within my own culture and community is the idea that men can get away with whatever they want; have casual sex, jerk off, etc, but the women, oh the women, had to remain as innocent virgins who did not rebel against cultural traditions.
Having questions that I knew my mother could not answer because it would be wrong to talk about such things made me resort to learning about what sex was through blog posts, porn, and smut. These were my portals to understanding how sexuality worked. These various, sometimes contradictory, sometimes dangerous and sometimes informative sources were my teachers. I deserved better.
As an ‘opinionated’ South Asian woman, I have been told that I am more ‘westernized’ rather than belong to my own community. I remember when I first wrote about my own sexual experiences and how my community went after me for expressing how I felt when I was getting it on with a lad, I got so much hate towards my own being. People were asking, ‘who is this girl to bring shame to her family?’ Because clearly as a woman, I belong to my family, my community, my country, I cannot possibly exist independently from the ownership of others. I was not allowed to have my own choice, have my own saying in who I want to sleep with. It was absolutely ridiculous.
I am not exclusively shitting my culture – she has given me so much that I am grateful for. I will berate the patriarchy wherever I see it though, and there is a patriarchy that consumes it. I happen to want to have casual sex whenever I want to, and enjoy my morning masturbation. My body is mine and mine alone, and as long as I am not doing any harm between the four walls, I do not need to be judged about what happens in my own bedroom.
So to my South Asian women, screw the patriarchal dominance that still lingers with us, and has derogatory terms thrown at us for wanting to seek a good time. If you want to have casual sex, go for it; want to invest a vibrator, do it! You are not shaming your family’s name, and you are not rebelling against them. Instead, you are making your own choices.
Have fun and be safe!