Iss mein kya sharm? How I learned to have sex without shame

Ananyaa Bhowmik
intimate couple on bed

But sex is just for babies!

What I am about to tell you might sound outrageous, hysterical, impossible, because you will not want to believe that a girl is “shamelessly” having sex; and I’ll tell you why.

It’s a huge taboo in our conservative society; don’t you think so, too? Women and sex? They don’t go together at all. Well then, how do you think we women have babies? We have to have sex for that, but that’s exactly where the taboo starts. We should have sex only for babies, not for pleasure.

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School wasn’t very helpful

Like every other child, I got introduced to sex or “sexual intercourse” through my seventh grade biology book. I was randomly reading some chapters in the book (biology is my first love) and I happened to come upon it and was I fascinated by it. So many organs, so many functions just to have babies. Nature is so complex. I went to my father to ask questions about it, and that’s when he slapped me, saying I shouldn’t be asking him such questions. I went to my mother. She evaded every question I had; but unlike other biology teachers, mine was there for me when I had these doubts.

The books never explained the penetration part (I guess it was implied, as if a 13-year-old would just “get what it implied’). My teacher was so very helpful. She explained everything in detail. So I understood this, a man enters his penis in a woman, rocks to and fro, some chemicals mixed and bam! Nine months later a baby was born. She never got around to orgasms, because I didn’t know they existed. Books didn’t talk about it and all my knowledge relied on them.

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Paulo Coelho taught me about masturbation

I used to read a lot, I still do. Novels provided me with reprieve from a lot of trouble. They taught me a lot, too. From places I couldn’t dream of visiting to visiting my own body. I read a book called Eleven Minutes, by Paulo Coelho. I was in the twelfth grade when I read it. The book mesmerised me. It talked about so many “inappropriate” things. I loved it.

The book mesmerised me. It talked about so many “inappropriate” things. I loved it.

There was a segment where the protagonist discovers her body’s magic through masturbation. I did the same as she did and I don’t ever regret it. I reached a point where I had seemed to black out and felt like I was floating. My first orgasm. I learnt a lot about my body from then on.

A few months later in college, girls were talking about it and they thought that it was so “yucky” to penetrate yourself like we have nothing better to do. They made it sound like a crime, and I started feeling ashamed and guilty. It affected me in a different way. I realised I should have read other books about masturbation before just consulting a novel about it.

Then I met Andre

In my fourth year (I was a medical college student), I met Andre. He was an intern there. I sought his advice for guidance about the internship next year. He knew a lot, told me about prospects other than being just a doctor. He was nice. We clicked. So he asked me out and we went on dates. I enjoyed his company a lot. We both started liking each other and we both disliked labels. Technically I had a boyfriend, but I didn’t like saying that. However, I was happy, that I was dating someone as well. Someone who wasn’t a jerk.

So my friends and I talked about boys, booze and drugs. When we started talking about sex, everyone got awkward. No one liked talking about it. For them, sex still was something to have babies with, not a tool for pleasure. It was wrong. I still felt guilty, but something came over me. I had pleasure when I explored myself. It wasn’t mystical like some unicorn. It was for real. I understood that if it did exist and if it made me feel so satisfied, it could not be wrong to want it more. It was like chocolate; once you have it, savoured it, you crave it, too.

Related reading: Do women crave masturbation as much as men?

It hit me then, that you can have sex just for pleasure

Andre and I had regular make-out sessions, but just that. We never took it any further. Once when we did, he explored my body so very gently. He made me feel at home. And then it hit me, sex doesn’t have to be after marriage at all, it doesn’t have to be about babies. What if the husband doesn’t understand your body like this person? How could I let go a chance at pleasure? Sex can be right in that moment, with the person you want to do it with – captivated, entwined. Nothing is wrong about wanting something that is real. So I did have sex with Andre. It was a beautiful experience.

Since that day, I learned so many things. I learned that gynaecologists view clitoris as nothing but a vestigial skin protuberance (what an irony!) That society thinks women shouldn’t be allowed to have sex before marriage, that it was wrong, that its people will make up any statements just so that their kids can conform to their certain contorted “sense of morality”. I learned that to feel the need for sex was equal to blasphemy.

But I learned to have sex without shame. It always felt right, felt good. Why should I have shame when I accepted pleasure and ecstasy as real, just because others don’t think it exists?

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