Sexuality in India and Sunny Leone


Credits: eventznu.com
Sunny Leone visited Kerala, God’s own country, on 17 August 2017 and was overwhelmed to see the population on the streets. She was touched by the love they showed her!! We know it wasn’t love!!! Forbidden lust, more like it! For a person who reads the Newspaper only for the crossword and Sudoku, astrology forecasts and comic strips, this huge event was missed. Recently however, while wrapping something in a newspaper, the image of a crowd and Sunny Leone’s name appeared with my very own Kochi written on it! I delved into the matter. I checked her out on Wikipedia and I am impressed! So much so that I am writing a blog of a nearly taboo subject, especially for a woman, while my sixteen year old son walks in and raises an eyebrow after reading the title. I had to shut down and shoo him away while he gave me an amused smile.  


Credits: Hindustan Times
My mind began working overtime wondering how hypocrisy entered our lives. I write this again, in the Indian context. There is so much moral policing in our country and we cannot help wondering how people can be so nasty when girls are clad in western wear and seen in pubs but can spend hours on porn and can idolize Sunny, the Sex Goddess; a porn star turned movie actor in “Bollywood” with even a biopic on her life, in the making. After having married and adopting a child she is now a role model and a social activist. It reminds me of ‘The Godfather’; Don Corleone family becomes legitimate. Only, they cleaned up their deeds over generations hiding the traces of their gory past while she has done so under everyone’s nose. Kudos to her! No skeletons in her closet!

Let’s take a quick look of what might have happened in a country that was sexually progressive.

India thrives on folklore. Our scriptures and a lot of our history have been passed through word of mouth for ages before they got converted into written texts. Due to this reason for a layman to describe an event of the past is daunting because there are so many versions and the dates seldom match accurately. I take the liberty to write what I have heard and read in bits and pieces- from what I believe to be logical enough. Truth be told, I have read matter which negates almost everything I have to say!
Credits: ebay.com
Well, one such story begins like this. A kingdom in central India was ruled by a King where most of his subjects were influenced by Buddhism and Jainism. Celibacy seemed to be an increasingly accepted norm. One day a naked lady walks into the courtroom with open hair and in distress. She asks the king for justice. She was after all his subject too. When the shocked king asked her what the problem was she said that no man had satisfied her and she needed to be. “Is there any one in your kingdom who can satisfy me or do I spend my days like this?” The court remained silent. Then one man walked in and said, “I can satisfy her.” The man led the woman out and finally the woman came back, clad and poised and thanked the King. The man was summoned by the King who believed that this man could finally put an end to celibacy and lack of procreation that had plagued the kingdom. This man then set out to write his pearls of wisdom in what the world knows as “Kamasutra”, he being none other than Vatsyayana.


Credits: culturetrip.com
While it is undisputed that Vatsyayana did write this ancient Sanskrit text there are many biographies which state that he was a religious student in Banaras and a celibate monk, in which case the above story would not hold good. However, the fact that Khajuraho temples and other such temples came about to counter the celibate tendencies that were prevalent due to Buddhism and Jainism has been mentioned.

Coming back to the Kama sutra which is considered a book on sexual positions and almost pornographic but actually isn’t so. The book, meant for both men and women, talks about the Hindu way of life. It talks about Dharma (religion), Artha (Economy), Kama (sexual pleasure) and Moksha (the ultimate goal). When the first three are controlled by disciplining one’s senses, the fourth and final goal may be achieved.

This write up isn’t about the text though! It is about sexuality in modern day India; men vis-à-vis women.  The subject in itself is vast and I am barely scratching at the periphery. All I am talking about is the glaring difference in accepting a woman’s need without eyebrows being raised to that of a man. Typically, any woman who broaches the subject is “frustrated and not getting enough”. Putting myself at risk (for that is what I am doing!) I bravely continue the blog!

Well, historians say that texts on the subjects existed before Kama sutra and Indian society was liberal. Polygamy and polyandry did exist though mostly seen in nobility. Homosexuality and unnatural sex also existed in various forms whether or not they were popular. The bottom line, however, was mutual respect. There was consent on both sides, whatever sides they were. Nothing was forced on anybody, male or female. This changed with the advent of the invaders- Muslim invaders and European invaders. With their coming in and their religions spreading, things began to get a lot more conservative and more so for the visibly weaker sex, women! Sexuality was suppressed and slowly and steadily, the liberalism that existed was done away for good. Matriarchal society still saw a bit more openness but overall, things were done more and more under wraps, without consent and by force. The western world which remained very strict during the Victorian era underwent a transformation. The Hippie culture inspired by their interpretation of Indian liberalism freed them while we reached the heights of conservativeness. We needed “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Santa Barbara” to find ourselves and our sexual openness!!

There is no sex education in India for women, or men, for that matter. Men access porn even if they don’t get a formal education. A woman would cringe at the thought of buying a copy of the Kama sutra. The movie “Queen” was exceedingly popular and the theatre was in splits when she buys sex toys for her family not knowing they were sex toys. Honestly, how many of us do know what those things are used for? There are many women who don’t know what it means to have an orgasm or climax. Dare you ask them, they’d die!

Human beings or Homo sapiens belong to the animal kingdom. Our natural instincts are the same as that of animals. Our superior brain is what is responsible for the building of society and placing so many rules and regulations which curb our basic nature. The Id, Ego and Super ego explained by Freud are all manmade. It makes us superior and more organized but we are always under threat of becoming animal like due to excessive repressed feelings.

Instances of women straying are on the rise now. A lot of movies have been made that show a woman’s need is as important as that of a man. The movies “Aastha” and “Astitva” bring this out beautifully but I doubt these movies had a wide audience.
Credits: in.pinterest.com
Credits: amazon.com
  
Making love and sensual pleasures are very personal. The idea is not loud discussions and screaming for attention but a broad minded society that allows equality in all aspects. It should be a choice for both, not pleasure for one and punishment for the other.

Last of all, I must let you know that I admire Sunny Leone- not for her pretty face or lovely body but for her guts and more than that her acceptance of herself. She never made a sob story. She is honest about who she is with no apologies. She is comfortable in her own skin. Do you think her journey would have been easy? No way! A “slut” is not a happy word. It is used in the most derogatory way. When she started out, there would have been many lows. Her family would’ve been aghast. Being in Canada would have been easier than India but none of it would have been a walk in the park. And today, look at her fan following, here, in India. 




Credits: Pinterest.com
The double standards need to stop. All of us have desires and it is okay to own up. Just because a woman says she has needs doesn’t mean she is available to all and sundry. She gets to choose. In every sphere we need mutual respect and in something as special and personal as sex or love making, mutual consent is a MUST. It is also freedom of expression, don’t you agree?     

Comments

  1. Interesting... Bold and open article... Actually ancient India was more open than what we r today... We r open in a different context now.. Totally deviated... Sex education is only for quoting.. We r hypocrites and it will take ages to see a world free of double standards... Nice written.. Lots of love

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    1. I agree it will take a while but the trend has begun...there will be a lot of chaos too but I believe we will get there...thank you :)

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  2. YOU ARE AWESOME GIRL. LOVED EVERY BIT OF YOUR BLOG. Big fan. You wrote on the subject that still is fodder for gossip mongers. Kudos to you. Ancient texts boast of liberal outlook to life, but as they say, is history. Today we so called modern people, who talk of liberty, equality, fraternity in blogs, magazines, social forums, 'kitty party" etc become so daunted by the very person who personifies all that. I have been a mute witness of an independent woman being shunned because every now and then she picked a glass of whiskey. Hypocrisy is the second name of our MODERN outlook. Anu, keep writing from your heart. It's a great pleasure to read your words. But then, I've already said that!

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    1. Thank you so much...yes, a woman drinking alcohol is still seen with eyebrows raised....almost synonymous with loose character but again it is a wee bit better than before...Women have a long way to go, I agree, but the awareness is increasing...and it should!

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  3. I couldn't have said it better and would have expected no less from you Anu !

    (As I've said before, there's a reason we are friends calling/meeting inertia notwithstanding �� )

    Mini

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  4. Yet another brilliant piece... well written dear... loved it... keep writing.

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  5. BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL.... Needless to say.... Brilliant piece as usual... Luv

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  6. Brilliant...i must say.... Enjoyed reading every bit of it... Very bold n beautifully written....keeping writing.. Love you

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  7. We Indians r biggest hypocrites...though things r changing but still a long way to go...I agree with you Anu word by word... beautifully honestly written..

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    1. Hypocrisy exists everywhere when it comes to women but yes as Indians are pretty happy with their double standards!! Thank you so very much... :)

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  8. I couldn't have put it better. I'm glad you chose a topic that most of us would be skeptical to tread on. I love your simple, honest, bold writing - not hiding facts and thoughts under flowery language. And it was refreshing to read about something that nobody writes about - but sometimes putting yourself and your thoughts our there can be rewarding - like in this post. It's wonderful to have something so well written to read at bedtime - completes my day. Keep writing. Can't wait for the next one! Always a huge fan of your work!

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    1. Thank you Devyani...I was in two minds too...it is easy to have a discussion but when you put in down in words, there is so much more you want to say but many things are left unsaid...

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  9. As much as we all admire n love sunny leone ;) n wouldn't mind being in her shoes ;);)... For her "guts.... Self acceptance... N the way she conquered her tough journey in life..." i wonder how many of us (moms n dads) would honestly like her to be a role model for our kids n let them follow her footsteps. ..... Hahaha ... I'm a hypocrite.... I wouldn't allow it for sure....
    Think about it !!! I guess some ideologies have been grilled in so deep that no matter how much we accept it... N says it's OK.... It always ends up giving u goosebumps.... N is so hard to accept wholeheartedly.
    I love ur blogs Anu... Truly musings while unlearning ... Hugs to u ... We are a confused generation

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    1. :D Well, it isn't about making her a role model but we can learn from her to be proud of who we are. This is not about that though..on one hand she draws such a large crowd of admirers but if a few girls go to the pub, they are beaten up...so many little incidents like this have happened in the past. You are right about ours being a confused generation but I hope we don't pass it on. A friend asked me after reading the blog whether I have thought about why we are getting so conservative...she answered it to perfection...middle class morality...middle class has grown tremendously in our country, more so in the last decade and from it stems the middle class morality (which was only known to me as Henry Higgins' judging of Alfred Doolittle's character). We want it but "hawww" we don't want it... ;)

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    2. Well the last line of Henry Higgins' judgement sums it all up :)

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  10. Finally... You are entering the risqué territory and I absolutely loved it!!!! :) Call it middle class morality... Call it double standards.. call it bigotry.. call it sexism.. call it prejudice.. call it by whichever name one wants.. it is sadly a blatant truth staring us straight in the face!
    Sadly we live in a society where we are happy to pass a moral judgement on Sunny Leone and porn.. but are more than happy to enjoy watching it in private and enjoy it.
    Can't help but agree with a good friend of mine who says.. Live and let live... Not just lip service! ;)

    Keep the blogs flowing.....

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    1. I'd like to believe that things will change...I just hope we are around to see it. Do watch some filmelon videos on face book...very positive snippets, some of them...Thank you Jiji for your encouragement always :)

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  11. Beautifully written...straight to the point...just the way its meant to be...

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  12. This is a very well presented and expressed blog!!! So keep it up.
    Age appropriate, sex education programmes to be introduced to students along with parents through school authorities or subject specialist groups.What do you say?

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    1. Thank you so much...that too would help in breaking the taboo...

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