" Play well....and don't don't forget to tell us every detail of how it was , ok? " the sisters and friends all asked her before ushering her into her room adorned with flowers, where her just married husband was waiting . She had been married for only 48 hours, and as is the custom in Bengal , this was the Suhag Raat or the night of the 'Phool-Shojya' - the first night where the newly weds shared a single bed. To the young sisters , it was an occasion where their elder sibling was taking a giant step towards achieving 'adulthood' , while to the newly wed, who had till then , protected her body's sanctity like a temple , it was the hour to donate herself to her 'God' , her husband - chosen by her parents to have the rightful ownership over her body.
But being the novice that she was, she didn't know what to do ......she had never even held the hand of a guy before, let alone being in bed . The interaction with her spouse was clumsy , uneasy , and both lay in bed , unsure of what to do. The guy didn't know how to touch a girl whom she didn't know; the girl was lost in thoughts as to what to expect. Everyone in her family had arranged marriages , as their extremely conservative household was dead against love marriage . It was, as if, getting into bed with a stranger first up , was perfectly normal, while marrying someone of choice was akin to sacrilege.
She felt awkward, she felt angry .......she did not see the good results that her mother had claimed she would receive, if she never went into 'bad' things like roaming in parks like young couples do. Who was this person with whom she was going to share her most precious belonging - her body? He had a few degrees at renowned institutions, but what did he do to earn her body ? Why had her parents given her the licence to sleep with a guy whom she had barely managed to know , when the same people had vehemently opposed any male friendship that had developed during the course of her student days? Wasn't this hypocrisy - as their ploy to 'protect' her from unknown evils contradicted their decision to marry her off to somebody who was a stranger ?
She fell asleep. And in the morning, it was the routine of trying to take the refuge of 'blushing' , to avoid the questions that were difficult to answer.
But why should we get into bed with the women of our lives , for the first ever time , only after marriage ? What is wrong if we indulge in pre-marital sex? We've been brought up throughout our lives, preparing for exams for months . Why then , do we have to sit for the ultimate physical examination, without getting to rehearse it ever before?
We as Indians are too preoccupied with the syndrome of "What-Others-Think". In a country where Godmen take women into their den to force them into nefarious activities in the name of the Lord, it is deplorable that parents detest a relationship that a girl gets into. The same parents might take their daughters to these Godmen, but would feel severely aggrieved if they discover a guy's photos in their girls' cellphones . So pre marital sex is unthinkable . A girl's body is the citadel, which needs to be protected ,till she's married off to somebody . It doesn't matter what the girl feels, or wants .....in our patriarchal society , what counts is the dad's wish to marry her daughter off with a groom from a family of repute .
Somehow, we are still regressive enough to consider sex as a taboo. Nobody wants to believe or say that sex is an essential part of every human being's life and sexual compatibility is an absolutely essential. Our forefathers wrote the Kamasutra , giving attention to all the intricate details of lovemaking . I don't imply that sex should be the only criteria that goes into building a relationship , but it is definitely an integral part of a happy relationship . That's why many people, after getting married , discover that they are never satisfied , and this unhappiness spills onto the conjugal life too.
In my opinion, pre-marital sex in a relationship can help establish the couple's bonds even more. On the other hand, if they are not really happy , it can compel them to ask of themselves whether they can continue with the relationship forward in the long term. There's absolutely no point in getting into a marriage ceremony with huge fanfare, then discovering that the couple don't really enjoy each other in bed. The general understanding that society wants to make us believe is that two people will get married, develop a relationship, and the 'sex' part will automatically be there. While I don't rule out this scenario , which I would like to believe , happens in most successful arranged marriages, I feel , it is not the case in an overwhelmingly large number of couples. One cannot overlook the pleasure element of sex, for some mundane activity that is part of the daily 'chores' of a married couple. No , never ! Great sex makes people happy; marriage has no connection to the satisfaction aspect.
The sexual liberation of the modern age had never quite made its mark in India previously, and so, people were not likely to open up about their sex lives. Therefore, many couples have continued in their marriages , despite not being happy at all, by accepting their way of life. This has been the issue with many women, who would not dare speak up about her sexual dissatisfaction . Naturally, generations have grown up under the notion that matters involving sex should never be discussed....its a bad thing to do . Marriage is actually the legal consummation of sex , but sadly enough , sex itself, and the partners' compatibility with each other is the most ignored part.
With more women becoming independent, and the disparity amongst men and women getting wiped out progressively , the customs that were existent amongst our older generations are gradually ceasing to exist. Younger generation are more open to sex , and they feel it's a necessity . The logical reasoning is, when two people are in love, why should they hold back , if they want to hit the sack together? In any case, human beings are probably the only living organisms who have intercourse for recreation ; to all other animals, it is a necessity for reproduction only. Today's generation are hardworking professionals, reeling under pressure from all aspects , and so, recreation to them is of utmost importance. We have young couples , staying in different cities, getting to meet only on weekends or once a month. Who can deny them their right to have a session of sex that acts as a tremendous stress buster by releasing hormones ?? Can anyone ask them to defer their activities till they tie the knot? No , nobody can . It's their lives they are living , and nobody needs to point fingers at a couple engaging in consensual sex.
The educated girl of today is not worried about having to preserve her virginity for the time she ties the knot : she is bold, confident and not concerned about holding herself up as an epitome of purity on the altar of marriage . Rather than getting bogged down about fictitious prophecies of misfortune if she sleeps with the man of her choice before marriage, she enjoys her relationship and doesn't hold back . Unfortunately,the idea of 'living-in' is too difficult to bear for many of our parents......they feel their children would be committing a huge sin , and become the talking point of gossip that would ruin their family's social status .
Girls have the concept of holiness of virginity hammered into their brains to such an extent that they are mortified of losing it . The inhibitions are so great, that many who have gone ahead in a relationship and taken to action between the sheets , do suffer from guilty conscience, as if they have committed some grave errors. Even guys are not necessarily exempt from such premonitions. Parents rebuke guys , and they are vilified if they come to know their son has 'kissed' his girlfriend . While this is unbelievable , it is well imaginable how they would react if they know their son actually had sex !
There is some thinking that is behind this fear about pre-marital sex. Mostly since girls are compromised, parents fear that the girls would commit an error and may regret it later , if the guy cheats on her . Since the virginity of the girl seems to be the holy grail , guys can get into blackmailing her , and malign her. To add to the problems, in this age of technology, there is the dread of sextapes , and home made porn . These are real problems , but this cannot undermine the fact that real couples in love do get ostracised for their sexual acts. What does the society wants us to believe in ? Does it want us to indulge in platonic love ? Does it expect us to merely stare at each other and exchange shy smiles? When the souls are young,and the hormones running high, one cannot simply expect abstinence from physical intimacy.
With average age of marriage going up now due to more attention to building careers , the old concepts of losing virginity only after marriage are redundant . Our previous generations married off within their early twenties , and in the ones prior to them,the females barely completed their teenage before they were married off. On an average, puberty sets in around 12-13 years of age . So, the period of 'compulsory waiting' before one got sexually active was not more than 9-10 years in the past .
At present , if one needs to follow what had been taught to us, this would mean , young men and women would abstain from having sex for 15/16 years at least after attaining sexual maturity . This is a ridiculous thought . The best years in a person's life are in the twenties , when the mind is fresh, and fitness levels are at their peak too. Losing one's virginity at 35 years of age isn't the same as doing that at 25 . For a couple to enjoy their sexual life , physical fitness is of paramount importance . However, the controllers of our society would like to get us married off at an early age perhaps , just because , they don't want to hear , we are doing what needs to be 'rightfully' done only after marriage .
People these days are more aware about the problems associated with sexual relationships , and so , the general usage of protective measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases is quite high. Today's women are not afraid to go and buy Emergency Contraceptive Pills , and this has indeed been a change in society that has gone hand in hand with women empowerment. Whilst regular consumption of these pills is not safe enough, the pills are indeed a safeguard to calm the anxious minds after a session of unbridled passion.
So, here I am, raising my hand wholeheartedly in support of sexual freedom . Branding pre-marital sex as taboo should cease to become an issue , and should not be discriminated against . Rather , it should be a tool to help young people in love get closer together . Moral policing and raising ethical questions should not deter those wanting to savour the pinnacle of a loving relationship . There are many real issues in the society that needs to be addressed- real problems that cause trauma to life and property. Attention and efforts should be directed there, rather than trying to subdue the beautiful emotion of love that inevitably culminates in sex ! From time immemorial,sex has been the ultimate source of pleasure for two souls in love , and will continue to remain so ---- hence, assigning a temporal tag to it by declaring pre-marital sex as a social crime is utterly illogical !
Written as part of the Yes or No to Pre-Marital Sex campaign by Poonam Uppal, whose new book The Love Goddess Unravels! is up for grabs here. The campaign is in association with Indiblogger.