To readers below the age of 18: sex is a sensitive topic in the Indian culture today. Please check with your parents about whether they’re comfortable with your reading this post. They deserve to give you your introduction to sex and answer any questions you may have 🙂 Please ask them to give the post a read before you do. If they give their consent, happy reading!

Please note: the content is quite explicit. If this may make you uncomfortable, please feel free to skip this post.

This is my experience of sex as a heterosexual woman 🙂

A couple of nights ago, as I settled down to sleep, I ruminated on what post I would write next. Should it be the next part of the Highway series? It’s been a while since I’ve elaborated on Nature’s play, so, perhaps that. As I oscillated back and forth, my eyes slowly drifted shut.

And there, on the precipice of sleep, my mind threw up the word, ‘sex’. And ‘sexuality’. Sentences began forming of their own accord and my eyes flew open.

My first instinct was to groan and bury my face in the pillow. Write about sex, really? It was about to be Valentine’s Day! Why couldn’t I write about a nice mushy, ooey-gooey love story from the past, for crying out loud, and be done with it?

Remember the time you filled up that place in the restaurant with balloons and thought printing your boyfriend’s face on a cake was a good idea? That’s a sweet story, funny.

Or how about the time you lit candles everywhere in your room and wrote 101 things you loved about him, and scattered it all over? How aww-worthy is that!

Or, oh gosh, what about the time you spent most of your savings on buying a Coldplay concert ticket for him when they came to India? That’s pretty first-world and fancy.

There were a dozen other stories I came up with through the course of the next two days, convincing the mind that they were worthy of its time.

But if you’ve ever had a tussle with your mind when it’s made up its mind about something, you know the struggle 🙂 This needed to happen. For many, many reasons. And there was no getting out of it.

So, here I am, typing away, stomach roiling in the process – stomach roiling so much, in fact, that I delicately made my way to the washroom for an indelicate process before settling in to write this.

Why the nervousness? Because for all the liberal sex beliefs I hold, the Indian psyche exists as a part of me. This means the collective hush-hush-hush-about-sex rhythm that beats through the veins of our billion-strong population also beats through me. To break free of it is no mean feat.

I come from a generation in the urban populace where having sex, making love, “boinking”, “banging” and “screwing” is so common that it’s the instant result of instant physical attraction. In other words, lust = do it.

Just a few hours after we first met, an acquaintance once called me “bangable” and was left utterly confused at why I didn’t find his ‘compliment’ flattering.

“It means you’re hot, bro. What’s the problem? Let’s just do it no.”

To quote one of my favourite authors, “No beating about the bush for our Subtle Bihari Vajpayee. He was aiming straight for the eye of the bird, just like Arjuna.”

Not counting the fact that I didn’t appreciate being addressed like a Nike poster, bro-zoning me was the nail in the coffin.

I cannot begin to count the number of men and women I’ve met over the years who claim they have absolutely no interest in being part of a relationship.

“Who the (insert French word here) wants to get into all that feelings crap, dude? I’m happy like this. If I get horny, he’s there no.” ‘He’ being a friend who also offers benefits of another variety.

We are a raw generation – an amalgamation of Western ideas in an Indian culture. The result?

Utter chaos of the mind and body.

Up until I was 14 years old, I thought people made babies by getting into a big bed at home, lying down on it and holding hands. Over the next couple of years, as I grew up, I slowly descended into a state of confusion. The more I thought about it, the more confused I became. It didn’t make sense that holding hands would produce a baby. Surely there must be something that needed to be exchanged between the two bodies? But what could it be?

And finally, one day, it hit me. Of course! Saliva! That was it. That’s why people kissed, didn’t they? Duh! The man’s saliva would go into the woman’s tummy and a baby would be formed. My god, what a genius I was!

I walked around school with a triumphant air, even smugly proceeding to educate a couple of my ignorant friends who looked at me admiringly, awe-struck that I had been smart enough to figure it out.

Needless to say, it was a short-lived affair indeed as not long after that, I bought a book at the local bookstore. Enraptured by the synopsis which promised of a Cinderella-like transformation for the tomboy protagonist (or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai-like, if you so please) in Victorian England, I pounced on it, eager to see how she’d fall in love with the ‘rake’ of London High Society.

A little into the book, I realized it was quite explicit in detailing the many physical trysts between the man and woman. Had my mother known, she would have demanded I hand in the book right away. But she didn’t know. And I didn’t tell her.

So it was that at the ripe old (or young, depending on how you view it) age of 16, I came to understand how the process of sexual intercourse worked. This, after multiple sessions in school where the Biology teacher earnestly showed us videos and explained how the egg and sperm fused together to form the zygote. But as a seventh grader, the only egg I knew was of the scrambled and boiled variety I had at home. Disliking Biology with a vengeance, ‘sperm’ and ‘zygote’ barely even registered.

In hindsight, there are a dozen things I understand today about those sessions in school. But explaining an extremely visceral, sensory, intense and intimate experience through dry scientific terms to middle-schoolers? How can a child then ever hope to understand, much less appreciate, the incredibly moving experience the union of two souls is?

How can a child then learn and know that the beads of sweat which fuse two minds together is a human being’s first experience of God?

How, how will a child ever feel that the rhythm of two bodies moving as one is but an imitation of the rhythm of the Universe itself?

The French call an orgasm a mini-death. One can literally feel renewed, cleansed, reborn after a mind-altering orgasm. Isn’t that one of the most beautiful things in the world?

Instead, I grew up understanding that speaking about sex was bad, not something people did before marriage. I also grew up watching films and reading books that showed and wrote about making love as a life-changing experience.

The sheer confusion that resulted from these contradictions lodged itself in my body as trauma.

I grew up learning that sex was just not something I was supposed to talk about with boys, the very sex that would one day give me the experience of… well, sex. On my way home from school, one day, I was chatting with my best friend on the bus. A couple of boys behind us called out to me and gave me a pen.

“Hold this in your hand, okay?” one of them said. “And just repeat after me. Say ‘pen’.”

“Pen,” I said warily.

“Keep saying it,” they urged.

“Pen. Pen. Pen. Pen,” I repeated.

“Okay, now say ‘is’,” the other boy said before he giggled.

“Is?”

“Yes. Now, say both words together.”

“Pen is?”

They burst out laughing, nudging each other and rolling around.

I just looked at them, flummoxed.

Luckily, my friend who paid attention in Biology and went on to score well in the subject, got it.

“Duuuuuuuuuude!” She gripped my arm, mortified, and leaned in to whisper in my ear. “It’s pen-is! Like penis. The boy thingy. You know, they do susu with it.”

Neither pronunciation nor all functions of the male organ featured high on the embarrassed Biology teacher’s list who just wanted to get the lesson over with and move on.

How, with a limited understanding like this, could I then ever hope to know what went on within my own body?

I grew up feeling urges in my body that brought along with it a hot wave of guilt. What was this pulsing feeling between my legs? Why did my hand instantly want to go there to soothe it and give it relief? It was wrong.

I also grew up feeling that the only people I could speak to about sex and the sensations I was experiencing were my friends. They knew a little more than I did but not much more. Why? Because all of us felt too much shame to explore our bodies further.

I felt that way for a long, long, long time much after I had understood and experienced the magic of sex.

Because, as a woman, there was another layer that needed to be uncovered – masturbation.

Given the books I’d read, I expected that my partners would miraculously read my body, understand what would give me pleasure and then give it. It was nothing short of a blessing that more often than not, it would happen exactly that way 🙂

However, the very same pleasure was something I didn’t dare give myself. Touch myself down there? No. bleeping. way. Never. It was so wrong.

One of the first patterns New-Age Spirituality breaks is one’s conditioning towards sex. There are many, many ways to do it. Just walk into Rishikesh – there’s no dearth of ‘tantra’ workshops.

Misleading names notwithstanding, an extremely simple exercise some of them prescribe is to simply repeat the word, ‘sex’, over and over and over.

Sex. Sex. Sex. Sex, sex, sex.

Did reading it make you uncomfortable even after reading the word so many times so far? Writing it felt uncomfortable too.

I’ve come across very few people so far who don’t automatically lower their voices when they say ‘sex’. I’ve done it too. That’s how deep the conditioning goes.

Another exercise, for women, is to find some quiet time for oneself and explore what the vagina really is. What are these pleasure points that are stimulated? What on earth is the labia? The clitoris?

Did you know the clitoris is the only organ in the human body that exists solely for pleasure? It has around 8000 nerve endings which further spread to 15,000 other nerves in the whole pelvic region! If this isn’t a boon from the Gods, what is 🙂

So many things. So many things left unexplored. So many things left unsaid by the most intimate part of ourselves simply because we were taught that to give it attention was to commit a wrong.

And that is a crying shame.

Because if I were to drop all barriers, patterns, conditioning and the voices in my head telling me even now that to express all of this is plain wrong, here’s what I would actually write about sex:

The break in my voice when my partner touched exactly the right spot? It was the first time I experienced the silence of the mind.

The mingling of our heavy breathing as he looked into my eyes while we moved together? It was my first understanding of why there is no duplicate to the human experience. There can never be.

The first time I took the lead and led us through this divine play? I felt the power of the Feminine course through me.

The day I finally touched myself? Confidence surged through me like never before. Because I’d finally done it. I finally owned my body.

The pleasure that came from touching myself? Well. I learned that if I felt guilty about this, I’d better damn well feel guilty about watching Netflix or eating ice cream too 🙂 Because beyond the bodily sensations, the mind couldn’t tell the difference. Pleasure was pleasure. It was just happy to receive it.

And if this same limited, fragmented human mind can understand this much, how much more awaits the one who gives in completely and surrenders fully to this dance as old as time?

Because beyond the mind lies bliss. And sex is the first experience of moving beyond the mind.

For someone walking the spiritual path deeply, this understanding is crucial for it gives the power to make an aware choice. What, as a seeker, must I do with this incredible tool? The answer, of course, is different for every single person.

What is uniformly true though is that there is little more powerful than making a choice filled with awareness and a clear mind. It opens up the way like nothing else.

From the moment we own ourselves fully, deeply and completely, we experience Nature beginning to move with us and through us.

I think that’s enough for now, don’t you think? Time for some ice cream 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day! 🙂

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Divya Manoharan

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