Friday, February 11, 2011
Masturbation in our Nation...!
Wow, I‘ve never felt such writer’s block. Every time I sit down to start this post, I have absolutely nothing to say. Usually, I have to curb myself…because my mind is going faster than I can type….but not this time……nothing……a post about touching yourself shuts me the hell up. Who would've known. A woman who can’t talk about masturbation …oh I’m such a cliché…
I sit here counting the days till we finally see signs of spring, the ground is still covered in a thick sheet of snow...there's not a single leaf to be seen...but there will be...i'm pretty sure of that. Ah rejuvenation, fertility, reproduction..... thats what spring's about.....No wonder you see so many pregnant women out in that time of year...it’s amazing…it’s so natural…..even nature does it. :P
Most of us have sexual urges (asexuality is another post in itself) - sometimes those urges lead to sex, because sex is a great and natural part of adult life…and sometimes sex leads to reproduction, which is wonderful for some, but it's not something that everyone wants or chooses, and that's ok too.
But what about the times that sex isn’t an option? What then? Is satisfying yourself a dirty deed….or is it completely natural? Just like spring rain….maybe it’s supposed to happen every once in a while….
Great, I’m back…I’m rambling…and all thanks to looking out the tv screen that is my window. I love nature. Not in that way. :/
Here we go... Masturbation in a Muslim nation...
Growing up – no one ever talked to me about it…I did hear stories however…probably stories from the 'immoral' West, either I heard about it on TV…or read about it somewhere. These stories were about the evils of masturbation; how it could make you blind, make you grow hair on your palms…increase or cause acne - they were horrific…but I felt very removed from such stories as my parents never said anything about it. Sexuality wasn't really ever discussed.
I didn’t even know masturbation existed for the longest time! Of course eventually I was bound to find out. In school I would often hear guys bragging about it, It was funny when the guys made jokes…it seemed like a perfectly natural activity for them. But it never occurred to me that all the girls were silent…or uncomfortable during such conversations. Our school (in Saudi Arabia) had people from over 50 nationalities (at least), but no girl…from anywhere in the world…ever mentioned masturbation.
So, naturally I grew up thinking that female masturbation was not a good thing. If it were in any way normal or acceptable, there wouldn’t be this silence…. obviously…
It was simple, the way I saw it, men could masturbate… talk about feeling 'horny' and wanting sex, but if a woman were to do that it'd be considered highly 'unfeminine' or unladylike. At the same time however, I never thought it could cause blindness or hairy palms or any such thing. I always knew that was a bunch of crap.
Our Sex Ed. class which was pretty extensive especially for a school in Saudi never covered masturbation either. In my mind it was a pretty big mystery…
I recall my dad had brought us this set of encyclopedia-type books…they were all about “The Questions Children Ask” or something … those books helped me out with a school project on hot air balloons and answered all sorts of other questions that a young mind could have, pre internet. They were nicely illustrated and the books were all colourful, as you went through the series each got progressively more advanced and for the most part, when they stopped having pictures and being colourful…I just wasn’t interested in reading on.
My siblings and I referred to these books often. As the internet-less years rolled by, I went back to those books from time to time…progressing through even the ones that didn’t have pictures! With each book, the topics became more advanced. One day I decided to look at the last book in the set - it must have been a painfully boring and scorching hot day in Saudi Arabia. I was done with all my Archie comics (yes I read those :P )…there was never anything on TV because there were only two channels and one of them was Arabic.
I distinctly remember grabbing the dark green book off the shelf. I sighed, opened the pages and looked for something interesting to read. While going through the book, I realized that this wasn’t a book for children at all (my oh my)…in fact, this last book in the set was for parents and how they should tackle the more ‘awkward/tricky’ situations in family life, “Very interesting” I thought….
I knew I wasn’t supposed to be reading this. I came across a page discussing masturbation and how to explain it to your children…and that…was the first time I fully understood what it actually was. That was an information overload. I quietly replaced the book on the shelf and pretended I never saw it. A few days later….I noticed it was gone…I’m pretty sure my mom took a look at it and realized it wasn’t for us kids, and that was the last I saw I of the book for a long time.
Well, it’s a good thing I had some answers and had read that parenting book on how to address more complex issues with your children. Because as a big sister…whenever my younger siblings had any questions they felt uncomfortable approaching our parents with, they always came to me. It wasn’t easy, since I never knew what my mother would want me to say to them in such situations. I was afraid of getting in trouble because *I* didn’t want to be the one to tell them about sex or masturbation when I didn’t know where my parents stood on the subject of discussing it with their kids.
When I was asked, I did the best I could… One time in particular, I remember my brother came and asked me what 'masturbation' was and that some boys were telling him about it in school. Oh gawsh. I explained it to him, awkwardly/vaguely and then he went and asked my mom, he told her that I had already spoken to him on the subject. Just as I feared, I was in trouble. She told me I shouldn’t be talking to him about this stuff, that he was too young (he was like 10). I remember feeling really bad about it afterwards. Looking back at that lecture I got from my mother, I think it’s quite commendable she didn’t tell me it was a vile and disgusting act.. and that I should have never mentioned it at all - she just said my brother was too young to discuss these things.
Coming back to the present day, before I actually began writing this post, I was awfully curious to find out why I hadn’t heard anything crazy from my parents or relatives about masturbation (blindness, etc). So a few weeks ago, I called my mom and asked her what the conservative Muslim opinion was on the topic. Aside from the fact that she was a bit surprised to hear the question, she didn’t really have much to say. She thought about it and said the she couldn’t speak for all Muslims, but as a culture many Pakistani’s like to pretend it doesn’t exist and so don’t feel the need to tell their children frightening lies about what horrible bodily harm it could cause them. They just assume their children don’t do it. So there hasn’t been a need for stories. Damn.
I told you denial was a Pakistani national pastime. I don’t know which is worse, telling people they will become blind from it, or not acknowledging it at all....
So thats my bit... next time, more from the interviewees and their tales of 'self-discovery'.