Thursday, February 24, 2011
Urges aren't just a guy thing.
Now here's a gem I found on YouTube, lol. This is obviously not a video from Pakistan, but sadly, many people in our country echo these very beliefs. ("at the most, she should be flogged", LOL do you believe this guy?)
K, lets leave that behind.
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Back to our interviewees:
This group of Pakistani women didn’t have trouble acknowledging the existence of masturbation at all. But let’s not forget they are all educated, well-off individuals (the only demographic that was open enough to speak to me, unfortunately)….the women are definitely far more liberated than their average Pakistani counterparts.
But the fact that even the 'liberated' and 'educated' Pakistani women are talking about such a topic…is definitely a big deal. I was able to ask them how often they think about sex…and they were open to that. But asking them how often they masturbate…. I don’t think most of them were ready for that. So I settled for their thoughts on the subject. More general yes….but better that than nothing. One thing you have to keep in mind while interviewing people on a very sensitive and controversial topic…is that you don’t want to cross the line…if you start asking them questions that they aren’t comfortable answering…they’re going to feel vulnerable and they’re going to shut you out. You won’t end up getting as much information as you would have if you didn’t push their limits. Especially being Pakistani and talking about sexuality… puts you in an incredibly vulnerable position anyway (for countless reasons)….so you really have to be cautious of where you’re treading….
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Ayesha, Female, 28
I think about sex once a day mostly, sometimes I go a few days without thinking about it, which always comes as a surprise.
Masturbation is an important part of life. What is needed in Pakistan is a need to accept desire as a basic human need, like hunger and thirst. Desire is criminalized while procreation is sanctified – no wonder we’re a schizophrenic nation. Once desire is given its basic importance, then masturbation ought to lose its negative connotations also. In our society it’s almost better to rape than to masturbate.
Layla, Female, 19
I don’t really keep track of how often I think about it (sex). But on an average maybe 5 times a week. It all depends on what I’m doing who I’m around etc.
As for masturbation…who needs men…haha…naah just kidding - it’s alright once in a while, but if you do it too often it loses its thrill. I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just a lot more fun when you have a partner, so much more real and thrilling.
Ambreen, Female, 28
Yea, I definitely think about sex everyday…and you know, I don’t see anything wrong with masturbation………..(pause)….for both genders.
Mariam, Female, 26
Oh no … I don’t think about sex everyday. Given that I’m in a steady relationship and have been for a long time… I don’t think I actively think about sex unless I’m trying to schedule it into a busy week. In terms of fantasizing…..uhhh……it’s rare. Even in terms of wanting to do it…. I probably think about it once or twice a month….because I’m the kind of person ….for me…everything has to be right… I have to have had a stress-less day… I have to be in a good mood, the surrounding has to be nice…for my kind of relationship…sex is remotely a factor that binds us together…the dynamic in every relationship is different…for me… lets just say its not the strongest factor in our relationship. Perhaps if it was… maybe I would be giving you different answers.
I think it’s (masturbation) great for both sexes… I think nobody knows you like you know yourself….and I think it’s crazy to deprive yourself of uncomplicated relief every now and then…because it can get pretty complicated with a partner….emotionally…
Women definitely don’t talk about it….it’s very acceptable for men to say they masturbate…. Its like a big brotherhood thing…I’ve actually never even had a conversation with any of my girlfriends…and I have a lot of really close girl friends…we joke about it every now and then, but there’s never been a serious conversation. I guess it’s because women were more shy initially...and now it’s become one of those things… that haven’t been talked about for so long….I guess everyone just goes along with that…. I mean, I personally have no problems talking about it... but I have to be sure…that the person I’m talking to is somebody who’s on my ‘planet’….we have to be on the same page….otherwise I’m not going to feel comfortable…..even with a friend who I think might find it a little weird…I’m not gonna go there (laughs)…initially, I think women were shy about it because it has some kind of ‘dirtiness’ attached to it….I mean just going out and looking for sex for women is so much of a bigger deal than it is for men. In the same vein, getting yourself off is considered wrong. Women going after anything sexual themselves… with their partner or with themselves… is just socially taboo….I don’t agree with that…
Fatima, Female, 25
I suppose we all think of sex everyday or every second day or so… something like that…
Everyone should masturbate. It’s actually good for your health. It’s good to be in touch with your body or not be afraid of your body or be afraid of touching yourself.
I ask the world to masturbate.
It is important, you get to know yourself better – YOU get to know what YOU like. I think in our society at least, women are very afraid of sexuality or anything outside of the baby-making scenario. But maybe men do need to jack off a whole lot more – maybe they’re just hornier.
Sumeira, Female, 25
I think about sex everyday…and it plays a pretty major role in my life.
Everyone should masturbate – I don’t think women are comfortable talking about it … but I still think they do – it’s a natural part of life. Women aren’t comfortable talking about it because they think of it as disgusting…but its not – it’s natural.
Zobia, Female, 22
Lately I haven’t had much of a chance to think about sex…I think it would be safe to say I’ve been thinking about it roughly every other day…a couple of minutes here and a couple of minutes there…nothing too long and drawn out…haven’t had time for that. I think sex is important and good sex is vital for people who have decided to be committed only to one another for the rest of their lives. It does play a big role in my life, but as of late, has taken a bit of a back seat.
Both men and women masturbate, men admit to it more freely though (as society clearly understands and accepts that they do so) whereas women hesitate to agree to doing any such thing, because society makes them feel like it is not what a decent woman would do. Also, it is safe to say that women may at first have difficulty locating their clitoris and understanding their genitals fully, making it more complicated a task for them to masturbate. I think its ok for either sex to masturbate.
Saira, Female, 22
No – not everyday. (laughs) maybe if I had more time....but I have bigger things to worry about ... that’s a funny question. I never really thought about 'thinking' about sex... I have so much stuff to do during the day. I'd say minimum 3-4 times a week, when I speak to my partner... whenever I have free time and my brain is not pre-occupied with other stuff...right now in my life because there is too much going on...its something I think about when I don’t have anything else to think about.
I think it is actually very healthy to practice masturbation – for both men and women... there’s nothing wrong with it....as long as you’re not doing it in a public place and making people uncomfortable (laughs) ... yeah I think women lie about masturbation....because it’s still not accepted in our society. Because with men you just think yeah they're horny..... But women...you think maybe she needs to be married.......maybe her partner doesn’t please her.
Rabia Female, 23
I don’t think about sex every day, considering I engage in no such activity. But I would say it comes up often around me. Whether that is a conversation with a friend, an article or something on television (no, not porn) – I do find myself thinking about the kinds of things I would do for my husband.
Don’t see the need for masturbation if you can just have sex. If we’re talking about “playing with yourself’ then that is something that does put me off, but if we’re talking about sexually stimulating a partner, then I could be more inclined on offering my services.
Farah, Female, 29
I don’t think about sex everyday. It depends on the context, the outside influences, the time of month even.
Masturbation is natural – shouldn’t be vilified. In some cultures it’s much more acceptable than in others, and the notions that it is harmful to the institution of marriage is ludicrous.
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So that's that. None of the women (except Rabia who first appeared in an older post, she is our one and only religious interviewee) seem opposed to masturbation. I thought at least a couple of women would stay true to their stereotype and either deny that it happens often within their gender…or at least look down upon it. But no…these ladies definitely approve of it. The words ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’ are even brought up...
A few years ago when my interaction with other Pakistanis was more limited…I would have never imagined this type of accepting attitude to the topic of masturbation. If I stake a step back…it does still boggle my mind…these are Pakistani women…I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of an average Westerner….and such liberal opinions are shocking (from an outsiders perspective)…after all, these women are from a society that condemns female sexuality. If a woman smokes a cigarette in public…she’s a whore…and here are these women…saying that masturbation is natural…healthy….for both sexes. Un-fucking-believable. It just goes to show that you can’t generalize opinions about a nation, a country, a race….a religion…
By saying it’s ok…and it should be done…they’re admitting to doing it. Obviously if I asked them straight up whether they masturbate or not, it would be much harder to look me in the eye and say “yes” to that question – but even accepting it in an indirect way is a giant leap for womankind in Pakistan. If they come out and say that they have sexual urges, needs and desires just like the men…then perhaps more Pakistani women will get the good sex they deserve. Even if it starts off with themselves. This way, they will know good sex, and accept nothing less.
Hurray! Orgasms for everyone…
Ayesha sees sexual urges as a basic human need…she goes on to describe Pakistan as a ‘schizophrenic’ nation…that description amuses me on so many levels. I love my country, but honestly… I think a lot of us have felt the schizophrenia time and time again. Double standards are an epidemic and logic often cannot be found to back up cultural norms. All I’m saying, is that its time to change… just a little bit…According to Ayesha, when Pakistan acknowledges carnal desire as a human trait…masturbation will eventually lose it’s bad rep. She leaves us with yet some more chilling words,
“In our society it’s almost better to rape than to masturbate.”
She is definitely one of the harshest critics within the group…of course our society doesn’t promote or accept rape…but if you know the right people…you’re well-connected and you rape a poor girl from an unimportant family… your maid perhaps…it’s quite easy to get away with in those circumstances. Lots of feudal men still think women exist for their pleasure…and if you’re poor, you certainly don’t have any right to refuse your ‘master’. Oddly though, these very men can be ultra-religious, simultaneously…. I’ve always found that combination so incredibly strange… but yet it exists everywhere. Some priests have been known to molest children…and Molwi’s from a mosque have been known to do the same. How is it that a man can rape someone and get up and go pray…or go preach against the sins of “self-abuse”…it’s despicable. So, in that sense….Ayesha’s words may be quite harsh…but hold some truth.
It seems that most of them think about sex at least once every couple of days if not more….except Mariam….sex clearly isn’t on her mind as often as the others…but she’s previously given us some insight into why she thinks her sex life is somewhat lacking….I suppose that could lead a person to desire sex less often. But hey – at least she’s not opposed to providing herself with stress-free relief…and she feels pretty strongly about it. Good for her…if sex gets complicated with a partner…at least she has an alternative.
“…I think it’s crazy to deprive yourself of uncomplicated relief every now and then…because it can get pretty complicated with a partner….emotionally…”
You know what I like most of all about writing this blog? …I just love how people’s individual personalities are beginning to unravel by this point. You can tell that Ayesha’s a feisty feminist…a critic at heart…and I’m sure many can identify with Mariam’s relationship…she seems like a rational person with a good head on her shoulders…she finds a way to make it work. From her comments, Sumeira still seems bitter about her parents divorce….she has a way of stating things exactly how she sees them…she doesn’t feel the need to tone down her language… or embellish anything. Ambreen seems to be a quiet, more conservative girl…arranged marriage and all….but there have been moments where she isn’t as conservative as you might believe….I could go on about them…and what I can gather about their personalities just based on the interviews…but then we’ll stray off topic for way too long.
Some great final words come from Fatima… and I can think of no better way to finish this up:
“I ask the world to masturbate.”