Feminist Nepali श्रीमती (Wife) Tales: (Episode 3: This emotion shame! Oh! Sorry ‘SEX’!)
Let me talk a little bit about this emotion of shame! Oh! Sorry ‘SEX’!
Over the last couple of years, I have been targeted multiple times for how openly I talk about sex. As a South Asian woman, that too a Nepali married woman, sex should be something that I shouldn’t be uttering but my lack of hesitation in using the words that have sex in it has put me in so many uncomfortable circumstances. When I listen and contribute to the idea of sex and pleasure, I have found some men already trying to touch me even in public gatherings without my consent. Today, I am not bringing the reference to the contexts when women too have felt uncomfortable. But there are multiple circumstances that have happened.
It’s not only me but also my husband who faces the repercussion of my shamelessness. Once in a conversation, I shared with a man that we need to talk about sex in marriage and be open about it, the man wanted to test my husband, I guess. He called him multiple times to share that he had sex with me and how characterless I was and thus he must leave me if he was “the man”. Yes, he was calling out on my husband’s masculinity. One benefit of having an open conversation about sex is that it helps your partner trust you more and helps them see how would they approach any sexual proposals and who are the persons they might have a sexual attraction with.
Coming back to the topic, I wasn’t taught anything about sex in my health education, nor did I get to learn it from porn videos. As a girl, I neither had the access nor the audacity to go out and explore it. I got to learn sex in metaphors and similes as I was a literature student and assumed that would be exactly the same in real life too. Albeit, I learned the hard way about it very late in my life only when I experienced it first hand, which definitely was not like the way expressed in poems. I wasn’t prepared.
As an educator whose subjects are usually writing, literature, society, culture, and emotions, sex comes one way or the other in multiple ways and I want my students to be aware of what it is and make conscious choices for themselves. For me to be open and authentic in my classroom, it is important for me to be open and authentic outside of it. The more I converse about the important issues as such, the more I gain clarity which helps me not feel shameful and not turn red and skip the content related to sex like the teachers in the past who chose to skip the chapter only because of how society considers it as a shameful act. As Brene Brown says, “But the conversation is not as dangerous as what we are creating with our silence! … We are all afraid to talk about it and the less we talk about it, the more we have it.”
However, it is also the reality that as I talk about it, I have been misinterpreted and even harassed. Sharing this here, because of how much open and modern we call ourselves when a woman expresses anything that is sensual, society and interestingly her close ones start judging her for her choices. And every time the judgment arises, the husband is brought into the picture and questioned how he is not being able to handle her or he must be going through a miserable time just because I am so shameless. I don’t understand why should my husband prove his masculinity just because I don’t hesitate to utter the word ‘sex’.
If you simply look at it we won’t realize how gendered sex is; the very sex when shared by a man is so much valorized and glamorized while if his wife or his girlfriend talks about it, the same people question his worth. I am sadly surprised how many young people still look into this from the same old lens and are stubborn to shift their perspective. Threatening my husband’s masculinity has been like a hobby now, I hope he doesn’t mind and does share this blog to further be threatened. :)