A considerable section in urban India may be enjoying sexual freedom but for majority of Indians, sex is still a dirty word, recently claimed Richard Crasta, author of the novel Revised Kama Sutra. “One of the curious things I have noticed is that for lot of Indians, sex is still a dirty word. So, it will take time for them to remain relaxed and enjoy the experience,” says Crasta, who has come out with a republished version of his raunchy comic novel The Revised Kama Sutra, published 20 years ago.
“There is considerable sexual freedom seen among the urban Indian crowd, they are more liberal in talking about sex. But 95 per cent of the lower middle class still has reservations,” he says. According to Crasta, who divides his time between US and India, virginity is very important for Indians but the biggest problem is hypocrisy. “A major section of the society is still repressed,” he further added.
Dr Vasantha Patri, chairperson of the Indian Institute of Counselling agrees with Crasta’s observations to a certain degree. She says, “I would say rather than repressed, sex is still a taboo word. But rather than blame some sort of cultural repressiveness, I think it’s mainly because we are in general not comfortable with our bodies. We look at sex as a reproductive process and that’s it. Many people fail to see the connection between sexuality and anything else, which is why perhaps good hearty sex is something people fail to engage in. People still look at the Kama Sutra as a text book rather than a manual for lovemaking, which it actually is.”
“I’ve been in a relationship for close to a year and yes the sex is fantastic. But if we spoke more about it, perhaps it could be a whole lot better. Every time we do try to talk about, it gets a bit weird,” says Nupur Sharma*, a 29 year old writer.
But Dr Samir Parikh, chief of mental health care department at Max Hospital feels sex isn’t an r-rated word anymore. “To understand sexual habits of people you need to understand their cultural habits. Indian culture perhaps is not as free thinking as in the West. But that doesn’t make the people sexually repressed! In fact, people in India are now far more comfortable with sex than say 20 years ago.” he says.
“I’d like to think I have a very healthy attitude towards sex. I might not talk about 24X7 but even in the west doesn’t that just happen in bad relationship-type cable shows?” says Piyush Khatri*, a 28 year-old banker. Observations by authors and sexperts aside, the city’s young and restless surely seem to be taking their sex talk with sheer pleasure.
(* names have been changed on request)
PTI with inputs by Aaron George