Monday, June 14, 2010

Premarital Sex? *gasp*



Talk about an explosion of bad design and text distortion. That was on purpose though. :P

(Suhaag Raat = Wedding Night)


Below is a continuation from my previous interviews with fellow Pakistanis about sex of the not-permissible premarital kind, to be precise.

***

Honestly, I don’t believe that most people in the world wait until they’re married to have sex…But many Pakistanis will tell you otherwise. Religion will tell you otherwise.

And since, by this time even more people have refused to do an interview with me – I’m getting a smaller slice of the Pakistani pie than before. So really, I now have access to less than a handful of people within a very limited age range because people outside of that age range are either too olds-chool to talk about sex, or too young to be asked about sex. I hope I will find more people to speak with me some day.

These are not ideal conditions for a blog about sex at all...

Moving on however, Pakistani premarital sex… is there a reason for it to be so taboo? And why are the parents of that region dying to pin it onto other people’s children? Why is it that you always hear whispers about so-and-so's child? Why are our desi parents so determined to make all the other neighbourhood kids look bad anyway?

During my university days in Toronto, I was quite an 'outcast' from the Pakistani community – mainly because I wore a lot of black eye makeup and dyed my hair blue. That gave me a starring role in a plethora of strange rumours (witchcraft, devil worship, blood drinking, orgies, etc.)... the funniest of which was one that stemmed from a t-shirt I owned. This t-shirt had a picture of the Hindu goddess Kali on it. Sounds harmless enough, right? I’ve always been very interested in Hindu imagery, I think it’s intensely beautiful, maybe its me trying to find a link to the land of my forefathers... who knows... But that's all there is to it really. I'm not a secret Hindu (as I've been accused of being by aunties and uncles), or anything of the sort...

However, the rumour that came from this shirt was… that I was living with a Hindu guy (in my tiny little dorm room) and was pregnant.

Holy Krishna!

Now, I couldn't stop laughing when it made its way back to me, because my mom had actually warned me and told me that people would say things if I continued to wear this t-shirt out in public. Should've listened. But I thought she was nutty for thinking a tshirt could cause scandal. I clearly don't know desis as well as she does.

I had had very negative responses from Pakistani people who had seen me in this t-shirt but that only encouraged me to wear it more...

There are many methods of showing disapproval within our community and starting rumours seems to be the most popular and malicious one...

Unlike my personal experience, rumours claiming such deviant behaviour can too often result in grave consequences, sometimes even death (mostly for women, that is). You've all heard the stories...In this aspect Pakistan is vastly different from the West where sex outside of marriage is completely acceptable (by the non fundies) and people (women) are still respected members of society. Imagine that. Women get to have sex and be treated like humans.

Anyhoo, I’m not here to judge anyone for their sexual exploits, before or after marriage. Wait, don't wait... when two consenting adults are involved – it really is nobody’s business.

***

Ayesha, Female, 28

I identify as a homosexual, though I have not come out yet. If lesbian sex is included in your definition, then yes I have had sex, and I have enjoyed it immensely.

Since I myself have indulged in premarital sex, I really can’t look down on it, nor would I want to. Again as a homosexual, the institution of marriage serves an extremely oppressive patriarchal agenda. If those advocating ‘no pre-marital sex’ are right, then people like me deserve to be celibate their entire lives.

*

Layla, Female, 19

Yup, I enjoy having sex but it’s usually followed by a ton of guilt (mainly because of how much my mum would disapprove).
It’s tough to describe my opinions on premarital sex. I definitely understand why it’s not permitted in Islam, it’s like an addiction, and it makes people do things they regret. It’s the reason people confuse love for lust, and well it complicates lives and things in general. So I feel that if you have the will power and the strength…be patient - your day will come. It’ll be something to look forward to other than just sharing your life with that person; it’ll be so much more special. Premarital sex also (I guess it depends on whether you’re with multiple partners or whether you marry that one person u have premarital sex with) makes you lose respect for yourself. I guess each time you indulge in it, it becomes that much easier to do it again, and with time I feel it doesn’t even matter as such who the partner is. You could be drunk and horny and that’s all that will matter. So I’m very for premarital sex.

*

Ambreen, Female, 28

I haven’t engaged in premarital sex myself but I don’t see anything wrong with it ... to each his own.....I’m not one to make judgments...I haven’t done it because I was never in a relationship of that sort. One that went to that level....

*

Mariam, Female, 26

Sure I enjoy sex… I have no negative feelings attached to sex whatsoever. I think premarital sex works…it depends on what stage you are in your life …so it’s a little subjective. I mean obviously if I’m talking to a girl who’s going to get married by the time she’s 17 or 18 because of family pressures… I don’t think that she should definitely go and have sex when she’s 15, just for the sake of having premarital sex but I think it is important. Especially if you’re getting married at an older more mature age…you need to sort of…experience it …and you need to know how you feel about it and what kind of role its going to play in your life and your marriage. I think it’s very significant. It does your head in… emotionally – and people need to obviously experience it, given the right time and right level of maturity…to come to terms with it in their own way. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it…and I’m not married so I’ve engaged in it myself.

I haven’t had sex with more than one partner at a time…(laughs)…but I have had multiple partners overall…3 partners and no regrets …not really…no. I probably wouldn’t be open to having sex with multiple partners at a time…. It doesn’t work for me.

*

Fatima, Female, 25

YEAH!!!!! I love having sex!! (screams out loud) I have felt so guilty about sex. Ok, when you don’t want to be doing what you’re doing because you don’t find it right with whom you’re doing it with and you’re being forced into the circumstances of doing it… you feel very, very guilty as a result. But its only guilt attaching itself to stuff that you DON’T want to be doing, it doesn’t carry over to enjoyable experiences. When I first started having sex with people, I didn’t want to be doing that. I wasn’t ready to be committed to anyone sexually. Actually, I knew I wanted to be doing it, but not with that person and not at that time. I tried to make that clear to him – I was tearing up…and when that didn’t stop the person, I thought there was something wrong with me. He was one of my best friends – I didn’t know if I was gay or if I was straight…But he knew he was very straight. Thankfully I have never been forced into anything by a female.

But I was probably thinking in life that male and female = “different”, female and female = “same” – and so the mental power I had over any woman, was always the same as she had over me, and so she couldn’t get where she wanted to if I didn’t want to go there. However, men were completely different, they were “superior”…that’s what I was told since I was little - it took me a long time to figure out they weren’t. Also, a servant we had growing up – who was brought into the house as another sibling – He molested me and it didn’t just end at me – my cousins even went through it. I had a dead-bolt put on my door only because I didn’t want him walking in while I was changing – I was terrified of him beyond belief. My parents went in complete denial at first – but now I think they’ve realized that he might have dicked me over. Their reaction was shock-horror-horror-and bury it under the carpet. However if anyone ever asks about the man today, my mother will never push his resume forward, which is something she never did before.

But as far as premarital sex is concerned, it’s only natural, I’m not married at all – but yeah I’ve done it myself with several different partners. Times that matter to me I can count. Times that didn’t matter to me, I can’t count.

*

Sumeira, Female, 25

Yeah I’ve had premarital sex…I’ve been married as well, I’m divorced … I still have sex. It’s a natural thing, it’s going to happen. I didn’t have an arranged marriage; I got married on my own free will. For some people arranged marriages do work, for a person like me it wouldn’t work. There’s a lot of factors to marriage…you need to know if you guys are similar, if you guys ‘do it’ right even – you’ve got to know these things, you’re going to be with the person for the rest of your life. What if you’re stuck with a bum lay forever – you should obviously experience sex first. I also don’t believe in ‘fuck one person and then marry them’ because you haven’t experienced anything and maybe you’re missing out on a lot. You’ve got one life to live.

I’ve NEVER, EVER, ever, ever…I’ve never felt guilty about sex. Premarital sex is perfectly natural.

*

Zobia, Female, 22

I enjoy having sex. It’s a binding force between my husband and me. It’s an exciting new world I have not too recently began exploring and can serve as an excellent stress relief.

I think it’s important to really love and trust the person you lose your virginity to and to be mature enough to know fully what it is that you are doing and what the consequences could be if precautions aren’t taken. When all this is taken into consideration, then I don’t see why premarital sex should be a problem. When I had sex it was a strategically planned operation, it definitely felt like ‘premarital sex’. I think it’s important to add that the only reason I ended up having sex at that stage in our relationship is because I felt like I was ready for it.

*

Saira, Female, 22

Umm I think that sex is something that shouldn’t be so taboo.. I don’t think marriage really has anything to do with sex... its probably better to have sex with somebody you trust and love... and can see yourself doing it with more often... but if anyone wants to do it with random people I see nothing wrong with that. It’s their body.

Although, If my child was 14 and having premarital sex, I don’t think I would be ok with it... but if they are my age 22 ... I don’t think I would have any problems. My parents would absolutely have problems with me having premarital sex. I think it has to do with religion and not culture. I would never share it with my parents...there’s no point discussing my point of view with them when I know we are going to have a disagreement. I am a mature adult and I will keep my opinion to my self. Now that I’m getting engaged and eventually married... if they found out they would be upset......they would just marry me off to him. They might just get my Nikah done.

*
(I was recently approached by Rabia, who said she wanted to participate in this project. Even though this is years after the previous interviews were done - I was thrilled, not only because she is willing to be open, honest and share her perspective. But because she informed me that she recently began wearing a Hijab. She is the only one of my interviewees that has expressed such a connection with religion. I would normally make the assumption that a Hijabi would not want to participate in a frank discussion about sex, especially not one recorded on the Internet. But I'm happy to be wrong in this instant. It will be interesting to see Rabia's take on things and to see how her views compare to the others.)

Rabia, 23

I have not had sex. Sadly. That seal is yet to be cracked. Hopefully it will before it expires. An odd metaphor I know, but odd is me.

My moral compass hasn’t always been in sync with my religious beliefs, and I have done things that do not go in line with my ‘beliefs’ but as far as premarital sex goes, I have always been pretty firm set against the idea. Not just for religious reasons, but also because it becomes the source of many of society’s problems.


***

It seems most people in this group treat premarital sex as a normal aspect of life. But don't be fooled, it's probably because they're all from a certain socioeconomic class and a certain age-group… - one that tends to have a more liberal point of view.

My heart breaks to hear Fatima's tale, but it's one I've heard too often sadly. Coerced sex, otherwise known as rape. Happens all the time, and unfortunately a lot of people don't even recognize it as that outside of very specific circumstances. Please know that being forced or pressurized to do anything in the bedroom that you're not comfortable with is NOT ok. And if you have tears in your eyes and your partner still doesn't recognize this is wrong, that is a grade A asshole who deserves to be behind bars. Know that. Please. Any indication of hesitation, verbal, non verbal are all cues that people should be picking up. If someone does not want to have sex with you, you need to back the fuck off and not pressurize. Too many women in the world, in Pakistan, have to go through this...without it being recognized for what it is. It doesn't matter if you're married to or best friends with the person, if you do not want to and they force you, there is only one word for this.

The second part of her story is equally heartbreaking. Childhood sexual abuse is an epidemic in Pakistan. Occurring at an alarming rate, unstoppable and undocumented because of the shame associated with it. The predator goes free....onwards to abuse other children. :( Because face-saving is what matters, honour is what matters. This is why we see so much denial around it.

On a lighter note, Rabia, our newest addition, makes things more interesting. FINALLY, a different perspective! I can't say I agree at ALL, but I guess I respect that she stands up for what she believes in, rather than makes excuses for her faith-based ..er...'misconceptions'.

"...because it becomes the source of many of society’s problems."

Umm...seriously? I can think of other things far more problematic than premarital sex. Sure unwanted pregnancies and stuff happen, but I firmly believe that's because we don't arm kids with the knowledge they need to prevent this stuff from happening. We don't talk about sex enough, and we don't educate people about sex enough.

I've seen both extremes...I often find myself wishing for a happy medium in society in general.

If only there was some balance between the frenzied oversexualization of everything in the West, and the ridiculous undersexualization and blatant denial that exists in the East...

The Birds and the Bees pt.2



One of the interviewees in this post is sadly, no longer with us. I still remember the day I interviewed him as if it were yesterday. There was a sparkle in his eyes that I can never forget...

May he rest in peace <3


***

The general feel that you get from the women's personal accounts is one of unfamiliarity, an awkward discomfort. It’s clear that the parents haven’t had much to do with sex education in those cases, which is something not entirely unique to Pakistan, but perhaps different from the West. Many of my female interviewees wished their parents had prepared them for this knowledge…and in the cases where parents did touch upon the subject it seemed to have a purpose other than education.

Here are the men's stories:

Fahad, Male, 24

First time I heard about sex – I was unsure about which hole was used – I thought it could possibly be the anus. The anus gave off the impression that it was a bigger, more accessible hole, and it confused me that something could go into a vagina – I knew vaginas existed – I just thought it would make more sense to use the anus. I was eleven by the time this was clarified. (Laughs) By that age you concentrate on the dirty parts of the movies.

I figured it out initially because of the taboos associated with saying the words both penis and vagina - I figured they both went hand in hand.

My friends played a big part in me finding out about sex – I remember an early discussion about it with my friend… it was triggered by the mention of an encyclopedia in our school. It had actual photographs about the process of intercourse. Soon… after a couple of boys in school found out – this became the most “checked out” book from the library.

The final, official, academic confirmation came only after sex education. Before this I knew but I wasn’t certain. This was in 7th grade, when I was 13/14 yrs old.

I was disgusted by sex when I first found out about it because my penis was and still is one of the most important parts of my body…and just the thought of putting that inside something – anything- was a bit scary and disgusting.

I was also initially disgusted by the thought of ‘pure’ people like my parents doing this vile act, but then I eventually accepted the fact that they did, and since they had three kids – I thought, at least they only did it three times!

*

Sultan, Male, 19

I was on the school bus… I was around 9-10… this boy told me that your parents have sex with each other, I kind of knew what sex was but I didn’t know that everybody did it, I thought maybe it was just the westerners that did it because it happened in their movies and that was the first time I saw it… but when the boy told me that my parents had sex and told me that was how I was born and that’s how everybody is born I felt this extreme anger towards that person. I found myself very confused and went home to ask my older sister , she told me the boy was lying and that made me feel comforted – but then as time passed I realized that that wasn’t true. I got myself accustomed to the idea and then I felt this strange excitement even.

*

Khizer, Male, 26
I think I was 9/10 years old when I found out about sex…I remember exactly who told me, this friend of mine… he told me that he had just seen a picture of the female genitalia and he was very intrigued by it – and he told me exactly what happened in a video he had seen.. So yeah I was just like any other kid, I was intrigued. Honestly I don’t think I have ever been disgusted by it. I have always been attracted to women; honestly I don’t think the concept of intercourse ever shocked me.

*

Imad, Male, 25

I guess I was 7 or 8 when I found out about sex… I was talking to my guy friends…there was porn…but I don’t remember any specific incident. I was curious about it…I remember when I saw my first deck of porn playing cards, that was like a trip…I didn’t know what was going on – but obviously as you get to know more about why its done – then it makes more sense.

*

Qasim, Male, 26

hmmm ... I’m guessing it would have be when I learned about it in school.... like 13 ...thereabouts...

I know that when I was in tenth grade I had no clue what a tampon was!! Wow... that was like ages ago ... 13 yrs ago...
I do remember it was embarrassing for me to talk about sex in school... I think that’s partially due to the upbringing... it was just something you wouldn’t do in our household – discuss sex... For a long time we used to change the channel when a kissing scene came up!! I remember watching Disney’s Aladdin with my dad.... and he wasn’t too happy when that scene where he kisses Jasmine came up. It was just a feeling of embarrassment that I felt associated with such topics... I kind of figured it was just weird to be discussing sexuality, even in school... It was one of those things I knew about but I also knew I shouldn’t really be talking about it ...

*

Ali, Male, 29

I was 16 and my friends took me to some place where they had this prostitute and we had sex with her....that was the first time I actually did it. But obviously... my friends told me about it when I was younger... When u talk to your friends, things come out and you discover new things... and when someone invites you to have such an experience at that age – you just go for it ... Without thinking about it ....you just go for it…


***

Throughout all the stories of the men's first discoveries, not a single one mentions that they felt a lack of parental involvement. Unlike the girls they do not seem concerned about where they got their sex education from. As a group, they don’t seem as disturbed as the girls either. Some mention excitement and anticipation. None of them have mentioned ‘walking into their parents’…Maybe…just maybe, boys are more sheltered than girls, when it comes to sex in our culture. It’s certainly something to think about. Especially since none of them expressed any desire to be schooled by their parents on the subject, while the girls lamented this lost opportunity...

The last story by ‘Ali’ is certainly an interesting one, perhaps one familiar to many Pakistani boys. Since prostitutes are readily and cheaply available…and hormones are raging… it’s probably a first time experience for many. I’m glad he opened up to me for the interview, although at the end he seemed to regret it - as he was constantly justifying his childhood impulsiveness. Another young Pakistani male I know, informed me that his friends propositioned him to come to a similar gathering involving a prostitute and a group of friends. He was a tiny bit older than 16 and more mature, I guess – he told me he immediately declined the offer because he couldn’t imagine doing such a thing. People are different I suppose.

I can't stress the education part of sex enough, since I doubt common prostitutes in Pakistan get tested for anything regularly. I also wonder how much they care about using protection.

If you're gonna take it out, you better wrap it up.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Birds and the Bees pt. 1



(For those of you that are more, er.. international, the birds above are designed to look like they're made from a tradtional fabric, known as "Ajrak". It is found in the province of Sindh.)

***

What really gets under my skin is the helplessnes of our situation - the enemies of moderation; terrorists, are destroying the very fabric of Pakistani existence. And all we can do is just sit there and watch them ruin it for the rest of us. Not to mention the 'accomplishments' of one of our newer dumbasses, Faisal Shahzad. He's an embarassment on more levels than I care to describe. I remember listening to the news and praying to some higher power..."please don't let him be Pakistani"...but that seems to be too much to ask these days :/

I can’t do anything to combat these types of activities, but I can certainly add something to the liberal side of Pakistani existence…

I hate sounding preachy, but heck - if you're from that part of the world, do your part today!


****

At what age approximately and how do we as a nation come to know about sex? How do we react and what are our opinions? These were all questions I needed to ask in order to start from the beginning.

I can never forget the precise moment I discovered what ‘sex’ meant. I was told by some family friend who was going through sex education in school. I was six then and I couldn’t get my mind to wrap itself around such a seemingly outrageous concept. By the time I was 8, I was told again by a Scottish boy who went to school with me in Saudi Arabia. Again, I told him it couldn’t be possible, and I told him Muslims had another way of having children (obviously I didn’t know of any such alternative but I felt I needed to lie to him to keep myself from feeling disgusted with everyone I knew)…he backed off... and we went back to reading our library books… but my mind was whirling…I was piecing together the first time the girl had told me and this time…I knew it had to be true…two different people, one Pakistani and one Scottish… from different backgrounds… coming together to tell me the same thing… they could not be wrong. I was devastated… I was crushed…all those people with all those children. I started noticing people who didn’t have children and looked at them with great respect.

I remember being in a supermarket and seeing an older looking couple with a shopping cart - while I was sitting in my parents shopping cart. The older couple had no child with them (they could very well have left 8 kids at home but it didn’t occur to me at that moment). I was filled with tranquility… I was thrilled that such people existed in the world… people who hadn’t succumbed to getting naked and nasty with each other just to have kids…. This was my interpretation and in my mind I saluted them…the virginal, childless couple were my heroes.

I look back at that time and feel that perhaps I was a little too freaked out about sex, moreso than other children, I imagine. Maybe I'm a closet conservative, gosh, I hope not.

• Names of all participants have been changed


Ayesha, Female, 28

I found out when I was between 10 and 13. My cousins who were older by a few years would tell stories and jokes and I pieced it together from that. At 13 I read Ken Follett’s ‘Pillars of the Earth’ where he describes in detail an intercourse scene. I suppose that’s when I figured out the mechanics of heterosexual sex.

*

Layla, Female, 19

I found out at 11- 12 years of age during biology class in school - and a school friend filled in on my curiosities. Initially I was slightly disturbed by the thought of it, but growing up and watching television, reading books etc., kind of prepared me for it, so it didn’t exactly come as a huge shock to me. One thing I was always taught though, being a Muslim and living in an Islamic country, was that sex before marriage is NOT allowed.

*

Ambreen, Female, 28

I think I first heard about it was when I was in 7th grade... So I was 12..... I got to know about it through school sex ed.... I didn’t really know much...they showed us a little video... but I have very vague memories of it.... it was kinda gross... I guess it was done in a very mechanical way almost... there was no passion behind it ... so it was just like, 'why would anyone want to do that to themselves or allow it to be done to them?'....

*

Mariam, Female, 26

I don’t have any particularly strong memories of how I came to know about sexual intercourse… or when…it just sort of happened at some point. I’m pretty sure I was aware of what sex was by the age of …..14…would be a good guess…. I had an idea before…but it wasn’t a very concrete thing…. It just came together….I’m sure I had walked in on my parents at some point and older cousins… or siblings would be discussing it at some point…then it all came together eventually… it was never shocking or upsetting…. I was always very excited to find out about sex.

I had sex for the first time …..When I was around 17….it was right before my 17th birthday… or around that time…

*

Fatima, Female, 25

I was very young and perturbed when I found out about sex, I was probably about 6 or 7 when I figured out what sex was in the most crude manner and I was very confused by it, I wondered why people would do it. I found out about it because all my big cousins were into porn, and all the little cousins (which was us) were curious…and then we soon figured that that’s how our parents had us.

My parents actually, the only way they ever told me about sex was when I was about 13, my mum pulled out a verse from the Quran which said that if you had ‘non-marital’ sex you’d go to hell…and I didn’t understand what she was trying to teach me by that.

The first time we ever learned about sex was nastily between cousins. We had porn nights just like other people have horror movie nights…we’d be giggling about it initially.

*

Sumeira, Female, 25

I really don’t remember how I heard about sex or how old I was…but I think it was school because my parents didn’t say anything, and then they got divorced. I didn’t really equate sex to anything till my parents got divorced and my mother started sleeping with other people…that’s when I really saw and understood what sex was. I was 8 when my parents got divorced…. After that I saw a lot of porn and played a lot of spin the bottle and figured shit out. I learned how to have sex through porn; I went through my moms stuff.

You see, I learned that sex led to reproduction because after my parents divorce I was sent to boarding school abroad, and there you learn about condoms, you learn about sex….you learn about all sorts of shit. I wasn’t sexually active, but yeah I was messing around. But honestly, I can’t ever ever ever remember my parents actually speaking to me about it. I spoke to my little brother about it. They spoke to me about one thing, my mother told me after my parents were divorced – “if you’re seeing someone, don’t get pregnant”, which is when I was told that I had a step brother and sister that I didn’t know existed – I was only told that because my mum was trying to tell me that my father is a bad person. And… I was told my sister got pregnant and had babies… and that’s how I was warned “don’t do that because it’s wrong, she’s 16 and she’s had babies”…THAT’S how I was told by my mother that you can have babies through sex, I was 9 then. That was in spite, it was not a proper education – I was being told “your father is bad and this is what his kid did - don’t do the same thing.”

I actually saw my mom having sex, she didn’t show it to me on purpose. But she knew that we knew that she was doing it- she knew we were in the house – you shouldn’t be doing it when you’ve got 2 kids in the house. The kids can fucking hear you, they’re curious …they’re going to look through the keyhole. If you don’t want them to look through the keyhole, do it in the night – even if you’re going to do it in the day…DON’T FUCKING MAKE SO MUCH NOISE. Honestly… I would look through the keyhole thinking I was all cool but when I’d look I’d be like “now I just want to blow my brains out.” You know what; I have come to terms with it just now. I’m 25; it’s affected a major part of my life. I drink a lot – and when I used to be drunk, the only thing that used to haunt me was that my mum was a slut. Now I’ve come to terms with it, now it’s ok. I want loads of children, obviously I will be extra careful – obviously, I don’t want to screw in front of my kids.

*

Zobia, Female, 22

I was about 9 or 10 and was told about sex by an aunt of mine…I think we were talking about growing up...or having babies ...I made her tell me how! She told me not to tell my mom cause she knew her neck would be on the line….my initial reaction was similar I’m sure, to that of many people…whoa!! I thought…but it made sense now why people were always shown as being on top of each other in sex scenes…It was somewhat terrifying and mind-boggling though, and I asked her if it was necessary to be completely naked...she said no but that’s how it was usually done. I was shocked and disgusted to think of all the supposedly good, pious grown-ups I knew...who pretended to be as unrelated to sexual intercourse as Pluto is to planet earth...I was angry at my parents for always looking down on anything remotely sexual and making sure we were told it was dirty. I thought it was very deceiving and hypocritical…but then I thought how awkward it actually was to know that they were sexual beings. I couldn’t believe I too would have to do such a thing. It was an information overload.

*

Saira, Female, 22

I’d have to say I was around 8, I think it was an appropriate age to learn something like this. I just wasn’t taught in an appropriate way, because my mom didn’t talk to me about it. It would have been better that way.....officially I was taught in school at age 10. I think I knew about it thru Indian movies. I actually wasn’t grossed out. I was more grossed out when we were ‘officially’ taught it when they talked about the ovaries and the eggs... and they made it more scientific ...but the movies made it seem like it was such a great thing - I wasn’t scared of it at all.


Stay tuned for the men's interviews next time :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Everyone Likes Bananas :)


Before we get to the interviews, here's a bit more from what I wrote a couple of years ago:

I remember when at the age of six I first heard about the concept of sexual intercourse – my initial thought was, “Muslims can’t possibly engage in such an act!” Why, that would go against everything I had been taught about our ‘pure’ religion. I couldn’t even begin to grasp how everyone I knew that had children, had actually done this! My parents … my grandparents… and the more offspring they had ... the more times they had done it. My tiny little brain went through a mental list of everyone I knew, loved and respected – I counted the amount of children they had... or didn’t have… and was in complete shock!! The more conservative and religious ones seemed to have done ‘it’ more than anyone else, since that group collectively had more children. Especially the grandparents… yuk!! My mind couldn’t handle the thought of the world being such a place.

(Soon enough I got over the shock … came to accept it … discovered more about it… and still continue to be curious - quite the turnaround, eh?)

We all know that it’s an incredibly frowned upon subject in any Islamic nation and with the growing irrational fundamentalism in Pakistan the ‘radius’ of such taboos is only increasing to engulf more and more of the country’s thoughts and dialogue.

Inspired by the increasing idiocy, I’ve decided to embark on an exploration of this ridiculously secretive world of Pakistani sexuality. Ideally, I would like to compile all kinds of Pakistanis’ thoughts, beliefs, discoveries, fears, etc. I want to explore it within different demographics of the population, different regional ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, different age groups, different professions…

Unfortunately, I won’t be doing any such thing - since most people have refused to speak with me. So, I’ll make do with whatever I have access to. It isn’t much – but at least I have a handful of supportive people (which is more than anyone can expect, really).

The upcoming interviews aren’t a precise depiction of 'average' Pakistanis by any means, but it’s a start nonetheless.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coexistence is Sexy




So this is the store I was standing outside yesterday. When I got home, I wished so badly that I had my camera with me, I made sure to go back today and take a pic. Sadly, there were no interesting pardoxical sex-store-going niqabis there.

There's another interesting detail in this picture, don't you think? Apparently the Toronto Islamic Centre is right next door!! I only noticed that very recently...but, this is what I mean when I say I love the diversity Toronto has to offer. I absolutely love that they manage to co-exist, side by side, that's what humanity should be about - not hating on each other. I don't think Seduction has a problem with who moves in next door, but I'm more surprised at the Islamic facility, I'm relieved to find out they haven't made a big deal about it. If Islamic centres can get to this level of tolerance around the world we'd be far better off as a community. Sex stores are fine coexisting...its those who oppose everything to do with sex that are a problem. Kudos to this Islamic centre though....for at least this one thing. How I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear what people coming and going have to say about the sex store next door.

Although, one of the three signs in the Islamic window is especially unsettling (while the other two are just plain inaccurate)...I was never quite able to digest the idea of 'obedience' in this context. Mind you, Seduction sells some tools and paraphernalia for 'obedience' as well ;)

Let me get back to my main point, I have a tendency to digress, So as I mentioned before, this project started out as a book - I wrote the text below a couple of years ago, so bear with me;

There are many misconceptions that surround Pakistanis/*all* Muslims in the post-9/11 world… It was a tragedy that changed everyone’s lives forever. The world suffered a great loss in many ways – and one thing Muslims haven’t been able to recover is their reputation. Pakistanis in general, have been accused of being terrorists and fundamentalists. Some Pakistanis obviously are, but most aren't - it's time the world saw another side... it's time we brought out another side. Because let's face it... Pakistani's are only heard about because of something religion related by the world at large. This is not really the fault of the rest of the world.... it's on our shoulders to dismantle the stronghold religion has over us. To let our people flourish and discuss other aspects of life too. We need to get to a point where Islam can coexist with aspects of modernity, humanity that are separate from religion. Sex, love, kink, fun, freedom...the islamic centre pictured above is an inspiration of sorts because of it's peaceful coexistence with something that stands for the opposite. 


I begin this blog with a desire to nudge gently towards this place...of peaceful co-existence. You don't have to like what things stand for, you don't have to agree... but the day Muslims as a group can defend everyone's right to exist, is the day Islam has caught up to the rest of the world. 

(Interviews coming soon)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hijabis in a Sex Store? Wha-aa!


So, todays as good a day as any to make a start with the writing....

Welcome to 'Nice Mangos' - It doesn't take long to figure out that this blog is going to deal with two things in particular, things you wont often find paired together. It's a pairing that borders on the bizarre and unthinkable actually, at least that's how I've been raised to think about it. Pakistanis and sexuality... *gasp* Yep, there you have it, we do do it, you know. It's time to acknowledge the fact.

Something interesting inspired me to write today. I was out walking through the bustling streets of downtown Toronto, enjoying the diversity that this city has to offer. I passed by this gigantic sex store, which isn't something that would normally make me stop and stare, but the curious thing about it was this pair of hijabis, nay, nakabis - fully burqa-clad from head to toe. Their faces were covered and they were also wearing black gloves for extra measure. Really, all you could see was a very narrow slit where their eyes should be. I guess their eyes were there....I just couldn't see them. They had a baby in a stroller and were going into this multi-storey sex store...I had to stop, and so did this other woman.... we both couldn't help gawking. Rather impolite of us. But it was a contrast you couldn't ignore, the other woman and I eventually turned to face each other, jaws dropped, and broke out into laughter. I'll tell you what I said to her, "This is why you gotta love Toronto." I left it at that.

Now there's no way of me knowing that they were Pakistani, but I will assume they were Muslim. Good for them, they recognized they wanted more from their sex life and went after it. Rather than shying away. Or, even if they were simply just curious about what goes on in such a store, at least they were brave enough to go in. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it, maybe they assumed it was just a lingerie store *shrug* ...

Anyhoooo, nuff rambling about random Muslims' activities...let me get more specific about the blog. So, this project was started several years ago. I originally intended it to be a book, but to my surprise (I wasn't that surprised) no one wanted to get involved with a messy topic such as this *sigh* I've actually toned it down a bit too - I wanted to call it....hear me out now, before you get all pissed off, ok?

So yah, I wanted to call it 'F*cking Pakistanis' - wait, wait..... I'm not trying to insult or offend anyone. I just wanted a catchy name that would stick in your head, ya know? And, I mean, I am writing about Pakistanis....f*cking.... it's just a straight forward title about Pakistanis that 'get it on', which I imagine is a lot of people in our over-populated country... meh.... but after much thought... I decided not to call the blog that - especially in light of the whole facebook-banning. They may still ban this anyway, but I'll continue writing. Somehow, I'm hoping my words will fall upon the right ears (computer screens). I'm not just trying to talk about something controversial for the sake of being controversial. We need to recognize how important it is to be educated about sex.

-Eiynah