Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sex, Pakistan and the Internet




One day I decided to do the obvious… ‘Google’ Pakistani sexuality.

Why it took me so long to think of that, I do not know… usually that’s my main source of information - for everything. I guess it never occurred to me, because making that connection between my country and sex is so bizarre anyway…that making a further connection between sex, Pakistan and the internet was even more far-fetched.

Here's some of what I found, keep in mind this was googled, cut, pasted and written a few years ago - so of course the link to the blog no longer works :/... and the information on google trends I go on about has changed in some ways too. Fack!

However, I thought it was too fun to leave out. So for this post..... take yourself back in time...to a not-so-wondrous place...long, long ago...a place known as
"2006"...where blogs were relatively new-ish-er and Musharraf was still runnin' the place...

***

(Note: Irrelevant material was cut out from the blogs…but if you want to see the whole thing, go to this link

http://karachi.metblogs.com/archives/2006/05/google_trends_s.phtml)

Google Trends - Sex and Pakistan.

I came across this link http://www.google.com/trends?q=sex

(what you see when you click on that link now is definitely not what they're describing here, I know :P)

on one of the forums I go to; apparently Pakistan is the top most country which searches for the term "sex". Seven out of top ten countries are Muslim countries. Quite interesting. What say you? Innocent 'bholay bhalay' people who don't know dozens of other sophisticated sex related terms and search for a single query while rest of the world goes for specific terms? Or is it just plain frustration for the glimpse of bare skin.

posted by JonyBr at 1:21 AM on May 12, 2006

*

Heh, that's not a shocker.

Posted by: Mufasa at May 12, 2006 02:42 AM

*

JonyBr, looks like you are right; the lack of knowledge about more specific sex terms ( Cunnilingus , Fellatio ) made us top the list :)

By the way, the Google disclaimer @ the end of the page makes the accurateness of the results volatile though!

Google Trends aims to provide insights into broad search patterns. It is based upon just a portion of our searches, and several approximations are used when computing your results. Please keep this in mind when using it.

Posted by: Mansoor 'Manny' Siddiqui at May 12, 2006 08:03 AM

*

This isn't necessarily something "bad." With the near complete absence of proper education (in Muslim countries, which are our concern at the moment) on one of the most important aspects of human life, it is no wonder that people turn to the Internet for education.
Yes, I know, not just for education... but a lack of normality leads to this behavior.

Posted by: Ramla A. at May 12, 2006 10:07 AM

*

I checked the term "Child Sex" and Pakistan is on the top of the lists In all regions, this is actually very sad and indicates a need to build awareness among the people for detection, prevention, and handling such victims and to move against the criminals.

Posted by: Jay the big J (Jamash) at May 12, 2006 03:15 PM

*

interestingly in Pakistani cities, Quetta is at the top and guess wht Khi is at 10th :)

Posted by: mohsin at May 12, 2006 04:38 PM

*

… the internet users are only 7,500,000, according to latest data. So they "do not" show the general trend of our Pakistani society. In fact, they represent our so called educated, enlighten class...

Posted by: MB at May 12, 2006 04:43 PM

*

If Pakistan is ranked top in searching for 'sex' I think that most internet users were actually looking for some pornographic content.
I think that the trends do not consider the total population of the country and only refer to the number of SEARCHES made. So think like this.. the number of internet users in India are more than six times the number of internet users in Pakistan. Still, Pakistan is at no. 1 and India is at 5. What it means is that a HIGHER PERCENTAGE of internet users in Pakistan are using it or should I say abusing the internet for filthy deeds.

MB you might like to twist some facts but face it dude, that our nation is sex-craved :/

Please also consider the population growth rate. So many people have nothing better to do than go around mating.

Pakistan is in top three in the following keywords and they are definately not for education purposes.
Sexy
Sexy girl
Nude
sexy video (lol)

Posted by: IllusionFS at May 12, 2006 11:44 PM

*

We Paki people may be searching for Sex related things, but, but, but it's not the nation. It's just "WE" the educated ones so please don't apply it to all Pakistani's.

Posted by: MB at May 13, 2006 03:36 PM

*

No doubt, an interesting service from google. But...
Recently I came across this gif image on the internet, showing the results of numerous searches (such as donkey sex, dog sex, baby sex etc), and in all the results Pakistan was shown on top (along with India and some other Muslim countries). After independently verifying this, I was surprised to see this was indeed the case.

But after experimenting a bit more with this new service I found there was something amiss about this new service from Google.
First off in all the searches Pakistan’s bar was way bigger than the one in second place, and I find it quite unusual for that to be the case. In all my years living here I’ve never noticed any unnatural tendencies of anybody towards the sexual habits of an animal of any type..

Posted by: HSAR at May 15, 2006 11:34 PM

*

hi : i m shehreyar 26 year old from pakistan , sindh , karachi . i have done B TECH . i m doing private job as network admin.
i want karachi sindh call girl & any sencer girl , antyes wana friendship me .
i loved any fiendship & relationship all.
thx contect me " 0320*******7 : 032******5 " my id is : dr_h*****er@hotmail.com
i m waiting for u r contect or call .
cu bye.

Posted by: shehreyar at May 30, 2006 05:28 AM

*

shehreyar, this is not a singles bar it is a blog for KHI. Pls. go somewhere else to look for a frienship.

Posted by: Checkmate at May 30, 2006 02:35 PM

*

So suffice to say, different people from different countries search for different stuff. Since in pakistan, we cover everything in the blanket term of sex (being novice users maybe?) the results are high. But try trending for more specific sexual topics (gay, lesbian, etc) and you'll find really different results. Maybe because most of the western public are not novices atleast when it comes to the language.

Posted by: mansoor at May 31, 2006 01:26 PM


***

In the very beginning they establish the fact that Pakistan is the number 1 country searching for sex on the internet. I bet that’s not a record our forefathers wanted us to hold. Although it’s pretty clear that Google Trends is not pure fact…it’s still an incredibly fascinating discovery. The first blogger is quick to point to two possible reasons – one being a lack of knowledge and the other just plain horniness. It could be either or a combination of both. In defense of Pakistan, someone steps in to say it could possibly be because of education. And like all the other bloggers… I too highly doubt that.

Pakistan also turns out to be on top of the list of countries that are searching for the term ‘child sex’. That’s incredibly surprising to me…I knew we had a problem with pedophiles, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Like I said before, Google Trends isn’t meant to be treated as pure fact…so I’ll chalk that one up to inaccuracy. (On their 'About Google Trends' page, Google says: The data Trends produces may contain inaccuracies for a number of reasons, including data-sampling issues and a variety of approximations that are used to compute results. We hope you find this service interesting and entertaining, but you probably wouldn’t want to write your Ph.D. dissertation based on the information provided by Trends.) Also – as pointed out in the above dialogue, the amount of internet users include a very small percentage of the population – so we can’t really say that everyone’s a perv!

But wait, what about the guy who tells us about Pakistan being number one for things like donkey sex, dog sex and baby sex….Oh lord, that can’t be true…but in the back of my head…I’m reminded of words that I heard from one of my participants not too long ago, ‘they’ll fuck anything with a pulse…’ I shudder…

Since these bloggers’ trend results are from 2006…I decided to see if Google Trends would offer a similar picture at the end of 2007.

Well, the first thing I typed in was ‘sex’… and I was surprised to learn that we didn’t make it on the top ten list. Strange. I thought we’d be on there somewhere… but I suppose the information keeps changing. I continued…I typed in ‘donkey sex’ – lo and behold…we’re the number one country…I kept going….we were number one for dog sex…and child sex as well. Perhaps Google was malfunctioning and Pakistan was stuck as number one for everything I typed….. I proceeded to check if this was the case by typing unlikely things…like pig sex (I hadn’t even heard of that) but guess what we were number one yet again. OK, I thought…Google’s definitely broken – but just to be sure I typed in peacock sex…and that didn’t show me any results…I guess it was too crazy….then I typed in things like oral sex, gay sex… and the lists made sense… so I assumed that Google wasn’t broken after all. It’s a weird thing this trend search…try it for yourself…It really makes you think…

US conspiracy to bad mouth Pakistan? I think not, they have better ways to make us look bad. The terrorists are taking care of that. Thanks assholes.

The phrase ‘…anything with a pulse…’ still lingers somewhere in the back of my head…

http://www.google.com/trends

(I just checked pig, dog and donkey sex again - we're still number one in 2010 even...WTF...?)

My countrymen are quick to provide comic relief. My favourite blogger in this thread of conversation is ‘Shehreyar’…he represents the classic desi guy invading any form of cyber discussion or community to try and ‘make a friendship’. I laugh when I see his words…”anyone wanna friendship me?” It’s just so reminiscent of a particular type of guy…I’ve seen him, If you’re a Pakistani woman you’ve seen him too…eww. He’s the greasy haired perv that’ll grab your ass in broad day light as he walks past you in a crowded bazaar.

In real life, he's fuckin' creepy, but online he can’t touch you and you can see his desperation…Poor guy, he just wants to get laid ever so bad…he’s probably in some dingy internet café jerking off to this discussion about sex… hoping that he’ll find someone to talk dirty to online. He just throws it out there…he’s looking for a call girl…or any girl really…poor Shehreyar. I feel sorry for him, but then again, he’s one of them ass-grabbers. So fuck him. At least he was good for a laugh.

Apart from this discussion about our nation’s sexual habits, I came across a couple of boring ‘clinical’ reports about overpopulation and contraception. There were several articles about Pakistani homosexuals, a same sex couple, servant boys being sexually abused by their employers – it’s a lot more information than I initially thought. It seems that issues surrounding our sexuality are trickling slowly into the public sphere.

I tell you there’s one massive closet somewhere in Pakistan, filled with all sorts of sexual ‘deviants’…the day that closet door breaks open is not far.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

They'll Fuck Anything with a Pulse



This video from The New York Times left me feeling quite surprised...I cannot believe they make this stuff there, LMAO!! Go Karachi!

***

Fahad, Male, 24

Yes…It’s obviously repressed sexually....(laughs)…
Sex is not only a taboo subject in Pakistan, it’s pretty much forbidden unless you’re married. And even when you’re married, the majority of Pakistani’s don’t even like admitting that their children were created from a sexual act. Sex isn’t just considered bad – it’s considered disgusting.

*

Sultan, Male, 19

No, as a nation I don’t think Pakistan is sexually repressed because....people probably have more sex in Pakistan than anywhere else in the world.....lol....simply because there is nothing much to do over there.....and just because people aren't open about their sex lives doesn't mean that Pakistan as a nation is sexually repressed.....However, I do understand that sex is a taboo in our society......but the masses that live in the shanty towns are the exact opposite of sexually repressed....they'll pretty much fuck anything that has a pulse....and we must not forget that prostitutes ease the sexual repression in our society.....if it wasn't for prostitutes I would say that Pakistan is a sexually repressed nation....which it would be....but since prostitution is so common and affiliation with prostitutes is our cultural inheritance....the repression is balanced and evened out

*

Khizer, Male, 26

I don’t think we are sexually repressed as a nation at all. Sexually repressed would be if we weren’t having sex, but I think Pakistanis are having just as much sex as anyone else.

When I asked him if we perhaps didn’t talk about it as much, he replied,

We talk about it, we’re talking about it right now. To give you an example of people talking about it, at my university, I was invited to an orgy – and openly too! This one girl came up to me, this was when I had just met my first girlfriend and everyone kind of found out about it – so the girl came up to me and said, ‘I heard you’re going out with so-and-so (I was 17 when I had my first official girlfriend) – why don’t you come hang out with us sometime – it’s a couple’s only thing because we kind of like to meet each others significant others, we hang out with each other and we get to do things with each other.. We have physical contact with each other – At this point I was wigged out, I was like are you fucking serious? I mean coming from a typical Pakistani girl who’s covered up all the time and wears shalwar kameez all the time…

*

Imad, Male, 25

We are sexually repressed as a nation. It’s primarily religious, everyone knows that. It’s sort of an unhealthy atmosphere because you’re telling people not to do something that’s very much a part of human existence. So the more you repress it, the crazier it will be.

*

Qasim, Male, 26

Yes. It's… again because its one of those things... because of it not being discussed ... its something that you don’t really get to express yourself in a sexual way.... as a nation ...you’re having sex as a married couple for the sake of having kids... its not something you can express yourself with. I don’t know of any brown dad that’s had the 'sex talk' with their sons. Brown moms have the talk with their daughter just before they get married.... that’s about it.

*

Ali, Male, 29

I think we’re repressed…because of the mullaism in our country...


***

Once again, a running theme is the fact that religion and sexual repression go hand in hand. That definitely seems to be the basic understanding. Khizer and Sultan have a different point of view from the rest of the group. Khizer’s encounter with the girl who invited him to an orgy has greatly influenced his opinion on the matter. I’ve heard of these orgies in Pakistan, apparently they were more common in the
80’s. A co-worker in Karachi once told me how he was terrified that he had accidentally stumbled upon one of these parties…I can’t even imagine (nor do I want to) what a room full of naked Pakistanis in different sexual positions would look like…where are these parties and where‘s this swinging subculture? How come we don’t hear more about it… and how have they managed to keep it so underground in a society where everyone keeps an eye on everyone else’s business…

In a way, Khizer’s opinion relates to what Johan (the non-Pakistani from earlier)had to say when he claimed that perhaps some people are willing to be more radical and resist complacency.

Sultan seems very passionate about clearing Pakistan’s name in terms of sexual repression. He differentiates sexual repression from the topic being a taboo within that society, which is an interesting perspective. I mean, he has a point…just because people like to keep it private… that doesn’t mean they’re not exploring their wildest fantasies in the privacy of their own homes. He’s quick to point out that in his opinion the poverty-stricken masses will ‘fuck anything with a pulse’ – which is a severely disturbing image, but perhaps that’s what we need to hear. He also makes a connection with our culture and prostitution…to the extent of calling it a cultural inheritance. He’s referring to the times when high class 'tawaifs' would perform perfectly choreographed mujrahs (dances) for a select group of polished gentlemen…not the lewd pelvic thrusts we see in Pakistan’s modern-day flesh bazaars.

Protitutes….tawaifs…were once an exemplary source of manners, education and literature - comparable to Japan’s geishas…but all that’s gone now. Still, like Sultan says – prostitutes are a major source of sex for the masses of Pakistan…he goes as far as attributing Pakistan’s lack of sexual repression to prostitutes. Lol, they sure have a big burden on their shoulders (crotches). They’ve got to constantly quench the sexual appetite of an entire nation.

I don’t know how accurate that observation is. I know prostitution plays a big role…but just how big? Sultan’s guess is as good as mine.

As we plough onwards we come to see that Imad’s comment is very similar to James’(see previous post, 'We Make Food Spicy...') since he too links the sex drive to a healthy human being.

"It’s sort of an unhealthy atmosphere because you’re telling people not to do something that’s very much a part of human existence."

It’s like George Michael once said,

Sex is natural…sex is fun…

I remember being completely scandalized when I heard that song as a child. How they allowed it into Saudi Arabia is beyond me. But it’s pure controversy (especially for its time) and that’s brilliant! I’ve always been drawn to things that shake it up a bit. George Michael aside, the question that lingers is, is Pakistan a sexually repressed nation or not? Most people tend to lean towards the fact that it undoubtedly is. There are the occasional few that disagree but there are exceptions to everything. You can always interpret information in any way you like, so providing a concrete answer is difficult…but let’s just say YES anyway.

Feel free to disagree, in writing ;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Speak!!




Ayesha, Female, 28

Absolutely. We’re repressed externally as well as internally. I think we lie to ourselves and others so we can claim a moral high ground, even though our private lives may involve all kinds of supposedly ‘deviant’ sexual behaviour.

*

Layla, Female, 19

Well I feel the fact that our country labels itself to be the Islamic Republic of Pakistan speaks for its self. In general yes, I feel we are to an extent sexually repressed, but I also feel it is all a cover up. Growing up amongst the fastest and most “modern” crowd in my country, going to parties etc, there was absolutely no sign of sexual repression, in fact over the years girls clothes got sexier and well maybe like 4 years ago if we saw a couple kissing at a party it was a big deal, now its just like whatever. So I guess it really depends on where you live and which family you are born in to. And while we are lead to believe that sex is wrong etc etc, everything goes on behind closed doors and everyone knows it.

*

Ambreen, Female, 28

I don’t know if we’re repressed... but its just something we don’t really talk about.... repressed is something that seems like something you’re not supposed to do.... for example my parents don’t know how to talk about it ... when I was getting my married my mom didn’t know what to say....I bought lubricant and they were packing my clothes......she came across it ... my mom asked what it was ... and when told by someone else she started blushing ... it was an embarrassing situation for her.... I wasn’t embarrassed but she shoved it away in the suitcase...

*

Mariam, Female, 26

I think we’re definitely sexually repressed as a nation…it’s fairly black and white…culturally because our culture is very intertwined with our religion…and its not something that we as a nation are anywhere close to getting away from. I think we have been and will be suppressed for a long time to come.

*
Fatima, Female, 25

where else would you go around and find that the advertisements on the billboards have been spray painted to make the woman burqa clad and that was 8 years ago -

it's not to say that people don't have sex and yes the 2 percent of the society who no one dares question, do so relatively freely -

the others sometimes get away with it - one of the most common and inexpensive plastic surgery procedures performed in hospitals is a hymen reconstruction - so that the girl can be an eternal virgin on her wedding night and her promiscuous husband will never know of her past

our society is very double natured and on the front of things it is against premarital, extramarital and gay sex - but it's ok for boys to be boys and have their girlfriends, its just the girls who are thought of as whores for having boyfriends! our "zinnah" laws reflect this as well - look at the hudood ordinance!!!

as for being openly gay beyond your circle of trust - acceptability is zero and condemnation is apparent!

*

Sumeira, Female, 25

I don’t know if we’re repressed as a nation I do whatever I want. I don’t care about the rest of the nation; I fuck who I want, when I want, how I want…but yeah I guess, obviously we’re repressed as a nation, obviously we’re repressed because we are too afraid to come out with who we are. People want to stick to the norms of society, and normal is “Man – woman have a baby…marriage – NO sex without marriage…”

*

Zobia, Female, 22

Well, the women in our nation are definitely sexually repressed that’s for sure; ironically our culture teaches them that having a sexual appetite is entirely undignified and almost immoral. However, there are prostitutes and such that cater to the needs of many men…the prostitutes are shunned out of society and bad mouthed, those men who are usually married and frequent customers are hardly ever spoken of. I suppose if I looked at it as a nation and compared it to the rest of the world we are repressed sexually. Our Islamic culture emphasizes that sex remain a private, quiet and personal affair; one that is carried out systematically (mainly in the missionary position) to reproduce once we are married. Perhaps such a code of conduct is taught so we can differentiate from the culture of the Hindus which embraces literature such as the Kama Sutra.

*

Saira, Female, 22

Yes I think we are sexually repressed as a nation, especially women. I think its all because of the patriarchal ideology in our country. Not only is the issue of sex and all that taboo ... but its not considered a good thing for WOMEN to discuss it and question it. I’m sure that the men in the villages can think about it and not feel that it’s sinful.... and we are made to believe that it is.

*

Rabia, 23

Like many “Islamic” countries, people are prevented from expressing their sexuality in Pakistan and like many “Islamic” countries, it has done far from control society’s behavior. People will do what they have to and restricting them will only have the opposite effect.


***

Okay….so it seems pretty unanimous amongst the Pakistani female interviewees. Most have stated plainly and clearly that we are sexually repressed as a nation. Ambreen seems to be the only one who’s questioning it at all. Although she mentions that her mother couldn’t speak to her even till the day of her wedding. It’s an interesting scenario…the level of discomfort with the subject is exemplified by this situation. I have a story to tell in contrast to this (don't roll your eyes :P I know, I know... i tell a lot of stories)

I was a strange, inquisitive child (no surprises there). At around the age of twelve, I was beginning to hear people say that oral sex was forbidden in Islam. I still haven’t got a concrete answer from anyone really. It depends on who you ask and what their interpretation of the religion is. Anyhow, I decided to ask my mother whether this was true or not. I’m sure I caught her off guard and she wanted to shove the question in a suitcase just like Ambreen’s mom shoved her lubricant out of sight…

My mom took a moment to take it all in and then answered as best she could. She told me she thought so but at the same time was pretty sure that even ultra religious folks did it. We both chuckled at the thought…and I was glad I could speak to her freely. Don’t get me wrong though, she’s still very shy…after being married myself for a few years I decided to tease her and mention that she had never actually had the ‘sex talk’ with me…so just to bug her, I suggested that she do it now. She told me to shut up and go away. That was amusing.

Just recently she was in Toronto and I decided to take her for a walk around my area. We live near the village…the gay village...and it’s a lovely place to live. There’s always something going on and a great drag show is right around the corner. :)

Whilst we were out that day, she was absolutely fascinated with everything; the colours, the liveliness, the outfits, lol. I remember when I was in college it disturbed her that I even went to the pride parade but this year she came too. Hurray! It’s just about exposure really – she’s a lovely person but didn’t know what this world of homosexuality was actually about. The more she learns, the more accepting she becomes. I was thrilled to see her at pride and she was pumped with adrenaline. She had a great time.

Also, during our walk around the village we came across a huge sex store…she was really curious about it, stopping to look in the window, etc. So, I asked her if she wanted to check it out… and that was a baaad idea. I thought I was a very liberal, open minded-person… but strolling through aisles and aisles of fist shaped dildos and vibrating tongues with my mom was enough to make me wish the ground would swallow me up.

She was equally uncomfortable, if not more…within 4 minutes we ran out. It was interesting, but also agonizing…. Why I get myself into things like this, I do not know. :/

But just to clarify, It wasn't all weird cuz we're Pakistani and conservative, it was all weird cuz shes my mom! I think anyone (well...most people at least) from anywhere in the world would have been troubled by that situation. The worst part was - when this girl came up and asked us if we needed any help or if we wanted to see some of the products....ugh. Never again. Stupid me.

***

But where were we....the interviews... So, Fatima brings to our attention that Pakistan is a place where billboard models are sometimes spray painted black to resemble a burqa-clad woman. Hardcore eh? …especially considering the fact that women in Pakistani ads dress modestly anyway.

Zobia is the only one that mentions the Kama Sutra, I thought more people would. However, in her opinion this religious extremism might just be a struggle for identity. Perhaps we wish to separate ourselves from our 'superpower' Indian neighbours so badly that we’re willing to become extreme. Its an interesting thought.

Chew on that for a while.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Headscarves, Burqas and Panties - Oh my!



Do read the fine print in the illustration ;) (click to zoom)


I googled the word “A’abaya” randomly one day and came across a website for an Islamic boutique that specialized in designer A’abayas.......AND lingerie. WTF!

I was intrigued, to say the least…I clicked on the link to discover a world of the sluttiest underwear I’ve ever seen. It made me laugh, because I thought lingerie in an Islamic boutique would cover most of your body – like an Islamic bathing suit. A stupid assumption, because lingerie… is lingerie. It has one purpose, to come off…quick – and I suppose that these Muslim lingerie buyers like to get it on something fierce, behind closed doors. Hey – as long as it’s legit, and you’re married I guess that makes it okay! The reason it made me chuckle was 'cause these women are buying shapeless cloaks to hide their body and crotchless panties to flaunt their body at the same bloody place. An ingenious business idea – yet it somehow seems wrong that you would use religion to market lingerie. Maybe wrong is not the word I'm looking for.... but umm...odd?

As weird as that combination of products being in the same store is, there's definitely a market for it. The lingerie market is driven mostly by men (as is the a'abayah/burqa market), if it were up to women, I'm sure we'd choose comfort over butt floss!

Anyyyhoooo.......thought I'd share that fun little story, before I got to the more serious stuff.

***

The notion that men will be men and have an insatiable sexual appetite is widespread throughout Pakistan. Women typically cannot enjoy sex, want sex, masturbate or show any sort of interest in it. They’re baby making machines and blow up sex dolls, that also cook and clean. Perhaps the imbalance spreads from the caveman days when men’s physical power allowed them to beat us women into submission and drag us by our hair into a cave of their choosing. *shrug* it’s a theme that resonates around the globe in different intensities.

Of course, no offense guys, I dont mean YOU in particular... and there are lots of awesome men out there... but lets face it, the caveman-types that use their wives just to make children definitely still exist in ridiculous quantities.

Steve (from the last post), the self proclaimed generic white boy thinks of attractive women in colourful veils when he thinks of Pakistan. We sure have plenty of those and with that imagery he reminds me of a place our maid used to tell me about, while I was in Karachi. I spent many afternoons listening to her stories about her village in the province of Punjab. She would tell me about young girls sneaking off into fields or behind haystacks to meet a lover. I was fascinated by these tales of unauthorized sexual activity (and in a small village too!).

Apparently, this is common…there is so much sex going on it’s hard to think of these women as repressed. Some of the women are married to other men and some are unmarried girls…and everyone’s having a great time. But soon enough, the bubble bursts when you hear about these same women being forced into marriage by their parents, or being beaten by their husbands or pressured to produce a son. They do have their small moments of sexual freedom – and good for them…but generally these women are confined to a life of all kinds of repression… and oppression.

When Steve states that he doesn’t associate sexual repression with any Muslim country, it strikes me as odd and I wonder if he’s just trying to be polite…but then I read on and he explains that extreme misogyny is the culprit in his opinion, “Repression is possibly involved, but I think it has more to do with hatred of women than hatred of sex.”

What Steve says here is an incredibly powerful statement. I…..can’t get my head around it, fully. I want to agree, but it’s almost too disturbing to accept as reality. It could be and I’m sure there are plenty out there that agree. But to me, the more I think about it the more speechless I become. It’s actually hurting my head – wow, that’s really disturbing.

So, I can see the Pakistani in me coming out – I don’t want to deal with what Steve said, so let’s move on. Denial, ah – a national pastime. Our children don’t have premarital sex…Pakistani’s don’t get Aids…Our son is not gay…



Although, he mentions that he doesn’t see this extreme misogyny in Pakistan, but associates it mostly with the Taliban, and Saudi Arabia. I can see where he’s coming from, more so about the Taliban than about Saudi – because I had a perfectly beautiful childhood in Saudi Arabia. I didn’t know that crime existed; I didn’t know that poverty existed…but then again, I never knew what was going on outside my Americanized compound walls. But that’s a whole other blog in itself. This one’s about Pakistan.

I’m glad Steve mentions that there are extremist groups in Pakistan like anywhere else in the world and recognizes the repression involved in other religions as well.

***

I remember when my husband and I moved to Karachi from Toronto as newlyweds…we were walking around the bazaars holding hands, until we noticed all the stares we were getting. We were literally stopping dirty old men in their tracks. In fact, I remember crossing the street once while holding his hand and a woman (with her face covered) almost ran us over and drove past yelling for us to let go of each others hands. Me, being the rebellious type – I naturally didn’t want to be told by the public of Pakistan what I was or wasn’t allowed to do.

So I was quite upset when my husband (being the more rational, cautious person) said he didn’t want to stir up any trouble or get into arguments with other men because they were staring at me. I decided he was right and although I should have the right to hold his hand, it was probably easier to just let it go. The funny thing is, a lot of these guys that were stopping to stare were usually holding hands with each other. It’s quite strange, but thats a common practice amongst 'lower income' men in Pakistan. They walk around holding hands all the time, apparently. Yet they still stop to ogle women.

So what’s up with that?

Well, I can only speculate, but I think since it’s widely accepted that this is how they display their friendship for each other. They aren’t necessarily gay, although you would think so if you had a Western understanding of homosexuality. They seem incredibly absorbed in each others presence, these strange hand-holding, woman-ogling males. Sometimes you will even see the occasional ass-grab exchanged between the two men, but then you see them stopping to stare at a woman – their jaws hang open, their eyes light up and you know they are undressing her with their eyes at a rate that’s unimaginable.

They don’t have access to women, so their playful ass grabbing turns into a homosexual encounter – but only out of necessity. It’s like men in prison, when you have limited interaction with the opposite sex, you tend to satisfy your urges through other means. This is one example of how men too are sexually repressed in Pakistan. Women surely win the race, but men are in there somewhere.

James (see last post) says that sex is the single strongest drive in the healthy human being and cannot be successfully repressed – I could not agree more. When people’s natural sexuality is restricted it tends to manifest itself in other ways. A lack of sex education and a taboo surrounding any such topic results in unwanted pregnancies…which trap the poor in a vicious cycle of poverty. Such restrictions sometimes come out in the form of incest, bestiality and pedophilia… People are afraid to speak up and uneducated predators take advantage of this situation.

It cannot be repressed entirely but such extreme attempts to box it and suppress it result in an explosion of all kinds of hidden sexual activity.

James goes on to say that suppression just changes the spectrum and makes you more sensitive to the slightest trace of sexuality, where a simple coy smile becomes all the more attractive. I’m reminded of seeing women with covered faces whose eyes were particularly striking. Even girls with their hair covered, they’re actually highlighting the beauty of their face even more – because there isn’t any hair to distract you from it.

It’s like…a quick glimpse of a bare wrist can be attractive if you know you’re not supposed to see it. It’s just a heightened level of awareness…most of us are desensitized to a lot of things because we’re constantly inundated with prepackaged, airbrushed, high definition images of female sexuality. In the West, we can’t get away from it – and seeing a pair of bare breasts on TV has just lost its novelty.

Billy sums it all up when he says:

I think Pakistan is a little more repressed than other Muslim countries, namely because religion is part of their identity.


And that…is key. We are a nation formed because of our religion, and no matter how much the core of those beliefs have dissolved and degraded we continue to cling onto them in a very hypocritical manner, one that is addressed by Merve when she compares Pakistan to Turkey. Life in small villages is very different to big cities; people are divided into several separate worlds and have separate sources of repression. Some are held back by society and keeping up appearances whereas some are burdened with a lack of education, poverty, strict family policies and religious misinformation.

:(

Monday, July 5, 2010

We Make Food Spicy and Make Love Bland :P



(clearly, the title doesn't refer to the girl in the picture)


It is scorching hot outside, I feel like I'm in Karachi (its supposed to feel like 40 fucking degrees today, the city has issued a heat alert)~

And over the weekend, standing in the sun for half the day to watch the pride parade was too ambitious I think, I had to take a break and cool off for a bit. I'm still feeling the effects. I must be gettin' old.

Sadly, I didnt see any Pakistani flags this year :/ I saw one or two brown people amongst the rainbows, balloons, whistles and banners (not nearly enough though). A couple of people with signs sporting the word 'Muslim' on it, even a Hijabi or two!! Hijabis in unexpected situations always have my attention.....always...! :) Go Liberal Hijabis!

When the parade ended, the crowd dispersed before you could say the word 'Fabulicious' and there was not a single thong left in sight... Then I saw it, my photo opportunity of the day....Right there standing in front of me, amongst scattered condom packets and popped balloons, was a woman with her baby. I saw lots of those that day.... but this one was special. Shalwar Kameez'd from head to toe, I hope she enjoyed the parade :) The babys even wearing beads!



Anyway, after all the nudity I saw over the weekend, the continued discussion about Pakistani repression shouldn't hurt as much;


***

I had to call in some outside help for this part.

In order to understand how others see us, I thought it'd be a good idea to ask them.

However, like some of the Pakistanis that refused to speak to me, many non ones did too. But thankfully, I have friends from all over the world, with different backgrounds and religious beliefs. Technology seemed to be on my side that day (we do have an ongoing battle), as I contacted them and received their answers without any hassle from facebook or email!

Some* of their names have been changed to maintain their privacy. But some felt like they had nothing to hide. Here’s what they say:

***

Yulik*, Female

(Background: Russian)

I think that in terms of sex between men and women Pakistan is repressed… but only for those who are very religious. I’ve always thought that super religious people have sex for procreation and not pleasure - at least women. I’m sure men get a chance to have sex for pleasure.

I’ve also read somewhere that in the Middle East women are not allowed to cheat but men are. I think that sexual repression here is very one sided. Where women are repressed and men are not. But then again I think most women that grow up in those circumstances don’t know any better and accept whatever comes to them. Of course not all, there are always the rebellious types.

I don’t really know what being gay is like in Pakistan. I would guess that it's unacceptable and not as out in open as it is here (Toronto)...Probably because of higher religious beliefs and harsher punishment.

But I also always found it fascinating that girls who wear the whole-body-covering-dress (sorry don’t know what’s it called) wear it not only because its a religious thing but also because it makes guys like them for who they are and not for their "assets". Which kind of creates a less shallow society, then what we have here.

*

Steve, Male

(Background: I'm a hodgepodge, a real mongrel.
My father's side is from Poland. They arrived (in Canada) in '47 I think. My mother's side has been here since about 1500. I think they're English - there is some Scottish as well. "Generic white boy" will do.)

In all honesty, I do not equate Pakistan with sexual repression. Not that I know very much about Pakistan, but the image that comes to my minds eye are attractive women in colourful veils. Stereotyping possibly, but it is the association I have, and it is certainly not repressed.

Oddly enough I do not associate sexual repression with any Muslim country. What we have in places like Saudi Arabia or places ruled by the Taliban are forms of extreme misogyny, which I think is different. Repression is possibly involved, but I think it has more to do with hatred of women than hatred of sex. I do not see much of it in Pakistan. At least not officially - there are extremist groups, as there are anywhere. This is a country after all that once had a woman as Prime Minister (unlike certain other places).

Repression to my mind, pops up more readily in fundamentalist Christian circles and certain Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sects. Groups which view sex as the root of all evil, to the exclusion of all others, to the point of an obsessiveness with sexual matters that borders on the perverse.

*

Lakhena, Female

(Background: Cambodian)

I think the Pakistani culture does repress sexuality (at least publicly), if it's anything like the Indian culture that neighbors it.

Generally, I think that Asian countries (my husband claims he's Asian because India is geographically in Asia) are more private about sexual issues. It's a cultural thing that goes back I don't know how long. And so, I realize it's an over-generalization, but on the whole, I believe Asian cultures (that includes India and Pakistan according to David) are more reserved about flaunting their sexuality. Just look at the movies that come from that part of the world. Kissing on the lips isn't even allowed. And remember the big deal they made over Richard Gere kissing that famous Indian actress in public? That kind of stuff I guess is what contributes to my thinking.

*

Billy*, Male

(Background: Ethiopian)

I think Pakistan is a little more repressed than other Muslim countries, namely because religion is part of their identity, i.e. Pakistan was formed partly due to religion, and any religion represses any kind of "deviant" sexual acts. Pakistan seems to be getting a little freer with sexuality but its not clear whether they are becoming more accepting at the same rate that the world is finding acceptable in terms of sexuality.

*

Merve, Female

(Background: Turkish)

Well I don't think it’s a yes or no question considering the fact that I find my country (Turkey) and yours very similar on the sexual repression issue. I believe, it looks like a repressed country and partially it might be… for example, in small villages and places like that.

However, the issue is so different for large cities in my opinion. I believe in big cities in these countries people prefer to pretend that they are not sexually active or even be open about that topic - just to be safe. But in their own group of friends or community, everyone is very relaxed and open-minded. I’m not sure if I answered your question right but what I was trying to say is: maybe it was sexually repressed and maybe it still looks sexually repressed… however in reality, I doubt it is.

*

Doug*, Male

(Background: Jewish)

I would think that Pakistan is a sexually repressed nation. I don't know too much about Islam, but I know that women have to cover themselves and wear a hijab. My impression is that sex is not really talked about over there, nor is it used for advertisements, etc. I know that there are a lot of attractive Bollywood actresses in India, but I don't see that kind of thing coming out of Pakistan. I think it is because of the religion. It’s the same kind of things in the United States. You expect that the religious people aren’t really into sex and sexual activity, and keep the whole thing under wraps.

*

James, Male

(Background: I'm 2nd generation Canadian. My Grandparents came from the Netherlands. )

Sex is the single strongest drive in the healthy human being, and cannot be successfully repressed. Now, I don't have much exposure to Pakistani culture, so I haven't let myself develop any strong opinions about it. But here's my mild opinion. I know the nation tries to suppress sexuality, but I think that any suppression just changes the spectrum, making more covert indications of sexual interest all the more erotic. The coy smile becomes all the more attractive.

I also think that sex education is not taught very well if at all and this causes a lot of problems like high HIV infection rates and unwanted pregnancies.

With media being my major source of info, I think I should point out certain news stories that stick out in my mind. One report stated that some studies estimate as much as 75% of female children are sexually abused in the subcontinent of India.

*

Johan*, Male

(Background: I'm 1/2 first generation Canadian. My dad is from Germany originally, but my mom is like 3rd or 4th gen. Canadian.)

To be honest, I don't really know. I've never been there, and I doubt my limited experience with people who are from Pakistan would actually be indicative of how people generally are in Pakistan. A lot of images come through the media, and through conversation with people, about how women are treated in Islam, including in stricter countries being legally and culturally forced to wear veils, but then this doesn't necessarily mean that behind closed doors there would be this sort of hiddenness. It does suggest that almost symbolically there is a gap in communication about topics of a private nature, though, and how else can knowledge and understanding be built about enriching sex lives, safety, etc.
I was speaking with a friend of mine, a white Muslim who's focus academically was Arabic countries, and as we were talking about Al Jazeera, he told me that it has encouraged their people to open up communication, and that now there is also a women's talk show which has speakers from different contexts discussing topics like masturbation, and other risqué subjects. I found this to be a bit surprising because from my previous understanding of the Middle East and the climate there, I would assume this to anger and frustrate men (for whatever reason there is such a climate of repressing female power), and because even in Western cultures something like this is taboo. You'll see ‘Sex with Sue’ on television, but the idea of having masturbation as a topic on ‘The View’ would be obscene, for both men and women. In fact, I wonder if you could ever convince Ann Coulter and Oprah or other women from diverse backgrounds to come onto a talk show and discuss these types of issues. Maybe, then, that TV show in the Middle East is proof that in some ways they are a bit less sexually repressed than we are (or maybe some people are willing to be more radical and resist complacency).


*

So, ethnic backgrounds aside, most of my friends are just plain Canadian. I live in Toronto – so it was bound to happen. I would have loved to fly around the world and ask all types of people. But, like I said before, most shy away from such controversy and secondly, I don’t have the funds to fly around the world. So, I’m sitting here in my apartment, trying to make do with the limited information I have. Outside the window I can see the first snowfall* of the year, and my mind drifts to a land far, far away…a land of exotic spices and rich fabrics, snake charmers and erotic brown almond shaped eyes, a land of emergency rule and illicit abortions…a place where cheating husbands and disappointed, helpless wives co-exist in silence……I wonder, is this the picture that non-Pakistanis see? :(

---

*Its snowing then because I wrote that a while ago.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

WARNING: Viewing this Post Might Make you Gay!

During my younger *lament*, more rebellious days you would often find me at one of the various haunts 'allocated' to the Gothic subculture of Toronto...mingling with the children of the night…exploring my deepest, darkest dreams…and throughout those travels I came to know professional dominatrixes, cross dressers, swingers and all sorts of people with alternative lifestyles. I certainly don’t judge them; in fact, I think they add value to my life. Because from these not-so-mainstream lifestyles we learn so much, we learn to play and we learn to tolerate.

Tolerance is obviously something Pakistan needs more of. I can't say that enough. Perhaps the lack of patience with anything that's different is a result of the whole frickin' nation being repressed?

Time for a story, I think.

Once upon a time, Pakistan used to be a part of India. The same India that’s home to the Kama Sutra. Thats right. We parted ways and religion has dictated most of our country’s culture ever since…

THE END

God, I hope not. There is so much more to us than that.

We can’t run away from the fact that people around the world still compare the two countries. To the untrained eye, we’re essentially seen as the same people. Yet, on the surface vast amounts of differences appear. India has bars and clubs, we don’t. India has Bollywood, we have Lollywood (but that’s considered a place where girls from ‘good families’ would never venture for a career). India even has ‘hot’ models like Aishwaria Rai entering mainstream international media. These beautiful women of India represent some notion of sexuality to the rest of the world. They're what epitomizes a mystic eastern beauty, we just aren't in that picture. Henna and other body adornment from the subcontinent is all attributed to India (esp. in the West - Thanks Madonna :/ ). Sure, they might have had it first – but that’s because we didn’t exist as a country back then. Last year, India even decriminalized homosexuality!

The point I’m trying to make is, in the rest of the world, nobody has a clue what Pakistani sexuality involves…we’re drowned out and categorized with India most of the time. I have nothing against the country, it's where my forefathers were from. But I'd like some recognition for Pakistanis other than what comes with terrorism.

You know what, our women are beautiful too and not all brown girls are 'Indian' *sigh*. Our men are tall, dark and handsome…(sometimes :P) But no one knows. Our gay community needs a voice, it shouldn’t have to live in fear. Our children need a solid sex education. Our pedophiles need to be identified rather than being brushed under the carpet. Our rape victims need to know its ok to speak up. Pakistan is a sexual nation (that's only human). We have a whole spectrum of sexuality waiting to be explored, young, confused teenagers that want answers, parents that need to provide answers, sex offenders that need to be exposed.

Jesus, I think we've waited long enough.

***


Repression, repression, repression - such an ugly word. Toronto is far from repressed this weekend with pride activities in full swing. Funny side story;
I came accross this magazine while waiting for the subway, thought it'd be hillarious to casually place it on my husband's bedside table. LMAO! The scream of anguish that came from the room that evening was well worth the wait. My husband is a really,really liberal guy - you won't often come accross a (Pakistani) male as open minded and comfortable in his own skin as him. It's what I fell in love with. In fact, each year he comes to the pride parade too, but lol, I don't think he'll ever be ready for pictures such as this, and that's prolly for the best. HahAHAah.

I gotta admit, this magazine cover kind of made me cringe as well...obviously, it wasn't targeted towards me - straight women and gay men do not find the same kinds of images sexy.

But I bet if there are any straight men reading this post, they're cursing me for exposing them to this image. LOL. I told you, tolerance is key. Relax, looking at this picture doesn't make you any gayer than you already are :P I didn't love it myself, but it didn't piss me off.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Keep that Sausage in your Pants till we Find you an Appropriate Bun!





I've been on hiatus for the past little while... with all the crazy stuff going on in Toronto I just didn't find myself with much time to write. Firstly, we had G20 Riots, with detainees and burning police cars! And lets not forget, our precious few summer months are always jam packed with activities (the resulting mosquito bites have kept my fingers far too occupied to type). What I'm looking forward to most is the upcoming pride parade :D ! So much fun......I'm hoping to get a shot of the Pakistani flag in the parade - I've seen it before.

Oh - and on one of my recent adventures, I was inspired to take this picture (perhaps influenced by pride week)...i came across this hot dog vendor on the street, and though I commend him for making sure Muslims can enjoy street meat too - by selling Halal sausage...It did make me chuckle a little. Sounds like an oxymoron on a couple of levels. Maaaaybe I'm just immature :P Happy Pride!

(Halal = Muslim equivalent of Kosher)


***

Maybe pre-'shaadi' lovin' (shaadi = wedding) just isn’t as big a deal to anyone as I thought it was. And since my kind interviewees are provided with a status of anonymity combined with a public vehicle of expression… could it be, that we are finally getting to see this topic in a different light? Naaah. There's no way that most people are this cool with it. Not in the mother-land. Nuh-uh.

Isn't this the place where guys wanna have a good time, but marry a virgin?

I knew a few people in Karachi who looked down on me for my liberal opinions of sexuality. They themselves engaged in premarital oral sex, but considered themselves to be ‘virgins’ because they had not engaged in ‘penis-penetrates-vagina’ sex specifically. Now, seriously – if you believe that ‘god’ wants you to be a virgin before you’re married, you can’t outsmart him by having other kinds of sex…! In a nutshell: they thought I was a sexual deviant (even though I was married), because I believed that people have a right to have sex when they think its right, not when society tells them its ok. So, I was bad for thinking such thoughts, and they were good because they were outsmarting their god!

Generally in the country, there is disorder, there is turmoil and amongst all of that – I’m sure there’s sex. And so, continuing the theme - within the realm of Pakistani sexuality… there is disorder, turmoil, chaos and confusion. Some of us don't know what being a virgin involves, some may think oral sex, simply isn't sex...

If you are willing to take a quick look back at the last post, all this is summed up in Layla’s opinions. I think she's the perfect example of what an average (middle/upper class) Pakistani’s thoughts on the topic would be. A Pakistani that’s inundated by Western media, someone who’s exposed to extremist views and is either directly or indirectly affected by the violence that follows. This is the problem of a country that’s losing it's grip on it’s identity We are no longer Indian nor are we ruled by the British. We are not a nation of extremists and we don’t want to succumb to the overwhelming, all-consuming power of a Western belief system. We don’t know who we are. You can't really blame Layla for having mixed opinions, given the circumstances...

Moving along though, here's what the guys had to say:

Fahad, Male, 24

I have had pre-marital sex, and I won’t hesitate to say so – however I haven’t had sex with more than one person in my life. I thoroughly enjoy having sex and I think it’s quite important to make that clear. There is nothing wrong with premarital sex I don’t feel guilty about doing it myself (even though my parents would kill me if they knew).

I think it would be best if you do end up marrying that person also, but if you don’t it’s not a problem. I myself wouldn’t have any issues marrying someone who has had sex with another person before me.

*

Sultan, Male, 19

Premarital sex ….I think it’s alright if true love is involved, then marriage is just a formality that one must go through. But the true thing you must consider before having sex is if you’re really in love with the person or not. Then marriage has no role. I don’t agree with casual sex at all, I believe sex is a very spiritual thing. – It’s almost a godly act…or an act of worship almost. I myself have not had sex yet, maybe my opinions will change after I’ve experienced it myself – who knows…

*

Khizer, Male, 26

After admitting reluctantly to the fact that he had had premarital sex he continued:

I think that you better damn be sure that you will be spending the rest of your life with this person if you choose to have premarital sex with someone. I’m not spending the rest of my life with the person I had premarital sex with…I’m not too happy about that, I don’t feel guilty or regret it, but I feel like it shouldn’t have happened because now when I do get married to someone or the next person that comes along she’ll have this thing like -oh you were with her- I can’t say that she didn’t mean anything to me because she did, I can’t say it was in my past because your past always stays with you – you know…I can’t make excuses for it, I cant get away from it, it will stay with me for the rest of my life and I don’t think its fair for the person that I’m going to be with to live with that.

I’m not opposed to marrying someone who has had sex before but I will have a very hard time agreeing with it and I wouldn’t blame her for telling me I’m an asshole because I had sex with someone before her as well. We would always fight about it; I know that…it would come up in the littlest things. I was young when I had sex, but you know I still think the same way so maybe I wasn’t that young.”

I enjoy sex but I feel scared because of pregnancy issues. I haven’t always used protection – and it’s not about being in the moment… it’s just better. I’ve only been with one person and I took their word for the fact that they hadn’t been elsewhere but I was scared of pregnancy every time. I wasn’t always prepared in the sense that I didn’t carry a condom around in my wallet all the time, sometimes I wasn’t going to drive a quarter of a mile just to go get it – but there were times when I did.

*

Imad, Male, 25

(Laughs) Of course I enjoy having sex. Of course I do.
Premarital sex… I think it’s a personal choice – it doesn’t change you as a person essentially – that is what’s usually questioned. I don’t think it should be as big a taboo as it is. I’ve engaged in premarital sex…more than once…no regrets. That’s just a guy thing I guess (laughs).
I wouldn’t have a problem in any way marrying someone who had sex with someone else before me.

*

Qasim, Male, 26

Now, I don’t see it as anything big... but yes there certainly was a point where I was very against it. To me it's a very emotional way of expressing yourself... I’m not saying go out and have premarital sex with every Tom, Dick and Harry.... But I don’t see it as being a taboo anymore. Yeah, it’s ok.

When I was against it... for me at that point... I don’t know if it was so much religion or because I’m the elder of a few siblings... and I was supposed to be setting an example... I guess it would be a combination of both of those scenarios ... I couldn’t really be ‘pro’ it because I was meant to be setting an example.... I couldn’t be pro premarital sex and want a wife who's a virgin... that’s what I want-ed... Now, I could care less. I changed as a person ... as a whole.... I changed my views on pretty much everything... I put myself in the role of being ‘me’ ... rather than someone who is setting an example for siblings... I’m going to live my life the way I want to live my life. As a result I changed as a person.

But, me personally, honestly, I’m for the lack of a better word... I’m asexual... for me it’s more about everything else. ... but I’m more interested in ... everything else.... the whole lead up to it... as opposed to the actual intercourse part of the thing… I’m not a little angel (laughs) ... honestly; I think I’m just too conscious about my body... that’s why... for me… physically having to get naked with someone else is like a BIIIG DEAL.

*

Ali, Male, 29

Premarital sex is not good… obviously I’ve had sex before marriage but I was young ...I believe it’s good to have one partner.... it protects you from diseases....

No...I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t have a problem marrying someone who’s not a virgin...because who knows what kind of circumstances people have sex in when they’re young. Maybe it isn’t his or her fault... if she wants to become a good person by marrying you ...you should overlook it....


***

Well, who would have known that the men don’t have half as much to say as the women do. :P

After reading their opinions on the matter you get a sense that though they claim they wouldn’t have a problem marrying someone who had had sex before marriage (which i thought was pretty cool)…they tend to display a preference for situations where there is only one sexual partner in life.