Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pakistan: To Wank or not to Wank...

Yah its been a little while.... but jeebus, my life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately....a certain project of mine is taking up way more time than i anticipated.

Recently a fellow blogger posted an interview with yours truly. Check it out, thanks to RenKiss of Cultural Fascinations for helping to spread the word. It's a good cause people, i cant tell you enough...sexuality in Pakistan, or the lack thereof, affects our people in more ways than you can imagine. As a nation we need to be more aware about the issues surrounding it. We've got to be comfortable discussing this stuff, because without dialogue, theres no telling what kind damage our own thoughts can do to us.

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but where were we... ah yes.... still talking about 'self-help', and thats a topic that seems to have sparked a huge amount of interest. So I'll blab on a bit more.




Through my sexplorations on the interweb, one thing that kept cropping up in relation to touching yourself is a quote from the Qur'an:

“And those who guard their chastity. Except from their wives or those their right hands possess - for them, they are free from blame. But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors." 23.5-7

The words ‘those their right hand possesses’ refer to slaves or captives…yup…so you are legitimately allowed to rape sleep with slaves, by this totally moral god guy ...no mention of 'consent'.... because you don't need consent from slaves, obvs, duh.

Simply put, it’s saying that sex is only for your spouse or slave (not even going to get into how many ways the slave sex is wrong....an almighty, all knowing god would know that slavery is morally fucked up, no?). Anyone looking for action beyond that is no good. And since most of us don’t have slaves anymore (no thanks to 'god', who totally okays it in his book), I’m assuming sexual activity is solely reserved for your spouse. Even you yourself are not entitled…wtf! Slave rape - ok. Maturbation - NOT ok. Priorities.

You see that same kind of mentality in the Christine O'Donnell video i posted in the last post, where people refer to sexual acts outside of marriage as 'adulterous' - so its not *just* the Muslim world... plenty of such types in every religion.

Words are always open to 'interpretation' though, which is where the inconsistencies and confusion comes in (god wasn't a great communicator). I did find some 'liberal' Muslim websites that claimed it was ok to masturbate if that was going to prevent you from committing the greater sins of adultery or pre-marital sex.

This explanation makes a bit more sense to me…certainly a lot more progressive than I expected…

But it can get a little boring reading page after page on the same topic, saying basically the same thing. So, I decided i'd go looking for a 'Muslim chat room' and see what people had to say first hand. Ah chat rooms …they had to be out there still… I remember when the internet was a relatively new thing – ‘chatting’ online with strangers was all the rage, but I haven’t heard of anyone doing it for like 8 years at least.

Perseverance pays though, cuz I did find some interesting chat rooms…the first day I was a young man in search of guidance…

*Note: Irrelevant material has been edited out from the conversation


*giggle* enjoy me trying to act like a young conservative Muslim guy:

Me: I am a young man…hope you can understand the problems that come with hormones and youth.

Him: what is the problem?

Me: Well…how do I say this? Do you think masturbation is a sin?

Him: No, depends what matthab you follow – do you follow an imam?

Me: I am muslim…don’t really follow an imam, but I pray at the mosque

Him: most say it is allowed..

Him: Imam Hanafi says only if it stops you committing a sin.

Him: but most imamz say it is allowed

Me: are you serious? but I feel so guilty


Him: If you masturbate to porno then there is a problem…

Me: Oh…but isn’t it the same with or without porno? I was reading online
And I don’t know how reliable this is…

Me: Online it said that masturbation is like adultery

Him: No, masturbation is a measure to control yourself.
Think abt it.
All that hormonic action not being released…
What will it do?
Make you prone to true adultery

Me: True…true…


* * *

And that was the last thing he said before his connection died.

-I have to say, the guy made some sense. He claimed to be quite a religious guy too, and he certainly seemed to know what he was talking about religion-wise. But who knows – maybe he was a female trying to write a blog about sex and pretending to be someone else….you never really know online. But – talking to him and seeing that he was offering  milder, more reasonable advice than "YOU WILL BURN IN HELL FOR MASTURBATING" was encouraging.

As in, there are still some semi-reasonable folks in religious, preachy chat rooms, that use some degree of logic.. I don’t think ‘hormonic’ is a word…but I get what he’s saying.

The next day, I wanted to be a woman who was seeking similar advice from other women. What surprised me, is that being a ‘guy’ in a chat room…other guys were still willing to talk….but being a woman in the chatroom seemed to deter other female chatters from wanting a conversation with me. Weird. I tried for ages to talk to another female…but they just wouldn’t respond…and I couldn’t exactly ask a guy in a Pakistani chat room about masturbation and his opinions because either he would think I was a guy…or I was a slut… or try to have cyber sex with me or something… I don’t know…he could even become offended…

…anyhow, since I waited around for hours trying to talk to any girl….and had no luck I decided to go ahead and talk to a guy instead...its not like he’d know who I was anyway. So I thought of a fake name, decided on how old i wanted to be.. and off i went;

_Lhr1: This is A*** from lahore
girl22: nice to meet u ...
_Lhr1: 25 yers old , employee in software company
_Lhr1: thts all about me
girl22: good for u ... im 22, and i live in toronto
_Lhr1: thankyou .
girl22: i've been to lahore once when i was younger...but my family is from khi
_Lhr1: o ok
_Lhr1: nice to meet u too
_Lhr1: may i know ur name ?
girl22: i'm still in uni
girl22: My name is
girl22: Sarah
_Lhr1: nice name.
_Lhr1: so Sarah, do u ask ur 5 time prayers well on time ?
girl22: i try my best... but not always
_Lhr1: i say u like to u ask ur prayers 5 time
girl22: why do you ask
_Lhr1: just asking
girl22: what about you?
_Lhr1: its our duty , i think


Oh lord, this guy is on a serious mission….so far he’s asked me my name, where I’m from and then jumped straight to whether I pray 5 times a day or not….that certainly rubbed me the wrong way (no pun intended) but like the good little girl that i am... i lied and said I try....

girl22: it certainly is...
_Lhr1: Alhamdulillah i try my best to do tht
girl22: do you have a lot of knowledge about islam?
_Lhr1: listen me ...sarah..if a person is comming back from shop after purchasing milk
girl22: yes?
_Lhr1: and milk is dropping on earth ...i think every one ask me hello hello ur milk is dropping ..even if they are stranger..
_Lhr1: but when a muslim skip to ask his prayers on time ..no body tell him/her tht O Mr. /Ms ur losing ur good deed...
girl22: hahahahah
girl22: good point
girl22: great...ur a wise man


LOL - That was some metaphor for telling people to pray…I guess he's trying to say that if you’ve just bought milk, and its spilling…and you can’t tell…then people on the street are going to let you know…if you skip your prayers it should be the same way – ugh, whut? That comparison to losing prayer time and spilling milk is cringeworthy. Milk is a real tangible thing buddy.

I’m all about letting people live the way they want, as long as it doesn’t harm or impose on others…so I don't really agree with how pushy he is about this… and wow…he's really got just one thing on his mind…an internet-evangelist…


_Lhr1: you r u going to make angry ur Beloved Prophet ...muhammad (s.a.w)
girl22: why?
girl22: im agreeing with u
_Lhr1: when u skip ur prayers....muhammad (s.a.w) feel sadness


What on earth is he smoking? I'm agreeing with the guy...which is obviously not my real life POV... and still, he says I'm gonna make the 'Beloved Prophet' angry...

_Lhr1: dont hv much knowledge but ...i think wht i hv , i like to forwrd it

Yah, I picked up on that :P

girl22: ur doing a good duty by imparting your wisdom..

*cringe* (I had to believable, come on)

girl22: but is that ur only purpose for chatting online?
_Lhr1: no please
_Lhr1: i chat on all topics
_Lhr1: i try to become a good muslim
girl22: yeah me too
girl22: its not easy ..
girl22: do u think its wrong for men and women to chat online?
_Lhr1: its easy Sarah but we r too weak
_Lhr1: yes i think its wrong ..but if u hv good purpose thn i think its good also
_Lhr1: wht about ur mom dad ?
_Lhr1: they harsh on u if u dont follow islam ?
girl22: no... not so much
girl22: i have lots of questions... i need to find someone to ask


(As you can see I’m on a mission too – I’m desperately trying to lead upto the part where I can ask him his opinion on masturbation)

_Lhr1: they used to say their prayers ?

Are you fucking kidding me? this guy is concerned with my parents prayer habits too?! In the real world, i might have uppercut him in the crotch. What a fucking nosy moron. But alas I have some questions to ask, and so far this is the only access i've had to truly 'conservative' thoughts.

girl22: yea they do
_Lhr1: u can ask...but i am not a scholar
_Lhr1: wht i hv , i will reply u on the base of my poor knowledge
girl22: they are kind of personal ...female questions...
girl22: im a bit shy... but i can only ask someone over chat because i feel too embarrassed face to face...


Alright, building up….here it comes

girl22: will u mind...?
_Lhr1: ok
_Lhr1: no please
_Lhr1: u can ask..
girl22: are u sure?
_Lhr1: yes Sarah
_Lhr1: u can ask...
girl22: ok ...
girl22: umm....do u think masturbation is haraam? (forbidden)
_Lhr1: but dont mind if i suddnly got disconect..u know its big issu in pk about electricity


Oh Pakistan and it’s electricity problems…constant disconnections and ongoing blackouts….I remember living through that! It was frustrating beyond belief…!

girl22: yea
girl22: do u think its a sin?
_Lhr1: masturbation ??


Uh-oh – have I offended him?

girl22: yea... i told u it was an embarrassing question
_Lhr1: please ask me in simple
girl22: u don;t understand?
_Lhr1: no please
_Lhr1: u know we pki r not much good in english
_Lhr1: i am sory for tht



No – wait, he just doesn’t understand the word….good thing I haven’t pissed him off yet, but explaining this in simpler English may do just that…lol

girl22: ahha no problem...
_Lhr1: ask me again
girl22: ok... uh... well ... masturbation is when someone touches themself for sexual pleasure
girl22: hello ?
_Lhr1: ahh
_Lhr1: i m thinking about it
_Lhr1: please wait
girl22: oh ok ... do u understand what i'm talking about though?
_Lhr1 has left.
girl22: hello?

Unforunately, that was the end of our conversation. I don’t know if his electricity went out as he had warned me it might…or if he just didn’t know how to respond. Great timing though, eh? Fak!

Well, discovering diverse Pakistani opinions on masturbation has been one of *the* most difficult tasks this blog has put upon me so far. I’ve tried different avenues, different types of people….it’s certainly been an exhausting journey….my chatroom friend has left the building… and I’m done with chatting…

So this is how this post ends.

Sucks that we won't know how _Lhr1 would've answered the question...but i think thats pretty representative of what a lot of people with his world view would've done... even if i had been talking to them face to face... they'd just leave...or have me burnt at the stake.. *shrug*

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Go Fuck Yourself...

...And I mean that in the nicest way possible. :)

Yah, we're still talking about Masturbation. I have my male interviewees' thoughts to post... oh and there are some bits and pieces I found on the net, that just need to be shared.

First off, I wasn't aware of this but apparently guys can impregnate their hands by masturbating! I'm just posting one paragraph here, but you can read the whole thing if you like. Lol.

"Unfortunately, this sin has become widespread in this day and age. In some narrations of Hadith there are severe warnings against this sin. It has been mentioned that the person who masturbates shall be resurrected on the Day of Judgment with a pregnant hand. It has also been mentioned that the ناکح الید (the one who masturbates) is under the curse of Allah. Fulfilling one's sexual desires in an unlawful manner is obviously impermissible. But one should also be cautious of excessive permissible sex. Too much sexual intercourse spoils the health and drains one's strength."

(of course no mention of how sinful it is for women to masturbate, because that doesn't happen, clearly)

So gentlemen,
a) don't masturbate... who wants a pregnant hand
b) don't have too much sex with your spouse either (which is permissable) - cuz it spoils your health and drains your strength.

All i'm gonna say is... are you freakin serious? There are much bigger issues out there, and I'm sure an *all-knowing*, *all-powerful* god would prefer to focus on those. If god was real and had to manage the whole universe...including billions of people..answering prayers, the whole giveth and taketh... life and death...etc... why the FUCK would he care about your self-pleasure habits?

I also came across an English to Urdu dictionary online...guess what word I looked up.... yup... there's actually an official term for it...i have never heard it in my life... but here it is; dast kari. Now anyone familiar with the term, please correct me if this is wrong...

But I'm surprised they listed a word for it, because they sure didn't list a definition.

Not surprising though, no definition for masturbation in an urdu dictionary...must simply be cuz it doesn't exist :P

Ok - so one more: I came across a well-written, concise, informative page on the topic. *chuckle* Obviously written by a Pakistani man...

I'll post a few highlights, lol, to read more (and if u need a good laugh you'll want to) go here.

(Because of masturbation 'apparently'):

"Their behavior is changed altogether. Their performance in education is affected. They fail to give enough attention to their studies. Their behavior with females becomes somewhat strange and unnatural because they think they are not enough for them. They think that they can never have sex in their life. This creates a lot of frustration in their mind. They tend to satisfy their thirst for sex but they are unable to do so. They think they are in serious kind of disease ( this is mis education )"

"This page is basically to provide sex education to young teenagers from 12 years and above in Pakistan and to the people of the world. If you are at least twelve years old please keep on reading. This page is for you. These pages do not contain any sexually explicit material and is safe for you to read it."

LOL!

"you should bear in mind that masturbation is harmful. This question is quite controversial because many people including doctors say it is not harmful at all and as a matter of fact they say it is very healthy. But there are a lot of other people like 'hakims' and common people who say it is harmful....Bear in mind that I DO NOT support hakims. If you have already got problems with masturbation, You should consult any doctor. "

Of course, you'd trust the opinion of 'common people' and homeopaths (hakims) over real doctors.. right? Yet he ends it (confusingly) by telling u to go see a real doctor...

"The harmful effects of masturbation include discharge of semen when u think about girl, reduction in penis size, tapering of penis in the base, reduced erection size, reduced amount of orgasm and the worst of all premature ejaculation. All of these problems are a big problems by themselves but thinking that they all are caused because of too much masturbation, i will say that masturbation is harmful."

Guys, I hope you're making notes... :P


"I check the tip of my penis scarily and i noticed that i was leaking. Then when i had looked at my penis, it had also shrunk in the base. Eventually everything that was their in the pamphlet came out true for me. So in my case it was ignorance and lake of sex education. Secondly since i never had any sexual activity with any one i did not know much about it. Hence i would the big culprit in this case is ignorance. You are doing something and you do not know its effect because either you just enjoy it and no one else informs you about that. No one ever told me a single word about sex because our society ( Pakistan ) is not that much open."

*gasp* leaky penis, lol as well as a shrunken base (wtf?)

"Now the harmful effects of masturbation are not just restricted to those physical problems that i have discussed. It also effects memory. It will also effect your social behavior because you would tend to be isolated and lonely. Eventually if you fall into all this problems there will be a new kind of world for you, which will not be a reality. Your world will be full of frustration. All you will think about is that you are not enough for a girl and you will never be married."

YIKES! Masturbators beware, you will become isolated and lonely and have memory issues...who knew!

"Lastly if you masturbate do not think that you will get weak and lean ( slim). Infect you will look perfectly alright. You could get lean and weak if you have some other personnel problems that you are worried about. But bear in mind that masturbation alone will not make you lean and weak. And since you are in puberty which is the period you are full with energy, you will never notice these things. The best you can do is try to stop masturbation. This will be extremely good for you older life and for your sex life after marriage."

This has to be one of my favourite paragraphs on here. Usage of the words 'Infect' and 'Personnel Problems' is only the best ever....lol, and the repeated emphasis on lean and weak, weak and lean. So eloquently put. 

* * *

Anyhooo, you get the gist, to be even more informed, click on the link above..theres plenty more where that came from ;)



* * *

This may seem less entertaining in comparison... but here's what my male interviewees had to say:

Fahad, Male, 24

I think about sex everyday…3-4 times a day. When I haven’t had sex for a few days I start to feel uncomfortable…it’s a physical and emotional thing. I think sex is very important in a relationship.

I think it’s great! I don’t think women masturbate as much as they should. I think a lot of women probably don’t know how to masturbate – when compared to boys in their youth; masturbation doesn’t seem to be such a dominant thing in their life. In every culture – the way a girl is raised; it’s very sheltered, very protected…nobody talks about women’s masturbation – not even in a jokey way whereas guys are openly joking about it.

*

Sultan, Male, 19

When the interviewee was asked about how often he thought about sex he chose not to answer this question and appeared embarrassed.

I think masturbation should be done with responsibility because excessive masturbation can cause defects in the libido – you could be limp or you could become a premature ejaculator… you could be ruining something so great for yourself. When you’re doing it responsibly there’s no problem with it. I think masturbation is completely natural, I don’t think that any man would be truthful if he said that he lived his whole life without masturbating even once - and if he thinks that that’s a sin, considering that every single male… and even female does it in this world… well I don’t know about the females because I haven’t had many conversations with them about their masturbation habits, but the few people that I have had it with – they claim to be very turned off by masturbation and they think its wrong and they claim to have never done it in their life. They justify it by saying that they want to experience orgasm in its entirety when the time of sex comes. If you’re in a heated up situation and you have no other option – it gives you an option to relieve yourself, I guess it could be healthy if you look at it that way. If masturbation is just as natural for a woman as it is for a man then she should not be embarrassed about it.

*

Khizer, Male, 26

I think about sex whenever I’m triggered, it could be a girl walking on the street, a memory I have of the past, a movie… I might not think about sex thrice a day but I might think about it enough so that the average comes out to be thrice a day. At the moment I think sex is quite important in my life considering its been a while, but it’s not something I would live for. You know how some guys – it’s their mission in life to go out and get laid. If it comes it comes, it’s not something I’m going to go out hunting for.

Masturbation….I think its natural; everybody does it, its routine. I don’t think women care about masturbation that much, they don’t think about sex that much – they are more complex. Men are more focused women tend to have more branches than men do. So perhaps they don’t masturbate as much as men because they get distracted from even thinking about it.

*

Imad, Male, 25

When asked if he thinks about sex everyday he smiles, sighs and says:

Sadly...yes.

Sex does play a major role in my life. I’m engaged – I have been for a year and a half.

I think it’s perfectly natural for both sexes. I think they masturbate equally. In this country because of the sexual repression, it’s harder for women to talk about it though. Men talk about it a lot; in fact they are proud of it.

*

Qasim, Male, 26


Not everyday....I would say I think about sex 2-3 times a week.

I think masturbation is very natural.... I don’t see it as something ‘wrong’ ... I mean it’s a safe way of relieving your frustration ... I haven’t come across any article that says its unhealthy... I think everyone should engage in it…both men and women…I don’t see why not...

But this is how I feel now…. back when I thought a lot of other things were wrong.... I thought it was an act of sin.... but I no longer think that – like I’ve said before…I have completely changed as a person...the belief that it was something wrong and sinful had a lot to do with religion…but that’s in the past.

*

Ali, Male, 29

In 24 hours…I think Pakistani men in general think about sex at least for 12 hours. Basically most of the time they’re awake… 50% of the day….but I’m pretty sure it’s even more than that.

I think masturbation is a very natural part of life. It’s the same for men and women. Women shouldn’t be embarrassed about it.

* * *

From the looks of it most men here say that they think about sex multiple times a day…they’re ‘hornier’ than my group of women, that’s for sure!

No surprises there….

Although, there are a few exceptions; Sultan has declined from answering the question because he finds it embarrassing.

Well, again – he’s still young and I suppose he hasn’t developed the confidence about his sexuality that the others have. But he too isn’t alone – when Imad is asked whether he thinks about sex everyday he answers,

“Sadly...yes.”

I’m guessing we can chalk that ‘sadly’ up to a slight embarrassment of what he perceives to be an overactive sex drive…I can’t think of any other reason for it to be ‘sad’ per se.

Ali has found another way to deal with his own embarrassment about the topic…it is a really personal question after all. I bet if I were a man, the guys would be a lot more comfortable answering me in a more straightforward manner. But I'm not.

So Ali’s method of answering the question is to remove himself from it, to a certain extent and instead, give me a general statement about 'the average Pakistani male',

“In 24 hours…I think Pakistani men in general think about sex at least for 12 hours. Basically most of the time they’re awake… 50% of the day….but I’m pretty sure it’s even more than that.”

Qasim is the only one who thinks about sex ‘less’…less may be subjective but it’s considerably less than the others…just a few times a week. It could be because as he mentioned earlier…he doesn’t find the act of penetrative sex as appealing as the other men…perhaps stemming from his body consciousness or maybe its something that lingers from his religious past…

When discussing masturbation, most of the men are undoubting of the fact that it's a perfectly natural activity for both sexes…and that women either don’t do it as much as they should or they don’t talk about it. Imad explains that this is due to the ‘sexually repressed’ nature of our culture,


“In this country because of the sexual repression, it’s harder for women to talk about it…”

Out of everyone, Sultan is the only person that seems unsure about masturbation…he has interesting yet misinformed theories (like in the excerpts above) that it can cause you to become a premature ejaculator…or even affect your libido! Perhaps he still has a lot to figure out about the world of sexuality…or maybe he’ll never change…I’m hoping he does……..Till the very end of his statement on the subject he doesn’t concretely say that its ‘nothing to be ashamed of’…in fact he uses words like ‘I guess’ and ‘if’….

‘I guess it could be healthy if you look at it that way. If masturbation is just as natural for a woman as it is for a man then she should not be embarrassed about it.’

Well, at least he acknowledges that people do it…but his statement could lead anyone to believe there is doubt in his mind…I think he’s the only one in the group thats representing a more traditional view on the subject…one that claims masturbation is bad….an opinion I’ve had a hard time getting a hold of.

When thinking of more conservative opinions I'm reminded of a discussion I once had with a relative…about how his aunt and uncle would be concerned about the amount of time young ‘boys’ spent in the toilet. They had instructed their own son to never lock the door while using the ‘facilities’…and when this particular relative of mine was visiting, he was in there for what they considered to be “too long”…and I quote,

“I nearly shit my pants trying to jump up and block my aunt at the door….who was using her key to get in and see what I was up to…”

Poor guy! Apparently he was just reading a book…but whatever he was doing in the bathroom should be no ones business….no one should try to break in to a sacred realm of privacy such as a toilet (unless there's a real medical emergency of course...)

Now in that story, you see a different type of opinion – certainly different from all my liberal/progressive Pakistani interviewees and their acceptance….…That was just a glimpse though, I believe that type of extreme disapproval to be the norm…why is it so hard to come by?

When I was beginning this post, I googled the dreaded m-word….just to give my mind some fodder…and by going through countless websites…the general feel I got was that Christianity seemed to have a much bigger problem with it than Islam…

Perhaps this was because outside of the world people will actually speak about sexuality if they disapprove of it. In our neck of the woods, they pretend it doesn't exist. Muslims would rather not put up websites about how harmful masturbation is, because that'd mean acknowledging it in the first place.

As a result, In the Western world…a long long time ago there were pamphlets and literature printed on the dangers of ‘self-abuse’, there were devices invented to prevent masturbation; penis alarms, chastity belts, steel wool mits…..Agh! But interestingly enough, I couldn’t find evidence of any such pamphlets or ‘purity maintaining contraptions’ anywhere in the Islamic world. (We go right to FGM, and chop the bits off directly as a preventative measure).

Either we truly have been in denial of masturbation and choose to look the other way, or we haven’t found it as problematic as they have in the West. OR- we're not that innovative with torture devices? Seriously though, why have we not been as inventive in chastity contraptions - am I missing something from Islamic history?

Thankfully these Western anti-masturbation devices are a thing of the past now, but some of these ultra right-wing Christians would make you think otherwise... with their purity balls and chastity rings....virginity obsession.

Religion, go figure.