I’ve been a fiend for a very long time. In my year 11 English Language class I wrote something, I think it was about perfumes but I titled it ‘Sex Sells’. From a young age, sex in all its entirety has been an integral part of my life. Maybe it’s because I was molested at the age of nine or maybe because at the age of five I saw my first penis. My neighbour couldn’t keep it in his pants. I think they call it indecent exposure. Maybe it was because friends exposed me to porn at a young age or maybe – just maybe, it’s because I grew up around people who hated their relationships and due to the way they had interpreted their religious and cultural beliefs, completely stigmatising the concept of sex, asserting the archaic patriarchal beliefs that women cannot talk about sexual experiences; good or otherwise.
Growing up, watching Bollywood films was the only way to learn anything about love and romance. However, when it came to menstruation, sex and consent there was nothing available. Schools would teach about periods but even that was done by separating boys and girls; further stigmatising the concept of menstruation and a wxmxn’s anatomy. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat; instead, it forces the cat to find alternative ways to feed it. The alternative for me was this obsessive need to Youtube and Google sex, period but finding pornographic material instead. This fascination left me with an unhealthy relationship with pornography; creating false realities of what sex and intimacy mean which followed me throughout my teens and early 20s. I tried to do everything possible to make sure that my ‘virginity’ remained intact, despite the fact my hymen had already been broken.
My religious guilt kept me from acting on these desires but that ended as soon as I got to university. Pooja wanted what she wanted and I was not going to scold her for her sexual behaviour. The whole idea of the forbidden fruit, being little miss golden girl and hell came rushing back after every sexual interaction but the guilt felt better than dealing with the sexual trauma I was victim to. It was impacting my mental wellbeing. In hindsight, the anonymity that came with being at university was my only tether to remaining sexually active.
Post-“graduation”: I found love in a hopeless place. Hopeless turned into hopeful and I found God again. Whilst being in love with the concept of God and choosing ‘Deen’ over Sin is the happiest I’ve been in a while. However, it seems my sexual desires decided they were more excited than happy. Faithful people or rather people of faith are also horny. What I have come to learn is that “Muslim” is not synonymous for sexual suppression, repression or even oppression. The patience and self-restraint to keep sexual desires from overwhelming oneself and their goals is one that I have come to admire despite how difficult it is proving to be.
I have great respect for women who’ve taken the vow of celibacy (at least till marriage). It goes without saying that people can be religiously inclined, pious even and still touch themselves, own sex toys, have desires and fantasies – often very kinky ones. Some even sext. After they’ve done all of this – they may feel instant religious guilt which for some proves as regret but for me, it is a natural part of being a strong, independent and religious woman. My spirituality and piety is mine and to judge someone for having natural desires, well that’s just judgemental. I am aware of the spectrum so I will add that to judge someone for their asexuality is also problematic. Just let people be!