Do women also have sexual desires? Read how a woman is seen when she opens up about her sexual desire
The word ‘SEX’ is a taboo and is very likely that a lot of people will not fall into reading about it because after all, it’s a taboo. And, now this writes up, which is about women, and about the sexual desires of women, it finds even more relevance in that taboo zone. Yet, here is a need to normalize the conversation around it.
Well, while writing this opinion, the word ‘also’ in the subheading is used deliberately because, of the two genders, man and woman, man is expected to have sexual desires while it is just not okay for women to be open up about her sexual desire. Ironic enough to read, but a large section of society really thinks that women don’t possess any sexual desires. ‘Do women also have sexual desires?’ is a real question to them and if they come across a woman who expresses her sexual desire, then obviously it is just not normal to accept.
Man and Woman are parts of the society, while both of them are incomparable to each other, both deserve equal rights to express their desires and live with their choices. Bringing in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, sexual intimacy comes on the third place of the five-leveled hierarchy triangle, entitled Love/ Belonging needs under psychological needs. (Mentioning this to justify that sexual need is a need.)
To understand how women with any sexual desires are seen, let us bring in the erotic character of Usha Buaji in the film Lipstick Under my Burkha by Alankrita Srivastava. Usha buaji is one of the most respected women in the locality, someone who fits the idea of an ideal, sacred woman. But no one ever knew about the desires of Usha. Usha is a 60-year-old woman as played by Ratna Pathak. Usha reads a book called ‘Lipstick Wale Sapne’ which is all about erotica and throughout the film, the extracts of this book are being used.
Now, Usha, who wants to fulfill her sexual desires, joins a swimming class, and found herself attracted to her swimming trainer, Jaspaal. She changed her identity to ‘Rosy’ and started talking to her trainer telephonically and both of them ended up being in love with each other. Usha Ji does all of it, hiding from the family and the society because she knew that it will remain unapproved. She explores her desires, she masturbates and finally decides to meet Jaspaal, dresses in a sleeveless blouse, and finally confronts him. Later, when Jaspaal came to know about Usha Ji, he accuses her of sexually exploiting him. Further, the society abandons Usha Ji, throws her out of her house, thrashes her books, her clothes, her swimming costume on her, while her neighbors remain a spectator to this whole incident. The woman who was to date, an ideal figure is now a curse, and why? Because she has desires. And above that, she has Sexual Desires.
Now, sketching the point of narrating the character is that the society can’t accept women who have some sexual desires and if they express it, they are witch-hunting and exploiting the man they are with. The problem becomes even big when it fails to distinguish between sexually abusing and sexual desire and hence what can resolve the whole conundrum is the idea of CONSENT.
Since, the fulfillment of sexual needs ideally requires the presence of both, man and woman, and hence, it requires the consent of both man and woman. It won’t be a sexual attack on anyone until it is in the consent of both the participants. Obviously, there can be other laws that they might happen to violate (e.g. adultery) but it won’t be a sexual assault. So, women who express their sexual desires are just not wrong or abusive if they happen to do it in the consent of their partner.
Secondary to this, like men, if a woman accesses secondary means to explore their sexual desires, this very fact becomes a problem. A patriarchal problem. A society in which women can either be objectified or can be subjected to society’s judgments; women becoming expressive of their desires can be thrashing the patriarchy. Hence, the patriarchy makes it a thing to ‘hush-hush’ upon to safeguard its power position.
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