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Posted by Anjali Pillai

Devi (played by Richa Chadha) from Masaan is a lowly small-town girl from Banaras. But one fine day her world turns around and she is branded a prostitute. What did she do? She got involved in a consensual sexual relationship with her boyfriend. It was not those usual ‘got carried away in the moment’ clichés we usually see in movies. It was intentional and planned because she wanted to explore her sexuality. But the judgmental eyes of our society, ignorant of female sexual desire, ruined her plan, shaming her in the process. 

A woman wanting more in a relationship is always slut shamed. The idea of sexual intimacy has traditionally categorised women as just givers and not takers. In an Indian marriage, sexual compatibility is never a criterion because in the end, women are just receptacles for men. Any complaints regarding the same are redirected to nowhere. 

In an Indian marriage, sexual compatibility is never a criterion because in the end, women are just receptacles for men. Any complaints regarding the same are redirected to nowhere. 

Also read: Sexperience: Becoming Objects Of Desire, Without Being Objectified

The general idea of sex in India is all about continuing the hierarchy. In simple words, sex is seen more like a procedure to just bear babies. Anything beyond that is ruled out as unnecessary. 

Megha (Kiara Advani) from Lust Stories attempts to break this age-old notion. Newly married and seeking some carnal pleasure, Megha is left unsatisfied while her goofy husband Paras (Vicky Kaushal) enjoys his time without understanding the basics of sex and female orgasm. Lack of proper communication during intimacy and unsatisfactory sex life are interrelated in a country like India where arranged marriages are more common. 

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In Lust Stories, Megha is left unsatisfied while her goofy husband Paras (Vicky Kaushal) enjoys his time without understanding the basics of sex and female orgasm. Image Source: Yahoo.com

Megha however tries to explore her desire. Even when everyone came to know of it, she remained unapologetic of her actions, because female orgasm is a thing and what is she to do if others have no idea about it?

MASTURBATION is the ultimate hush–hush word for every Indian female! Terms and conditions for masturbation are entirely different for men and women. To be precise, while the act of satisfying yourself is completely normal for men, the representation of a woman enjoying masturbation are extremely rare to find. Kerala State Film Award winner Kani Kusruthi’s short film Memories of a Machine attempts to break the taboo surrounding female masturbation. The short film explores sexuality through human moral and instincts as a woman narrates her early sexual experience as a curious young girl and her quirky struggles in discovering “self” amid the traditionally bound system. 

Kerala State Film Award winner Kani Kusruthi’s short film Memories of a Machine attempts to break the taboo surrounding female masturbation. The short film explores sexuality through human moral and instincts as a woman narrates her early sexual experience as a curious young girl and her quirky struggles in discovering “self” amid the traditionally bound system. 

Kerala State Film Award winner Kani Kusruthi’s short film Memories of a Machine attempts to break the taboo surrounding female masturbation.

Swara Bhaskar’s masturbating scene in Bollywood film Veere Di Wedding was subjected to huge controversies not just because the scene in itself did not fit into the ‘ideal woman’ narrative, but also because Bhaskar’s political ideologies made her an easy target for the right wing trolls on the Internet to shame her and circulate the said scene on several pornographic sites.

You have sex with someone, you have to marry him/her is another prejudiced notion that dominates the general idea of intimacy. This is shoved down the throat of an Indian woman more than an Indian man. Appu (Aishwarya Lekshmi) from Mayanadi begs to differ. “Sex is not a promise” she says to Maathan (Tovino Thomas), who obviously mistakes their sexual interaction as a nod for getting married and settling with him forever. With this one scene, she brings out the true meaning of sexual desire and how it need not be confined just to marriage. 

Mayaanadhi review: Romantic, funny and touches your heart!
Appu (Aishwarya Lekshmi) from Mayanadi begs to differ. “Sex is not a promise” she says to Maathan (Tovino Thomas), who obviously mistakes their sexual interaction as a nod for getting married and settling with him forever. Image Source: Sify.com

Ours is a country where a rape victim is denied justice by the legal system when they advise her to marry her rapist. The overriding belief is that the person you lose your virginity is the one you should marry, regardless of what you think or want. Such is the importance associated with notions of purity, virginity and the hymen.

Another critical approach towards representing desire is how entire populations of people are denied the right to express their sexual desire: such as the elderly, the disabled community, etc. The biological aspects may have certain conclusions but having sexual desires at 50 is no crime. Usha Parmar from the Lipstick Under My Burkha, lovingly addressed as Buaji (aunty) was widowed at a very young age. The matriarch remained unmarried since then. Yet, when she began nursing romantic feelings and exploring her sexual desires, she was shamed by her family members and the society that demanded her to be of a certain way that obviously excludes intimacy.

Also read: How Bollywood Has Distorted Our Ideas Of Sexuality And Body Image

Veronica from Cocktail was a game changer for actress Deepika Padukone. As much as I loved the character, I found the plot of the film quite problematic. Veronica, who is too outgoing and independent by all means, likes Gautam (played by Saif Ali Khan). Gautam likes her too. But wait, he wants to marry Meera (played by Diana Penty), because well she is the embodiment of sanskaar and values, and by that logic, she is the girl you want to bring home to your mother. Veronica is rejected only because she is outgoing and upright about her sexuality. Her genuine feelings for Gautam are blatantly disregarded because she is not tame as Meera. This trope attempts to chastise young women by setting forth the point that if you want to find love, sleeping around is not going to help. The man, meanwhile, has no such restrictions.

Things are definitely changing but slowly. People, especially women are now slowly opening up and reclaiming their sexuality and desires. Truth be told, the films mentioned above have done their fair share in this too. With changing perceptions and healthy communications, things are sure to get better with time.


Anjali is a 22-year-old engineer and part-time movie blogger based in Cochin. 2-3 hrs of a good movie is all it takes to fix her mood. She believes that cinema has the power to influence our perceptions by communicating ideas and she finds that magical. Good books and good food are the second most effective mood lifters for her. She can be found on Instagram and Twitter.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I get what you’ve written. More power to you and the female citizens of India. However, should a decent man wife up a woman who has slept around (a promiscuous past / multiple sexual partners)?

    No thank you.

    And the woman will always lie about her past and manipulate the man when she approaches 30 and wants to settle down after having her fun and find a blue pilled beta simp for his resources. And yeah, to fill that void of loneliness and have affairs outside that commitment. Typical. No accountability but all that entitlement of a queen. Just like children..

    And this goes for both genders. So use your woman card wisely in your clenched retort in this gynocentric era or setting which every female is taking undue advantage of with the help of a fascist cuck big brother government.

    You want to bring the 3rd wave feminism on steriods here? Go ahead. Oh wait, it is already here. Look at the west and see what casual sex and hook up culture has done to the fabric of their society. Many men there are waking up and will not commit to a woman because the woman has been run through by innumerous men and are unable to pair bond or be loyal. Who wants damaged goods?

    Why am I trying reason with a feminist? Let me try banging my head against the wall. I will find a rational response there..

    Your vagina. Your life. Vagina Lives Matter. VLM.

    MGTOW
    Red Pill

    • Dont worry guy. Studies prove that such women end up lonely with their eggs shriveling away. Dying without spreading their Genes. The best is that she can gather herself another of cats. But this is the force of evolution. Evolution has decided these weak women to be eliminated from the gene pool. Thereby making them to have such indiscriminate sex, fail to settle with one person, fail to bear kids, fail to raise them effectively and fail evolutionarily.

      But the west deserve this. The men there took advantage of women and had indiscriminate sex instead of monogamy. Now it is the women’s turn there. But in India we have always put this rule of monogamy for both men and women. Both were socially ostracised. It is with the advent of Bollywood promotion of indiscriminate sex came about. Irony is it is the same bullywood assholes nowntrying to reverse this lol.

      Monogamy is the best. Why would a man support a woman and her child when is not sure where the baby came from? He is willingly foregoing his right to extend his genes from evolutionary perspective if he marries a slut. Same way why would a women marry a nasty player. This would mean the resources that is meant for her child would have to be distributed to other of his secret families as well. Again this means reduced chances of successful evolution for her.

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