In the early nineties, I was very young and very poor. I didn’t have a lot of toys and or attend fancy hobby classes. Our living room, kitchen and bedroom were encompassed in one tiny room, in a house that we shared with a family of six.
WATCH: Kiara Advani’s viral masturbation scene. click here
My mom was a ‘room wife’ and my dad was a government servant – the conscientious kind, which meant no extra income through bribes.
Maybe it was the lack of resources, lack of friends or grahon ka dosh (I am a rabid Scorpio), but at an age when kids discover the alphabet and develop their taste buds, I discovered orgasms… by myself.
There is scientific research to prove that children can develop an interest in their bodies and sexual functioning from as early as infancy. Each child is unique and develops at a different rate. So while I began playing with myself at five, my friends played with just dolls well into their teens. Some others still don’t play with themselves. A survey done by Agents of Ishq states that 58% women masturbate to images and 32% to words. The first piece of ‘erotica’ I ever read was at nineteen in Amitava Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines; two pages of redemption in an otherwise somnolent novel. My first porn was Savita Bhabhi and the Bra Salesman, sometime in early 2000s.My Masturbation Facts
I grew up at a time when Doordarshan was the only mode of ‘entertainment’, and ‘Chitrahar’, the Bollywood songs program on Sundays was allowed under parental supervision. So how did an innocent five-year-old get ‘corrupted’?
I think it was boredom coupled with chance. My career, finances and love life might not be exactly where I want them to be, but I am glad I sorted out at least one area of my goddamn life – it comes handy every now and then; as recently as yesterday… thrice.
The technique was (and continues to remain) simple – playing tabla on the clitoral region with the palm of the hand and increasing the crescendo till the finale. Years later I discovered the terms ‘masturbation’ and ‘orgasm’. Language only helped to understand the perceptions, power and politics around the act.
One day, while I was still very young, Mom caught me with my hands down there. All she said was it was bad for the body and I should never do it again. I have never blamed her for giving me shit advice.
Considering my age, she couldn’t have given me a lecture on safe sex practices. But this was also a woman who got married at 20, was pregnant a year later and didn’t know till a few months before the due date, that babies came out of the vagina. She knew no better, because her mother didn’t either. I didn’t stop because that heady feeling was too good to give up. But I learnt that I had to be careful and not get caught.
A few years later, we moved to our own house. Mom started working so I had more privacy. Naturally, the frequency increased.
We got cable TV which gave me access to a host of channels, including MTV. Masturbation is a sex act but it became sexual for me only during my teens. The kissing scene in Raja Hindustani, the racy song ‘Hai Rama’ from Rangeela and Enrique Iglesias’ videos gave me the visual stimuli that I didn’t have before. I am glad, however, that it never became shameful.
Lucy Beresford, therapist and host of London-based radio station LBC’s Relationships & Sex Advice show, says that shame is the biggest reason some women don’t masturbate because ‘good girls don’t touch their bodies’.
As someone who never got the sex talk from her parents, I didn’t have to negotiate between good and bad behaviour. I don’t know if it was because I studied in a convent school or that I was a chubby teen, it appears that my family assumed I was asexual. The only thing deemed unacceptable was sitting with my feet up and failing in exams.
My family’s reticence to talk about sex and ignorance (avoidance?) about my shenanigans proved to be my best education.
As the topic was not discussed with friends, I was not exposed to ignorant and misinformed views on masturbation.A global sex survey conducted in 2018 by sexual wellness brand TENGA, says India is the most sexually satisfied country based on quality and frequency of sex, orgasms and masturbation. 44% adult Indians believe masturbation is good for them as opposed to 14% who don’t. India accounts for 15% of global sex toy use. Agents of Ishq report that out of the 100 women they surveyed, 1/3 said they masturbated every day, 1/3 twice a week, 16% 3-4 times a week. Only one woman didn’t masturbate at all. May god save her from herself.Some masturbation information
I don’t know if I was lucky or unconsciously strategic to have started and maintained something that many people still find unsettling in the context of women.
I spent many a summer, winter and spring writhing in ecstasy without tarnishing the family name. I also became daring – sneaking in a quickie while family took a nap during the day; taking advantage of the night and the sheets while mom slept next to me; resolutely lying through my teeth when she asked ‘kya kar rahi hai?’. I was 16 when I got a room with a door of my own. By then, I was a pro masturbator and risk-taker.
Five years ago, I thought that five years down the line I would be married. Well, that didn’t happen. But five years from now, I know for a fact that I’ll still be masturbating, aur ye hakk mujhse koi nahi le sakta.
(Shyama Laxman has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London and now she writes sales pitches. Dreams come true or so they say.)