First things first: as a race of people, Indians refrain from talking about all things sex. It’s against our culture and everything we stand for, but that’s only until we’re handed a smartphone full of data in an empty washroom (although for some, free Wi-Fi at the train station works just as well). It is then that we, magically and rather hypocritically, transform into the third largest consumers of pornography in the world.

Now, given the rather fantastic concoction of sexual repression and patriarchal norms we’re served in our country, you’d assume that a significant majority of viewers would be men looking for ‘release’. Every man we spoke to about this story, funnily enough, seemed to feel so anyway. However, head to Pornhub’s database, and you’ll find that almost 30% of all Indian viewers are women.

Gasp! Throw in some lightning for dramatic effect and stop the presses, for we have at our disposal a startling statistic that is mind-boggling for two reasons. Firstly, the number of women flicking the bean is significantly higher than the worldwide average—which is mighty impressive. And secondly, this helps swiftly dismiss the hackneyed argument that Indian women are somehow sexually ‘reserved’.

Once Bitten, Never Shy!

“I watch porn once or twice a week at least,” says Maya Tharwani, a 25-year-old from Ahmedabad who’s a psychologist by profession. “Personally, it is more about a fantasy, something I do purely for myself. Sometimes, I do end up trying things I see in a video with a partner, but sex and masturbation have always been two very different experiences for me.”

What Women Want

Pornhub’s treasure trove of statistics also revealed what Indian women crave sexually. Apart from ‘Indian’ (our patriotism is on steroids even on porn sites it seems), MILF and Lesbian topped the list, while ‘Female Friendly’ finished a close third. Considering research suggests that women are more sexually fluid than men (patriarchy, that’s on you, but that’s another argument for another day) that’s not a surprise, but in a country where you’re judged—if not jailed—for your homosexuality, porn certainly comes to the rescue for many.


Pleasure & Self-Discovery

“I discovered I was bisexual before I actively watched porn for the first time on my 18th birthday,” says Saloni Mishra, a 20-year-old student from Pune. “So, while I wouldn’t say it helped shape up my sexuality, it did help me have a more normalised view of sex. Sure, it’s crafted for the male gaze and is far from the real deal, but I guess it just helped me get used to naked bodies and how pleasuring yourself, or someone else, regardless of their gender, was absolutely normal.”

Removing the Stigma

Despite the fact that so many Indian women clearly enjoy porn, it remains a taboo subject in most households. Saloni says she could only completely enjoy pornography after she was in a more progressive environment away from home and living alone, without the pressure of having her ‘secrets’ discovered accidentally by a nosy parent.

Maya, on the other hand, tried a more direct approach, and actually initiated a conversation about porn and masturbation with her mother. The result? “She was traumatised and too disgusted to even say the word ‘porn’!” she laughs. “But having said that, I do think a lot is changing with my peers, and I’m certain most urban Indian millennials will relate to that. I actively have discussions about porn with my friends—so maybe there’s hope, after all?”

*Names have been changed on request.

Image Credit: Click here


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