When you think of India in terms of sexuality do you think Kama Sutra? Or arrest for public kissing?

Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
Related to: The Power and Protest of Public Sexuality in India Trouble, thy name is woman. India is a country in the throes of a sexual revolution, and young women are firmly planted at the center of the controversy.

When you think of India in terms of sexuality, what comes to mind?
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
Sexual openness, the Kama Sutra, Tantric Sex
17  (22%)
Sexual repression, modesty, governmental control over public affection
41  (54%)
Other
18  (24%)
Total votes: 76
Poll is closed
07/06/2009
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Luscious Lily Luscious Lily
A few years ago, the Kama Sutra and Tantric Sex may have been the first to come to mind, but having had a few close friends who recently moved to the US from India, the current issues with the government and various groups trying to suppress public affection popped up first for me. Fantastic article!
07/06/2009
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
India's views on sexuality are actually very complicated. It's hard to generalize because India is such a huge and diverse country; few Indians even speak the same languages. However, if I had to generalize, I would say that the Kama Sutra is not considered erotic; it is considered a tool for Hindu women, who are born to bring their husbands to enlightenment in the hopes that they may earn enough good karma to be reincarnated as a man. In public, men and women are both supposed to be modest.

Muslim women do not even get a whiff of the Kama Sutra; usually, Muslim families expect the husband to teach the wife about sex after they're married, or the mother takes her daughter aside and gives her the rundown.

As to why there is no "public kissing," cause I get asked that a lot...well, in Bollywood movies, you rarely see people kiss on the mouth. Even in modern movies, they may kiss all over the neck and stomach and such, but they'll often avoid each other's mouths. Americans think, "Well, kissing on the neck is way more sexual! These people are weird!" But why? What makes it sexual to Americans? Ask yourself that before you judge, folks. Kissing on the mouth is considered sexual in India because you share bodily fluids. You're not supposed to eat off of somebody else's plate, either, because most Indian food is eaten with your hands, so you've been touching your spit, then touching your food.

I'm relatively sure it's legal to kiss your spouse on the mouth in public nowadays.
07/06/2009
Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
Quote:
Originally posted by Backseat Boohoo
India's views on sexuality are actually very complicated. It's hard to generalize because India is such a huge and diverse country; few Indians even speak the same languages. However, if I had to generalize, I would say that the Kama Sutra is ... More
According to the article, a married couple were arrested in September for publicly giving each other a peck so... apparently not on the public kissing.
07/06/2009
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
According to the article, a married couple were arrested in September for publicly giving each other a peck so... apparently not on the public kissing.
It's legal, but that doesn't mean law enforcement has caught up with the times. Just like there have been laws about widow's rights in India for decades, but many widows are still confined to lives of poverty and treated as second-class citizens because law enforcement doesn't do anything.
07/06/2009
LicentiouslyYours LicentiouslyYours
What was so interesting to me about this article is the violent reaction to public expressions of affection, but no equally violent reaction to public beatings.

Bystanders and government do nothing and say nothing in opposition to such behavior. It boggles my mind that affection is taboo and violence is acceptable. Of course, India is not unique in that regard.

And good for all those groups who are standing up and demanding the freedom to behave as they choose and not as someone else enforces.
07/07/2009
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
India's views on just about every aspect of life vary so much that when I think of India I think of both open acceptance of sex AND repression of that same acceptance. I think of bartered brides and the fight for their dowries, the class system they are desperately trying to do away with, the beauty of their architecture, literature and brilliant thinkers and the abysmal over crowding of their slums. India is a fascinatingly complex country that simply defies easy description.
07/21/2009
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
India's views on just about every aspect of life vary so much that when I think of India I think of both open acceptance of sex AND repression of that same acceptance. I think of bartered brides and the fight for their dowries, the class system ... More
This is going to sound snooty, and I don't mean it to, but I have to nitpick a bit: caste and class are not the same thing. India has dealt with a caste system for thousands of years, as have many Asian and African countries; the western-style class system is still relatively new to India, and it's generally welcomed since its introduction created the now-sizeable Indian middle class.

Great point about India's diversity. Sometimes, I think people misunderstand just how ancient Indian culture is and how much land their country is comprised of.
07/21/2009
Owl Identified Owl Identified
It strikes me as funny that "other" is an option (even though I'm sure it wasn't meant in that way).
08/16/2009
Owl Identified Owl Identified
PS. The first two options are reductive and they are both othering. Why would Indian erotic/sexual culture be any less complicated than say, that of the United States?
08/16/2009
Miss Cinnamon Miss Cinnamon
Quote:
Originally posted by Backseat Boohoo
India's views on sexuality are actually very complicated. It's hard to generalize because India is such a huge and diverse country; few Indians even speak the same languages. However, if I had to generalize, I would say that the Kama Sutra is ... More
I really haven't formed an opinion on attitudes regarding sexuality in India, but I have to say, I found the information you provided incredibly interesting. Sexuality in China is pretty different as well; I've gone so many times, and I still don't quite understand what it's all about.
08/16/2009
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
Quote:
Originally posted by Miss Cinnamon
I really haven't formed an opinion on attitudes regarding sexuality in India, but I have to say, I found the information you provided incredibly interesting. Sexuality in China is pretty different as well; I've gone so many times, and I still ... More
I don't know as much about China as I do about other countries, but what I can say is that Confucianism changed a lot of things about classical Chinese beliefs on...well, everything, including sexuality. And as Confucianism AND Christian ethics spread throughout Eastern Asia, they really flip-flopped the various countries' views on sexuality. For example, many countries approved of pederasty and paid little mind to lesbianism until the Europeans arrived.

Obviously, lots of factors change this, especially in a subcontinent as culturally diverse and with such a vast disparity of wealth as Asia. Age, location, language, religion...
08/17/2009
Backseat Boohoo Backseat Boohoo
Quote:
Originally posted by Owl Identified
PS. The first two options are reductive and they are both othering. Why would Indian erotic/sexual culture be any less complicated than say, that of the United States?
Technically it wouldn't be, but one could argue that India--being the world's oldest layered culture--has a lot more on its plate than modern America, which may make it MORE complicated.
08/17/2009
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12/29/2009
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12/29/2009
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
What an interesting thread!

For me there are two Indias - the cultural India with its rich traditions but a seemingly over-the-top male dominated culture. With traditions like women burned in a funeral pyre (not legal any more). This seems to be one things that Hindus and Muslims have in common - think of the 'honor killings' that are still practiced in Muslim communities.

The second India are the ex-patriot friends and acquaintances that I have. As you expect from most ex-pats, they left their home country for a reason. The first one we think of is economic opportunity - but there are others. For example my father's family came here from N Ireland to escape sectarian violence & the economic thing.

I know it's an unfair generalization but the Indians I know in the US seem very much at ease with exploiting the economic opportunities here - but very unsettled and insecure with modern gender practices in the US.

Women in the US have come a long way in the last 100 years - men and the society at large, have been the beneficiaries. I think the middle classes in other countries admire this - but don't have the mechanisms in place to create societal change.

After all we have the advantage of being a 'new experiment' trying to draw the best from many cultures - mostly succeeding - but not always. But when we stumble - we don't have 4,000 years of tradition cementing such 'errors' - we can adapt and move forward.

Back to the sexuality - I wonder if the current state of sexual repression is a hold over from the Raj (British rule) and the Victorian sensibilities of that era.

I'd be interested to read what this educated group thinks about the dynamic of Indian culture clashing with Victorian culture. Is that a factor here?
12/30/2009
deltalima deltalima
Quote:
Originally posted by Backseat Boohoo
India's views on sexuality are actually very complicated. It's hard to generalize because India is such a huge and diverse country; few Indians even speak the same languages. However, if I had to generalize, I would say that the Kama Sutra is ... More
I agree.

I think the book doesn't seem erotic to natives because it has a educational purpose.
09/08/2010
Sera Sera
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
Related to: The Power and Protest of Public Sexuality in India Trouble, thy name is woman. India is a country in the throes of a sexual revolution, and young women are firmly planted at the center of the controversy.

When you think of India ... More
I think of a lot of modesty. Women have to keep covered, but apparently all men are still whores...
11/03/2010
Lady Neshamah Lady Neshamah
a bit of both, actually. it depends on where in india and what part of history.
12/10/2010
PussyGalore PussyGalore
Both as Dreamkitten said.
01/24/2011
Kinkypixie Kinkypixie
I dont have enough information to make a decent choice but when I think of India I think more of oppression.
07/31/2011
LostBoy988 LostBoy988
Historically speaking, it might have been part of the culture but in its current day and age, far from the truth as what is it represented for.
07/31/2011
Ms. Spice Ms. Spice
India is notorious for its social conservatism. kama sutra came from a different time
08/14/2011
GONE! GONE!
Both. What happens in people's bedrooms isn't the same thing as what happens in public and in policies. There's repression, yeah, but I'm sure the young people are the same as all other horny young people.
07/12/2012
Errant Venture Errant Venture
Both.
07/13/2012
hybridinsurge hybridinsurge
I suppose both things come to mind.
07/14/2012
SneakersAndPearls SneakersAndPearls
Both. And it always surprised me that the same place that brought us Kama Sutra can be so repressive.

When I was in college, I had a roommate from India. She said to me once, "All that sexual stuff that happens here in the US? Premarital sex, pregnancy, all that? It happens there [India], too. It's just not talked about."
07/15/2012
emiliaa emiliaa
I think either view is rather demeaning, as there are parts of that massive country that are one way, and parts that are another, and parts that are neither way...

However, I'd prefer to think of the good things!
10/03/2012
Kenneth Fort Kenneth Fort
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
Related to: The Power and Protest of Public Sexuality in India Trouble, thy name is woman. India is a country in the throes of a sexual revolution, and young women are firmly planted at the center of the controversy.

When you think of India ... More
I don't often think of that, I"m afraid.
10/04/2012
ImmortalFantasy ImmortalFantasy
I think about ancient India.. Sex, drugs, and------ more sex.
10/12/2012
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