Lindsay Pereira: No, we're not a nation of prudes

The government believes Indians are not interested in sex, but figures given by a website on Indians watching porn say otherwise

Indians watched more pornography in 2015 than the people of Canada, Germany, France and Russia. The only countries that beat us in this dubious pastime were the United States and United Kingdom. If this piece of information — courtesy a report from PornHub, a site officially a billion times more popular than india.gov.in, official portal of the Government of India — comes as a bit of a surprise, you are probably a prude or a hypocrite, or both. In other words, you are probably a politician or an employee of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

The PornHub report says that 25 per cent of porn viewers in India are female. Pic for representation/Thinkstock
The PornHub report says that 25 per cent of porn viewers in India are female. Pic for representation/Thinkstock

If the government of India is to be believed, we have no interest in sex whatsoever. We are supposedly a chaste, vegetarian, non-violent people who have been corrupted by the West to indulge in sex for pleasure, eat meat and participate in the occasional riot with our fellow Indians. Homosexuality obviously didn’t exist before the first Westerner set foot on our shores. Neither did foreplay, of course. Our ancestors didn’t even know what oral sex was, despite what the sculptors of Khajuraho were obviously forced at sword-point to make us believe.

PornHub humbly begs to differ with the government of India. Apparently, the average time spent by Indians per visit on pornographic websites was nine minutes and 30 seconds. Americans spent 9.51 minutes, while the British spent 9.18 minutes. In other words, we spent more time watching men and women getting it on than our ministers spend discussing something useful in the Lok Sabha every other week.

The report adds that Sunny Leone was the top searched porn star in our country — another anomaly, considering the prudes we traditionally are. A woman taking her kit off is a huge problem for us, until she legitimizes it by getting into the movie industry, where a prodigious show of cleavage is then perfectly acceptable. Women dancing in bikinis are acceptable only on the big screen. Outside theatres, as our ministers repeatedly inform us, women in short skirts are wearing them only because they want to be molested.

These are all interesting facts to throw at the semi-literate gatekeepers who go on about Bharatiya Sanskriti and the corrupting influence of the West. These are the people responsible for our collective sexual frustration, for condoning covert sexual overtones when it suits them while denying couples the right to kiss in public because it goes against their regressive notion of what constitutes Indian culture. These are the people who watch pornography in Parliament (please check YouTube for proof), then step out and speak to the press about why it shouldn’t be allowed.

Here’s another interesting piece of information: The PornHub report says that 25 per cent of viewers in India are female, approximately 2 per cent higher than the worldwide average of 23 per cent. It also tells us that Indian men spent much of last year using their mobile phones to surreptitiously search for ‘Indian Bhabhi’, ‘Indian Actress’ and ‘Indian Wife’ in descending order of importance. In other words, hypocrisy continued to be a powerful trait even in the relative privacy of our homes.

Our government’s approach to sex, meanwhile, takes the form of plans to impose a complete ban on pornographic websites, demands for cuts on kissing scenes and, not too long ago, a ban on the display of lingerie on mannequins in Bombay from the BMC, followed by the demand for a complete ban on the use of female mannequins because they ‘silently promoted a surge of sex crimes.’ A BJP corporator actually had this to say to the press when that ban was suggested: “Lingerie mannequins promote rapes. Skimpily clad mannequins can pollute young minds.” It sounds absurd, but it’s true. Google it.

A few years ago, politicians were arguing for a ban on sex education in schools on the grounds that it corrupted the youth and offended ‘Indian values’. They also contended that this education may lead to promiscuity,
experimentation and irresponsible sexual behaviour. A former health minister also had a problem with condoms, saying that fidelity in marriage was better than advocating the use of condoms. And these are the people we elected to power, effectively empowering them to do what they thought was best for the rest of us. We have only ourselves to blame.

To assume Indians have no interest in sex is naïve. If we weren’t taking our pants and saris off as often as we obviously do, we wouldn’t be among the most populated nations on Earth. And Sunny Leone wouldn’t be a movie star.

When he isn’t ranting about all things Mumbai, Lindsay Pereira can be almost sweet. He tweets @lindsaypereira. Send your feedback to mailbag@mid-day.com

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