The porn debate is hitting public consciousness (read browsers) with a vengeance. Even as the Chief Justice of India's refusal to pass an interim order banning porn made reassuring headlines, reports of porn sites being inaccessible started hitting social media.
Chief Justice of India HL Dattu had said in early July, "Such interim orders cannot be passed by this court. Somebody can come to the court and say ‘Look, I am an adult and how can you stop me from watching it within the four walls of my room? It is a violation of Article 21 (right to personal liberty) of the Constitution.’ Yes the issue is serious and some steps need to be taken… the Centre has to take a stand... let us see what stand the Centre will take.”
There is no official stand from the government, yet several porn sites are reportedly becoming inaccessible for some users over some networks like MTNL, BSNL, Vodafone, Spectranet and ACT with users getting a blank page or a message saying "The site has been blocked as per the instructions of Competent Authority." Legally India and The Mint have independently verified, citing anonymous sources, with one and three ISPs respectively that the blocks on an unprecedented 857 websites were notified on Friday by the government and should be implemented Monday onwards.
This is problematic on several levels.
Lack of transparency in governance
The secret bans of websites are a non-transparent and undemocratic undermining of the rights of citizens of a democracy, with rules about what is allowed and what is not allowed decided and implemented in secrecy and with no opportunity for citizens to be notified or to have a dialgue on the subject. It is yet another mark of a "Pvt Ltd" government's contempt for democracy that fits in with a pattern of arbitrary restrictions imposed on people, ordinances replacing laws voted on by representatives of the people and serious and unscientific fudging of national data to create perceptions favorable to he government's image.
Violation of citizen rights
As pointed out by Chief Justice Dattu, such blocks are a violation of a citizen's right to personal liberty as enshrined in Article 21 of the constitution. That the government not only violates the rights of citizens, but does so in a manner that leaves citizens no opportunity to object is an alarming indication of authoritarian and arbitrary impositions of morality as defined by undisclosed persons.
Encouraging a culture of sexual repression
I have pointed out in another piece that a society that represses sexual expression ends up encouraging stress, frustration and aggression among citizens. Sex is a fundamental urge and a culture of taboos around sex is detrimental to self actualization and contentment among citizens.
The need to mitigate harms of certain kinds of porn without violating the freedoms of citizens
It is true that certain kinds of porn can influence people into seeing harm to another as acceptable entertainment. Rape porn, revenge porn or child porn in particular comes to mind. Porn with unusual object insertions can result in self harm as well as additional injury during rape. A person's freedom ends at another person's nose. However, there is also plenty of porn that is little more than harmless eroticism and even more that can enhance the sexual lives of people by providing them with ideas to pleasure their partners - something a sex-phobic culture of ours never allows dialogue about, even as they teach young adults about how to be a good husband or wife. Well, sex does make or break marriages very often, and perhaps regressive sex-phobic orthodox leaders can take comfort in knowing that their sacrifice may help keep the marriages they so revere, happier.
If something has the "potential for causing harm" and should be banned merely on the basis of that potential, we'd probably need to ban driving and elections altogether. They have both got way more potential to harm people than porn.
The need is to mitigate the influence of porn that can lead to potential crimes, while respecting the right of people to privately engage in whatever activity they will, as long as it harms no other. It isn't as impossible as it sounds, but it will take more effort than a lazy dismissal of citizen rights.
Can something be done to prevent harm of porn without banning it?
I think it can. Here are some suggestions.
Porn is a personal matter and not government business for the most part. Porn does play a constructive role in the sex lives/education of many people. However, there are harmful types of porn that can and should be regulated – not necessarily banned, but mandatory warnings added, etc. “The following actions are illegal in most countries” is not unreasonable to expect before rape or child porn in a country where smoking depicted in a film requires absurd disclaimers.
Ads like “single moms want sex” should not be allowed – they create an extremely dangerous perception about single moms at large – for example – ads should explicitly advertise either sex workers or sex products/services and not identities as a whole that may not be associated with a default of public sexual permissiveness.
A country the size of India has tremendous clout – if we legislate that porn depicting acts of violence or pedophilia must carry mandatory legal warnings or that extreme insertions type porn carries “don't try this at home” type warning, it helps viewers in a country with next to no dialogue on sex get a more realistic understanding of what the acts mean beyond jerking off. If we legislate that failing to provide such warnings, the site will get blocked, all sites doing business will not want to lose it to competition. It will be more effective than banning porn at large, as the availability of healthy porn and appropriate caution with violent porn will help shape public perception toward a more consensual view of sexuality as a whole.
The nation will be encouraged to have a far healthier view of sexuality if, instead of panicking over every instance of sex, we can encourage a healthy Sex Industry that educates, affirms rights of all, and protects from exploitation.
The collective sexuality of the nation is still very Victorian, and now moving toward worse Victorian. Moral judgments around sex are such that sex is near dead beyond the instinctive "itch" that gets tittered about by frustrated women or blustered about by equally frustrated men.
I think we need to accept that sex exists, lots of people enjoy it and that it is not all that evil. In the next budget the government could have more alternatives to fleece the population than raising taxes on cigarettes alone. We need a legitimate sex industry. Give people loads of jobs, earn money in taxes, and so on. Win. Win.
Legitimize everything to do with prostitution. Enforce policing against child prostitution and other exploitative practices - you will now have the budget for it as well as legal businesses interested in maintaining legal status.
This means everyone from pimps to brothel owners are legal. Regulate them on how services should be advertized, living standards to be maintained where applicable, consent of sex workers to be paramount.
Enforce police protections for prostitutes. If a person can be arrested for assaulting a prostitute, that goes a far longer way to making lives of prostitutes better and reducing exploitation than hiding prostitutes under some socio-political carpet.
Encourage sex related services beyond prostitution - education services for safe sex, coaching for better sexual skills, etc
Legalize production of porn and sex toys and accessories and adult-only sex shops. Will give jobs to countless people. People buy their sex toys covertly anyway. Make their sale taxable. Let quality control reach an area of intimate use. I dare say many people may move away from prostitution services if they have other interesting things they can do with themselves.
Exit the British Raj, make the country sex-positive.
I came across a blogpost rebutting a comment made on a previous blogpost on legitimizing prostitution, and I found that I disagree strongly enough to write this:
Go read that post first, because this one will be free flowing and not quote that post here. Then you might as well read my reply to a post by Taslima Nasreen that presents an argument similar to this one.
My main issue with debates on prostitution are the seeking of a universal stand on them - to legitimize or ban? I fail to see how in a world with such diversity, it is at all possible to make one rule that applies to all. The "ban prostitution" debate is going the "ban dance bars" debate and risks ruining countless lives through moral superciliousness.
Just to blow the theory that all prostitutes are forced, I know several who work as prostitutes by choice. Personally. Prostitutes actually also have unions and all. But let us assume that each and every prostitute in India is forced. Even then, if you look at the number of women in forced sex in the country, prostitutes wouldn't be the majority. Married women would be. It is no joke that we are the fourth worst country in the world to be a woman in. It is most certainly not limited to prostitutes.
If secure alternatives were available for women seeking divorce, divorce rates would skyrocket. They already are in cities and states where women are socially powerful - like Kerala. That prostitutes are exploited could be turned into a witch hunt of prostitution, but the face is that innocent victims of rape were blamed for inviting the rape just as surely as prostitutes get abused. I differ that society drives women to prostitution. I think it is crippling poverty. Those prostitutes are also wives, mothers. They feed mouths. And we have no alternative employment to offer.
But that is also a secondary thing.
The main thing is personal autonomy. Force to sell sex and force to not sell sex, in my view are equal and opposite evils. For the woman's rights to be upheld, she should have the choice. Will it be always enjoyable? Likely not. Just like each day at office isn't enjoyable to those working in it. To ban prostitution on the basis of that is about as bizarre as banning you from a job because you don't like it. You need money, you have skills, you contract to do a certain job. The reall question here is asked by frighteningly very few people. Who made the choice? It is terrifying about the state of human rights in our country that we have no concept of respecting choice, and even rescues involve moral judgments and imposed regimentation.
A bonded labourer at a construction site is no less exploited than a prostitute forced into sex. The author of the blogpost ought to do a survey with actual prostitutes offering them job as domestic workers or anything else suited to their skill levels in exchange for giving up prostitution. The results would be eye-opening. The fact of the matter is that most prostitutes are doing a job.
There are prostitutes working in good conditions who are not only well to do, but also enjoy the freedom of determining their work timings. On the contrary, many married women cannot escape sex and will get nothing for their efforts at home or in bed.
Does that mean all is well? No. Trafficking exists. It needs stopped. Human rights abuses exist. They need stopped. There needs to be human dignity promoted on all fronts. Be it tribals or prostitutes, farmers or school kids. Pushing prostitutes under a carpet will not fix that. There needs to be solid upholding of human rights in general.
If you uphold fundamental rights impeccably, that is most of what is needed. If your cops beat up a pregnant prostitute till she miscarries and opines that "Sex Workers cannot be mothers", then the fault could be written off as an evil of prostitution, but the fact of the matter is that it is a crime allowed freely in the name of having a problem with prostitution. It is the same with many other things they face trouble with.
Why not address the social illegitimacy they face? Last month, a prostitute fell three floors while escaping with the client when his wife returned home unexpectedly. Few would hire a prostitute for other work anyway. Banning prositution would only turn her into a loose woman who could be forced into "free" [without money] sex. Surely it would help save more prostitutes from forced sex if they could openly say that their previous job was sex work and they are now looking to do something else? Without that, banning prostitution would only lead to starving women.
What happens with the millions of men who use the services of prostitutes, many of whom, according to the author [and all concerned] have very rough sex? What happens when they cannot buy the sexual services they want? Should a gullible innocent become their prey to save someone who does it willingly for money?
If prostitutes are free to choose, and if all were exploited, prostitution would die out anyway. No? So why object to choice? The power to choose own actions when they don't harm another is the most intimate freedom we have. In my view, banning prostitution is about the same violation as forcing prostitution. The person matters. What does she want?
Note: There are also male prostitutes, but since a majority of them are female, this article uses "she", "her", etc
While Taslima Nasreen and I both share a concern for women's rights and I have absolutely no quarrel with sex trafficking or slavery being abolished, we are very different in the solutions we find acceptable on sex work. To me it appears that Taslima sees the sexual traffic/slavery/work scene as a separate thing from women's rights. Her approach to it is everything we fight against when it comes to human rights - the imposition of external morality and restrictions on matters of personal choice.
[Tweet "To equate choice with lack of choice is like as saying sex and rape are same."]
I believe that personal autonomy is a fundamental right and it must be upheld to the highest standards possible. In my eyes, over ruling another person's choices about themselves amounts to human rights abuse.
To equate a situation with choice (prostitution) and a situation without choice (slavery) is like as saying consensual sex and rape are the same thing.
I believe that in any crime, against any gender, age or culture, the first and most damaging loss is that over personal autonomy. Where a person is forced into actions they do not want for themselves. To restore dignity, in my view it is vital that the personal autonomy must be impeccably respected unless it causes harm to another.
The Indian government says, there are more than 3 million prostitutes in India. Human Rights Watch says, there are more than 20 million prostitutes in India. I believe there are more than 20 million prostitutes in India.
[All quotes in this post are from Taslima's article linked above.]
To abolish this, will mean the unemployment of 20 million people. According to the current statistics, we have almost 10 million unemployed people and another 60 million who are under-employed. We add 20 million to these. They have no skills for other jobs. They have no acceptance or respect in society and are considered to be legitimate targets of sexual abuse by many. What alternative employment is available to them? Should they and their children starve for someone's idea of morals? I wouldn't. Frankly, sex is not that bad and I suspect that in a deeply misogynist society, there may be liberation in having sex without the often undesirable impositions of marriage attached.
Actually it is not difficult to abolish prostitution. Criminalize clients. Where there is no demand, there will be no supply.
There are plenty of countries where prostitution is criminalized. Legislation has little impact on biological urges and trade rooted in basic instinct. There isn't any place in the world without prostitution. Personally, I also believe that sex is always traded - formally or informally. For money, protection, peace of mind, social legitimacy, love, power, mutual enjoyment, whatever. I don't know what is so evil about money alone.
Truth1. Prostitution is the oldest form of patriarchal oppression, not oldest profession.
Everything is the oldest form of patriarchal oppression. Prostitution is no special case than say arranged marriages or women being last to eat in most households. Read the Delhi Police sting. In recent years, awareness and activism actually has sex work breaking out of those cages, and now we single it out as patriarchal oppression?
Most of the comments on Taslima's blog are from sex workers, activists and other related professionals, vigorously defending the right to engage in sex work. I don't deny that there are oppressed women forced into the sex trade, but calling all prostitution oppression is an attitude that defies the observable world and thus is worthless in terms of finding practical and respectful solutions to the problems that do exist.
Nor are all prostitutes women.
Lie2. Prostitution is sexual freedom. /Prostitution is sex.
Truth2. Prostitution is sexual exploitation./ Prostitution is not sex, it is sexual violence.
I can choose to call my computer keyboard a guitar if I wish. Sex work can be sexual freedom if the woman has made her choice, it can be exploitation if she is forced into it against her wish. This disregard of the prostitute's will stinks of a misogynist, patriarchal society, where women are mere objects and what their experiences must be validated or invalidated by another.
Our awareness of rights still hasn't reached the point of respecting choice. Supply & Demand in the Caravan magazine is worth a read in its excellent detailing of high end sex work through the perspective of the pimp (who has prostituted himself too, at a point).
Truth3. Legalizing prostitution benefits sex traffickers, pimps,clients,sex industries.
Two parts. 1. other than the sex traffickers: I don't see why people engaged in the sex trade benefiting from it is an undesirable thing. When was the last time anyone was horrified over a business doing well? That is the whole idea of productive employment, no? That people are able to work with dignity and earn well?
2. Sex trafficking again may or may not be exploitative, depending on whether the girl is in it willingly and using the trafficker to reach opportunities or if she is being forced into it against her will. For the forcing against will, the state has a duty to protect citizens from harms, and existing laws provide for that. Such a person is a criminal, and must be stopped, but I disagree that this is the total or even overwhelming reality.
Last year's drought brought with it stories of young girls who had left drought and crippling poverty behind to work as sex workers in the cities (remember the moral police killed the dance bars?). They were under-graduates. Did they know they were ruining their lives? Sure they did. What alternatives did they have? Economy was at a standstill without water for all except the tanker mafia and related male dominated work. Cities aren't exactly welcoming under-graduates from rural schools with open arms and jobs. Vulnerable girls will be targeted by sexual predators anyway.
What were their choices? Seeing the family die of thirst? Being trafficked as brides to states like Haryana and Punjab? They were prostituting themselves, earning enough to cover their expenses and sending money home to their families so that there may be water for them, siblings would study and eat well. I think it was the wiser choice than selling themselves permanently in exploitative marriages (where wives without any local base are purchased and often privately shared among siblings) or dying of thirst and hunger. Maybe one day they do something else, maybe they like this way of earning. Who knows? It can be argued that they didn't have to be the ones to sacrifice, but they also got to be the ones to escape that crippling cage to seek something new.
I also see no harm in sex traffickers facilitating the movement of sex professionals as long as they are choosing to do it, and not being kidnapped and/or sold. What do all those "over seas head hunters" do for computer professionals wanting a job in the US or nurses from Kerala seeking employment in Dubai? The bottom line is CHOICE. Personal autonomy.
Truth4. The sex of prostitution is not “sex” for women in it. Most men who use women in prostitution have other sexual partners.
Well, obviously the sex worker has other partners too. How does the partners present or in other places turn sex into something else? Irrelevant. If this is meant to imply a blame on prostitutes for harming relationships, then that is bullshit. If it is meant to illustrate the lack of permanence, well that is fundamental in sex work, no?
The client, as a consenting adult is responsible for what s/he does with their relationship and the ethical (and legal) contract with the spouse/partner, and blaming a sex worker for this is plain WTFuckery. Besides, a person inclined to be unfaithful doesn't necessarily need a sex worker. Plenty of married people have affairs with non-prostitutes. The worrisome thinking here is that this is somehow the business of the government to prevent.
Also, there are plenty of people who actually have no (or low) wish for sex and are quite happy for their husbands to find satisfaction elsewhere. In India, where a vast majority of marriages happen for reasons other than sexual compatibility, sexually mismatched couples are the norm more than exception. I forget where I read it, but in about 70% of Indian marriages (not certain, can't find source right now), there is no sex or very little sex between husband and wife beyond 5 years, and some 85%-90% by 10 years.
Truth5. Prostitution is not an acceptable job for women. They are forced to enter prostitution. Prostitution is an abusive institution and women stay poor in prostitution. It is not a vocation choice, it is human rights abuse.
Why should one person's idea of what is appropriate for all sex workers be more valid than another's? Why not mine, the sex workers' or a friendly neighborhood mullah simply asking for them to be stoned? Who decides what is acceptable for another to do with their bodies? Why?
It is indeed a vocation of choice for very many. Some of whom have commented on Taslima's post in objection. Others have formed unions to assert their rights. They aren't asking for alternative jobs. They are asking for legal rights.
Have you ever tried telling a mountaineer to stop courting death on a mountain? All that practice, expense, effort, risk of life and limb, abandoning non-degradable junk in emergencies (or routinely) .... to spend five minutes on a peak and hurry back with no lasting utility from the exercise. What makes it more acceptable to apply such an ban on prostitution? No really, what is the hang up being forced on all and sundry here?
Truth6. Legal prostitution does not protect women in prostitution from harm. All prostitution , legal or illegal, harm women.
Read the many comments on your blog from real life sex workers who have experienced these things first hand and are telling you their side of the story. They are speaking of how a legal status will help protect them from assault, exploitation and discrimination. One show the ignorant, but not one who refuses to see. Harming women? Perhaps they are harmed more from their interests in legal protection being dismissed into a ban on them?
India too has organizations and sex workers unions with memberships of sex workers who obviously aren't slaves, since they are members in a place like that freely. Whether psychological slavery happens? Possibly. I have seen it more in marriage than in places where the sex worker gets paid upfront, can refuse and in any case gets free of the man when the time/act covered by the payment is done. In my view, these things are individual situations and empowerment means that people should be enabled to make choices for their well being rather than regimented into a prescription.
Greater harm is done in attaching this stigma and lack of respect for sex workers.
Truth7. Not social stigma, Harmful aspects are rape, beatings, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and other violence from clients and pimps.
Every third woman in India has experienced domestic abuse and physical violence. Every third woman in India is not a prostitute. Why this selective protection of women from one kind of risk? Will stopping prostitution and entering unemployed and vulnerable in a society that doesn't respect them be a better alternative? How about law enforcement? Prostitute or domestic violence, rape, beatings, etc are punishable by law. Why aren't you recommending upholding laws - which is a pretty direct fix and will work to protect any woman from assault?
Truth8. Prostitution is associated with increased rate of sex crimes.
See above about enforcement, but I dare say it will be a complex solution. Also, I would like to see some data for this.
Truth9. Prostitution is the destination point for trafficking.
Only if you are incapable of thinking of anything other than prostitution, because two massive areas of trafficking are actually domestic work and bonded labour. Visit coal mines to see little sooty kids wrecking lungs in coal dust.
Truth10. Legalization/decriminalization of prostitution expands the sex industry
So? Did you protest the profusion of ice cream parlours or cyber cafes? India NEEDS a sex industry. We have too many people interested in sex with too few legitimate outlets.
Truth11. We have to decriminalize poor prostituted women but arrest their predators: clients, pimps, traffickers.
In other words, lie in action. Strangle prostitution without appearing to target the women you are claiming to save. Nice ethics, madam. But the funny thing is that this is true in India already. Women can offer sex for money in India, but pimping, trafficking, running a brothel and so on is illegal. So where is the reduction in prostitution?
My bottom line? Personal Autonomy. Who a person has sex with and why is really no one else's business as long as it is consensual. When it is not consensual, we already have laws existing for that.
I would like to see RESPECT for sex workers - as for every human - as the biggest intervention, which clearly is missing here rather than these acts of God. That itself will be a big milestone.
Reduction of poverty will go a long way to help women find alternatives that agree with their conscience among those who do it solely out of desperation. Reducing unemployment, monitoring for human rights abuse and offering rescues and alternatives to those who WANT to leave will allow a better result from lesser money.
Rather than strangle prostitution, it should be legalized, legitimized, sex workers being recognized as members of society with a right to live their lives. Law enforcement should be available to them. Crimes against them should be investigated. Safety created now, rather than dangled like bait on the condition of embracing unemployment and starvation.
But most, most, most of all, there is an urgent need to understand that human rights are rooted in personal autonomy. The ability for self-determination and the lack of imposed limits to potential. It is vital that human rights workers do not become patronizing messiahs.
There is no excuse for de-legitimizing the existence of a group of people we fail to protect. It only hides our failure under the carpet. Banning sex work will not end sex slavery, let alone all trafficking, because slavers are already criminals and are highly unlikely to give up a profitable business for your sense of morality. Banning prostitution is the human rights activists version of Gurgaon cops banning women from working post 8pm as a solution for rapes. In other words, it is a big lie.
And even more than that, understanding the difference between choice and coercion. I repeat. A sex slave is a victim of a horrendous crime that means rape. A sex worker is a professional in a vocation that may not be approved by all. They are NOT the same thing.
Governments the world over are obsessed with regulating the sexuality of their citizens. Without getting into the histories and cultures of other countries, in this article, I limit myself to the country and people I know somewhat - Indian Hindus.
Just read in some newspaper that a call girl racket was busted. Okay, great. Now, what exactly was the horror of that racket? Prostitution. Oh my God!!!! What is this country coming to? We never used to have prostitutes before!
The question to ask is why was it a racket and why couldn't it be a legitimate business?
Why is it that laws are getting passed allowing gay marriages? Why can't existing laws banning it, if any be removed or it be publicly made clear that there are no such laws, if there aren't?
You understand of course, that in modern India, Bharat couldn't rule India in Ram's absense because he wouldn't be a legal heir and there is no mention of him being adopted? Ever thought of King Bharat as a bastard? Seems wrong, doesn't it? So what if his mother wasn't her husband's first wife? I don't know. Its apparently the Hindu Marriage Act - more Hindu than the Hindu epics.
Similarly, Pandavas and their non-wife Draupadi..... non-wife? Yeah well.... she can't marry all five of them, she has to choose.
For all the Hindutva guys yell about encroaching Christianity or Islam, they only seem concerned with the population sizes, not the influence changing our culture itself. That's okay. In fact, with our oldfound western morality (well, this sneaked in long ago), most of the Hindutva guys will consider all it a matter of pride and good character to be monogamous.
So, someone tell me, what are the words for monogamy, adultery, etc in Indian languages? The closest we come is somewhat like 'loyal' or 'extra-marital relation'. One is generic and can be applied to anything from a dog to God and the other is a description with no judgment in its meaning. We haven't even been making an issue of them long enough for them to have their own words, yet we think this is how our "real society" is.
We have lost many things to this kind of thought:
Institutions like devdasis etc, who have often been integral to the survival of many of our ancient art forms had no equivalent in the western culture and got generalized to prostitution with all its connotations of sin and worthy of punishment, etc etc. Exploitation increased, and we shut these people down 'for their own good'. Yet, today, if a group of people is exploited, the general idea is to protect them, create laws, awareness, etc etc.
Prostitutes themselves used to serve an important function in society. Sex. Men want sex. (women want it too, but that's a whole other article). They can get it from wives, if they are married. They can get it from girlfriends if they have one. They can coerce some female into having sex with them (which is rape - reported or not). The urge is fundamental. Prostitutes were a way of getting that need fulfilled legitimately, without being ashamed of having a bodily function. Today, most men are so focused on sex, that finding a life partner is more about the highlight of being able to have sex than a sharing of lives. We can never get rid of prostitution, but we punished them for our desires that we had "discovered" were sin. We made them illegal. If they didn't exist, men wouldn't be immoral, you see!
Followers of the Yellamma cult who essentially renounce their lives to willing service of society - no holds barred. This can be helping you out in the fields or sex - whatever. Whatever the people need. In a way it is a profound thought. Soul deep service. Just because it happens that men want a sexual service more often than anything else (surprise!), they got called prostitutes. Frustrated men often abused these people, and they are now illegal 'for their own good'.
Eunuchs. Okay, we used to have eunuchs in regular society. In fact, some traditional roles were meant for eunuchs - like guarding harems for instance. They were considered auspicious. Suddenly forms started worrying about Mr/Mrs and they vanished only to reappear at street signals. Then, we started hating them for being leeches on our precious money as though anyone forces you to pay them. Oh wait, they did. They needed money to survive. They did force and threaten to expose themselves. Now they are criminals. Or they come and do vulgar dances at festive occasions and gullible orthodox people pay them. They should take jobs and become productive citizens of society. So, how many eunuchs did you hire in your professional career?
One man marries one woman. This used to not necessarily be the case. Men used to have many wives, and until very recent decades, women in the Lahaul Spiti region used to marry all the brothers in a family (except one who became a monk) in order to keep population low and maximize family resources and prevent division of limited cultivable land. Banned. That is immoral somehow. As a side effect, a man can marry a woman, go to a city for work, marry another, and whenever he gets fed up of her, walk away. Their marriage is not legal, since he was already married before.
The gay thingy. How is it anyone's business what people do with each other as long as they do you no harm? About the gay "thingy", I think the Hindu Marriage Act doesn't actually state that marriage must happen between a man and woman. Any lawyer with an opinion?
Oh how I wish if we had to import sexual attitudes because ours weren't up to gora standards, we had imported them from a country like France, where your sexuality is a celebrated part of you and not something to be uniformed away. Take for example that easy kiss in greeting, which could be totally meaningless, or it could send a delightful tingle through you, because you recognize that you are in the company of an attractive person. Compare that with the "platonic friends" and monogamous dating we see in India, where dating already seems to equate an engagement in social terms.
Making sex under 18 illegal when the body starts desiring it at puberty is not going to make it go away.
In fact, I think for healthy marriages, people should have at least a few affairs before. You don't buy a shoe without trying it out, but its ok with a person. And no, I'm not objectifying people. I am saying that people simply have no clue what to expect, and we have an understanding of sex that is extremely guilt ridden, unhealthy and judgmental.
The whole illegitimacy around sex is what makes people take a lot of marriage decisions they wouldn't if not for the sheer shame of sex otherwise. Or they have a sexual relationship, and its natural conclusion is assumed to be marriage. This is a social blindness upheld by governments.
I have no clue why governments are so obsessed with regulating sexual lives of people. Seriously, I mean, now that men and men can have sex and women and women can have sex, the next time a question of polyandry comes up, we need to get on the streets AGAIN? I mean, seriously, can't we just get rid of the damn "alloweds" already?
It is bizarre that a couple on the street in the middle of the night can be harrassed by cops, even if they are not doing anything that may be considered indecent (been there, done that) just for being of different genders and out at night, when more serious stuff like domestic abuse has no initiative beyond a few ads and drunk drivers are fined and allowed back on the streets indefinitely.
Really, are prostitutes providing sexual services to those who want them a bigger menace?
Frankly, prostitutes probably save hundreds of women from rape by men desperate to 'have some' who have no social opportunities. Is it not better that a man who would pay for sex even if it is illegal gets it, than him trying to get women into his bed? The prostitute is willing, if for a different than recommended reason. Or does the government truly expect its citizens to stay away from sexual experiences unless they can get married?
Making prostitution legal would help investigate human trafficking, create protections for them, establish standards of emotional, physical, financial and medical safety.
Strange that the Hindutva guys don't have an issue with this Christian morality import that delegitimizes a whole section of our society.
The illegal status of prostitution also has indirect negative connotations for dating and pre-marital relationships among conservative people. If a woman has sex with a man not her husband, she gets a social stigma. If it is an 'enlightened' or 'modern' society, the man also gets the stigma - possibly a worse one - of using a woman for sex. Apparently, if you have sex with a woman, you MUST like her enough to get married, or you are an a$hole. No changing your mind. Heck divorces are more acceptable socially than unmarried sex. 😀
Quite stupid. All this nonsense comes from seeing unmarried sex as evil. Casual sex as worse, and casual sex for money as unspeakably worse. Apparently, casual sex to keep the husband happy so that he doesn't hit her is fine - since its not money exchanging hands.