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Much has been spoken of the dangers to women because of sexually repressed views. Men are generally seen to be the aggressors, delineating what is allowed and what isn't, in such descriptions. There is an understanding of privilege. This is not entirely false. However, when you have a socially repressed society, men don't do well in it either. This is important to recognize.

Without getting into the question of opportunistic crimes against women born in ignorance and frustration, which I have gone into elsewhere, I want to talk about men who aren't criminals. Who aren't harming women in the sense of ending up in prisons. Who still suffer from warped sexual lives because of taboos that never really leave them.

As someone who has often written about sex, talked about sex openly and of course someone who has been enjoying having sex for decades now, there have been times when the starkness of the sheer handicap some men have simply because they have no access to reliable information is heart breaking.

Some examples. Some from my life, some from the lives of others.

Men who see the sexual organs as "dirty".

This is so common and manifests in so many ways, it would take a book to describe them all. Consider the situation of a man who has learned to relieve natural sexual desires by pressing his body against a hard surface (usually lying prone on a bed) and avoiding touching his own penis. This is far more common than you imagine. Handsfree masturbation, so to say. And then the terrible confusion when sex feels "wrong" or he is unable to or uncomfortable with being hard because he is habituated to climax from a stimulation of pressing against a surface instead of the stroking that normal intercourse would produce. It is so intimate, so destroying of own identity as MALE, even speaking about it to find help can be an ordeal. Coping with it with a sexual partner present (obviously, no, for intercourse?) is so intimidating or humiliating, they may avoid sex.

Men who see sex as dirty

There are many who enjoy sex, indeed are "addicted" to its pleasure, yet see the act as dirty. This leads to a preference for a "hit and run" approach, that leaves their partner dissatisfied, and them never really fully discovering the joys of intimacy. These will also be the ones who will typically use sexual metaphors and comparisons for unpleasant things or things they find revolting. Because sex, to them is not a good thing.

Naturally, this leads to a deep conflict and a mess of guilt and frustration. Guilt for desiring or enjoying something taboo, and frustration because they really are never comfortable enough to let themselves go completely and feel content. This toxic cocktail can spill over into other facets of life with short tempers, crude and an inability to focus on much else other than what is troubling their unconscious mind - sex. A lot of sexualized trolling manifests like this. Not speaking of casual profanity here ("Oh fuck!"), but sexual adjectives and metaphors used in context with a hated person/entity ("XYZ is a slut" "did you do this when he was ******* you?" etc)

It is no coincidence that almost every leader or ideology that controls large angry mobs usually has a very repressive view of sex. Frustrated people can be pointed at targets. Content people are way harder to motivate into hate.

Quite literally, sex is the worst, most intimidating thing that comes to their mind, which is why they fling that at someone they hate.

Ignorance about sex

I once mediated between a couple who were in love and wanted to marry, but the man did not want to saddle his woman with a relationship that would leave her unsatisfied. Obsessed with each other and still on the verge of a break off, I asked them why they were acting so melodramatic and martyrish if they loved each other. He believed she faked her orgasms when they had sex and nothing she said to the contrary, convinced him. Much talking with both of them, together as well as separately gave me the perception that the woman loved the man, enjoyed the sex and wanted to marry him, but his "invented" problems were making her feel insecure and worry that he did not really want to marry her. The situation with the man was more difficult to understand and it took a lot of persuasion to realize that because she did not moan or scream or make other loud sounds during sex, he believed that she was merely pretending in order to not hurt his ego and he genuinely wanted her to be happy and not leading a life of pretended joy.

From there it was not too difficult to discover that he had learned to recognize a woman's climax as visual expressions and involuntary sounds - straight from porn. His one girlfriend before this woman apparently had been noisy as well. It took a lot of convincing that there is no rule that says a woman must climax in a certain manner. His girlfriend told him quite bluntly that she realized he expected her to make sounds, but felt embarrassed and suppressed even natural pants and gasps because they sounded really odd.

To make a long story short, they did get married.

A more extreme case was one I heard from a social worker, who described a couple troubled by infertility, even though both of them were healthy. It turned out the man was trying to penetrate the woman's umbilicus. Stories of ignorance abound. From harmless ones like what goes where (usually figured out quite quickly) to potentially life changing ones - like "sex is the primary cause of pregnancy".

The impact

These are just a few examples. Many other manifestations come with their own problems, ranging from awkward, defensive-aggressive approaches to women that are perceived as invasive and crude, to insecurity in sexual life.

Without trying to be in the least sexist, I have observed that men tend to stake more of their identity on their sexual ability than women. There is the added vulnerability that a hard on cannot be faked, nor can a male climax. There is nothing that will protect from your sexual partner knowing exactly what happened or did not happen, while (in the case of women) not only is a woman not required to reach an "objectively verifiable climax" as someone had once put it, she is quite capable of having multiple climaxes, so faces little fear of the humiliation of not being able to satisfy a partner. Consequently, it is a source of great stress to not know things and risk the embarrassment of being blindsided by them with a sexual partner watching.

When a repressed society limits contact between genders, mutes all talk on sex, and makes sex something to be ashamed for, in my view, the resulting frustration and guilt - whether conscious or unaware - spill over into other aspects of life beyond denying the individuals a simple and natural pleasure. You have aggression, short tempers, a tendency to take offense and then be crude expressing it  - well, if sex is tricky, another "male quality" will get overcompensated, yes?

It all boils down to natural feelings not flowing into expression, but being blocked and forbidden till the pressure builds and explodes in unpredictable ways, lashing out at the unwary.

It also deprives people of a fundamental need - to be intimate, satiated and at peace with another person. The secure grounding of what your needs are, how they evolve, so that you may seek to fulfill them.

There is a need for more acceptance of natural sexuality of people, and a need to remove taboos around discussions that a child needs for questions that arise in his mind. There is a need for parents to speak as openly and informatively and without embarrassment about the natural sexual development of the body as they once did falling teeth.

Being capable of having sex does not make your child dirty. Talking about it does not make you dirty. The child would not be born without sex. There is no shame in sex. And there is a great need to protect your child from ignorance that could have grave consequences.

There is a need to not create taboos around sex, touching own genitals, masturbation, and more and instead provide factual information with appropriate caution. There is a serious need for schools to have basic sexual education that goes beyond the changes in the body during puberty and actually addresses healthy habits, factual information on sex, reproduction, contraception, consent and laws.

There is a great need for .

2

The Telegraph seems to have reported research on penile fractures published in the Advances in Urology journal (which in itself seems to be a startling concept given that the penis isn't supposed to have bones...). Wikipedia describes penile fracture as rupture of one or both of the tunica albuginea, the fibrous coverings that envelop the penis's corpora cavernosa caused by rapid blunt force to an erect penis, usually during vaginal intercourse or aggressive masturbation.

The Telegraph article reports that the study finds that the woman on top position, also known as the "cowgirl" is "potentially riskiest sexual position related to penile fracture", with half of the penile fractures they studied happening in that position.

Our hypothesis is that when the woman is on top she usually controls the movement with her entire body weight landing on the erect penis, not being able to interrupt it when the penis suffers a wrong way penetration, because the harm is usually minor in woman with no pain but major in the penis.

On the contrary, when the man is controlling the movement, he has better chances of stopping the penetration energy in response to the pain related to the penis harm, minimizing it.

The two other dangerous positions are the "doggy-style" position, with women on all fours -  29 per cent and the man on top position - "just" 21 per cent.

Now men, before you panic and make hasty choices, your friendly blogger brings you more information. Firstly, there is no use going celibate, rough masturbation too has been known to cause penile fractures. Oh wait. I meant reassuring information.

This piece actually reminded me of another one I'd read by Women's Health Mag where they interviewed 800 men for their favorite sex position and doggy style came up tops followed by cowgirl. Among positions men wished women would try more often, cowgirl topped the list. Talk of a penile-destructive instinct....

There are variations on this theme.

Esquire's sex survey 2102 (fascinating read - the latest is subscription only, but here are the highlights - cowgirl gets 31% now) put cowgirl barely ahead of missionary. Here's what it looks like:

sexual-positions-esquire-mag

 

I dug in further. I was not able to find any information on how Brazil likes its sex. It seems that various populations have different preferences in sexual positions (as in variations in percentage of popularity between "cowgirl", "doggy-style" and "missionary").

According to Adam & Eve ("retailer of fine adult products"), as Los Angeles Weekly reported, it was missionary (32%), doggy style (23%) and cowgirl (22%). However among the Facebook fans of the same Adam & Eve, the top position was doggy style (53%), Cowgirl (29%), reverse cowgirl (6%), other (6%) and missionary (6%). They chose to interpret it as "It's interesting that while Adam & Eve customers may be a bit more adventurous when it comes to sexual matters, the average American still seems to prefer face-to-face intimacy"

That said, an image on imgur probably has the last laugh on the extents to which a man could go to ensure the woman stays on top.

medical certificate for exertion free sex
He WILL BE UNFIT TO CONTINUE his USUAL OCCUPATION or SEXUAL services. Shaun can only take part in sexual activity flat on his back with minimal effort on his part.

Most surveys are of men, conducted by an industry led by men for the most part. And most report favorite positions rather than the ones most commonly used. It is impossible to say what actually happens when couples have sex.

For once I appreciate India Today's obsession with sex. They actually turned out to be the ones that did a sex survey on positions that has data from men and women and combined.

Which is your favourite sex position - Men
Which is your favourite sex position - Men
Which is your favourite sex position - women
Which is your favourite sex position - women
Which is your favourite sex position - both
Which is your favourite sex position - both

The survey sort of shows a universally joked about truth - more men prefer women on top than vice versa, more women prefer men on top than vice versa and the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. But I digress...

The good news is that the data on penile fractures is collected over 13 years (wait for the sentence to complete) and covers three hospitals in Campinas and the number of cases they had in the survey is ...um.. 44. The population of Campinas is 3 million (you're welcome). So, when we say 50% of the injuries caused, it means 22 injuries over 13 years from God knows how many people being ridden by "cowgirls" into bliss.

So it is near impossible to determine what percentage of men engaging in various positions end up having penile fractures. However, the good news is that whatever the position, the number of penile fractures appears to be relatively small. Don't give up on the sex yet.

You are welcome.

1

Workshop on Prevention of Child Marriage was held on 8th and 9th November, 2012, at Greenwood Resort, S.G. Highway Ahmedabad. This workshop was organized by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Gandhinagar, and UNICEF Gujarat. Mr. R.S. Patel, Director of Social Justice and Empowerment Department and CEO of Gujarat State Child Protection Society and Mr. Lolichan, State Consultant, UNICEF Gujarat has inaugurated the workshop. Legal Officer and Protection Officer - Non Institutional Care from most of DCOUs across the state and Child marriage Prevention Officers from five districts and CHILDLINE Coordinator from Ahmedabad and Rajkot were participated in this workshop.

Child marriage is a social norm that requires effort of multiple stakeholders to address the issue and that the main purpose of the workshop was capacity building of key stakeholder to preventing child marriage in the state. Another aim of this seminar was gaining clarity on the legal framework for preventing child marriage in Gujarat context. And the last but not least purpose was the prepare action plan for preventing child marriage

In initial session, Mr. R.S. Patel, Director of Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Gandhinagar and CEO-GSCPS has given a brief on the historical background of child marriage. He said that it may differ by community but there are so many rituals exist in our society which is at the root of the problem. He also added that if we want to prevent our children from an earlier marriage than we should work with local community leaders and parents. In the same session, Ms. Hemalee Leuva has described Child Rights and given an overview of problems faced by children in Gujarat state. She described that around 47 per cent of children are malnourished and 63 percent of children drop out during their 8 to 12 standard’s studies. She added that Gujarat as state, with 38.7 per cent of women aged 20-24 were married before they were 18 years; however, state fairs better than national average in this regard. However there are certain districts within a state with higher prevalence, such as Banaskantha 55.3%, Patan 54.5 %, Dahod 44.8 %, Baroda 44.4 %, and Kheda 44.4 %.

She then presented that in Gujarat the number of convictions of those charged with committing child marriage is very small. Since the passing of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, the total number of applications received reporting Child marriage in Gujarat is 1831. But only in 391 cases these kinds of marriage were prevented and just in 21 cases punishment or penalty has been issued. Due to lack of evidence 1064 applications have been rejected and 107 cases are under court hearing and 228 cases are still pending.

In the second session, Ms. Advaita Marathe, Consultant, UNICEF Gujarat presented the key findings of her research on field documentation of child marriage. The documentation was carried out in 5 districts of Gujarat covering 13 blocks and total 29 villages. She presented that child marriages are not limited to the poor, the uneducated and backward castes but it prevails across all classes and castes in Gujarat. The younger daughters in the family are married into family along with the elder girl to save expenditure.

In evening session, Ms. Bharti Ali, Co-Director, Haq: Center for Child Rights, Delhi has given presentation on Child Marriage Prevention Act 2006. She presented that before the commencement of this act, Sharda Act 1929 was existed. She said that this new act is emphasizing on prevention of child marriage, rather than just stop happenings of such incident. If concern person wants to prevent child marriage, then he should follow a few steps. Firstly, he should inform to Child Marriage Prevention Officer of the particular district. After getting information from people, CMPO will send a fax or email to police to help prevent child marriage. Then he should ask to court in written to issue stay order to stop such happening. A person should keep in mind that this stay order will be for only particular places. So if he has doubts that couple can marry some other place than it is indeed that we should ask to court to issue stay order for the whole district or large geographical area. After this kind of stay order of court, if marriage of that couple happens in banning area, then it’s totally illegal.

By: SAM Nasim

In the last session, Participants were divided into five groups to work out on strategy for cause. An action plan for preventing child marriage in Gujarat has been prepared. The seminar ended with an appreciation for valuable guidance provided by resource persons, and all stakeholders for their active participation.

This information was shared by Amrat Chaudhari, Ahmedabad based Freelance Social Worker, previously working as City Coordinator at Ahmedabad CHILDLINE 1098 (National 24 X 7 hours toll free help line for children in need of care and protection). Amrat can be contacted at amrat_999@yahoo.com

"I believe this is happening because our youth are being badly influenced by cinema and television. I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don't need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur,"

10

Dowry is violence. There is a very good reason it is declared a crime. Essentially, dowry is a business deal around the marriage of two individuals. It is a widespread practice, and feared so much by parents of girls, that girls spend entire lives restricted until marriage in order to avoid anything driving the price still higher.

People kill their daughters because they don't want or are not able to accept the expense of her wedding years into the future. From female foeticide, to infant killings, to dowry deaths. We have managed to bring ourselves to a place where getting a girl to marry is difficult, because there aren't enough girls - plain and simple. This is a view society understands, while it fails to see the massive numbers of deaths that lead to it. Women are a commodity. And the only commodity people pay to be rid of - whether it is illegal abortion costs or dowry.

But deaths are just one part of it. Many would say deaths are actually easier than living. When you make a business deal around a relationship, people fail to see that all business deals have a shelf life. Post that, it is dissatisfaction, and the "customer support" happens to be the woman - who is actually expected to attend to complaints about not enough money being paid to accept her.

When a price is attached to a woman, unless the people are very rich, running out of money is a guarantee for the woman to come under pressure. Running out of money is a far more common reality than having enough money.

But it is the girl's share, stree dhan, etc.

If it is the girl's share, why is it given as a price of getting rid of her? Why is it not given to the girl when she goes to college, for example? Or when the parents die? What is the big deal about giving it at the time of marriage, and to people other than her?

But parents do it voluntarily / Parents are proud of their ability to provide / etc

Honor killing murders are also voluntary and done with pride. That is no measure of acceptability. The simple fact of the matter is that the parents will not be living with the consequences of the expectations they trigger.

If someone gives dowry with his will what's the harm?

Erm... dead daughter is a distinct possibility. Not harmful enough? Deprivation of the daughter's rights. If her share of inheritance goes to her in-laws, then what does she get? Or should she in turn kill off girls and produce boys so that she can earn from their marriages?

Many brides demand dowry from their parents.

Irrelevant. It isn't a question of who initiates it. It is wrong. Brides are led to believe that it is their share of the property - their demand isn't for the money to go out of their control, but to get their rightful share. However, the reality of dowry is never that. I had recently tweeted a series of tweets with the story of a girl who was told all her life by her father that she would get her share of the property when she married as her dowry.

When she got engaged, the dowry was fixed between the parents, and it wasn't exactly the fraction of what her share would be if equally divided. On one of the "dates" she happened to mention this to her would be husband, thinking of him as her partner, and thus planning along with him for a more advantageous start of a married life, and he encouraged her to ask her parents for more dowry. Her brothers didn't like it, because they saw it as dividing the parent's property while they were still alive, but the parents agreed. They had planned to give her the balance later anyway. She saw nothing wrong with that, because all her life she had been taught that it was hers for this exact time.

Within a few days after her marriage, she realized that she had no clue where the money actually was. So she asked. Her husband had invested it in his name. The gold that had come with her was in the "family locker" under the mother-in-law's control. She was even made to give the wedding jewellery she had worn, once she took it off in favor of more ordinary stuff. Two days later, the husband landed up home drunk, smelling of perfume. One week later, she knew that he was a regular drinker and into prostitutes and that her mother-in-law had got him married hoping that that would make him better.

Angry, she demanded that he behave. He told her to leave if she didn't like it. At least the good part is that she didn't commit suicide or continue to live there. She returned to her parents. Heard a lot of anger and taunts from her brothers, even though her parents accepted her back "shame" and all. Eventually she sued her in-laws and got her stuff back.

Even if the girl didn't get abused, and indeed lived happily ever after, it was still a crime.

But... the girl's father offered

It does not matter. A reader on this blog has lost a cousin to dowry murder - her parents had voluntarily offered dowry. The point here isn't who initiates it. When your daughter will not get married without dowry, some parents will offer money rather than see her single for life. They are criminals too.

Often, parents will offer money to compensate for "defects" in the girl. A limp, scarring from pimples, bad figure, generally less than beautiful, uneducated/without job.... all these can drive up dowry prices or make a girl difficult to marry without paying. The question isn't if the parent voluntarily offered it, but that the deal happened. Money changed hands in order for a girl to be accepted into a new home.

But many women are happy

Not true. About a third of all women have suffered from domestic abuse. Considerably more in cultures where dowry, honor killing, and such practices can be used to victimize with impunity. Dowry turns the woman into a liability. Liabilities are the trouble, aren't they? The minute there is frustration, the default assumption is that the liability needs to do more to create happiness. There is your happy family formula. It is human psychology.

But I think as long as there is no violence, it is fine

By the time there is violence, it is too late to change your mind. No person enters a marriage anticipating abuse. Yet, it is so hideously common. There is a lesson there, if you are willing to let go of the sense of entitlement.

The money shouldn't be given to in-laws, but only to the husband. It the couple's marriage, not the in-laws

On the surface, this would seem like a big contribution to an equal marriage, but it isn't unless the person recommends the husband's inheritance be put in the wife's name. Why should the wife's inheritance be for them both, but not the husband's? There lies the trap. At the end of the day, it is a deprivation of the woman and her loss of control over her own destiny, because, losing her money, she has no means to support herself if she needs to escape from possible abuse.

It is ok to give dowry if the wife isn't earning

Will it be refunded if the husband turns out to be a good for nothing? A marriage is a contract between two people to together manage their lives. A housewife isn't doing "nothing". She is taking care of the home for both. It is fair to expect the husband to provide for both instead of being sponsored. If money is provided to compensate for a non-earning daughter, fully expect to provide her husband a salary for life, or sorrow when the money runs out.

Only a small percentage of women are victims of dowry murders

It may seem to look at how widespread dowry system is, and then think that the number of deaths is comparatively small, but it is worthwhile interviewing people sentenced for female foeticide and infanticide to see how large a motivator dowry is. Even before it is given. The expectation that that expense will happen is enough to kill off girls. Those "defending" the dowry system when "no harm is done" may want to consider what the social cost is of allowing dowry to exist at all.

There is a strong corelation between dowry and domestic abuse. A social worker once told me, she has yet to see a dowry marriage not resulting in abuse - that strong - even if she were wrong, it can't be a percentage easy to ignore. Too strong to be shrugged away as an exception. And the odds are massive. Women are steadily dying out.

Under these odds, to ignore the biggest factor in making women a liability and making them vulnerable to abuse or to say that dowry is fine if no harm is done is the equivalent of saying that there is no harm if people walk in minefields as long as they don't die. In other words, it is a monstrous disregard for the cost of life and well being of women out of a misguided sense of entitlement. The acceptance for the practice forces her to walk it and pray for the best. This, if done even to our soldiers - forget civilians - would result in massive outrage from the very people who are fine asking women to bear hideous odds.

But I want to give my daughter her right, and after marriage is the time when money is needed

So put it in her name in her bank account. There is absolutely no need to even inform the in-laws of the amount. She can choose to tell or not at her discretion. Better still, give it before or much after her marriage rather than at the same time, so that it doesn't feel like an immediate source of funds to sponsor her home. Never hesitate to inquire after the condition of her investments or valuables (even her own investments from her own earnings - often overlooked). Money is usually the first to be eroded in an abusive environment. Apart from protecting her interests, you may save her life.

I will be following this with a post on ideas to combat dowry practice.