A simple three-letter word which gets much ire even in the 21st century. Sex. Indian blogger, model, and TEDx speaker Anwesh Sahoo and comedian and YouTuber Kaneez Surka discussed the same recently on Bumble’s series Dating These Days. Kaneez later took some questions from t2 on what’s the big deal about sex and ways to strip it off the taboo. Bumble is a ‘women-first dating and social networking app’.
Tell us about your collaboration with Bumble for Dating These Days.
I was really excited to be a part of Dating These Days with Bumble. Anwesh Sahoo and I had a really candid, honest and open conversation about sex, intimacy and consent and all things relating to sex. For me, it was such an eye-opening conversation and I learned so much. Anwesh and I are almost 13-14 years apart and his experience with sex from his generation is so different to what mine was. And so it was really nice to have that conversation and understand the conversations around sex that are happening today.
Why do you think sex and intimacy is still such a taboo in millennial India?
I think it’s because the Indian society is still a very conservative society. We hold the whole idea of sanskari with such high regard. It’s easy to fall in people’s eyes if you are associated with sex or anything sexual. Even after I did Dating These Days episode, I found some Instagram memes about some of the stuff I had said and there were so many comments calling me a slut, a dirty woman. I am used to getting those comments (laughs) because I do talk about sex a lot.
But it’s important and I hope the next generation will be able to talk about sex more and more. I have already noticed that shift in the way Anwesh talks about sex and even my friends who are much younger than me, there is a lot more positivity when they talk about sex as opposed to someone who came from my generation where were were meant to feel bad and guilty about sex. So, when you attach negative and guilty feelings towards sex, then you don’t feel comfortable talking about it and it becomes a taboo topic.
How do you think we can come out of these shackles?
Well, by talking about it, more and more. I do make a lot of jokes about it. I know I get trolled and a lot of female comedians get trolled because apparently we talk about sex so much, but I am not going to stop it because I think it’s important to start conversations and normalise our sexual experiences. That’s why I was really happy to be a part of Dating These Days and especially when they told me that my episode will be about sex and intimacy. The more we talk about it, the more we normalise it and then when you hear about it, it’s not jarring any more.
What kind of a dialogue should be initiated by parents and at what age?
The kind of dialogue that should be initiated is, you know, should describe sex as a positive experience. I think that’s what’s missing. At what age? The earlier the better! Parents don’t need to be quiet about this. They need to objectively explain to children what sex is, what safe sex is and not just the sexual act, but we also need to talk about the surrounding topics like consent and using condoms. Talk about the feelings and emotions around sex, teaching them to do it when it feels right, when they feel safe and they trust somebody.
Talk a bit about the role of consent...
Consent has come into the limelight in the last couple of years and I am so glad it has. It is your fundamental right and I don’t think everyone understands what the rules of consent are. That’s why I always say, just ask. Do not be worried about you killing the mood or the vibe.
I feel we need to start using consent across the board. The other day I was trying to get out of the subscription of some app and I was talking to the customer service to unsubscribe me. And, they wouldn’t. They kept saying, what about if we give you this…. I got really triggered and I realised why I got triggered. I wrote to them ‘no means no’. The person was like we didn’t mean to cross any boundary. I told him he had already crossed the boundary six times.
And, we need to look at consent holistically. If a person doesn’t want to do something, do not force them or manipulate them or convince them into doing that thing. If they have said ‘no’, respect that.
Overall, what would be your suggestions to bring up a generation that is well informed, sensitive and educated about sex?
Ah well, let’s talk about sex more. Let’s do more shows like Dating These Days. Let’s not feel bad about talking about it and share our experiences. Let’s ask for advice when we need it. When we are with our partners, let’s tell them what we want or don’t want and what we like or don’t. I think the best way to learn when it comes to sex is being open with communication.
Let’s talk about sex baby/ let’s talk about you and me/let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that you see/Let’s talk about sex (sings).
And let’s bring the fun back into it.