India: the land of the Kamasutra. A land whose art and iconography has historically been rich in its acknowledgment of the power of the erotic and the wonders of love and creation, too often fails itself in the modern context with innumerable shame laden myths, many of which we have inherited from our colonial past and the prudish Victorian morality it imposed.
Discussions on sexual health, sexuality, intimacy and pleasure tools are finally beginning to lose some of their stigma with more people talking about these subjects openly, and we are proud to be part of this ongoing change. So today, let’s debunk some myths about sex in India.
Myths About Sex in India
1. Sex = Married
The number of times we’re asked: “Are you married?” Whether by nosy neighbours or relatives who have figured that you’re seeing someone, or on the other hand, are concerned about why you’re still single when you’re 25+, is frankly exhausting. Add to that, the gynaec asking the same question, instead of simply asking whether you’re sexually active. The overarching societal perception remains that marriage is a necessary precursor to sex, as well as a social imperative.
NEWS FLASH: You don’t need to be married to have sex.
Unmarried people have sex too! And on the other hand, there are asexual folks who may want to get married but may be uninterested in sex. Sex and marriage do not automatically necessitate each other. And the sooner we accept this as a society, the more openly and honestly we’d be able to live our lives.
So this is definitely one of the biggest myths about sex in India: That the only acceptable context within which sex can be had is after marriage, and that ideally everyone should get married and then everyone should have sex because: marriage also needs to = baby. And yet, despite our cultural fixation with marriage, gay and lesbian couples still don’t even have the legal right to get married if they want to. Make it make sense.
Sex is seen as a post-marriage heterosexual activity with the primary function of procreation when it can also be recreational, it can also be queer, and marriage need not feature at all.
2. Marital sex is an apparent cure-all
A lot of women with say, PCOS or dysmenorrhea, are often told that these issues will magically disappear once they are married. Indeed, “getting married” is often served up as the solution to sexual health related problems, mental health related problems, and even just run of the mill young person confusion about what exactly to do in life! 🙄
How about instead we suggest a visit to a gynaec, therapist, or career counsellor?
3. Women’s pleasure is secondary or irrelevant as compared to Men’s pleasure
Oh the pain of this myth! To think of the fact that most of our mothers and grandmothers have been in the same space. It’s expected of woman to be “chaste” and “pure”, not sexually experienced or assertive. And yet they must also always ‘put out’ as and when their husband pleases. And when it comes to the woman’s own pleasure, they are expected to have a non-existent libido and are not even viewed as beings with their own sexual desires.
Sex is something women are told we should tolerate, and acquiesce to, not enjoy. Let’s not forget that in 2023, marital rape is still legal.
Of course, neither do all men have a hyper sexual drive nor do all women have no libido. Sex ought to be a mutually pleasurable experience with both parties genuinely enjoying themselves, feeling desire, connection, and pleasure TOGETHER - rather than one person seeing it as a right and the other having to see it as a duty.
4. Women don’t masturbate
This myth about sex in India and to a large extent, like the one above, one that is perpetuated globally too - is absurd! Indeed, it is an extension of the previous myth. Since women are not even thought of as sexual beings, who can think of the blasphemous idea that they may want to pleasure themselves?
The truth here is that most men are introduced to pornography and masturbation at a very young age, often giving them an exaggerated idea of sex and masculinity. Women, on the other hand, pun intended, often only explore pleasure and masturbation much later in their lives because of the shame and stigma surrounding female sexuality as outlined above. Naturally, these are broad observations and may not apply to all of us. But what these patriarchal myths do is fuel inequality as well as create a gap in our understanding of our own bodies and a massive lack of sex education.
Myths About Sex Toys in India
Now that we have debunked a fair amount of myths about sex in India, let’s graduate to sex toys and all the misconceptions surrounding pleasure tools more specifically.
1. Adult Toys are Illegal in India
Time to dispel the myth that adult toys are contraband in India. There is no law that dictates that selling or buying pleasure products is illegal in India. However, because of our anachronistic colonial era “obscenity” laws that are still in effect, products cannot be packaged or advertised in a way that is considered “obscene”. Leezu’s offers delightful products that are sophisticated and discreet both in design and packaging. From massagers for people of all genders, to amazing lubes, Leezu’s has it all.
2. Adult Toys are Taboo
Till recently, the prevalent notion was that adult toys are “freaky” or for “losers” — a novelty bachelorette gift, or a gag to embarrass a friend with. That toys are not something that a person in a fulfilling relationship would use. All of this, of course, is far from the truth. As anyone who has used a good toy can attest.
Toys are life-alteringly wonderful in their ability to help you understand and explore your pleasure, as well as to make pleasure more gender equal, and in our opinion, are as innocuous and useful an every day wellness item, as say, a toothbrush. Everyone should have one 😉
Sexual wellness is an integral part of overall well-being, and using toys in both solo and partnered play can enable new heights of joy and self discovery.
3. Adult Toys are Only for Single Folks
As we’ve just hinted above, time to shatter the stereotype that adult toys are solely for single people. Pleasure knows no relationship status. You could be single, in a situationship, married, monogamous, polyamorous, whatever— and enjoy sex toys by yourself or with your partner(s).
Sex toys are all about getting to know ourselves better, exploring what and how we like things. When used in partnered play, not only can it add an element of fun and creativity, it can also bring you both a greater awareness of each other’s bodies, arousal, and pleasure. It typically ignites a lot of communication and conversation too, before, during, and/or after sex, because you’re most likely going to need to talk about how and where you’d like to use the toy together - as well as whether or what felt good.
Communication enriches our sexual experiences tremendously, and toys can be great conversation starters in the bedroom. Needless to say, good toys are also exceptionally effective at delivering orgasms.
Using lube like Leezu’s Love Jelly, during partnered play, whether with or without toys is a also a great idea for greater comfort and fun!
4. Adult Toys are Unsafe or Unhygienic
Adult toys are not inherently unsafe or unhygienic.
High quality toys in body safe materials are widely available now, such as at Leezu’s. And it’s easy enough to keep them clean simply by washing them properly before and after use.
To know more about how to keep toys sanitary, you can read our blog post about how to clean toys here.
5. Adult Toys Replace Partners
Now this myth about sex toys is not just specific to India. It’s pretty universal. Many people in relationships wonder whether their partner getting a toy poses a threat to their own standing.
Would an accountant be threatened by a calculator? Would an artist be threatened by a paintbrush? Nope! So why should a love be threatened by a toy? Toys can actually be incredible collaborators, they are not your competition. They are simply a form of technology that exists that can help make pleasure more equal and playtime more fun, for everyone.
Plus at the end of the day, a toy is simply a bit of vibrating silicone or squishy TPE, or whatever other inanimate material it’s made of. It can’t look in your partner’s eyes, hug them, or call them on their birthday. How could it replace you? Unless you too don’t do any of the above, Chill!
6. Adult Toys Are Embarrassing to Purchase
To some people adult toys are not a big deal at all. To others, it may still be a little daunting. For a lot of us, however, it may be something that we simply want to keep personal. And that’s absolutely okay!
Your journey towards sexual wellness should be as enjoyable as the products themselves. And we know an amazing store that offers an easy and delightful shopping experience, discreet packaging and shipping, and excellent customer service. Leezu’s 😉. You can purchase pleasure products from our super cute website, from the comfort of your home without it being a matter of kalesh.
7. Adult Toys Are Ineffective
Last but not least, some people think toys don’t really work. To those people we say: Either you have never used a toy, or you used the wrong toy.
A good toy that is carefully chosen to match your personal preferences can enable you to experience sensations and stimulation that is genuinely mind blowing.
Vibration against the clitoris for example, is the most reliable route to orgasm for most vulvas— and if you’ve never had an orgasm, a massager like Pyaari from Leezu’s often CHANGES THE GAME!
In a society where myths often overshadow truths, we know that it's time to break free. Understanding how expansive sex, sexuality, and pleasure actually are, is nothing short of liberating.
We have covered as many myths about sex in India as we can, but we’re always open to hear more from you. If you want to share an insight, have a question about Leezu’s products, or simply want to send a little love our way 💖 write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.