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Khushboo Sharma

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We Need To Rethink The Idea Of Virginity As A “Loss”: Leeza Mangaldas

  • IWB Post
  •  September 1, 2019

Leeza Mangaldas is one of those people who would make you seriously question your life and all that you are doing with it. A Columbia graduate, Leeza is a TV presenter, writer, and live events moderator.

Luxury, sports, current affairs, travel, entertainment, automobiles, fashion, food, Leeza doesn’t just do it but aces it all. Besides doing all that she does, Leeza is an advocate of women’s agency in sexual pleasure and passionately endorses the idea of women taking absolute control of their body and sexuality. So much so that she runs a YouTube channel where she addresses queries about love, relationship, mental health, and women’s sexuality. “Make understanding your own pleasure a priority,” she says and we absolutely agree.

“Inappropriate Questions,” a web series hosted by Leeza, is an integral part of her YouTube channel. Quite like its name, the show features all sorts of inappropriate (in the most traditional sense of the term) and intriguing questions being answered by youth influencers.

In a recent chat that we had with Leeza, we dwelled into the depth of female sexuality where she talked about the right way to understand and experience it. To make things interesting, we turned the tables and played a little game of “Inappropriate Questions” with her as well.

Here are excerpts from our informative and fun chat:

Let’s open the conversation with one of the most ignored questions on women’s sexuality i.e. orgasm. It is indeed an irony that we remain so scantly educated about women’s orgasm. What’s your take on the same?

I think erotic pleasure is one of the most beautiful parts of the human experience, for both men and women. But unfortunately given the stigma attached to women expressing their sexuality, as well as the fact that sexuality is unfortunately so frequently entwined with violence, it’s no surprise that women don’t feel they have equal access to pleasure.

In a world that has been so obsessed with what makes a man tick, let’s talk about what makes a woman tick and turns her on. Let’s also talk about the importance of raising this topic.

Such an amazing range of events and behaviors can turn a woman on. For me, arousal can be intangible, a magic, inexplicable spark borne out of a great conversation, or a thoughtful gesture. Or it can be more visceral and sensory, a beautiful fragrance, an exceptional meal, someone’s eyes or smile or skin or voice can all ignite arousal.

Respect, self-awareness, a willingness to be vulnerable, sensitivity to boundaries and a reiteration of mutual consent at every step of the way, these are all turn-ons for me. I think of these elements as the prerequisites to any real and enjoyable intimacy. It’s important to realize that ideally, arousal begins long before you get to the bedroom.

As for sex, I think that the biggest turn on is when you can feel that your partner takes pleasure in giving you pleasure.

I think a lot of women would agree with me that if you want to turn us on, kisses, the ability to sustain eye contact, and heartfelt cuddles and massages are wonderful, and lots of oral sex and lots of communication are key.

What are some of the ways in which we can educate men about women’s bodies?

Communication, communication, communication! Also, there are so many great resources out there. Any man reading this and actually women too, everyone, go check out OMGyes, it’s an app I discovered recently and it is by far the best resource on understanding the female orgasm that I have seen yet.

Living in a country where one’s sexuality is directly linked to honour, do you think we need to rethink the entire idea of virginity? If yes, how do you envision the course of this discourse?

I think consent, safety, pleasure, and equality need to be at the heart of how both men and women view sex. Once that is achieved, there will be much less stigma around “virginity.” Preoccupations with virginity are in large part a result of the patriarchal tradition of control and surveillance when it comes to women’s bodies and the societal preoccupation in a pre DNA testing era, (which is mostly history) with a child’s paternity. In my opinion, it is outdated and ridiculous to perpetuate these attitudes.

We need to rethink the idea of virginity as a “loss.” As an adult, whether one chooses to have sex or chooses to remain a virgin, what one does with one’s own body and sexuality should be entirely one’s own choice, rather than the result of social pressure.

Can you share some fun ways in which women can explore and understand their sexuality better?

I think it’s really worth our while as women to take the time to get to know and appreciate every inch of our own bodies and their incredible capacity for pleasure. If you haven’t yet done this, the next time you have half an hour to yourself at home, please lie down with a hand-held mirror and admire and acquaint yourself with your most intimate parts. The internet is full of properly labeled diagrams of female genitalia if you need help identifying what is what.

Figure out what arouses you. It might take a few weeks or a few years but it will be so worth it. Touch yourself, buy a dual action vibrator, do what you need to, to get to know your body and yourself.

Don’t hesitate to let your partner know exactly what you want and what works for you. Instead of faking it because you don’t want to hurt his ego, tell him how you like it and what you want more of.

Can you help us trace the relationship between mental health, body image, and sexuality?

Mental health, body image, and sexuality are all very closely linked. A healthy mind and high self-esteem/ positive body image make it infinitely easier to explore and express one’s sexuality. So make your mental health a major priority, and learn to love your body.

How do you handle the male gaze that you are at a receiving end of when you are working as a presenter or at live events?

Recently I have been trying hard to make sure that even at work, I am always dressed for myself, and not for the male gaze. As far as possible I also put in a conscious effort to avoid catering to the male gaze in the way I express myself. As women, we really have to unlearn this idea that we ought to dress and behave and talk in ways that make us more appealing to men.

Also, I finish my work and then go home straight after. I don’t hang out after events are done and I don’t do after parties. So I basically just avoid any direct in-person interaction with male strangers. I’m not saying all men are creepy, but the sad truth is that many men are, and it’s just exhausting. I know some amazingly kind, sincere, caring, respectful men too though, and that gives me so much hope. I hope they can help educate others about the fact that men should see women as humans, not pieces of meat.

Moving on, let’s talk about your much talked about show “Inappropriate Questions.” Tell us about the craziest chat that you have had at the show. 

My favorite round of inappropriate questions was with Rohan Joshi because I think he answered with the most honesty and insight.

Watch the episode here:

Inappropriate Questions ft. Rohan Joshi | Leeza Mangaldas

RoJo gets full points for honesty in a rapid fire round of totally inappropriate questions. From what he finds attractive to what he wishes women would do more of in bed to what his favorite ice cream flavor is, you’ll learn some very fun facts! Follow me on social media!

How about we play a little game of Inappropriate Questions with you?

 Why not!

Here we go:

Your take on sex toys? 

Dual action vibrators are unbelievable!

Do you carry a condom in your bag?

No, I’ve been in a committed monogamous relationship for two years and neither of us have any diseases so I use the Mirena IUD for contraception. If you are not in a monogamous relationship though, you should definitely use condoms.

Your take on masturbation?

I think it’s a great way to enjoy time on your own, it teaches you a lot about your self, your body, your imagination, and it’s a very useful tool to better understand what turns you on.

What empowers you sexually?

An understanding of my own body and emotions empowers me.

Image Source: Leeza’s Instagram

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