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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Working For Years As A Sex Worker Made Me Feel Unworthy Of Having Sexual Desires: Nayana Udupi

  • IWB Post
  •  October 3, 2018

 

“I have zero sexual desires. After those six years of being a sex worker, catering to wishes and wants of the men who came to me, has killed my inclination towards even thinking of anything related to sex. Just the thought of sleeping with a man again, even if now it would be because I want it, is enough to make me shudder with disgust. Those years have made me feel unworthy of having sexual desires.”

These were the words of Nayana Udupi, who identifies herself as a transwoman. Though today she has clawed her way out of sex work and is now working with a reputed software company in Bangalore, her past experience as a sex worker has suppressed the most basic of human needs – sex.

Nayana Udupi

Under our campaign, UNBLUSHING, in association with Lovetreats.in, we are giving a voice to such suppressed desires, providing people the platform to share the emotions they have been forced to hide in fear of being judged. Sharing her life story of never being allowed to embrace her sexual desires, Nayana tells us about how sex for her was never about her own pleasure. Excerpts:

Please share your journey from a sex worker to one of the few transgenders who has beaten the odds to create a successful career in the corporate world.

Discrimination, untouchability, stigma – that’s something which is hard for people to let go of when it comes to us, transgenders. People still hesitate to touch, hug or even take water from our hands. We deserve to live life as much as others, but we are treated as abnormal, different from what being a human stands for. Even career-wise, after I completed my degree, I had to wait for 10 long years for someone to see my potential before they judged my sexual identity.

I come from a small town, Udupi, in Karnataka. My father resorted to calling me all sorts of derogatory names because of how I behaved. I always felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body even though at that point in my life, I wasn’t aware of what transgenders are or that what I was feeling could be considered so ‘unholy’ by people around me. I was ridiculed everywhere.

Nayana Udupi

Sex work was not my choice, it was a compulsion as I had no other source of survival. I held an undergraduate degree, an advanced diploma in designing and still I could just take up freelance projects. But once they learnt I was a transwoman, I lost those jobs too. At last, I joined the trans community in Pune, begging and working as a sex worker to make ends meet. For six years, I was in sex work.

All those years and even before that, were you able to express your desires as a woman?

Never. Be it before I became a sex worker or after that, I had to repress my emotions. As a young teen living in a place where people accepting me for what I am was an impossibility, imagine frankly telling them that other than behaving like a woman, I have desires like her too. Kyunki samaaj toh humein pehle hi side kar deta hai. Transgender matlab no sexual desires, that’s what society thinks.

Nayana Udupi

I hid my emotions, my desires, my needs. As a sex worker, all I was allowed to focus on was the needs of the customer. What I want to do, what I prefer or if I even want to have sex at that point was of little significance. After all, they were paying for it and I dare not go against them in fear that my only source of income will be compromised.

So, sex for you was never about your own pleasure?

Never. People basically get a heart attack if we tell them that yes, when it is under our terms as well, we too enjoy sex. We are defective pieces for them, exempted from basic human needs. This mentality made me realize that it is not in my destiny, that I am not allowed to accept that I too need sexual satisfaction, that I have needs, wants. In fact, till some time ago, me engaging in a sexual activity was deemed as unnatural and illegal as per the age-old Section 377, which was recently scrapped. So, until some time ago, my pleasure was a crime.

But not anymore. Didn’t you ever feel the need to reclaim your desire, fulfill a sexual fantasy? After all, for our sexual pleasure, having a partner is not a compulsion.

It may sound like I am faking it but kasam se, I have no desire to engage in any kind of sexual activity. Thanks to people and their disgusting mentality, my own heart and mind balk at the idea of masturbation, sex toys, or anything for my sexual gratification. There is this internal scream, ‘Ab kuch bacha hi nahi hai. You cannot and should not have sexual desires.’ Desires are always there, but now all I want to focus on is my career, touching heights that people around me were sure I would never reach.

As for having a sexual fantasy, woh toh nahi hai ab but I do have a fantasy, which I know will never be fulfilled but what loss is there in dreaming?

And what is that?

To go on a date with a man who would care for me, treat me well. Love and affection were always first in my list of priorities, which, sadly I never had. I know that is another ‘not possible in this lifetime’ thing for me. So, I tend to focus on more realistic dreams, like having a garden one day, my own, and planting seeds, watering them, watching them grow and flourish.

We have often heard terrible stories of how sex workers are abused by their clients and forced to have sex whether they want it or not. Was your consent ever violated?

Luckily, I have never faced this, I mean when I denied to doing a particular thing like anal sex, they never forced me to do it. Obviously, they wouldn’t pay me, but when it came to certain boundaries, even the prospect of not having money couldn’t make me do things I didn’t want to.

Nayana Udupi

And the ones who respected my consent and didn’t hang the I-won’t-pay-you-now sword over my head, I am really thankful to them for understanding that even we deserve to have a say when it comes to sex. It is not that men can want and do anything they want.

Sex is one of the most basic of human needs and yet, as our Indian sanskaars go, one tends to go all HAW! and awkward at the mere mention of the word sex. An individual, especially if it is a woman or an LGBTQIA person, is ridiculed, shamed, and insulted for freely embracing their sexuality, something that Nayana had to suffer in abundance, which led her to shut down her own sexual needs.   

So, we at IWB decided to not let someone else’s judgment bring so much shame, guilt or stigma to us. Can’t a woman/LGBTQIA+ person want, have AND enjoy unapologetic sex and God forbid, with someone of their choice? Of course they can! Raising a toast to the independence we deserve, IWB has come up with the campaign, UNBLUSHING.

With our partner Lovetreats.in, we embark on our mission to empower these individuals by inspiring them to reclaim their agency in desire and exploring it. No Shame in the Game is our mantra and, thus, for our campaign UNBLUSHING, we invite you to bring your love/lust stories, to find power in the spoken word and set yourself free. Share how you listened to your fearless sexually-liberating voice, how you rose above the burden of the so-called shame of bravely accepting your sexuality.

We seek your stories to inspire, empower, and liberate those hesitant to make the first move towards claiming their agency in sexual pleasure. Tell us how you dared not to fit in a box of social sexual taboos but instead chose to live as you will – fearlessly, and who knows, maybe you’ll end up inspiring others out there!

You can reach out to us on hello@indianwomenblog.com. You can also DM your story to our Facebook and Instagram handles. (P.S. Confidentiality would be ensured if you ask for it).

But wait, we have something more in store for you all. Lovetreats.in is offering a 10% discount to everyone who uses our campaign name ‘UNBLUSHING’ as the coupon code. Now that’s some added pleasure, right? 

Contact us for your story


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