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Khushboo Sharma

IWB Blogger

Paromita Vohra Talks Unabashedly On The Sexual Desires Of The Unblushing Kind

  • IWB Post
  •  October 4, 2018

In the Indian setup, the word ‘sex’ is potent enough to scare people off more than a ticking time bomb. So much so that there exist few things darker than the taboo that is associated with it. Shame, guilt, and stigma for the most basic of human instincts. Why?

IWB thinks it is time we put an end to this unsolicited censorship on our words and lives when it comes to our sexual desires. It’s time we do away with the shame that was never ours in the first place. We are taking the pink out of the blush with our campaign UNBLUSHING.

With our partner Lovetreats.in, we embark on our mission to empower women by inspiring them to reclaim their agency in desire and exploring it. No Shame in the Game is our mantra here and, thus, with our unique campaign, we bring to you to your personal narratives of women who are unabashed and free when it comes to sharing their sexual desires.

For the campaign, we would also be engaging in expansive Twitter chats with people and organisations that share our cause. For UNBLUSHING’s first Twitter chat we reached out to Paromita Vohra, the creative director at Agents of Ishq.

As the about section of their website describes, “Agents of Ishq is a multi-media project about sex, love and desire. Or, to put it another way, we make cool video, beautiful images and great audio about sex, love and desire in India.”

In the chat, Paromita talked to us about the stigmatization of sex, the invisibilisation of the sexual desires of certain factions of the society, sexual dynamics of a marriage, and more. Here are excerpts from our chat:

 

On the impact of the scrapping of Section 377 on the conversation on sexual desire

 

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Whether queer or straight, it is uncomfortable to exist in a society where consensual sexual choices are criminalized. For, it is, whether you like it or not, to live in a place which is telling you that freedom and personal choice aren’t important social values

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn As long as we’re fighting something like 377, we remain also at a basic level of choice in the discourse. With #377Scrapped it becomes possible to discuss choice and equality in the widest sense of the term; it becomes possible to question what is ‘normal’ on the whole

On the role of the media in propagating the norm culture

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn the media tends to reproduce what’s already there – rarely doing its job of trying to understand the nature of a space or a choice in itself.

 

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn 2 ways media can be conscious 1) represent the issues of queer choices alongside all other issues 2) represent queer folks routinely as part of other stories – not just go to women for women’s issues and LGBTQIA+ folks for queer issues but draw on their experiences in every field

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Time to go beyond the usual representations – and also to represent more types of queer folks. As Hannah Gadsby says in Nanette – where are the quiet gays? 😀 Here is a photo series we did on Agents of Ishq to create more images of queer life/people.

On sex being stigmatised

 

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn One word: puritanism. Oh, one more: patriarchy 😀

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn I think the most important starting point is – women should be talking about their sex lives, their intimate choices, their desires. To themselves, to each other, to the world. Women must re-frame the paradigm on sexual freedom, choice and pleasure

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn The reason for this violent attitude to sexually independent women: we are not used to thinking of women as people who make their own choices. And definitely not sexual choices. Sexual choice is a part of the whole gamut of choices each human being deserves to have.

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Absolutely. We all grow up in a patriarchal society and carry that conditioning in us. We sometimes feel ashamed or defensive about our desires and sometimes we too might judge another’s desires. Each of us has to free our sexual selves in order to respect others’ sexual choices

 

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn @monaeltahawy Well if you are asexual you may not be having sex with anyone without anyone telling you you are abnormal and that would be cool too. See this: https://t.co/idjk66oYQB

On the sexual dynamics in a marriage

 

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Also we think of marriage per se as the final ‘respect’. So it stops us from thinking about the real meanings of respect, love, intimacy. Hence if marriage can be one of many valid choices, then we would be discussing how sex works better for people as part of that too.

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Marriage, when seen as ‘normal’ or necessary or inevitable per se symbolizes many patriarchal ideas: of heterosexual coupledom, monogamy, of sex as meant only for reproduction, of gender roles. So it traditionally can become a site for controlling genders, making people conform

On sex toys and masturbation

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Often when we do workshops at @AgentsofIshq and we talk about myths of romantic love, people say, very seriously: yes yes there is no such thing as forever. the most lasting relationship is with yourself. Correct. That includes your sexual relationship with yourself

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn @AgentsofIshq Masturbation and sex toys are a safe and intimately luxurious way to learn about your sexual self, to get a better understanding of what you like and what you are like. Women get so little chance to discuss this that they must find out for themselves.

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn @AgentsofIshq So first dispel the taboos on masturbation – https://t.co/coVKwbdWds

On Agents of Ishq

 

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Making work pleasurable allows people to enter it on their own terms. I believe it respects people more, it does not tell them what to think, but asks them to use their senses to arrive at an understanding. Trusting pleasure is a form of equality for me.

Paromita Vohra on Twitter

@indianwomenblog @LoveTreatsIn Whether it’s on @agentsofishq or through my films or my writing I am interested in approaching people’s experiences and their emotions so that issues get framed more inclusively, less absolutely

 

 

 

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