Saturday, April 7, 2012

The raging Indian debate on pornography

Adult entertainment star Sunny Leone

It may be taboo, but usage is rampant -- Kuber Sharma weighs in on the Indian take on pornography.
So there's a raging debate about pornography all over India these days.
It's always been in our consciousness, but it took two pot-bellied right wing politicos to put good old porn in the spotlight. There are two extreme camps slugging it out. Either you sat up till midnight yesterday to see Poonam Pandey reveal her topless pic on Twitter. Or you sat up all night staring at it.
Yes, apart from the Flying Spaghetti Monster, my other true belief is in the power of porn. Now there might be a few people who actually don't enjoy porn. But then folks have been known to dislike QnA sexual health columns and even be allergic to water. So let's not judge.


There are so many good things connected to porn. And great memories. My fellow men, remember your teenage years. No actually, imagine your teenage years without Pamela Anderson.
Because, we Indian boys do have it rough. Grown-ups won't talk to us about pleasure, and most accounts we hear are plagiarised from the Internet anyways. My first introduction to the concept of oral sex was when I saw the DPS MMS scandal as an 18-year-old. It blew open my world, if you'll please excuse my pun.


In fact that's when I discovered that school kids were doing it too. Though my inexperience might have something to do with my before-time Harry Potter glasses and Aaron Cartereqsue middle parting.
But the truth is that Internet porn was my formative education about sex and pleasure. And from the feedback I have received so far, I could have done worse. One important lesson that I've picked up from erotic series such as College Rules is that women really do enjoy sex and they expect the men to take care of them.
But the other rather unfortunate reality is that despite being an online evangelist for Paris Hilton, I can't really talk about it in a lot of circles. Definitely not with my family, not even with younger cousins or nephews. Pity, because it is something so pure and innocent. Apart from the Kardashians, that is.

Adult entertainment star Jemma Jameson

Maybe the taboo around pornography brought the not-so-good practices around this most harmless of arts. Some activists blame pornography for making men too aggressive in bed. Because these activists don't think that they can spread safer bedroom practices through pornography, like the good folks at the Pleasure Project (an initiative that promotes safer sex) are doing.
And is aggression in bed really a bad thing? Though it needs to be followed consensually, good porn can really teach us all a lot. I do agree there is a dearth of such intelligible stuff, and hence I still am devoted to the soft-core variety.

Image: Adult entertainment star Jemma Jameson
Photographs: Kevin Winter/Getty Images 

Positive messaging

But think about the possibilities. Alternative sexualities, body image, safe sex and sexual techniques are some of the obvious topics that adult entertainment industry stars Jenna Jameson and Sunny Leone happily tackle.
And people want to learn too! Yesterday I read in India Today Magazine that most straight people (men and women) enjoy homosexual porn and interesting fetishes such as BDSM.
I think it's time we brought out porn from under the durrees. I give a personal guarantee that legalising porn will not destroy Indian culture and moral values. But I definitely see the potential of subversive positive messaging. Since sex education might never be mainstreamed in India, porn can play that role.

Photographs: Piast/Wikimedia Commons 


Experts agree that it's easier to talk about sex in informal spaces using creative means. What can be more creative then Savita Bhabhi giving gyaan to abiding boys. And maybe that will stop the deluge of educational videos Indian teens post on debonairblog every day.
I have a dream that one day pornography will be legal in my fair country. I have a dream that one day my kids will live in a nation where they will learn all about sex and sexuality thought wholesome, entertaining porn. Till then, I just have a lot of fantasies.

Photographs: La Grande Epidemie de Pornographie by a 19th century French engraver


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