Sex isn’t very commonly discussed in our culture. If it is discussed the haw hayes whispered by aunties are enough to make us hide in a corner from shame and embarrassment. The stigma around this topic gets many Pakistanis in trouble when it comes to our sex lives – especially after marriage.
How are we possibly supposed to understand the know-how if we have never been introduced to it?
Growing up in a different part of the world helped me out a ton since I was taught throughout my school years about sex. I was taught the basics, the ugly parts of it, and the pleasurable (commonly associated) parts of it, but that does not mean getting it on with someone who was a stranger to my body and vice versa was a piece of cake.
Insecurities now have to be shared and overcoming them happens in the bedroom.
No one is perfect, no one is completely comfortable in their bodies. There is always something someone does not like about themselves, and well, being married brings those insecurities out A LOT. Being in your birthday suit in front of someone who was basically a stranger was scary and nerve-wracking.
Thoughts like, “Am I too fat?” “Are my boobs uneven?” “Will he notice my burn scars?” “Do I have more hair on my body than him?” all ran across my mind. Rather than enjoying my wedding, I was dealing with these insecurities in my head.
Marriage is beautiful and pure. Two people promise to spend the rest of their lives with each for better or for worse. Well, as Pakistani women, we are told skinny girls are beautiful. We pluck, thread, tweeze, shave, and wax every inch of our body because body hair is not feminine, and we prepare for our married life by visiting the salon for months and diet until our bones start to stick out.
Preparing for married life should happen within the soul, not the body. There should be a change in heart and mind, not the weight on the machine. Only then can we bring our insecurities with our bodies into the bedroom and overcome them, which also leads to awesome sex.
No matter how much we spoke and created an understanding with each other before we got married, nothing could have prepared either one of us for what was to come.
The suhaag raat disaster
Growing up watching Bollywood movies, I had always romanticized sex on the night of my wedding. I always thought my love for my husband would become deeper and stronger with the aspect of a physical relationship, and oh boy was I wrong.
After a long day of sitting still and smiling for pictures, the pain and discomfort I experienced were not worth it. It made me want to rip his private parts off. The only thing I remember is (since I have buried this memory deep inside my brain) it felt like my vagina was being torn open.
Had my mom sat me down before I got married and told me what it was going to feel like, I could have been better prepared. Instead, I screamed with excruciating pain which was enough to scare my husband.
He felt so horrible seeing me in pain, the rest of our first few days together as a married couple definitely did not involve any more hanky panky.
Porn, movies, and books will never be enough to translate what real sex is like.
In school, my health education teacher did her best to teach us what sex was like and what was involved. As much as the information I learned was helpful now in my life, it never truly prepared me for the real deal. An open conversation with close family and friends may have been more helpful.
How are these boys who are sent off to marry with no prior experience supposed to know how a woman needs to be pleasured too? And if they dare watch porn or watch a sex scene in a movie, they are categorized as harami and besharam.
Now that the awkward and painful phase of our sex lives is in the past, we are much happier and comfortable with each other under the covers (or over if that is what you prefer).
Yes, at first it felt like a foreign and illegal act. Being suppressed for this long, it felt what we were doing was wrong because in our culture we are taught sex is only to have children. Pleasure is not the end goal of sex in our culture even though it should be an option.
Sex is supposed to feel good, and after months of doing it, it finally does. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Cover image via Getty Images