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This article has been extracted from a blog I recently started, ‘Nice Mangos’. The blog deals with different aspects of Pakistani sexuality and the difficulties I as a writer have had, trying to convince people to talk to me about this unreasonably taboo subject. Nothing good can come from being so tight lipped about our sexuality, we need to open up, discover, speak and air out a whack-load of issues. I conducted these interviews several years ago during a not-so-brief stay in Pakistan…
Honestly, I don’t believe that most people in the world wait until they’re married to have sex. But many Pakistanis will tell you otherwise. And since, by this time, even more people have refused to do an interview with me, I’m getting a smaller slice of the Pakistani pie than before. So really, I now have access to less than a handful of people within a very limited age range because people outside of that age range are either too old fashioned to talk about sex, or too young to be asked about sex.
Not ideal conditions at all…
Moving on however, Pakistani premarital sex… is there a reason for it to be so taboo? And why are parents dying to pin it onto other people’s children? Why is it that you always hear whispers about so-and-so’s child?
During my university days in Toronto, I was quite an ‘outcast’ from the Pakistani community – mainly because I wore a lot of black eye makeup and dyed my hair blue. That gave me a starring role in a plethora of strange rumours (witchcraft, devil worship, blood drinking, etc.), the funniest of which was one that stemmed from a t-shirt I owned. This t-shirt had a picture of the Hindu goddess Kali on it. Sounds harmless enough, right? I’ve always been very fascinated by Hindu imagery; I think it’s intensely beautiful and that’s all there is to it really. I’m not a secret Hindu, or anything of the sort.
However, the rumour that came from this shirt was that I was living with a Hindu guy (in my tiny little dorm room) and was pregnant. Holy Krishna! Now, I couldn’t stop laughing when it made its way back to me, because my mom had actually warned me and told me that people would say things if I continued to wear this t-shirt out in public. Should’ve listened. There are many methods of showing disapproval within the community and starting rumours seems to be the most popular and malicious one.
Unlike my personal experience, rumours claiming such deviant behaviour often result in grave consequences, sometimes even death (mostly for women, that is). You’ve all heard the stories. In this aspect Pakistan is vastly different from the West where casual sex is completely acceptable and people (women) are still respected members of society.
I’m obviously not here to judge anyone for their sexual exploits, before or after marriage. When two consenting adults are involved – it really is nobody’s business.
Ayesha, Female, 28
I identify as a homosexual, though I have not come out yet. If lesbian sex is included in your definition, then yes I have had sex, and I have enjoyed it immensely.
Since I myself have indulged in premarital sex, I really can’t look down on it, nor would I want to. Again as a homosexual, the institution of marriage serves an extremely oppressive patriarchal agenda. If those advocating ‘no pre-marital sex’ are right, then people like me deserve to be celibate their entire lives.
Layla, Female, 19
Yup, I enjoy having sex but it’s usually followed by a ton of guilt (mainly because of how much my mum would disapprove).
It’s tough to describe my opinions on premarital sex. I definitely understand why it’s not permitted in Islam, it’s like an addiction, and it makes people do things they regret. It’s the reason people confuse love for lust, and well it complicates lives and things in general. So I feel that if you have the will power and the strength…be patient – your day will come. It’ll be something to look forward to other than just sharing your life with that person; it’ll be so much more special. Premarital sex also (I guess it depends on whether you’re with multiple partners or whether you marry that one person you have premarital sex with) makes you lose respect for yourself. I guess each time you indulge in it, it becomes that much easier to do it again, and with time I feel it doesn’t even matter as such who the partner is. You could be drunk and horny and that’s all that will matter. So I’m very for premarital sex.
Ambreen, Female, 28
I haven’t engaged in premarital sex myself but I don’t see anything wrong with it … to each his own…..I’m not one to make judgments…I haven’t done it because I was never in a relationship of that sort. One that went to that level….
Mariam, Female, 26
Sure I enjoy sex… I have no negative feelings attached to sex whatsoever. I think premarital sex works…it depends on what stage you are in your life …so it’s a little subjective. I mean obviously if I’m talking to a girl who’s going to get married by the time she’s 17 or 18 because of family pressures… I don’t think that she should definitely go and have sex when she’s 15, just for the sake of having premarital sex but I think it is important. Especially if you’re getting married at an older more mature age…you need to sort of…experience it …and you need to know how you feel about it and what kind of role its going to play in your life and your marriage. I think it’s very significant. It does your head in… emotionally – and people need to obviously experience it, given the right time and right level of maturity…to come to terms with it in their own way. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it…and I’m not married so I’ve engaged in it myself.
I haven’t had sex with more than one partner at a time…(laughs)…but I have had multiple partners overall…3 partners and no regrets …not really…no. I probably wouldn’t be open to having sex with multiple partners at a time…. It doesn’t work for me.
You can read the rest of this post and more of the author’s work at Nice Mangoes.