At the height of its civilization, India was the land of the Kama Sutra, Koke Shastra, Ananga Ranga – the sacred literature teaching ways and means of heightening sexual pleasure, not only with one’s own spouse, but also with other partners.
Several sex surveys carried out recently point to a definite resurgence of guilt-free extramarital sex, as much on the initiative of women now as it was on the bidding of men before. Commenting on the findings of the KamaSutra Cross Tab Sex Survey 2003, conducted in association with Indiatimes, published on Thursday, sex expert Prakash Kothari said, “One can easily kiss that crummy era goodbye. A nation of 1 billion is getting sexy and kicking the guilt.” Psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh, MD, is jubilant: Finally, “it” is happening in India.
Permissiveness is at an all-time high. Respondents across India (Bangalore 27 percent; Chennai 28 percent; Delhi 22 percent; Hyderabad 20 percent; Kolkata 32 percent; Mumbai 24 percent) feel that both partners should be free to have extramarital sex with the spouse’s consent.
This month the second-largest-circulated newsmagazine Outlook carried out a survey in several Indian metros to come up with similar results. Its correspondents interviewed sex specialists and psychologists in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Ahmedabad, among other cities, to discover that in the business of sex now, women are indeed on top, literally. Titled “Woman on top: Eves do it too”, the Outlook cover story on May 5 said: “It’s not just Adam for Madam. The Indian woman storms another male bastion as she seeks sex – and solace – outside her marriage.”
The authors of the story, Madhu Jain and Soutik Biswas, concluded: “Adultery 2003 is really about women taking the lead. It’s also about adultery going middle-class, to small-town India, going commonplace. Dangerous liaisons used to be for the aristos and the plebs. Those in between, the middle classes, were tethered by moral chastity belts – only their fantasies could roam freely. Or it was all within the family, the extramarital dalliances, that is. The scarlet letter is now fading fast: stigma is getting passe and guilt for an increasing number is no more than a twitch.