Monday, 22 December 2014

Is Pre- Marital Sex really bad?

Raj and Priya were one happy college couple. Graduating from one of Mumbai’s top colleges and pursuing Masters of Business Administarion degrees, both were the “it” couple of the college. Frequent Instagram updates about their relationship, posting love messages for each other on facebook, whatsapp statuses etc., their life was simply incomplete without each other and they wanted the whole world to know about this. Until, one fine day, Raj asked Priya out ona movie date. Afterall, it had been almost 6 months of roaming together. The movie was Nasha, and though Priya wanted to really watch the movie, Raj had no real interest in the movie but his motive was something else. During one of the intimate scenes, Raj, was holding Priya’s hand. He had a strong desire to kiss his so-called “Girl- friend”.

Raj came forward and brought his lips closer to Priya’s. Priya closed her eyes. The moment was still. Raj’s lips were an inch away from Priya and then wham! A hard slap on Raj’s face by Priya and she asks him “what the hell are you trying to do with me?”. Raj was shcocked and aghast at the same moment. “Isn’t it what you wanted as well?” Raj groaned. “What do you mean?” Priya was looking surprised. “I mean, aren’t we a couple?” Raj asked. “Umm Yes probably, but I’m not ready for this.” Priya’s reply got Raj angry. They hardly spoke for the rest of the movie and even the rest of the evening and their so-called date was a total flop.

Raj’s story is not new. Don’t we know of atleast a couple of other Raj’s. Of course the word “SEX” can have various connotations in each couple’s life. It canbe perfectly alright for a couple in love or in live-in relationship to have pre- marital sex if both of the partners are willing. But, if one is not, is it still alright? And generally, it is the girl who is uncomfortable with the idea of pre-marital sex in our country.

It is not the girl’s fault alone. The guys are pretty clear about what they want as a bride: a well-educated, “presentable” girl from a good family. They also have one unspoken prerequisite — the girl must be a virgin. It is immaterial that the guy is not one himself. Call it double standards, the cost of straddling a la-la land between tradition or modernity or just plain old hypocrisy, the fact is that the youth of urban India hardly practise what they preach. According to the HT-MaRS Youth Survey, an unprecedented 61% believe that premarital sex is no longer a taboo. Only, when it comes to marriage, 63% want their partners to be virgins. Statistics that will baffle.

Delhi-based psychiatrist Dr Sanjay Chugh explains, "While women are far more empowered today and ready to embrace their sexuality, the male mindset has hardly changed. The trope of the virginal bride still holds. Pre-marital sex and casual relationships have been de-stigmatised in the youths' minds but they are afraid of being found out. The guilt is not about the act itself, but the fear of being discovered."

Lust in translation

The number of youngsters who accept that they are in relationship also varies with the affluence of the city they come from : While their numbers are higher in cosmopolitan Delhi (67%), Mumbai (63%), Kolkata (67%) or Chandigarh (67%), a traditional Jaipur (28%), Indore (32%) and Chennai (35%) seems to have a stymieing effect. The national average is 49%.

And these are not they-lived-happily-ever-after relationships either. Only 24% of these 49% accept that they are "very much" in love with their boyfriend/girlfriend.

While Chandigarh youth top the chart when it comes to cheating (45%), Delhi is not far behind at 41%. Pune, where only 44% respondents accepted they were in a relationship, is at the bottom of the pile in terms of cheating on their significant other (25%). Cheat sheet: Men have cheated more than women.

Says Mumbai-based sexologist Deepak Jumani, "Earlier, marriage was about finding the best mate in terms of financial security and social strata. Those rules are not applicable any more. Both men and women want to experiment and find compatibility in every sense — emotional, physical and sexual. Embarking on a relationship does not mean youngsters have marriage on their mind. Whether it is a one-night stand, a casual relationship or a live-in, commitment does not have to be on the agenda."


However, the dos and don'ts are far more hard-bound when it comes to the institution of marriage. Divorce is still not an option for 53% of youngsters and neither is casual sex while married. Only 11% feel it can be forgiven and 25% believe if a man strays, he should let his wife do that too. Out of this figure, 13% are male and 36% women.

Delhi-based fine arts student Avneesh Murgai says, "Every relationship is different and you cannot say why people make the choices they make in a relationship. Having said that, marriage is commitment and the alpha male mindset where you can get away with anything is just not acceptable. We are westernised enough to indulge in a casual sexual encounter but still caught in the patriarchal time warp where we cannot entertain the idea of our wife/girlfriend ever being touched by another man."

There were some positive takeaways from the survey too. The number of youngsters who believe homosexuality is an acceptable sexual preference stands at 43%, up from 37% last year.

"Your sexuality is your personal choice. Nobody should be allowed to dictate whom you should love and why. Law and society needs to be changed to accommodate a very large percentage of people who are forced to live in the closet," says Yukti Arora, an 18-year-old Delhi University student.

My Take

So, while premarital sex is itself not a sin, it is an extremely important decision in one’s life, as non- conversion of love into marriage can cause serious psychological damage to the person dealing with break-up , and more so, specially for girls. So, I think it is quite justified in looking for a security in a guy before taking such a big leap in their relation.

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