India Uptight over Erotica in Hinduism?

This week in Delhi an exhibition on nudity in art was forcibly shut down by Hindu fundamentalist groups who took offense! Paintings in another gallery in Bangalore were also forcibly removed because the same groups found the nude portrayals of goddesses objectionable!

It is exactly this sort of public response to nudity, sex and sexuality in India today that I question in my book Sex and Power.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction of my book.

Languorously sensual and of exquisite form, men and women in stone on ancient khajuraho1Indian temple walls engage in explicit and imaginative love-making, in an array of intriguing poses…A man caresses his delighted lover’s naked breasts with a lotus bud…[Another] kneels before his lover and performs cunnilingus…One couple prefers intercourse in the standing position…[while] another couple in coitus understandably requires assistance…the man below…balanced on his head, the woman…on top held in position by two supporting female[s]…

khajuraho2However shocking the use of such explicit erotica in temples may…it would still be a mistake to regards these temples as (more…)

What Was Buddha’s Issue with Sex and Women?

So naked, young women are shameful and go to Hell?

This is part II of my contribution to the Jaipur Literary Festival this year which focuses on Buddhism. You can read part I here.  It’s another excerpt from the Buddhist period  in my book  Sex and Power (Sect II, pp.67-110).  The central argument of my book is that the concepts of sexuality and sexual morality in any society keep changing over time.  And it is the dominant forces–social, political, economic or religious–in any period of time that determine how that society views women, sex and sexual morality.

In the Buddhist period which stretches from about 500B.C. to 100A.D. Buddhism was one of the most powerful institutions, and the teachings of the Buddha impacted on social thinking at many levels.  In the first excerpt from my book I talk about how it revolutionized the concept of class and caste based equality and social justice.  But by the same token, I discovered that  it also had a huge negative impact on social perceptions of gender, women and sex.  To me Buddha’s unreserved misogyny and prejudice towards women (more…)

Women Discuss: Let Men Stray, So They Will Stay?

And the trophy goes to...

In a CNN discussion with a panel of women,  a show obviously targeting a female audience, the goal was to see if women need to be “rethinking wedded bliss in the 21st century.”

Rethink wedded bliss?  I wondered, whatever does that mean? It could mean one of two things:

   1.   women need to reclassify — so what they earlier considered as misery in their marriages they need to learn to see as bliss.

2.   girls who grew up with dreams of finding their “happily-ever after” in a fairytale wedding, need to find other venues of finding bliss because the wedding isn’t always the pathway to it.

Interestingly, it means no.1!!!  The topic of discussion was : Women’s insistence on monogamy is actually killing their marriages.  And if women let their husbands sleep with other women, and take a cool attitude towards it, they might it actually ‘save’ their marriages.

HOLLY HILL, author of Sugarbabe, explained why women actually need to make infidelity a negotiable option with their husbands. She said, “The only reason [marriage] is sacred is because … (more…)

Who Needs A Diploma in Sex ?

There is now a school in Vienna that actually offers an official diploma in sexual techniques.  This is The Austrian International School of Sex (AISOS) and it is not gag! It has an official website with information on programs, courses, registration and student services!  This is not your usual degree in human sexual behavior that regular universities offer – i.e. the abstract speculation on the sociology or psychology of human sexuality.  According to the school’s mission statement, it is The world’s first school of practical sex.”   It further explains, “Though our courses include both history and modern sexual theory, the emphasis is on how to be a better lover. Sexual positions, caressing techniques, anatomical features- these are the AISOS disciplines. And we teach you hands on.”

The first question that comes to mind, is what is this diploma going to be used for? (more…)

Female Bosses and Sex: A Double Standard?

Sculpture by Linda Klarfeld

Below is a link to an article that asks the question: Is there a double-standard in how we judge men and women in positions of power who use their sexuality to leverage power at work?

What the author of the article argues is that if male bosses, touch a woman or flirt with her at work, they risk being accused of sexual harassment.  However female bosses can get away with touching and flirting with male juniors, and the author interviews a few women in positions of power, who openly admit to doing do.

However, as I read the article, it seemed pretty clear that these women were not talking about forcing their sexual attentions on men. (more…)

How Men Think of Women and Sex

Hugh Hefner in his own words: “The notion that Playboy turns women into sex objects is ridiculous. Women are sex objects. If women weren’t sex objects, there wouldn’t be another generation.”

“Women have always been seen by [heterosexual men] as their exclusive property… ”  This is philosopher Michael Foucault’s thought on how western men think of women in terms of power and sexuality.  There are some more of his ideas (in red) below.  Foucault believed that sex determined power relationships between the genders, and the reason was because Western society considered sex as a science, something to be understood, revealed,  discovered and displayed unlike the East that regarded sex as an art, something that was natural and inherently powerful.  As an art it is not something to be discovered or acquired but rather something that is comfortably enjoyed.  Foucault believed that the Eastern view of sex as art meant not just enjoying it but also keeping it a secret because that is how its inherent power was protected.

I however do not agree with Foucault’s understanding of the Eastern approach to sex. (more…)

%d bloggers like this: