What do Indians think about love, sex and marriage? Preliminary results of the first of our MBRB surveys.
A couple of weeks ago, My Big Red Bag launched the first of our surveys to understand the prevailing attitudes towards sex in India. As of now, we’ve got 14 responses, majority of which (12) were women. Most of the respondents were from metro India, and were equally divided between 19-30 and 31-40 age spectrum.
The survey is still open, so do take out 5 minutes of your time to fill it up! Meanwhile, here’s a quick summary of the current responses:
On Sex & Virginity:
Most of the respondents believe that “saving your virginity for the right person” is highly over rated.
70% of the respondents (10 of 14) were open to the idea of having casual sex with someone while dating someone else.
Most of our respondents first had sex between the age of 19 – 26. Apart from one respondent whose partner was a casual acquaintance, all the others were with their boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse during their first sexual encounter.
On Love, Sex & Marriage:
Only 2 respondents felt that there is no relationship between love and sex. Nearly 90% believed that being in love led to good sex, or could be worked upon. Interestingly, 85% (12) of the respondents also believed that good sex could lead to love!
All the respondents said they’d prefer to have sex or live in with their partners before marriage – and 80% (11) felt this was an absolute necessity.
On being asked to choose between love & arranged marriage, over 40% (6) said it didn’t matter – what was most important was what you made of it. A couple of respondents (both female) preferred no marriage – in the words of one of them, “it’s just a form of having sexual relationship with someone after society’s stamp of approval”.
86% (12) of the respondents said they had no problems marrying someone who had confessed to having sexual relations before.
On Sex & Indians:
On whether Indians are talking more openly and honestly about sex and their sexual needs, a majority felt that things were improving, but there was still a long way to go. One respondent said that “More openly, yes. But not sufficiently, or in the right way” while another said “Talking more openly YES…more honestly? NO!!”. Another mentioned how other forms of expression – such as writing, movies & plays – were being used to talk about sex. But the last word went to a respondent who said:
I’ll believe it when I can find a vibrator in a Apollo pharmacy!
On a change in the attitude of Indian men when it comes to understanding the desires & complexities of women, we got a mixed bag. The men declared that you can never understand a woman (really?). A few women felt that men were getting better at this, while some others felt that the men in their lives were at least recognizing that women and their needs are different. However, a couple of women remarked upon how they still get judged about being honest when it came to their desires, even by educated and supposedly modern men!
So, what did we learn?
Judging by the results of this survey, it seems that there is a shift in attitudes towards sex in metropolitan India – sex is no longer the hallmark of purity and character it was made out to be till a few years ago. But part of this may also have to do with the fact that anyone who is comfortable answering a survey about sex is possibly already comfortable with their sex lives!
Is this representative of the larger Indian youth? Unfortunately not, as is evidenced by the numerous cases of honour / jilted-lover abductions, rapes & killings that still get reported in our cities. We can only hope that increasing education and employment of women in the organized sector leads to a greater awareness of their sexual needs & desires, both amongst men and women in India.