They Taught Us That If We Said 'No' To Our Husbands, We Would Be Cursed Forever

Anonymous Anonymous in Single Women Bad Women on 8 April, 2018

I don’t think I’m the only one who can claim exclusive rights to having a complicated relationship with masturbation. All we get everywhere around us are confusing messages of what it means to be a sexual being. What our bodies mean to us (nothing) and how they exist only for the consumption of men, no matter what your own preferences may be.

I grew up giggling over leaflets my guy friends got at the mosque, talking about the dangers of self-pleasure- impregnating their hands and losing ‘vitality’, but the only thing us girls ever learnt was if we said 'no' to our husbands when they wanted sex, we would be cursed forever; the angels would leave our side, our homes, our families and our planets, and nothing blessed would ever come close to us again.

It got even more evident that boys masturbating was an accepted reality in our households. They would be allowed their privacy, separate rooms, closed doors, and long showers. The media they consumed would never be watched over. While us girls could only talk about our crushes on television characters in hushed tones while we served dinner at our get-togethers.

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An incident stands out in my memory even today. My cousin got caught watching a birthing scene on a show meant for teenagers on a network channel. Which means, other than a pumped-up belly, a sweaty brow and some very heavy grunty screams, there was nothing that could be termed scandalous about it. And yet, my fifteen-year-old cousin was publicly shamed for it by her own mother, told that if she was that ‘desperate to have sex’ she would be married immediately. Compare that with the numerous pieces of evidence I had against my male cousins consuming actual porn with no repercussions at all (instead of being scolded for going through somebody’s private possessions). A rebellion was the only way forward for me.

Though my rebellion had many phases, it wasn’t the most original one. Hunger strikes, slammed doors, lots and lots of angry crying. I hid a lot, under covers, under the bed, in closets and actual boxes (do not try this, it gets very hot and very uncomfortable, very fast) and I read.

Romance novels with suave, dandy man who fell in love with rebellious girls. Girls like they have never met before, outspoken, intelligent, non-conformist girls. Before I knew that these were just tired old tropes about men conquering women, they let the romantic in me escape to a place where somebody saw the real you and loved you for who you really were.
It also introduced me to erotic literature. It was too perfect, I didn’t know better. But it turned me on, more than the romance itself. I would reread those passages over and over again, my nerves would tingle, my mouth would get dry and I would get wet. Passages about unfettered passion and lust, looks that smouldered, touches that ignited the body. Uncontrolled, unabashed lust so great they couldn’t hold themselves back.

I wondered what that felt like, if my body would respond in the same manner? I began to touch myself hesitantly, it didn’t feel good. It felt so terrible, so shameful, so haram. I stopped.
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I still read though, let myself get turned on without experiencing the earth-shattering climaxes these heroines had, as easy as sneezing. The more I read, the more I researched as well. No encyclopedia had the reassurances I needed, but the internet then, at its sketchy best helped. I wasn’t the pervert I had begun to think of myself as, there were others out there like me and they taught me about all the tools I didn’t know were necessary prerequisites for me to enjoy my body’s gifts.
I learnt to jugaad the things I had no hope of accessing. My dad’s mobile phone, an electric toothbrush, the shower-head. Pleasure finally began to win the race against shame. After my first orgasm, I stood in front of the mirror staring at my face, trying to figure out if it would give away my dirty secret (like how your face supposedly changes after you’ve had sex).

It still felt lonely though- not in the I-Want-a-Group-Circle-Jerk kinda way, but more in the I-Want-to-Share-My-Experiences-With-Someone-Else-Who-Understands-And-Isn’t-Just-An-Internet-Person kinda way. I mean, guys around me shared their porn, talked about their pornstar crushes, but the girls around me felt less dirty about participating in premarital sex than they did about touching themselves.

I didn’t have the words then to explain my judgement of those morals, about how we felt less dirty for giving up our bodies for the pleasure of men without experiencing the pleasure of ourselves. How men were allowed to have both experiences without being judged for them, but women were allowed only the pleasure given to them by men. How we couldn’t ask for the things that felt good to us unless we had first experienced them ourselves. How sex would only be like regurgitated food being fed to us, mushy, tasteless, bland, predigested and we would never even know how good chocolate really tastes because we had never had it on our own.

When I finally stopped talking and started listening, I found all the signs I had been looking for right there in front of me. All the women around me who were masturbating and trying to find comfort in numbers themselves. The loudmouths, the shy ones, the sexually active, and the virgins. Each finding themselves in their own way and learning to love the parts of their body they had always been taught to be ashamed of.

There are lots of research articles I can quote to you about how masturbation is good for you health, how it prevents cancer, relieves headaches, and flushes toxins out of your body. But the real reason, the only reason you should be masturbating is that it teaches you to love yourself in ways society will always teach you to hate your body. It will teach you independence and self-sufficiency. It will teach you that all you need in life already exists within you, and true happiness lies in rubbing one out to perfection.

Editor's Note:

Share this story if your heart is bursting with the truth that loving yourself is not haram.