I was ten years old when I discovered Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden, carefully hidden under my mother’s scented saris on the topmost shelf of our Godrej almirah. The sensuous and erotic writing just blew me away. And, Nancy Friday immediately became my secret goddess.
Before reading her, I had no idea that people made love aka had sex naked. I had only watched steamy scenes in Bollywood films - so, I thought sex just involved rubbing the bodies against each other, kissing the stomach, and caressing the thighs.
Nancy Friday taught me otherwise. So, over the next few months, I took to sneaking out the book from the almirah and relishing the juicy details of lovemaking. I also learned that I could use my pulsating thighs, my mouth, my ears and even my thick black long hair for pleasure. I was so exhilarated to be on this secret journey of pleasure and titillation that I had started doodling all this imagery on paper.
Hell broke loose the day my father discovered these doodles. My drawers and shelves were checked, and the book was confiscated. I don’t remember seeing the book after.
But Nancy Friday and the accounts of pleasure remained in my mind. At night, I would fish through my mind as I tried to remember what I had read. I remembered things like how a silk scarf can be used between the thighs to arouse oneself and one’s partner, how one could do this with their long hair, and how one’s partner could cup your breasts from the back and lick your ears as you sat on your heels. Perhaps that’s all that my juvenile mind could absorb, but that was the beginning of my sexual exploration. I was quite mind-blown by the sensation of inserting my finger into my vagina. I masturbated actively, my fertile imagination conjuring up threesomes and fivesomes.
I did not have an orgasm in my many intense masturbation sessions then though. Possibly because I had not known enough about where that elusive spot was - the G-spot or even the clitoris.
I was 17 when I first kissed a guy. Though I did have a physically intimate relationship with a senior from school and we spent some beautiful afternoons in his bedroom kissing and caressing each other's bodies, penetration never happened as this boy also had a reputation of being a flirt and had already had an affair with my best friend. I felt I could not trust him and I was not ready for the ‘next step’.
Then, I went to a girl’s college - so, there was not much scope of meeting guys.
Later when I started working, I just poured all my energy into work. I did like two men but both of them had girlfriends, so again I was not too comfortable being intimate with either of them. In many of my intimate encounters, no matter the surging feelings inside me, I also felt I had to be alert all the time to something…maybe to avoid the hurt of being ‘used’ by men, as we were told.
Finally though, when I turned 24, I had my first orgasm. With myself.
This was soon after reading not erotica but actually this novel 11 minutes by Paolo Coelho. At the age of 15, Maria - the protagonist of that story - had discovered orgasm on a fine afternoon when no one was at home. She says: Orgasm!
It was like floating up to heaven and then parachuting slowly down to earth again. Her body was drenched in sweat, but she felt complete, fulfilled and full of energy. If that was what sex was! How wonderful! Not like in erotic magazines in which everyone talked about pleasure, but seemed to be grimacing in pain. And no need for a man who liked a woman's body, but had no time for her feelings. She could do it on her own! She did it again, this time imagining that a famous movie star was touching her, and once more she floated up to paradise and parachuted down again, feeling even more energised. Just as she was about to do it for a third time, her mother came home.
After reading this, I felt these lines were about another realm of sex that I had not known before. Until then, all I felt was that sexual depictions in media and films were just mechanical and women were just objectified in them. I simply wanted to experience an orgasm of my own. I was desperate but I just did not know how.
Then, I remembered there was an old massager lying around at home. It was a gift from a family-friend after their foreign trip. Among its several fittings was one which looked like a penis and now I understand why. I got it out of the storage, fixed the ‘penis’ fitting, plugged it in and held it down under.
Within a few seconds I was in paradise like Maria, I could see rainbows floating under my closed eyes as I screamed in pleasure on the floor. From then on, the massager was my best friend, hidden under the bed. I would sneak it out in the night, plug it in and just go all the way to heaven in one go.
It was only during a work trip that I finally learnt to relax and use my hands. I was turned on by a Mills & Boons novel that I was reading and I wanted to bring myself to pleasure. I was thrilled to realise that I could stimulate myself to such heights of pleasure with my own hands. It was like one part of my body was talking to another! So natural!
But, I liked using my hands to pleasure myself when it was entirely on my terms only. I remember the time my then fiancée and I tried to have phone sex. He instructed me to touch my vagina and pleasure myself. But, somehow, that just failed badly. I couldn’t deal with a man telling me what to do with my pleasure spots. And, he blamed my ‘frigidity’ on my escapades with my vibrator - that innocent machine!
I still ended up marrying this man though. I knew we were not very compatible but there was a considerable social pressure for marriage. And, when I had ‘real’ sex with him, things were not that great either. I found the experience of ‘real’ sex to be extremely painful and traumatic. I suspect I was suffering from vaginismus then, and my vaginal muscles could not relax enough for sex to be pleasant.
Things didn't quite work for us in the marriage. We separated within a year, and I moved to Europe for higher education.
And then I met a man in France. A charming man, much older than me, and he was going through a separation at that time. We hit it off immediately. I don’t know if it was the French air or his way of talking or what it was exactly. We ended up having sex the very first time we met and we kept having sex for months after that.
For the first time in my life, I felt like the sex was intimate. And, I had full-blown multiple orgasms!
I have never felt the same things with any other man. I have explored many relationships after that but that sort of intimacy and multiple orgams has been evasive so far.
But thankfully, over the years, I have mastered the art of bringing myself to an orgasm. Having read quite a bit about G-spot, labia, and vulva and the clitoris, I have used all that info in my many self-exploration and self-pleasure sessions. Today, I can proudly say that on a lonely night (or day) I can guide myself to paradise and beyond.
Meemaw is a bookworm and a language nerd. She has travelled across ten countries, only to realise that the secret to pleasure lies within the self.