Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sex and the Sub-Continent

To quote the Wicked Witch of the West, “What a world, what a world…” She had no idea how right she was. Sure she may have been talking about that ugly little girl destroying her beautiful wickedness, but I am sure she never imaged the excitement and outrage over vibrating condoms here in India.

This was brought to my attention yesterday as Manuel, Abdul, Stephen and I sat in my now favorite chocolate themed restaurant where we all had our favorite chocolate coffees and milkshakes, except Stephen. Always having to prove a point and be an original, he ordered a fresh lime soda. Quite suddenly, the conversation switched from grocery items and the joys of living in India to the previously mentioned topic of vibrating condoms in India when Abdul flashed the small article with full-color picture. It seems that nobody is clear whether they are to promote condom usage which happens to be on the decline or a sex toy. Sex toys, like pornography are forbidden in India. Perhaps someone should tell that to Palika Bazaar. Or perhaps there is a difference between actual porn and people who just “make very nice the hanky panky” on video. I guess one could see that as educational as opposed to entertaining.

This morning I had an email from Stephen with a link to the BBC website. It seems this issue is bigger than I thought. Even her Majesty appears to be up to date with the little ring that is either to hold the condom in place (legal) or to provide sexual pleasure (illegal). To quote the minister for road and energy (yes, I agree, he is definitely a subject matter expert), Kailash Vijayvargiya, "Sex toys are banned in India and the vibrating device is nothing but a sex toy being sold as condoms. The government's job is to promote family planning and population control measures rather than market products for sexual pleasure." (Thanks BBC News). Being the most populous nation with an estimated 1.2 billion peeps, that route seems to be working out really well. The argument seems to come from the fact that the ring, while being promoted with the condoms, actually can be used without one making it then, in fact, a vibrator.

But if we take that argument further and let’s suppose, hypothetically of course, that a situation might arise where two people decide to have sex yet do not wish to produce a baby. I know, I know, it seems far fetched and highly unlikely, but humor me here for a bit. Doesn’t that then in effect turn their naughty parts into sex toys used solely for the purpose of pleasure? And what about oral sex? Talking dirty? I see no baby-making opportunities there. Of course one could argue that oral sex is a form of birth control and talking dirty is just bad taste and undignified. What if we have sex with the lights on and actually take a peek at the action while in the throes of lust? Does that then constitute pornography or even worse, could it be defined as a live sex show? Should India impose a ban on recreational sex? And don’t even get me started on self-service, which I know at least one or two people reading this have engaged in at least once in their lives.

After writing this, it occurred to me that I need to do the responsible thing. I am going to run out and get myself a pack of those condoms with the vibrating ring and give them a test-drive.

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