The Needs of the Feminine

The Needs of the Feminine

Written by: Divya Manoharan

Disclaimer: While the Western world is today far more progressive and accepting of women’s needs, the same is not true in Asian countries. Mine is an experience of being an Indian woman.

Reason 1: I can’t talk about masturbation like it’s normal.

Reason 2: I have to constantly use my brain because I’m perennially calculating what’s safe and what’s not, who’s safe and who’s not.

Reason 3: I can’t walk the streets at night without looking over my shoulder at shadows that could be a rope or a snake.

Reason 4: I have to explain myself constantly.

Reason 5: It’s hard enough fighting myself without having to fight the whole world.

I’m sure you’ve guessed what the above list is about. But, that’s even sadder because it means you are so well-versed in the art of being a woman that these reasons feel like home to you.

And here’s what I’ve felt, on many, many, many days:

Do you know what it is
to walk the city lanes
at 2:30 in the morning?
I don’t.

Do you know what it is
to scream your lungs out
on the beach
at sunset?
I don’t.

Do you know what it is
to ride through the
neighborhood,
singing aloud to
songs that melt your heart?
I don’t.

Do you know what it is
to choose what to wear,
only based
on what you like?
I don’t.

Do you know what it is
to constantly look
over your shoulder
at shadows that could be
a rope or a snake?
I do.

Do you know what it is
to drive down a road
with drunken boys
bumping your car
on drunken bikes?
I do.

Do you know what it is
to enter a crowded space
and breathe
a sigh of relief because you
can no longer be raped?
I do.

Do you know what it is
to be a woman?
I do.

And the day you know,
you will weep
at the pain that seems to
leak out of every
crevice in
our bodies,
the bodies we
work so hard to hide.

For you see,
to be a woman
sometimes means
we hide ourselves
for fear
that our magnificence
will be our
Undoing.

My magnificence is my undoing. 

I have been in two serious, long-term relationships and a bunch of nothing relationships that could have gone somewhere but didn’t.

The sex was great, though. Phenomenal, as a matter of fact.

But that’s not something I can talk about openly. Or the nights when I went to bed lonely, desolate, and unfulfilled because I didn’t have anybody to sleep with.

No, I don’t mean that literally.

Or the nights that I imagined the mind-numbing pleasure my partners brought me and whooshed trembling sighs of satisfaction as I arrived home, on my own.

Is there any point in waxing eloquent about the unfairness of it all, about how the world is more naturally inclined towards and built for heterosexual men and their desires?

Hardly.

What I will choose to talk about instead is the pleasures of being a woman – subverting the reasons why.

Reason 1: I can’t talk about masturbation like it’s normal.

Masturbation by women is just not something that’s spoken about in the mainstream. One of the only times I’ve heard anyone speak about it is when Vidya Balan, an actor, stated on the infamous Koffee with Karan, “Women like it, need it, and want it as much as men do.”

She was talking about sex, but the fact remains that explosive pleasure is something that women seek as fervently as men. However, the fact that this is kept in the shadows allowed me to explore my own body without being conditioned by what pleasure for women ought to be like.

I discovered my body my way and not through the lens of what society thinks pleasure looks like. For men, the picture is already in place. For me, it wasn’t.

And it proved to be a fantastic reward.

Reason 2: I have to constantly use my brain because I’m perennially calculating what’s safe and what’s not, who’s safe and who’s not.

Isn’t exercising grey matter consistently a good thing? It brings down my chances of dementia when I’m older 🙂 Being hyper-vigilant also means that I’m aware the instant something is not okay in my environment. I protect myself and look after myself better than anyone ever could.

Imagine what this does when I’m a mother.

It’s not called mother’s instinct for anything. I honed it when I was a woman.

Reason 3: I can’t walk the streets at night without looking over my shoulder at shadows that could be a rope or a snake.

Unless I’m working a night shift and it’s a necessity, walking the streets at night will not cut it for my health. Staying at home, warm and cozy on the sofa, curled up with a good book or a Netflix show, a hot mug of tea by my side – isn’t that what love is about? A safe space to call home, early to bed, early to rise, and to become healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Reason 4: I have to explain myself constantly.

There is little that brings about clarity as reasoning does. The more I verbalize my perspectives to the world, the clearer I become in my head, about my priorities. This means that I can cut through the bullshit and focus only on what is needed for my life.

Clarity brings about fearlessness.

Reason 5: It’s hard enough fighting myself without having to fight the whole world.

Do you know the amount of strength I gain when I fail and get up, fail and get up, fail and get up? An infinite amount. It’s like a bottomless well, it keeps coming. And it’s my failure that feeds my strength.

Fighting it out is not a bad thing. It’s a thing of determination, it’s a thing of perseverance, it’s a thing of joy.

Because who will fight for me if not me?

At the end of it all, here’s the deal:

I crave for love. I yearn for love. I seek it out more desperately than I’ve ever sought anything in my entire life.

In all my lives.

Earlier, it was from a man. Today, it’s from someone else.

There’s no getting around one truth, though: I will seek from an external source as long as I’m incomplete in myself. It is inevitable that one day or another, this source will leave – either by choice or by death (sometimes, they’re one and the same).

I’ve been a woman in love, when my everything was the smile that my boyfriend sent my way when he came home from a long day at work and collapsed on the couch, right on my lap.

I’ve been a woman heartbroken in love when my partner said he couldn’t do it anymore and walked away without a second glance, leaving me holding the tattered chapters of what had once been a love story, its pages spilling over with laughter and shy glances.

I’ve been a woman resilient in love when I refused to give up on true love. It was meant to be and I would wait as long as it took and so, that’s exactly what I did until he came back and knelt before me, kissing my feet, taking me in his arms, and choking out that he couldn’t live without me.

I’ve been a woman selfish in love when I walked away from the same love I had worked so hard to earn back because I realized that I wanted love in its different forms and not just one. I couldn’t be one with the One without first experiencing its parts. And so, I took what I wanted without looking back, without regret, leaving behind the same book we had tenderly put back together, one page at a time.

I’ve been a woman in love, seeking out what love really means.

I am a woman in love.

Still.

Wanting to be held, wanting to be comforted, wanting to be loved because at a human level, there’s no substitute for a pair of loving arms that can take away the aches and pains of the world, and cocoon me in a sunshine circle of warmth, tingles and butterfly kisses.

Bring me the
air that blows through
Himalayan trees
since
it’s been a while since my last smile.

Give me the
last bite of that
chocolate we all know
I’m going to fight you for.

Show me the
laughing moon,
peeping down at
the lapping waves stretching to meet
her
since
I’ve forgotten
the excitement of being
wooed.

Allow me the
liberty to yell and slam doors
since
my body seems to think
I love its
monthly merry-go-round.

Love me because
today,
I’m not capable
of loving myself.

And tomorrow,
I’ll be okay.

And when I’m finally okay, I’ll learn what it is to love You. Because to love You will be to love me.

It’s a long journey.

But I can see the flowers on the path You’ve laid out for me and I’m already walking, knowing that one day, I’ll be running, flying into Your arms and You’ll catch me because that’s all You’ve ever wanted – for me to fall in love with You, complete.

Whole.

Eternal.

Tatyana Dyachenko

For the past years, Tatyana has worked as a sex blogger and a relationship advisor. She has been featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue. Vice, Tatler, Vanity Fair, and many others. Since 2016, Tatyana has focused on sexology, attended various training courses, participated in international conferences and congresses. “I wish people would address sexual issues in a timely manner! Forget shyness, prejudice and feel free to see a sex doctor for help or advice!” Tanya enjoys pursuing her flare for creativity through modelling, graffiti art, astronomy, and technology.

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