"My parents knew what I got up to"
Sex is a major topic within modern society but it still holds a certain stigma within Desi households. Any mention of intimacy or having sex is frowned upon.
Whilst some families are beginning to open up with their children, there’s still that age-old ideal that kids will figure it out for themselves.
However, there is an irony that elders won’t discuss having sex but have so many rules surrounding the topic.
Sex should happen at a certain time, there shouldn’t be multiple partners, and couples should be married are all outdated traditions.
In some cases, it’s worse for women as some generations still think women shouldn’t have sex at all before marriage, and even then it should only be to have kids.
In 2018, a BBC Asian Network survey found that 34% of British Asians would be offended if a relative had sex outside of marriage.
By comparison, only 5% of the UK-wide respondents said they would find it shameful.
It’s fine for Desi parents to concern themselves with their kids’ sex life and set boundaries, but more people are taking it upon themselves to explore partners and what they like/dislike.
That’s why DESIblitz spoke to Munpreet Gill*, a 20-year-old student who told her parents that she is having sex.
She wanted to share her story so others feel more open to talking and getting advice.
Munpreet states that not only will people feel better about themselves but feel safer getting advice about their sexual relationships.
An Open Environment
As more British Asians and South Asians worldwide engage in having sex before marriage, they are still hesitant to admit this to their family.
There’s a sense of embarrassment to confess that they’ve engaged in this type of intimacy. But why?
In modern society, there needs to be a level of modern conversation. And intercourse is a part of that, along with other issues such as mental health, politics and sexuality.
Munpreet reveals why she was inspired to tell her Desi parents she was having sex:
“I come from a generation where people are open about a lot of stuff.
“Like take LGBTQ, some aunties and uncles can’t understand that, but for us, we’ve kind of grown up in a world/society where that’s the norm.
“So, when it comes to sex, me and my friends have been open with each other from the first time we kissed someone to the first time we had sex.
“Even when I see my cousins at weddings, I talk with them like they’re my mates. There’s no filter.
“Obviously, we have to watch who’s around us because people gossip, especially Asians. But, I’ve always been open like that with my family.
“When I go out, I get my mum’s advice about what to wear. Of course, my dad rejects some of the options (typical dad behaviour), but we make a joke out of it.
“My parents know I respect myself and the type of girl I am, so I think they feel less protective.”
“In terms of, they’re not strict with me just because I’m a girl. They let me have my fun.
“When I started university, it was a whole different world. I’d hear people having sex next door or I’ve even seen girls getting proper steamy with a boy in the club.
“I was a virgin before uni. To be fair, I had many proposals from guys but it didn’t feel right.
“I think that’s another thing. Back in the day, people got bullied for being virgins. Now, it’s like a respectful thing and people accept it for what it is.
“But I always knew I’d probably tell my parents whenever I start having sex. Not that I’m a slut and just getting with everyone, but I’m taking this next step in my life.”
Munpreet details how a non-judgmental upbringing and environment had already given her the platform to be open with her parents about other aspects of her life.
This in turn would make her feel more comfortable about telling them she was having sex.
Even though not all British Asians are exposed to this type of setting, it shows how being open with children can be better for difficult conversations.
The First Time
Munpreet’s admission came after she lost her virginity at university.
She briefly told DESIblitz of this rendezvous and what feelings she had before and after the act:
“I know for a fact that a lot of Asian girls feel pressure to have sex, especially if their friends are having it.
“But, trust me, wait until you feel it’s right and with a person who isn’t a dick.
“There are a lot of Asian guys who will brag and it’s easy to spot them. Don’t fall for their chat.
“When I lost my virginity, I had been speaking to a guy for several months.
“We went out, and I saw how he was with me alone and how he was with his boys – you can find out a lot about a guy by how he acts around different people.
“But he was the same. He’d show me affection no matter where we were or who we were with. So, I felt the time was right.
“Also, he never mentioned sex to me or tried to pursue it. Obviously, we did some naughty things – who doesn’t nowadays?
“That night was special. We didn’t really plan it, it kind of just happened and it was beautiful.”
“It was kind of how I imagined the first time to be but I think it felt better because it was with a person I liked, not a one-night stand.
“He made me feel special and I could see how passionate he was which made me even more excited. So, my advice would be to wait, you won’t regret it.”
Munpreet’s words are true in that no person should feel pressured to have sex and they should always wait until they’re ready.
In such a fast-paced world, young and impressionable people do feel like they have to pursue things quickly but this is not always the case.
As with Munpreet, staying patient made her first experience of sex unforgettable.
Telling My Parents
These positive feelings made it easier for Munpreet to talk to her parents.
She did admit to DESIblitz that if the experience was bad, then she would not have told them about it.
But, when she did decide to come clean, she expresses different levels of emotions and anxiety that started to impact her:
“I waited a couple of days before telling my parents I was having sex, or rather had sex.
“I know some people feel shy about that because it’s admitting you’ve had sex or someone’s seen you naked. But, to be honest I didn’t care because it’s a part of life.
“My parents knew what I got up to so it would be weird not telling them this.
“I thought if my dad wasn’t at home, then I’d at least tell my mum anyway.
“My mum and dad were in the kitchen and I said I needed to tell them something and not to freak out.
“I kind of thought my dad would kick up a fuss more so was facing him when I said that. But before I could, I got mad butterflies.
“My stomach was turning inside out and I felt so anxious. It was such a surprise because I had been so confident about telling them this for so long.
“They stood there whilst I was freaking out for a couple of minutes.
“I blurted out ‘I’m with a guy I really like and I wanted to tell you that I had my first time with him’.
“At first they were confused and then a second later, realised what I had just said.
“They both took a big sigh and looked at the ground like they were embarrassed by what I said.”
“My dad raised his voice at me and said things like ‘you’re so young’, ‘you’re not supposed to be doing this’. ‘Who is this guy’, ‘where did it happen’, ‘did he force you?’.
“I think he was more worried than shocked. But I told him we were safe and it happened naturally.
“My mum turned to me and asked how I felt and if I told anyone else. I was confused by that because I’m not gonna go around telling my business.
“I think she meant if I told my cousins but I said no. She said the family can’t know and that it’s okay it’s happened but people will say things if they find out.
“So I sat there baffled and said I don’t care what people say because I and you know the truth.
“My dad told me he was disappointed it happened so soon and that I should have come to them before having sex.
“But I told them I waited until the right time and this was it so I’m telling you now.
“I said I really liked the guy and that they should accept it because it’s happened and it’ll happen again.
“My parents were surprised but I told them I want to be open. Since then, my parents have met the guy (now my boyfriend).
“But I haven’t had any sex talk with them since which is weird. I thought I would, at least with my mum.
“Not anything weird but just general chit-chat like I do with my girls. I think when it comes to sex, my parents still have that Desi nature of avoiding the situation.
“Maybe for others, it’s not so easy but I do think it’s on us to change our view of having sex.
“Otherwise, we’re going to grow up staying quiet and then our kids will be brought up with the same nature.
“It’s a stigmatised cycle until someone breaks it, and that’s what we should do.”
Munpreet’s story is clear. Staying open and honest with her parents made it easier to admit she was having sex.
Whilst her parents didn’t receive the news as well as she expected, they still showed a level of understanding.
Other households may not be so open to the idea but it’s this fear that Munpreet hints at being so detrimental to the culture.
It is clear things still need to change and more parents need to change the way sex is thought of in the community.