TL:DR I like sex, it’s fun and I’m good at it. Ask yer da.
Can be found online for Brown Pussy Talks
By Amna Saleem
OK, let me take you back to 2003 when bootcut jeans were still cool and I had yet to discover the miracle of hair straighteners. Before anyone had any actual desire to bang me and it was probably just barely legal to do so anyway. The year that Sweetest Sin by Jessica Simpson was released and along with it the faucet on my newly discovered hormones.
The way it would feel the first time that we touch
Can you think of it the way I dream of it
After its first spin in my Walkman the song had me hooked. At the time I had an ill fated crush on a boy who was indifferent to my existence, which, of course, only made me pine for him more. Sex to me was still something you only did when you were married so this song spoke to me on many levels.
I genuinely believed that women weren’t meant to enjoy sex. The hushed conversations, the purity lectures and the TV tropes where women would act as if it were a chore best avoided, did little to convince me otherwise. It wasn’t high on my to do list by any means and it may have stayed that way, but much like my eyebrows, my curiosity could not be tamed. It was too soon for me to realise this would become a consistent theme in my life in general, where my curious nature overruled my cultural sensibilities.
My upbringing was heavy on the sin and light on the pleasure especially when it came to carnal desires. As the eldest daughter of Pakistani parents and raised in a semi-conservative Scottish suburb, I had a lot of questions and no clear way to find any of the answers. Remember, the internet wasn’t the information highway that we have today and my ma was rarely off the phone from gupshuping’ long enough for me to dial up. My parents, while delightful, were not to be disobeyed, one stealth look from either of them was enough to keep my siblings and me in line. They valued above all else: good grades, manners and modesty.
Anyway, back to Jessica and her insatiable lust. I played Sweetest Sin on repeat. I think it’s fair to credit Jessica with my sexual awakening although I dare take a guess and assume I’m not alone here but probably for different reasons. It was many years before the lyrics manifested into reality but the seed was planted there and then.
Your skin upon my skin
Would be the sweetest sin
Now if you come from a religious background you might understand how confusing it can be to feel things but be constantly told that you must not act on these feelings. Add an abundance of guilt and a dash of fear and there you have yourself a nice cocktail of repression. Being the nerd that I was I had a lot of time to think about sex without any real pressure to actually have it. I read copiously so I lived through the great loves of the classics and I snuck into my ma’s secret stash of Mills and Boon books which was an education in itself.
All night I lie awake
Cause it’s too much to take
Dreaming about the love that we could make
Then in time, I fell in love and while guilt was still a good pal of mine it was no match for lust. I didn’t have the same resolve or patience Jessica did to wait until marriage but I was finally the girl in the books I had devoured. The one that was loved, who had someone to kiss her forehead and cuddle her to sleep so that was enough for me to justify my sexual experiment. My findings were that, despite the oxycontin high, the inner battle was a long way from being won. You see, I actually enjoyed sex, like, a lot. Jessica wasn’t lying. The act of being so close to someone I cared about was intoxicating and it just felt good. This was not a narrative I was prepared for at all. I expected it to dampen my loins but instead it set them on fire. This was a problem. Good girls don’t like sex. They do it out of love for their partner, to satisfy them and so they would keep loving you. (Yeah, trust me I know how fucked this sounds) So I was left with a conundrum, I wanted to be a good Asian girl but I also wanted to have a ton of sex with someone I loved.
All day I think of schemes
To get you next to me
I want you so bad that I can barely breathe
During this period of time I went to a wedding where the Imam, from the mosque that I used to attend as a child, talked at length about the perils of having sex before marriage and basically killed any figurative boner I may have had for a couple of weeks. The key line that haunted me was that by sinning I was sending my parents to hell. I like my parents, I didn’t want them to go to hell. Using reason and logic I knew this was not how things actually worked but it effectively weighed on my heart regardless. I attempted to resume abstinence but I couldn’t find it in me to deprive myself of something that made me feel so good. Sex was powerful, I was learning. I reveled in this couple’s activity and as time went on it only got better. When my boyfriend and I stopped having sex as regularly, I knew that we were over. While we tried to make it work a little bit longer we both knew that the love had gone. A lack of sex is not always a red flag but on this occasion it signified the end. My first would not be my last, like teen movies had pinky promised me. It made me deeply uncomfortable.
Your lips upon my lips
Can you envision it
Temptation I could never resist
Fast forward a few years and my sex life was dictated by a revolving door of a few exes. I found it difficult to be amorous with someone I couldn’t see a future with so every boy had to be a serious contender. I was reluctant to add to ‘my number’ so trying again with boyfriends of Eids past became a bad habit that took me too long to break. I was either having sex every single day or not at all. There was rarely an in between. This skewed moral stance caused conflict when I had a dalliance with someone I was wildly attracted to but knew there could be no future with for a number of reasons. As my romantic interest in men was primarily tied to the ones I wanted to invest in, I was thrown and the guilt crept back in. This devastatingly handsome and articulate dirty (one could only hope) blonde was briefly into me and all of a sudden Jessica Simpson and I were back in touch. The sin she sang so breathlessly about wanting to commit looped endlessly in my mind. The lyrics were even more precious this time since I could imagine exactly what I wanted to do to him while knowing I couldn’t should the opportunity arise.
It would feel so good
To be so bad
You don’t know how bad
I want that
The Sweetest Sin was an apt soundtrack for my more innocent phase but my sexual score quickly gained additions such as Control by Puddle of Mudd and Pony by Ginuwine. Three distinct songs, that I file all my crushes under accordingly, to play in the background of my illicit daydreams. I’m not sure what this says about me but I just assumed that everyone goes through these stages so I was surprised that in some friend circles I was seen as hyper sexual but in most I remained reassuringly average. While some white people fell into predictable patterns of ambivalence or exoticising me (eye roll), many of my Asian counterparts cared perhaps a little too much. In those circles I was a bonafide slut for even daring to entertain a penis without a diamond ring.
Often after meeting me, Asian acquaintances, in particular, tend to have strange questions ready to ask whenever our paths cross again. They want to know if one of my parents is white, if my father is still in the picture or if I’m estranged from my family. The crux of the situation is that in order to interact with the world in the way that I do without the necessary South Asian shame or consideration of my ‘family’s honour,’ I must have not been raised in a typical Muslim household. Except I was. I am acutely aware that my relatively cavalier attitude to sex is a specific luxury not afforded to others, especially not to women who look like me. The consequences of being so ‘forward’ for me are limited to some hate on Twitter and a few harsh words from relatives I don’t particularly like anyway, opposed to the very real threat of disownment and sometimes even death. My parents themselves often become confused by my existence which amuses me as they are partially responsible for the free thinking, highly inquisitive person that I am. They encouraged my siblings and I to think for ourselves and question everything yet are surprised whenever we execute their words. Admittedly, I don’t think they expected my sexual enlightenment to be used as evidence.
The internal misogyny that I absorbed growing up was discreet. It stubbornly settled in and made itself at home without me knowing it was even there. Once discovered, I consciously ‘deprogrammed’ myself from it and eventually accepted that my self worth wasn’t intrinsically tied to my virginity or sex life like society by large would have me believe. But it angers me to know that I’m the anomaly here. Safe sex is anything but shameful. In any case, it will always be my favorite sin.