While we’ve all become quite blasé about using the ‘F’ word, there is still some hesitation when it comes to using the ‘D’ word. We’re talking about the dildo used so skillfully by Swara Bhaskar’s Sakshi in Veere Di Wedding and Kiara Advani’s Megha in Lust Stories. While the two women grasped and gasped their way to sexual fulfilment, many women in the country still find dildos to be out of reach. One can’t saunter into a shop and buy one and while the ever-so-helpful World Wide Web might throw up a few relevant sites, having a sex toy delivered to your doorstep can be a daunting prospect.
With directors choosing to introduce them in scripts, could the cinematic depiction of sex toys embolden women to discuss, and even seek them out actively? Says Shashank Khaitan, director of the film Veere Di Wedding, “I feel that the context in which the dildo was used in both films was emotional rather than trying to market or sell any sex toy.”
“I definitely feel it’s important that we accept and acknowledge the reality that women also have desires. And we need to be able to fulfill them as well. It is a healthy conversation that has started and I’m definitely happy that these movies are being made.”
Author Meghna Pant feels India could do with more shops selling sex toys. She says, “Every country I’ve visited has had sex shops; in New York, Europe, and Singapore as well. The shops were accessible and easy to find. What they have done is normalize sex as part of the discourse of being a human. I think if we have more shops selling sex toys, on the road or inside shops or malls, it will help normalize the conversation. Then masturbation won’t be seen as something obscene or cheap, but normal.”
Although it might not be very easy for Indian women to embrace the idea of sex toys or start looking for them right away, movies like these encourage conversations around the topic. “That’s very important because when we talk about women empowerment, in the Indian perspective especially, sexual freedom becomes a very important part of it,” says author Aditi Mathur Kumar.
Amer Jaleel, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Mullen Lintas, feels while it’s possible that some people get outraged by it, because we’re quite a conservative society overall, on the other hand, it could also bring sex toys out of the closet as people who have only heard of such things, now get to see it.
Surprisingly, there is no law that explicitly bans the sale of sex toys in India. What retailers seem to be afraid of is the law concerning obscenity. Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde throws light on the topic: “To the best of my knowledge, there is no specific law that prohibits sex toys in India. What sellers are afraid of is getting pulled up for obscenity. No one wants to risk the long drawn legal process in India, even if you are assured of an acquittal after many years,” he says.
Well, while we still have a long way to go when it comes to the sale of sex toys, people can at least vicariously enjoy its depiction on screen....