Zahra Haider’s article on what she learnt having sex in Pakistan was a small truth; but it doesn’t define the whole of Pakistan or Pakistani’s. She doesn’t claim to define Pakistanis either (insert sigh of relief). I found the article interesting, but nothing she said was ‘explosive’ or ‘bold’ to me.
I was not surprised by Zahra’s admission to having slept with a dozen different men- she isn’t the only one. She has a point- there are plenty of sexually repressed people out there, who are looking for private sanctuaries and rooms to fulfill their sexual fantasies. There are people open to sex. And this was a known fact to millennial’s in Pakistan whether they were from villages or cities, rich or poor, sex is important to many people.
Yes, sex is a taboo topic in this country, absolutely. I wish it wasn’t because then we could talk about how this country seriously needs sex education…but wait…some people ARE doing something about it. Sex Ed in Pakistan is happening…at least in a village. It has yet to hit main stream schools. As a former teacher, I did tell my students that their bodies were their own and no one had a right to touch them in a way that was improper- this too was explained in a child-friendly way.
Sex ed shouldn’t be scary, it shouldn’t be something humiliating- it’s necessary for boys and girls to understand the changes their bodies go through; they have a right to know that they shouldn’t be touched in certain areas…and as far as having consensual sex, that is not something that should be taught IN schools but something that young adults will learn on their own.
Does one have to tell their story the way Zahra did? I wouldn’t. Zahra did and she was willing to discuss this topic because a lot of it was about her feelings and her opinions. And that’s fine by me (not like she should care!) and people should stop sensationalizing what she said. She said it, if you have a different opinion, voice it out. Use whatever platform you have and talk about it.
I mentioned above that sex is important to many people in Pakistan, but a lot of them do not live lives where they feel sexually repressed- there are girls and boys doing different things with their lives and at this moment, sex might not be the biggest worry in their lives. There are plenty of new, young entrepreneurs out there who are busy carving their names out to be something.
We all live different lives and have different experiences- mine was totally different from Zahra’s . I lived in a world that had me shuttling between different continents every 6 months; my life has the acceptance of the two different cultures that makes me up and the knowledge that I got to pick my identity (or some people might say I have more than one identity, that’s fine by me). I accept myself and I accept everyone’s ability to pick their own identities. To live a healthy life, we should only be concerned with ourselves and care enough for our neighbors in such a way that it doesn’t become like you’re judging them. No one likes judgement. BUT then again, we live on Planet Earth and we are humans (no, no angels amongst us, I’m afraid) and there is some form of judgement…so learn to live with it and you’ll be fine.
So…Zahra actually didn’t learn much about sex or sexuality here in Pakistan- she learnt about it when she moved to Canada. I went to school in Canada…I didn’t learn much about sex there… but i wasn’t really looking and I guess things shocked me way less coming from a background that was an amalgamation of two cultures. Also, in no way does being religious ALWAYS make you judgmental. It’s a disease a lot of people suffer from even WITHOUT religious affiliations.
I’m going to end by saying that Sex happens in Pakistan and it also DOESN’T happen. It depends on who you are; Your experiences…and this is true for people around the world. Sex will ALWAYS happen, wherever you go- you just need to know if you want to or do not want to be involved. You , and only you, make that decision.