Everything we read, watch, hear and observe signals to us what is natural and normal, and what isn’t. Natural, normal stuff typically includes boy-meets-girl, American romcom–inspired love: loss of virginity to The One, subsequent marriage to The One and a happily-ever- after ending. Unnatural, abnormal stuff included pretty much everything that fell outside that neat arc.
But is abnormal and unnatural necessarily bad? In her book, Cyber Sexy, Richa Kaul Padte takes readers on an intimate tour of online sex cultures. From it, we’ve extracted some quotes that clearly showcase how different sexual desires are totally normal:
- For most people living in India, sex is often very difficult to access. Depending on the type of sex you’re after, your desire is seen as anything from shameful to dirty to illegal.
- BDSM is an overlapping acronym for Bondage/ Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism. These words refer to what the BDSM community calls ‘play’—mostly sexual activities that are both playful and play-acted. Popular culture often conflates ‘kink’ with BDSM, but it’s actually an umbrella term for a range of alternative sexual practices that include everything from BDSM to foot fetishes to golden showers. In essence, anything that strays from the broadly accepted norm.
- Porn and the internet did not create new ‘weird’ sexual desires. Desires that are often attributed to the internet’s effects, be it the desire to lick feet or women’s non-monogamous arousal, have been around for a long, long time—and there is historical data to prove it.
- When it comes to deviant sexual desires, the harm that people are worried about is precisely the harm they believe is taking place against symbolic bodies: nations, ideologies, parties. Indian Culture, feminism, religion, family values.
- For many people and sexual minorities especially, the internet—and in particular, its sexy URLs—is a place to see their desires laid bare. This doesn’t mean that everything you come across online will brings you pleasure.