The #WomenWritersFest in Pune brought forward the subject of 'love and lust' and discussed the notions when it comes to writing about sex. Authors Sudha Menon, Swati Shome and RJ Shubhra formed the panel that was moderated by Kiran Manral.
Sex education and writing about it
There are a hundred stigmas when it comes to women talking about sex, leave alone writing about it. The panellists shared their thoughts on the topic.
Sudha Menon pointed out to the obvious fact that non-acceptance of women writing about sex has a lot to do with our social conditioning. "Patriarchy definitely plays a role. The mindset that a woman can only have sex to make babies is still strong," she explained. Sudha, who writes across genres, believes that writing about sex while hitting age 50 has offered her a new perspective. "I want women to know and understand that fifties are not the end of their life," she added.
Swati, who's book is extremely educative about sex, reveals that she wasn't much of writer earlier. "I told a raunchy joke to a friend once and she suggested that since I said it so beautifully, I should put it down to paper. It was only during a science communication workshop that I started talking to the students and educating them when they approached me," she elaborated. Swati started writing the stories which she vocally told these students as realised how important it is to inform people about sex education.
Shubhra admitted that she grew up on a healthy dose of Mills and Boon. It was when she discovered that there were women writers too who were writing in this genre that she realised the difference between the style of writing. "Men writers were more open when it came to narrating and describing scenes. Women writers were little subtle about it," she said. Shubhra also, humorously, revealed how earlier women writers would leave a scene at a kiss, which was soon after followed by a sunrise.
The changing trend
Moderator Kiran discussed with the speakers about the changing trends over the years when it comes to women writing about sex.
Sudha said that women read far more than men. "Readers, now, are more accepting of women writers adopting this particular genre. Sex, from a woman’s perspective, is very real and nuanced. A woman will write it in a manner that outlines dimensions and keeps the story going," she explained.
Shubhra, in-between the session, read out verses from various books written by the panelists. She narrated scenes which were highly informative and captivating.
Swati reflected that for women, it's always been the right person, right place and right time. "Men don't think about it. However, women, now, are becoming more open to the idea of thinking, talking and writing about sex and that reflects in literature too," she added.
The speakers emphasised the point that parents should be okay for their children to read about sex. Sex education, for that mater, is required in the country now more than ever.
Kiran pointed out to the fact that sex is an integral part of a relationship. "I think people need to stop glossing over it. What is it that makes you think a woman should not talk or write about sex. Physical contact is a part of our beings and rejecting the idea of women writing about it is just baseless," she concluded.