INDIA TODAY’s annual Sex Survey—now in its 10th edition—has explored the sexual practices and preferences of Indians since 2003. And these surveys have thrown up some startling revelations. Foremost among them is the assertion of the Indian woman to fulfil her sexual urges and desires. Since the first Sex Survey, the urban Indian woman has come a long way in fulfilling her desires. Women are now asserting themselves more for pleasure. In the 2005 survey—Sex and the Single Woman—one in four admitted to having had sexual relationships and one-third were comfortable with one-night stands. By 2011, women were asserting their sexuality more firmly—49 per cent of wives, bored with their husbands, said they refuse sex faking a headache. The surveys didn’t leave out the men either. The 2008 survey, Sexy Secrets, revealed the male addiction to pornography. The surveys also showed the hypocrisy of the urban Indian man—in 2004, in our cover story, What Men Want, over 70 per cent said they expected the women they marry to be virgins, although 77 per cent claimed to have had sex before marriage.Bedroom secrets have now become the subject of a debate. People are talking openly about issues such as homosexuality and incest. They are willing to address what they want out of marriage and relationships. The surveys have seen seminal writings by scholars such as Sudhir Kakar, who wrote on arranged marriages, to Patricia Uberoi, who wrote on the history of intimacy, and Veena Das, who wrote on the single urban male’s sexual behaviour.The 2012 survey revealed more than any previous survey as it expanded its scope to 12 smaller towns and Tier-2 cities like Ratlam, Moradabad, Jamnagar, Asansol and Kottayam. Contrary to perception, there isn’t as big a difference in sexual attitudes between the metros and small town India.
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