IMBesharam.com released the much anticipated results of The Great Indian Sex Survey 2020- a project they conducted online over lockdown, where thousands of Indians from across the country answered questions about their sex lives. From our sexual fantasies to our sexual frustrations, from our struggles with monogamy to our relationship with pleasure, from oral sex to anal sex, from masturbation to porn, the results provide a fascinating window into what goes on in India’s bedrooms.
The country’s top sex-positive content creator Leeza Mangaldas was tasked to analyze the results, and what emerged is a delightful video that manages to convey important data and truth bombs about sex with a sense of playfulness and humor embeded in the Indian cultural context.
While it is near impossible to make generalizations about such a large and diverse nation, one thing becomes clear: Indians are far more curious and open minded than they can publicly give themselves credit for.
In a country where sex education is non existent and gendered violence is rampant, this project raises the important question that as a society, isn’t it time we become comfortable contending with sex and sexuality as a normal and positive part of life, with a focus on consent, safety, and pleasure, instead of one to be hidden, laden in shame and fear?
Here are some of the most memorable findings from the survey:
-We have sex on our minds a lot! 95% of respondents said they THINK of sex at least once every day! But we’re not getting it nearly as often as we think about it. 60% of participants stated that they have sex less than thrice a month.
-The orgasm gap is very real. 70% of male respondents said they orgasm every time they have sex, while only 30% of female respondents were able to say the same. Most women also said they’ve faked orgasm at least once.
-The good news is, though, that 64% of respondents said their partner’s pleasure is a primary concern for them during sex–so let’s get comfortable figuring out how our pleasure works–and then let’s communicate that knowledge to our partners! Here’s a helpful hint for all genders: sex isn’t just about penetration. And if you or your partner have a vulva, it is well worth your while to figure out the clitoris.
-And speaking of looking beyond P-in-V sex, Indians are very curious about oral sex and anal sex. Over 60% of respondents said they’d ideally like to give and receive oral every time they have sex. 31% said they’d already tried anal sex, while an additional 34% said they hadn’t tried it yet but would like to. Make sure you have condoms and lube on hand!
-We’re also using technology to help enable out sex lives. About a quarter of respondents said they’d met their current partner online, and over two thirds had sent nude photos of themselves at least once, sometimes even to people they weren’t in relationships with.
-India certainly has a penchant for porn. We’ve long been one of the world’s largest consumers of internet pornography. But what we’d really like is more Indian representation in porn–Indian actors, Indian settings, Indian languages.
-Almost everyone likes a wank. 90% of participants said they masturbate at least once a month. While 73% of respondents currently masturbate using their hands, 85% wish they had access to sex toys.
ABOUT THE SURVEY SAMPLE AND METHODOLOGY:
The survey was conducted online and was open to the public. It consisted of questions with multiple choice answers, as well as a comment box, in case people wanted to specify or get into more detail with their answers. Some of the most interesting insights, of course, arrived in these boxes.
Over 2000 people participated. Only 12% of respondents were from IMBesharam’s customer base–the rest were active netizens who wished to contribute to a conversation on sex in India by sparing twenty minutes of their time to fill in the survey on IndiaSexSurvey.com.
67% of the respondents were male, 30% were female, and only around 1% each identified as non-binary or transgender. Remember, this sample sort of created itself– anyone could participate in the survey. But evidently men were the most likely to. That itself says something about the fact that the cis-hetero-male perspective tends to dominate the portrayal of sex and sexuality in our country, with straight men having far more freedom to express themselves without fear of judgement, shame, or consequences than anyone esle.
We hope in the coming years those gender stats will look more balanced. In India, and indeed, all over the world, women, trans and non-binary folks, and people from the queer community expressing their own identities and seeking autonomy over their bodies, sexualites, and pleasure, sadly remains a major taboo, and we need to help change that NOW.
There was a reasonably wide age range in the sample–from age 18 to 60+, with a majority of respondents aged 18-40. As for relationship status, 55% of the respondents were single. About 40% were married or in a relationship, and the remaining 5% were in open or unspecified relationships. Several also used the comment box option to explain their relationship status in more detail.
Just like the rest of the world and throughout the history of humanity, even though we like to pretend otherwise, the fact is that we Indians too, are having causal sex, and are exploring non-monogamy. There are Indians who refuse to label their relationships. And more power to them. It’s worth acknowledging that our cultural fixation with marriage isn’t for everyone.
There were participants from virtually every part of the country- not just the big cities, smaller places too. There were lots of participants from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolata, Hyderabad etcetera–but there were also participants from Srinagar and Mohali to Allapuzha and Hubballi, from Ajmer to Aizawl–and everywhere in between. It’s high time we acknowledge that sex is not a western import restricted to a few big cities. Indians are curious about sex literally nationwide, and always have been.
If you want to know more, you have to wait till Sep 14, 2020. A detailed version of this survey with all the stats will be available on IndianSexSurvey.com by then.
While modern day custodians of “Indian Culture” keep harping on how anti-sanskari sex is, it’s time we ask ourselves– don’t we want freedom and equality in our bedrooms too? Imagine an India where all sexual experiences are consensual, safe, and pleasurable. Imagine an India where access to contraception, sexual health services, and pleasure products was easy and safe for people of all genders and sexual orientations. Imagine an India where we can all live and let live, love and let love.