In the Muslim dominated country of Pakistan, sex is a taboo. In the highest porn-watching country of the world, sex is considered to be something which is discussed in whispers.
In such an atmosphere where serious punishments are given to young women who engage in pre-marital sex, a young woman from Pakistan Zahra Haider has bared it all. In her story which has gone viral, Zahra explains that people in Pakistan are not horny or desperate for sex, they engage in it. She has written in detail about all the times she sneaked out to have sex with her partner and how not talking about the sexual desire in general, does the society harm.
Here are some excerpts from her write-up:
“Women from poorer backgrounds could be victims of various forms of premarital punishment. Punishing women for premarital sex started with former President Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorship or “Islamization,” which incorporated Zina (stoning to death), and Hudood (punishments such as whipping, amputation, honor killing) into Pakistani law. His government dismissed women’s rape accusations, instead labelling them as fornicators and sending them to jail. These draconian forms of punishment are slowly dying out, but still linger in the mentalities of fundamentalists, imams, and police officers. Shariah Law can also be blamed for many gender discriminatory policies in Muslim societies, such as the lack of support for freedom of speech, women’s rights, and, ultimately, human rights.”
Elaborating on how she sneaked out to have sex at a young age, she writes
“Achieving an orgasm was done in various ways, including but not limited to: having sex in a car with tinted windows and parked in the middle of nowhere; sneaking into my sexual partner’s home in the middle of the night; sneaking into my partner’s father’s office, which happened to have a bedroom (WTF?). All this was done while making sure that no one in the house was on the prowl to notify my single father who would’ve freaked out (sorry, daddy). Hotel rooms were especially helpful. Islamabad, where I grew up, only has two hotels, one being the Marriott, at approximately $150-$200 a night—which, for a teenager who had to bear the brunt of the currency conversion, was a ridiculously high sum.”
“Yet as mentioned, I was deeply repressed, I had no idea how to masturbate (seriously) and in my experience, the majority of the men I had been with were Pakistani and not one of them enjoyed going down on me (in fact, a lot became defensive when the topic came up). I personally think it has to do with the misogynistic theme of our society, as well as the fact sons are generally admired more than daughters in South Asian culture which creates a sense of entitlement: they should not be ‘lower’ than women in any way, physically or emotionally. After becoming more comfortable with sexual expression and freedom, I met a couple guys on Tinder—some of whom I had mind-blowing sexual chemistry with, and some who called me too reserved and too “prude-ish” for their liking—as if I’m going to adjust the levels of my sexual comfort with yours, dude.”
Zahra then goes on to openly challenge the norms of Paksitani society. She writes:
“Most Pakistanis will indulge in premarital sex, and because sex-ed is something that ceases to exist, those who do still end up doing absurd things like overdosing on emergency contraceptives due to being unaware of the allowed dosage and not reading the minuscule, medicinal instructions written in tiny Urdu print. Or even worse, women are forced to have induced, clandestine abortions, often resorting to painful and unsafe methods because abortions are haram (sinful) in Islam and only permitted when the woman’s life is in danger. This basically leaves Pakistanis with no choice about whether they’re pro-life or pro-choice: we are pro-life, for life apparently.
All I wanted to be—and what I now am—is an effortlessly confident woman in her 20s who embraces her sexuality and no longer gives a fuck about what people from back home say or think about her.”