When we say ‘age no bar’, mind you, that rule applies to sex as well. Who said that once you grow older, your right to enjoy sex diminishes as well? While today’s youth indulges and creates their own experiences and adventures, the middle-aged should and is redefining the rules to enjoy a healthy sex life. With SAY’s motive of creating a sex-positive society, we thought of connecting with renowned author, Kiran Manral, speaks freely, boldly and extensively about middle-age sexuality in her blog and columns. And this fantastic author, who often relates to Bridget Jones, answered our questions unabashedly telling us that no sexuality needs to be tabooed and that women can enjoy a healthy sex life at any age!
SAY – What did you think about Manisha Koirala’s role in The Lust Stories and Neena Gupta’s in Badhai Ho?
Kiran Manral – High time I say. We need to acknowledge that a woman doesn’t stop being a sexual creature after she hits her forties, and it is high time that popular culture began reflecting this.
SAY – What is your take on the middle-aged women – who are probably educating their teens and tweens about sex – exploring their sexual-life for better and a healthy sex life? (Referring to Manisha Koirala from lust stories and Neena Gupta from Badhai ho.)
Kiran – Well, middle-aged women have reached a point where they’re comfortable with their bodies and their desires, they’re probably in long term relationships where they’re comfortable discussing their needs with their partners, or if they aren’t they have had enough experience to know what works for them. I completely am in favour of women embracing their sexual needs with both hands.
SAY – When it comes to following one’s dreams and heart, it is said ‘it’s never too late’; do you think the same quote can apply for these women who are now wanting to live for their own self?
Kiran – You know, I feel terrible because so many women don’t really realise that they have an equal right to orgasm as men do and they need to ensure that they achieve it. So at whatever age, they find themselves comfortable getting the pleasure they deserve I’m all for it.
SAY – How long do you think will it take for a middle-aged domestic woman to overcome the probable condemnation from the society for living the way she deems comfortable and probably shackle-free?
Kiran – Probably never if we really bother about society. But the point is one needs to live for oneself and not in fear of societal condemnation. Society is quick to label anyone who doesn’t fit into their neat boxes and threatens their notion of how a ‘well-behaved’ woman should be. I say, as long as folks are consenting adults in whatever kind of relationship, who are we to judge.
SAY – If you were given a chance to relive one phase from your early and mid-twenties, which one would it be?
Kiran – I think it would be the discovery of the female orgasm. I wish I’d discovered it earlier.
SAY – What, according to you does the term ‘sex-positive society’ mean?
Kiran – A society that embraces all sexualities without judgement and reservation, and sees sex as a natural biological urge, not something to be ashamed about. Of course, there are some behaviours I draw the line at, like paedophilia, which is completely unacceptable in my books.
SAY – SAY is about creating a sex-positive society. What kind of advice would you give to help the women become more comfortable with the term?
Kiran – I would say become selfish. Demand your pleasure. Know that you deserve to feel good at the end of a sexual encounter for a healthy sex life. And if you don’t feel sexual don’t feel pressurised into sex just because your partner demands it. Put yourself first. And only then, will it be a truly pleasurable experience.
SAY – What are the things you lacked as a teen but are easily available for teens nowadays?
Kiran – Contraception for sure. But then, I wasn’t sexually active as a teen.
SAY – Is there anything from the 80’s or the 90’s you would like to bring back to this day and age? What would that be?
Kiran – Ah well, yes, the Bollywood men of the Dharmendra, Vinod Khanna, Feroz Khan era. They don’t make them like that anymore.
SAY – If there is something you learned/discovered on your own – without the help of internet or friends – that you would like to share as a piece of advice to today’s adolescents, young adults, and adults?
Kiran – I would think that one’s sexuality is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the more it works for you.
SAY will say, we agree with every point Kiran spoke about. As much as sex needs to be consensual, it also needs its two people completely involved – mentally and physically – and both should benefit out of the act performed for a healthy sex life. And Kiran rightly said that we should be selfish enough to demand what we want out of sex because we deserve every inch – pun totally intended – of pleasure and happiness at the end of a sexual encounter.
About Kiran Manral
A TEDx speaker, columnist, mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017 and festival curator, Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective, in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. The Indian Council of UN Relations (ICUNR) in association with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, awarded her the International Women’s Day Award 2018 for excellence in the field of writing.