I remember the day Saaghi approached me about starting this blog– we were driving back to the YAY Area and she said, “Yo– remember when we were virgins? Who did you talk to about this?”
“Um no one… you?”
I remember when I was younger and a guy would rub up his ya know against mine and I would take the morning after pill because I thought you could get pregnant from rubbing.
I remember when I first gave head in the back of a car and I looked at myself in the mirror thinking, “I look so different now.”
I had no one to turn to.
And so many of us Persian girls are taught that sex is a forbidden act done between two people who are bound by the contract of marriage– even then, sex is only for the man… and it doesn’t feel all that great. (lies)
I remember when I asked my dad where babies came from and he said, “You make love.” I used to think that meant my parents would go to the sushi restaurant (the one we would only go to for my birthday) and they would hold hands, and think about hearts, butterflies and rainbows. He never elaborated on what that meant– and it took me a long time to realize that “making love” was code for “S-E-X.”
I was excused from sex-ed – no one told me I had a hole up there … and I never bothered to look because I was told, that was your “private part” and NO ONE should ever see it.
For so many of us, sex is just something that is never discussed in the household– not that the sex talk is all it’s cracked up to be– and I’m sure many of us feel better NOT having it with our parents… but being taught to associate “danger” with sex and your virginity only adds to the stigma that sex is horrifying/bad/wrong/etc.
Saaghi and I started this blog because we had no one to turn to when we lost our virginities. When we felt insecure, our non-Persian friends couldn’t understand what the big deal was… and we were too embarrassed to tell our Persian friends what we had done.
I remember when I first felt a penis… I was morfitied. I didn’t understand why it was so HARD and why it seemed to moved to the side. I didn’t understand why men had testicles and why women had breasts. It was all something I had to learn on my own… through reading books I wasn’t allowed to even touch. I used to sneak into the bathroom and just lay in the tub for an hour reading– my parents thought I had some serious bowl problems (tmi?).
SHOUT OUT to “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret?” — that book taught me about having sexual feelings, periods, and getting down with guys.
It was the sex talk I needed that my parents never provided me with.
I feel like I’ve talked a lot about judgement and fear lately– and maybe it’s because it’s something I’ve been dealing with a lot in the past few weeks. Like the fear of what the fall out will be if the Persians I hang around find out I had sex recently– that sleeping with the guy I’m dating might somehow prove that I am a lesser person than they are…
… or the fear that being sexual will somehow undermine my “credibility” as a good, little Persian girl.
Well, guess what. Secrets don’t stay hidden forever. And those of my Persian friends who I’ve confided in– I’ve continuously received this kind of feedback, “We just worry about your safety because we know everyone will judge you.”
Judge me for what? Not being a virgin? God forbid, I sleep around… then what?
This constant pressure leads to a perpetual state of fear.
I remember when I moved across the country for an internship. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know if I would want to stay on the East Coast or if I’d even like it… but I didn’t care. I didn’t let the threat of failure stop me from just doing it.
The best advice I received during that time was this:
Be fearless and maintain your individuality.
Those were the words that allowed me to continue and thrive in a city so competitive — a city that’s structured to weed out the weak. That’s why that despite being a professional, my tattoos (though hidden) represent me as an individual— An individual who refuses to be judged by the marks on my body- whether forced by a needle or scars of my past.
But why is it that I can be fearless when it comes to my professional life yet I’m so timid when it comes to my personal life? How does having safe sex with someone I care about threaten my “safety?” And why is that another person’s business?
Our community focuses a lot of their attention on gossip. We are taught by our parents to strive to stay away from the rumor mill. But no matter what happens– you will never be able to do anything that makes YOU happy without someone in the community having a negative opinion about it.
The people who are judging are usually the ones who are promoting this ridiculous “fear” in our culture. They are the ones who encourage the expectations of century old traditions to remain alive.
These are the people who don’t encourage evolving as a generation of Iranian Americans = who should be proud of who they are and be comfortable within their own skin. These are the people who only “talk” but never “do” anything to change their circumstances.
And yet, we still allow them to have the power to dictate our decisions.
I don’t think my “safety” is compromised because I write a sex blog or because I think it’s okay to have sex with someone I like. And while my friends care for me– it’s the fear that they have that only causes them to judge me rather than reevaluate the emphasis our community puts on sex and marriage.
Every time, I’ve written about fear and judgement within our community- I’ve drawn the same conclusion, which is F#CK THIS, we are a NEW generation and allowing these “taboos” to continue to exist is seriously detrimental to our happiness.
And the only solution I can come up with is to talk about it.
Don’t talk shit– just be real.
That’s something that as a community we can really practice more of— being honest with ourselves. Don’t talk about people just because they are doing something that you might be afraid of admitting to yourself. More power to them.
Sorry for the redundancy, joonies.
TWEET AT ME: @FARRAH_JOON