Over the last couple of months, I’ve been poring over data about what Indians want in bed. Earlier this year, Imbesharam.com, India’s top adult store, conducted what they called The Great Indian Sex Survey- and as a content creator focused on sex education, I was asked to analyze the results.
Fun fact– I bought my first vibrator on Imbesharam.com about five or so years ago, and it CHANGED MY LIFE. What I learnt about my body and pleasure from using my first sex toy (a rabbit vibe) was so much a part of the reason I started my sex-positive YouTube channel in the first place. So it’s wonderful how life comes full circle.
But back to the survey- hundreds of Indians from across the country (all aged over 18 of course) answered dozens of questions about what goes on beneath the sheets-from our sexual curiosities to our sexual frustrations, from how often we do it, to what we wish we could do more of, from oral sex to masturbation, from sex toys to porn- and I was delighted to discover that we are much more sexually curious and open-minded than we give ourselves credit for.
Before I get into the survey results, let me tell you a little about the methodology and the survey sample- because I take this stuff very seriously. Sex is an important subject!
The survey was conducted online and it 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. And I have to say, some of the most interesting insights, of course, arrived in these boxes.
Over 2000 people participated. It turned out that 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 way more freedom to express themselves without fear of judgement, shame, or consequences than anyone else.
I hope in the coming years those gender stats will look more balanced. In India, and really, 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, sexualities, and pleasure, sadly remains a major taboo, and we need to help change that NOW.
There was a pretty wide age range- 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 casual sex, and are exploring non-monogamy. There ARE Indians who refuse to label their relationships. And honestly, more power to you guys. What is up with our fixation with marriage? It isn’t for everyone, and we’ve got to learn to just live and let live.
There were participants from pretty much every part of the country- not just the big cities, smaller places too. Of course, 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 isn’t some western import restricted to a few big cities. Indians are curious about sex literally nationwide and always have been.
Alright, So on to what the data reveals: You’re going to have to watch the video we’ve made if you’d like the whole shebang, but here’s a little selection of some of the most memorable stats:
We have sex on our minds a lot! 95% of respondents said they THINK of sex at least once every day! But according to statistics, 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 an 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, we seem to be super 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.
And 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. (AMEN-I think of my own sex life as two vastly distinct eras- pre and post vibrator)
So, while modern-day custodians of “Indian Culture” keep harping on how anti-sanskari sex is, this Independence Day weekend, I think it’s really time we ask ourselves- don’t we want freedom and equality in our bedrooms too?
Guestwriter Leeza Mangaldas is a Content Creator on YouTube and Instagram where she creates conversations around sexuality, gender, and the body. From self-pleasure to contraception, from vaginal hygiene to female orgasms, she constantly seeks to push boundaries approaching important topics that are widely considered taboo for public discussion. Over the 3 years since its inception, Leeza’s channel has established itself as one of the foremost voices dedicated to the discourse around sexuality, sexual health, gender equality and sex education in India. As an Indian woman talking about topics as under-addressed as female masturbation or abortion rights, her work is breaking new ground.
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