The naked truth

The sixth annual India Today-AC Nielsen-ORG MARG sex survey interviewed 5,353 respondents across 11 cities in India to find out attitudes to sex outside a long-term relationship, homosexuality, sex with prostitutes and pornography. Here are the results:

sex12It’s perhaps appropriate. In the age of universal meltdown, India seems to be a nation in heat. Take what just happened in Meerut.

A young woman, Priyanka Singh a former beauty queen, well-spoken, smart, goes on camera to plead her case after being accused of killing her parents. She and her friend, Anju Singh, hint at a murky saga of sexual exploitation by their relatives and talk of being driven to the edge of a breakdown.

Prise the lid off India’s gleaming globalised fa├žade and a welter of images comes forth. There’s a woman in Mumbai chopping her boyfriend into pieces with her former lover.

There’s a teenager mysteriously murdered in her Noida home amidst murmurs of her parents’ swinging sexual lifestyle. If social norms are changing, with the touchstones of modern life under siege, then sexual mores are in a state of confusion.

What was considered a perversion earlier is a guiltless pleasure now. What was thought of a taboo is now believed to be an all access VIP pass.

Even the terminology, loaded with the prudishness of the past, is being reinvented. Is adultery the same as infidelity? Does kinky sex just mean prolonged foreplay? The India Today-AC Nielsen-ORG MARG sex survey 2008 of 5,353 men and women between 18 and 40, the sixth consecutive time we are studying the intimate life of urban Indians, seems to suggest all this and more.

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