So a nasty depressive episode has kept me away a few weeks. Some days I haven’t even been able to work in the more diverse, the intentionally intersectional world of Vala’s Story. However, after struggling to process some harsh comments about my work with characters who are People of Color, I engaged in some rare “finding an inspiration picture” so I could have a better image in my mind of one PoC; continued work with her had me questioning a bunch of things and led to this conversation. I don’t think she or I quite give away any spoilers for Vala’s Story, other than the fact that she does get involved with The Queen. My comments are in the regular font and Soma’s is in italics.
Okay, Soma, will you just tell me if you have or have not had vaginal penetration when you submit to The Queen?
Is this about The Queen? Simon? Vala? Or is it about my body, my choices, my upbringing?
No fair answering a question with questions. Let’s start with your body, your choices. I know your parents had a household altar. I don’t know how devout they are. While you’ve promised The Queen to talk about how you reconcile being a devout Hindu with being bisexual, polyamorous, and BDSM-oriented, you’ve never even had that conversation with me. I’ve started reading up on Tantric philosophy, looking for actual Indian voices talking about Tantra, not white “New Age”-y hipsters who are appropriating Tantric beliefs into “hot sex.”
I am not an escapee of my parents’ dreams or an arranged marriage, as Chitra is. As in the article you read, my parents never expected to be accepted here in the US, but they wanted a better life for my siblings and I, who they managed to wait until in the US to start having. While I would certainly never call my mother a feminist, she nonetheless is a feminist in the manner you are, in the manner of feminists of color who’ve sought intersectional feminism as a place of empowerment.
Understanding that “what you were taught” both requires an “at home, in your immigrant culture” and “at school, by the larger culture” division, would you please answer those two questions in regards “when should a woman have penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse?”
Yes, many of those in the culture of immigrants from India, said that women should wait for marriage. My parents were not the scientists, doctors, or computer people who find jobs easily; they didn’t leave India with a “good job” waiting for them. They knew they were lucky to get past quotas of Indian immigrants that the US policy sets for racist ends. I think my parents hoped that I would wait and find a “good Indian boy” to marry; their focus was much more on a man who would be a loving husband and a good provider. Part of why they left India because they were a love match and their parents didn’t respect their marriage because of that.
Larger culture, of course you know the scattered wreck that is rape culture and abuse culture and the sexist objectification of women’s and femmes’ bodies in the US. I was lucky however to go to public school in eastern New York, where both the state’s rejection of abstinence-only funds and progressive values led to more comprehensive sexual education. While my parents mightn’t have been comfortable with the words to teach me themselves, they didn’t remove me from those classes in school. Still not as complete an education as what you received from the LGBT youth group or what your UU-ism and other margins led you to include in your education for your daughter– at least I wasn’t taught that “waiting until marriage” was the only choice.
Okay, I see your mixed education on the subject.
But I did run in a way. When my father died suddenly and I saw my two older sisters step in to co-parent my younger siblings. I guess the stereotyped “self-less Indian family woman” skipped me. So I ran for NYC, hoping at least for the diversity we see on TV. I found a cheap (as passes in NYC) studio apartment and set up a life that wouldn’t include using the exoticizing and objectifying of my body just to feed myself. I think I was waiting, but I’m not sure for what. Sure, for a woman as dark as I am, as poor as I am, in India to still be an unmarried woman at 20 is a travesty.
I understand, no sex work- whether that be anywhere on the continuum from survival prostitution to stripping. That doesn’t comment on personally what you were doing. If you were dating? If you’d had any thoughts about sexual orientation? About your orientation, that is. I keep trying to keep my thoughts and questions here outside of the patriarchal, hetero- and mono-normative paradigms, but it’s tricky since at the end of all these questions are you submitting in a BDSM relationship that includes sexual intercourse with a cisgender man with a functioning penis.
More than just “was she a virgin” you want to know if, how I would have told The Queen if I was? How that would have affected the quickie in the main playroom?
Well you know The Queen, how he is around that sort of stuff. Had you taken the feminist stance that virginity is a social construct and not something to worry about? You know I still struggle with that around my own history, with the whole “losing my virginity” to rape and the problems of the social constructions within that.
But a “first time” can mean many things. You had a first time a penis was in your vagina, the first time a penis was in your asshole, first time you kissed a cisgender woman, first time you enjoyed performing oral sex on a cisgender woman, first time with an intersex person, first time for various BDSM things, first time for noeti-sex to use Michon’s lovely phrase, first time with a transgender woman.
You’re going to make me work for these answers, aren’t you?
I think you’ve already made decisions that you want for me, for in your book, that you hope I’ll say “it’s okay” to, that I’ll say “Yeah, that makes sense for my history as it’s come to you.” Since you can’t ask any beta readers as you’re ridiculously ahead of where any of them are reading, you’ve decided that talking to me as Annikka suggested is good, this farce of “What does Soma think?”
Brat! Okay, off to write some sex and get over this stomachache.