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New Study Shatters Stereotypes About How Desi Women Date

February 19, 2021 | by Akanksha Narang

My family has transformed so much over the past decade, it’s impressive, to say the least. Of course, a lot of it comes from the fact that I am woke and so are my sisters. Having said that, I can’t discredit my mom and my nani for being very receptive to growth. From not being allowed to drink to having friends over for a couple of drinks, in the presence of my family is a big step. From not being allowed to date to my mom supporting me savagely after my breakups and my nani being open to me trying out different chairs before I finalise one is a change that’s so relieving. I am a terrible liar and having to hide my dating life (or the lack of it!) from my family would be immensely annoying.

If you can relate to this, you’re as lucky as I am because this isn’t a common phenomenon in India. My first breakup was due to parental disapproval from both sides; we, on the other hand, got along pretty well. I remember how my best friend would save her boyfriend’s name as mine so she could talk to him because of desi parents! We’ve all done that, right? If our parents are manageably strict, we’d sneak around and hide our relationship. If not, we’d probably not even have the opportunity of finding us a bae.

Parental disapproval and dating

A study conducted by Prayas (Health Group) in Pune revealed that parents’ disapproval of their children dating played a major role in young people being single. Almost 40 % of female participants said that family disapproval was a reason for them either not dating or breaking up.

The participants included youth in the age bracket of 20 and 29 years with the criteria being they had never married and were educated. The study focused on how today’s youth forms relationships if they do, and their sexual health in terms of physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing with regards to sexuality.

“More men reported that they did not find a partner compared to women (30% vs. 17%). For women, the most common reason was conservative family background (41%), where they knew that their family members would not tolerate it if they found out about it. There were 16% of the men and 19% of the women who said that they did not want to be in a relationship,” reports Punekarnews.in.

Intimate Partner Abuse

Intimate partner abuse is a common type of abuse that often goes unreported. We end up trusting our partners blindly and often get gaslit when we confront an abusive partner. It’s alarming how common emotional abuse is and, unfortunately, there isn’t any physical evidence to prove that. And I am talking about young, educated individuals! The statistics are shocking! Over 50% of the participants said they experienced emotional abuse from their intimate partners, most of them being women. About 35 % of participants reported sexual abuse in a relationship.

According to a study, youngsters are not quite aware of their sexual rights and the concept of consent. They are observed to fail miserably in Consent 101 when it comes to relationships. Sexual compliance and coercion are concepts many are oblivious to when they date someone.

Relationships became shorter after a point

The study also observed that after the third relationship, the duration keeps getting shorter. I guess that’s because we become better at identifying bullshit faster. We know the drill and we wouldn’t wait around to see how badly things can go! “For example, the median duration of 1st relationship was 16 months; 2nd was 14 months; 3rd was 17 months; 4 was 12 months, and 5th onwards was nine months each,” Punekarnews.in reports. “A similar trend was observed among men and women and for serious and non-serious relationships. According to the study, almost 75-80% of people entered into a new relationship after a relationship ends,” it adds.

Women love them flings too

The study observed there are four predominant typologies of relationships among youngsters. A huge chunk of millennials was in a committed relationship but did not have penetrative sex. You know, because desi parents preach that it’s to be done only after marriage.

Another cluster included people who were in committed relationships and had sex too because fun, yay! Some people in this cluster were in non-committed relationships and some had multiple partners. But monogamous committed relationships dominated this group.

ALSO READ: Can We Normalise Seeking Verbal Consent, Even If We’re On A Date Or In A Relationship?

Then there was a huge chunk of youngsters that want no commitment but sex, hell yeah! “The majority of the people in this cluster are not in a relationship, some by choice and others because they could not find a partner. It also includes people who had a relationship for some time, then never went into another relationship, and hence remain uninvolved for most of the period. Those who had a relationship started it relatively late. Forty-seven percent of the total participants were grouped in this cluster,” reports Punekarnews.in.

Breaking the stereotype, it was observed that more women than men wanted casual sex without commitment. Also, more people in Gen Z wanted casual relationships as compared to millennials. So, no, women can enjoy casual sex too. We aren’t chasing guys with a sehra in our hands. But I guess women are not assholes about it! We date much better, even if it’s casual, right?

ALSO READ: Why Does Our Culture Make It So Uncomfortable For Us Indian Women To Have Casual Sex?

Akanksha Narang

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