Am I immoral because I’m attracted to my husband?
During a conversation with a female friend, she let me in on a strange secret. She said,
“Once, my husband doubted my morality,”
I remained silent, mostly out of curiosity. She continued and said,
“It happened when I tried to get intimate with him; not with a stranger but with him, my own husband.”
“What exactly do you mean?” I asked bewildered.
“He hadn’t come home from work and I was missing him. Aroused, I approached him, thinking he’d appreciate that. In return he gave me a stern look and said, what is wrong with you? Why are you behaving so immorally?”
This was expressed with a dejected and forlorn look on her face. Naturally, this would affect any wife.
Surprised by her story, I tried to convince her that Pakistani men were neither this judgmental nor as narrow-minded.
“No that’s not the case. A man may approach his wife whenever he wants, because he is the husband, but when his wife wants to exercise the same right, she is immediately labelled as immoral,” she replied angrily.
“Perhaps, your husband has some sort of psychological knot in his head.”
I responded, in an effort to try and figure out the reason behind his strange behaviour.
“If this sort of mentality is prevalent in all men, then it’s safe to say that the entire male population in our society has psychological issues – not just my husband.” she added.
I was honestly beginning to get a bit impatient and bothered by her generalised accusations. How was she finding it so easy to blame all men for her husband’s fault?
“What do you mean?” I asked out of politeness.
“Just so you should know Mr Shahid, newly wed brides are instructed by elder females in the family to show deliberate ‘self-control’ during intimacy, especially in the early days of marriage. Now isn’t that an example of unfair moral policing? The slightest expression of natural desire towards one’s own husband is enough to declare a woman as morally corrupt. Isn’t that completely absurd?
Women are also human beings and have feelings, just as men do. They also need comfort and pleasure like any other human, regardless of their gender. How can anyone associate this with one’s morality and character? It makes no sense.” She added.
After listening to her, I figured there may be some truth in what she told me. It really couldn’t have been based on imagination.
So, in order to evaluate her accusations and stereotypes, I asked an elderly man whether it should or is considered ‘incorrect’ for a wife to initiate intimacy with her husband.
“How can it be wrong? She has every right to. There really is no objectionable element in such behaviour, but during these 40 years of my marriage, my wife has never done this. Not even once.”
Concluded the elderly man with great pride.
That satisfaction on his face validated my colleague’s heartfelt allegations.
To further probe into this warped mind-set, I discussed the matter with one of my friends. He handed me an old book on morals, traditions and ethics and advised me to read the chapter “Azdwaaaji Zindagi kay Adaab” (Ethics of married life). I didn’t even know such a book existed!
This chapter contained a list of dos and don’ts for both husband and wife, and one of the instructions read,
“The wife should not be vocal about her physical desires because the husband might misinterpret it.”
I was left speechless and shocked after reading this particular instruction. Why do husbands tend to misinterpret mere affection? But more importantly, why is initiating intimacy looked down upon?
The root cause can be traced to our tribal mind-set, where the concept of patriarchy never allowed women to express themselves, let alone be independent. In a society where love marriage is perceived as a taboo, it’s not surprising that a wife expressing her feelings towards her husband is misinterpreted as immoral.
Not every individual, man or woman, behaves in the same way. But if women are still looked upon with suspicion only for being expressive, and if in certain books of ethics women are being advised to hide their feelings, it means our society is blinded by medieval customs and definitely needs to move forward.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.