December 2, 2023


Science Of Woman

Dr. Samosa on Intercourse, Love and Popping out — the Final Taboos in South Asian Households

10 min read

I’m going to be a intercourse therapist. 

I used to be bowled over when my late cousin shared this with me on the cusp of our twenties. 

As a reasonably modest Indo Guyanese lady raised within the Connecticut suburbs, the considered discussing a stranger’s love life appeared not solely overseas however stunning to me. However, my cousin was at all times daring on this method. She took satisfaction within the extra daring features of our Caribbean tradition with pure confidence. It was one of many issues I cherished and now miss most about her. 

Admittedly nevertheless, it was over a decade earlier than I began to know a few of her deeper curiosity in love, sexuality and psychological well being. This awakening was thanks significantly to Dr. Samosa. 

[Read Related: 3 Indo-Caribbean Mental Health Counselors Talk About Community’s Stigma]

In early 2020, Dr. Sarika Persaud, a New-York based mostly, Indo Guyanese psychologist specializing in relationships, sexuality and complicated trauma, took to Instagram as “Dr. Samosa,” an alias impressed by her favourite South Asian snack — and one she feels is a standard thread for brown ladies. 


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The platform turned a secure area for brown ladies to attach on matters like psychological well being, psychoanalysis, sexuality and relationships. From discussing sexual empowerment to constructing a powerful sense of self, Dr. Persaud quietly turned a confidant for these craving sensible and candid insights the group shied away from. 

Dr. Persaud and I sat down to speak about her journey and breaking these taboos within the South Asian society.

Her curiosity in psychology began as a journey of self-discovery as a pre-teen.

“I feel I skilled myself as completely different from my friends,” she defined throughout our interview.

She didn’t get caught up in teenage drama and prevented sure varieties of relationships and folks. In the meantime, the buddies she did make noticed her in “this kind of trainer position.”

“I turned interested in that about myself — how, in some methods, I discovered it useful to really feel my emotions and have a depth folks have been drawn to, but additionally use it in methods to isolate myself,” Dr. Persaud mentioned.

She was additionally starting to establish as bisexual.

She shared, “I feel I used to be avoiding my sexuality in some methods and psychology turned a method for me to know myself extra. It’s at all times been this confluence of philosophy and science and even artwork for me.”

Dr. Samosa
Dr. Samosa photographed by Nushie Choudhury

Rising up in Queens, New York, Dr. Persaud noticed fellow Indo Caribbean ladies at a “very particular intersection of faith and tradition.” It was the nexus of Caribbean values which welcomed sexuality and extra modest Indian traditions. Caribbean affect appeared to “take away a boundary” on how Indo Caribbean ladies felt permitted to current themselves sexually, she defined. On one hand, after her Bharatanatyam dance courses, she noticed her didis (the older ladies) go away their classical strikes behind for attractive Bollywood choreography and dancehall songs. 

“It was thrilling, like they have been simply starting to search out methods to precise their sexuality,” she mirrored. Then, across the identical time, Dr. Persaud found a replica of the “Kama Sutra” at house and her mom was appalled. “What’s fallacious together with your daughter?” aunties requested.

Confused, Dr. Persaud thought “You personal this. That is from our tradition and it’s a Sanskrit textual content. It’s actually a spiritual textual content. All of it appeared so highly effective — and but so many individuals have been afraid of it.”

One thing didn’t add up.

In 2013, she started a blog to deliver a voice to matters like these. As phrase of her content material unfold, Dr. Persaud was met with backlash from her temple. Leaders mentioned her weblog was inappropriate and dishonorable to her group, however she caught with it and her household caught by her.  

Just a few years later, when she launched Dr. Samosa to share her analysis and insights with a wider viewers, sexuality got here entrance and heart.

“Sexuality — the way you perceive and honor what you need and like, and the methods you let your self expertise that pleasure — is intrinsically related to how deserving you’re feeling on this planet,” she defined.  


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For instance, if you happen to suppose you’re worthy of a elevate at work, a associate who needs you, or a household that listens to you — all may be linked again to a block in your relationship with your self as a sexual being. 

Nevertheless, if you happen to can really feel assured in one thing as “primal, instinctual, and private” as your sexuality, Dr. Persaud argues you lay the inspiration for confidence in these different areas of your life.

Dr. Persaud says the worry of sexuality comes into play for South Asians.

“Being comfy together with your sexuality means being comfy together with your energy,” she defined. “If everybody felt empowered and had a wholesome relationship with themselves sexually, numerous {our relationships} and hierarchies in society would change. And there are simply so many individuals who profit from ladies and marginalized communities (like LGBTQ+ and people with persistent sicknesses) being disempowered,” Dr. Persaud mentioned.

All through her work, Dr. Persaud has discovered it’s particularly tough for South Asian ladies to really feel satisfaction in themselves as sexual beings.

“There’s a lot disgrace concerning the self and the physique. Girls particularly are held to a double customary and it’s so complicated. Should you look a technique, you gained’t get a husband. Should you look sexual, nobody will need to rent you for a job. Whatever the South Asian ethnic group, there’s the identical disgrace and perception that your physique has to look a sure method, and if it doesn’t, you’re not fascinating. Every thing will get tied up in sexual disgrace.”

It’s simple that Bollywood films have additionally closely impacted a lot of our views on love and intercourse, however Dr. Persaud didn’t condemn this.

She says, “Individuals want to understand Bollywood began from a practice of classical drama and dance from historical India. These dances have been meant to be explorations of goals and legendary and philosophical concepts. Bollywood is only a continuation of that. It’s meant to be a break from actuality.” 

Actual relationships are rather more fraught and complex than in movies, however that doesn’t imply you have to be ashamed of seeking to Bollywood as a method to be in contact with romance and love in your life.

“They’re a fantasy,” Dr. Persaud added.  

She additionally argued Bollywood isn’t essentially as “censored” as many declare.

“Individuals don’t have to look at others bodily have intercourse or kiss to be in contact with their sensuality,” she famous. “It may be rather more nuanced to see two folks simply embracing in a method that stirs up emotions. Like, how does it really feel to have your lover’s head towards your chest? Culturally, we simply discover and categorical sexuality in a different way than the West.”

In the case of turning into extra comfy with our our bodies and sexual well being, Dr. Persaud says it begins with self-reflection.

“Ask your self why you’re afraid of being attractive or seen as sexual. Are you afraid your loved ones will reject you? That you simply’ll be thrown out of your private home? All of us have completely different triggers, and when you establish yours, you will get to the difficulty beneath all of it.” 

[Read Related: What South Asian Parents Won’t Tell You About the “Birds and the Bees” and… Vaginismus]?

Dr. Persaud encourages ladies to ask themselves vital questions.

“Should you’re afraid that if you happen to assert your sexuality, your loved ones will reject or not help you, how will you be extra financially unbiased? How will you discover satisfaction in having the ability to care for your self?” She urges ladies to take stock of what they like. “Take a look at books and films and what you see on this planet and consciously be aware of what you react to. This places you extra in contact with your self.”

In the case of fostering open conversations with others, Dr. Persaud says to steer with vulnerability and readability.

“Should you ponder whether your folks have had intercourse but and are embarrassed to ask, voice that concern. Share the way you’re feeling or ask your self why. Main conversations with vulnerability permits folks to attach a bit of bit extra; to really feel safer to share.” 


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A post shared by Dr. Samosa (@doctor.samosa)

“Should you’re uncomfortable with one thing your associate does or need extra of one thing else, speak about what you need to change and why it’s vital to you. It’s not a shortcoming on their half, however moderately you saying ‘that is what I want for myself. Is that this one thing we are able to speak about and work on collectively?’” 

With South Asian households, particularly older kinfolk, issues can get a bit extra advanced. Boundary setting is vital because the household can deliver out your greatest triggers. 

“It is advisable be at a degree the place you personal your self,” Dr. Persaud defined. For instance, in case your mother finds out you have been out with somebody and questions you about it — “A bai? A boy?!” — it is best to have the ability to say confidently, ‘Yeah I used to be on a date,’ and likewise not really feel obligated to provide extra particulars. In fact, that won’t at all times be secure for somebody youthful, however at a sure age, it’s OK to be non-public, to have that protect to guard and develop your self and your confidence,” Dr. Persaud says. 

Dr. Persaud additionally reinforces the significance of realizing your boundaries when reflecting on “popping out” to oldsters. She needed to be open about her bi-sexuality along with her mother and father; that she was relationship — however not simply males. She stresses nevertheless, one doesn’t have to be excessively open.

“Not everybody has to return out and never everybody has to return out to everybody. You’re doubtless not dealing with something new out of your mother and father when popping out. If they’re important and judgmental typically in life, they’re most likely going to be like that once more. South Asian dads can actually simply be like, ‘Okay, don’t inform me you’re a sexual being,’” she laughed. 

Whereas Dr. Persaud is grateful for her mother and father’ acceptance, there are members of her household who’ve been lower than supportive. She credit her confidence and sense of self for drowning them out. 

“I’ve discovered the extra I turn into comfy with myself, the extra I’ve this sexual power that I can use creatively and in different good methods. If my dad rejects me, it doesn’t change that I’m bisexual. Or if my mother rejects me, it’s not going to alter this factor I do know so deeply about myself. I’m simply sharing one thing true. I can’t change it.”

Towards the top of our dialog, I shared with Dr. Persaud that I questioned how my family would react to this text. I felt a little bit of disgrace.

However she jogged my memory, “You too can discover satisfaction in it — ‘Yeah, I’m actually pleased with the truth that I’m one of many folks breaking the stigma. I’m speaking about one thing vital to folks’s well being.’” 

And she or he’s proper, as was my pricey cousin in her early ambitions. These conversations are by no means simple, however strolling in curiosity, confidence and satisfaction may also help us discover our energy as South Asian ladies. It could actually assist break the stigma surrounding love, sexuality and relationships in our group and their roles in our better well being. 

In so some ways, sexual well being and psychological well being aren’t solely related however interdependent. In reality, Dr. Persaud believes the extra assured individuals are of their our bodies and identities, the extra assured they’re as an entire — and the extra engaging they’re.

“Sexual attraction and power comes from folks being competent and peaceable and calm with themselves; realizing who they’re,” she mentioned, and the extra we study to embrace this and talk about it brazenly, the extra we can’t solely develop however thrive.

For extra on Dr. Sarika Persaud’s (aka Dr. Samosa) doctoral work and writing, go to her website or Instagram @doctor.samosa. For extra on tips on how to speak to your loved ones or kids about sexual well being, go to

The publish Dr. Samosa on Intercourse, Love and Popping out — the Final Taboos in South Asian Households appeared first on Brown Woman Journal.

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