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Women, Sex and Prejudices in Jakarta

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There are two smash hit chick flicks that - according to Marie Claire magazine - have become more of a religion than TV shows in the States at this time. One is 'Ally McBeal', portraying a lame dreamy single female lawyer who earnestly longs for love and often seems bummed about her single status. The second one, which is also my favourite, is 'Sex and the City'. It is about a group of single cheerful vamps that are known to put their lust first in searching for their perfect love.

Last night, I couldn't help but chuckle watching a scene between Samantha, a gal Carrie (played brilliantly by Sarah Jessica-Parker) has been hanging out with in 'Sex and the City', and her current boyfriend in front of a marriage counsellor. Samantha had been refusing to have sex with her boyfriend, and finally he succeeded to drag her in the most dreadful room in her mind. He pushed her to tell him what had been bothering her in bed.

Thinking about spending more torturing hours talking about her sex life under the scrutiny of the shrink made Samantha blurted out the reason why she'd been a no-no woman in bed.

"Let's face it, I need a big d**k," she said.

Married to a westerner myself, sometimes I get frustrated dealing with narrow-minded locals. And they are everywhere! Even male managers I was working for at my previous place of employment asked me ridiculous questions about why I decided to marry an expatriate. They seemed to think that the only possible reason behind mixed marriages is sex. Either it's about local males who are obsessed with the fantasy of getting laid with some blonde Caucasian or simply about western men who are longing for Asian female sex slaves, or even some say that local women prefer western penis size to locals. It's sickening, isn't it?

One day, an Indonesian friend of mine ran home crying from the office she was working for. One of the women in her office apparently told her that she will be of no use if her American husband divorces her one day, as no local men will accept her already oversized genitalia. Good Lord! But it's true. What blatant mental abuse! Some Indonesians just have no idea about privacy and ethics.

Why do some people seem to be continuously thinking about sex?

About twenty-five percent of unmarried adult females in Jakarta are sexually active, according to a report I read in one newspaper last Sunday. Why is the poll only imposed on women? What about unmarried adult males in Jakarta? Probably 99.9% are physically and mentally sexually active? What a bunch of sexists! But wait, it's not a competition of immorality, is it?

Well, according to my own research, average men think about sex between once every two minutes up to once every sixty minutes during the day. Just imagine how many times they go to the loo just to fulfil their fantasies. As for women, it's probably only four times a day. Might it be because these women are actually thinking using their real heads? Who knows!

Some middle-aged women even claim that they are able to abstain from sex for the rest of their life. Wow, that's a bit extreme! Although my good friend Jenny said that simply watching a guy - wearing a dark suit and a five a clock shadow on his face - dancing on the dance floor is a huge turn on for her.

A few months ago, I interviewed an Indonesian woman who had been living together, outside of wedlock of course, with a western man in Jakarta. She had to lie to her family and everybody she knows about her situation.

I asked her why she sacrificed everything like that. Does she love him that much?

"I didn't really want to move in with him. Especially not for the sex reason. I thought by moving in I could watch over my boyfriend easier, you know, like to make sure he doesn't bring home other women or something. It's more a security issue than anything else. Also I think according to western standards this is necessary for me to be qualified as a serious candidate for a future wife. But maybe I'm wrong. We've been living together for three years, and he hasn't proposed to me yet. I'm getting tired," she explained.

There you go. It is not about sex at all.

A Brit friend came to my house one day. He looked like a mess.

"I met this woman last night at a bar. She was so sweet. You know how badly I've wanted to have a local girlfriend. We had drinks, chatted for two hours, and she agreed to come home with me. We had great sex last night," he stopped, sipped the warm ginger tea I gave him, and continued.

"This morning I woke up thinking about having another romantic chat with her, and there she was. Already fully dressed, sitting on the sofa beside my bed and said: "That will be two hundred dollars, Mister!"

Well, he'd only been in Jakarta for two months. Still has a lot to learn.

Do you see the point here? When some people think that certain women are thinking about sex, they are actually thinking about something else. It could be about money, security or simply love. Or is it because of the strong influence of eastern culture that Indonesian women can't just say what Samantha did?

First published in the Jakarta Post.

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