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

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 international however surprising to me. However, my cousin was at all times daring on this means. She took delight within the extra daring features of our Caribbean tradition with pure confidence. It was one of many issues I beloved 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 enormously 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 sophisticated 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 protected 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 neighborhood 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 totally different from my friends,” she defined throughout our interview.

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

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

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 means 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 lessons, she noticed her didis (the older ladies) depart their classical strikes behind for attractive Bollywood choreography and dancehall songs. 

“It was thrilling, like they had been simply starting to seek out methods to specific their sexuality,” she mirrored. Then, across the identical time, Dr. Persaud found a duplicate of the “Kama Sutra” at residence and her mom was appalled. “What’s fallacious along 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 had 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 stated her weblog was inappropriate and dishonorable to her neighborhood, 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, in case you assume you’re worthy of a increase at work, a associate who needs you, or a household that listens to you — all could be linked again to a block in your relationship with your self as a sexual being. 

Nevertheless, in case you 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 concern of sexuality comes into play for South Asians.

“Being comfy along with your sexuality means being comfy along with your energy,” she defined. “If everybody felt empowered and had a wholesome relationship with themselves sexually, quite a lot of {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 continual diseases) being disempowered,” Dr. Persaud stated.

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

“There’s a lot disgrace concerning the self and the physique. Ladies particularly are held to a double customary and it’s so complicated. In the event you look a method, you received’t get a husband. In the event you look sexual, nobody will wish 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 means, and if it doesn’t, you’re not fascinating. Every thing will get tied up in sexual disgrace.”

It’s plain that Bollywood motion pictures have additionally closely impacted lots of our views on love and intercourse, however Dr. Persaud didn’t condemn this.

She says, “Individuals want to appreciate Bollywood began from a practice of classical drama and dance from historic India. These dances had 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 far more fraught and sophisticated than in movies, however that doesn’t imply you need to be ashamed of seeking to Bollywood as a approach 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 far more nuanced to see two folks simply embracing in a means that stirs up emotions. Like, how does it really feel to have your lover’s head towards your chest? Culturally, we simply discover and specific sexuality in a different way than the West.”

In relation to 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 property? All of us have totally different triggers, and when you establish yours, you will get to the problem 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 essential questions.

“In the event you’re afraid that in case you assert your sexuality, your loved ones will reject or not help you, how are you going to be extra financially unbiased? How will you discover delight in having the ability to deal with 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 relation to fostering open conversations with others, Dr. Persaud says to guide with vulnerability and readability.

“In the event 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 just a little bit extra; to really feel safer to share.” 


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

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

“You should be at some extent the place you personal your self,” Dr. Persaud defined. For instance, in case your mother finds out you had been out with somebody and questions you about it — “A bai? A boy?!” — you must have the ability to say confidently, ‘Yeah I used to be on a date,’ and likewise not really feel obligated to offer extra particulars. After all, that will not at all times be protected for somebody youthful, however at a sure age, it’s OK to be personal, to have that defend to guard and develop your self and your confidence,” Dr. Persaud says. 

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

“Not everybody has to come back out and never everybody has to come back out to everybody. You’re possible not dealing with something new out of your dad and mom when popping out. If they’re crucial and judgmental usually 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 dad and mom’ 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 grow to be comfy with myself, the extra I’ve this sexual vitality 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 vary 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 circle of relatives would react to this text. I felt a little bit of disgrace.

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

And he or she’s proper, as was my expensive cousin in her early ambitions. These conversations are by no means straightforward, however strolling in curiosity, confidence and delight may also help us discover our energy as South Asian ladies. It might probably assist break the stigma surrounding love, sexuality and relationships in our neighborhood and their roles in our larger well being. 

In so some ways, sexual well being and psychological well being are usually not solely related however interdependent. The truth is, Dr. Persaud believes the extra assured persons are of their our bodies and identities, the extra assured they’re as a complete — and the extra enticing they’re.

“Sexual attraction and vitality comes from folks being competent and peaceable and calm with themselves; understanding who they’re,” she stated, and the extra we be taught to embrace this and talk about it brazenly, the extra we cannot 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 how you can discuss to your loved ones or youngsters about sexual well being, go to sexpositivefamilies.com.

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