Spinning Sex

The makers of  “18 Again” vaginal tightening cream want Indian women to believe that the product makes you feel like a virgin.

It’s the first cream of its kind sold in India, where conservative social norms prevail and sex toys are banned.

Here’s a peak at the commercial that’s running in Mumbai.

If I thought that the cream was advancing women’s sexual freedom in India, I’d throw a Tupperware-like product party for it next week and invite everyone in my neighborhood.

But I have a problem with this one.

It isn’t being sold to enhance women’s sexual pleasure.  It’s being sold to men who want women’s bodies to feel tight like a teenager’s.  The ad and the product objectifies women and makes them feel inferior for having the pleasure of age and experience.

Do woman want to feel tighter?  Of course.   Kegels (if you are lucky) and surgery (if you dare) are probably the only paths to pelvic health.

But do we want to feel like a virgin again?  No way!  There’s little pleasure in that.

Obsession with virginity is creepy in a country that fails repeatedly to take care of its women.  Gender injustice ranks high on so many social indexes from maternal death, to child brides and human trafficking.  It’s a society that grossly promotes being virtuous and chaste and often cruelly punishes offenders.  Conservative and traditional mores interfere with equal access to education, healthcare, safety, and employment.

This cream follows another one marketed  to Indian woman a few months back to whiten and “brighten” the color of the vagina.

Ugh… Why would anyone want to do that?

And who wants to sleep with a Humbert?


Other than my fury over the above, all is well and chugging along.  Lala is the lead in the school play and I think the director wants to include a song for her to sing.  The school productions are particularly creative and professional.  We are lucky to have a full-time dance teacher and choreographer who does wonders for the stage, and a theatre director who soars with her students to extraordinary creative heights.  Go Lala!

George is shedding his baby pudge and loving 5th grade.  Today I watched him talk smack and play basketball with a group of high school boys.  He’s such a charmer with older kids and adults.

Eddie is acquiring the Yardley pudge, the Yardley temper, and the well-known Yardley stubbornness.  (Had Jim written that sentence, he would have replaced “Yardley” with “Livieratos”.  Either way, our kids have no prayer at being placid. )


The Monsoon:  The Spin on the monsoon is all about the romance of rain.  The reality of the monsoon is all about soggy feet and soggy kids…

Akbar and Durga are growing fast.  He sleeps with Eddie most nights and she sleeps with George.  But on a rainy Saturday afternoon, Akbar slumbered next to, and just like, mama:

And Sweet Durga:

I teach on Fridays until noon.  After class, I try to go on a little adventure.  Here are shots from last’s week’s visit to Hauz Khas, a neighborhood I frequent for its shopping and restaurants:

On one end of Hauz Khas sits this 900-year-old madras from the Turkic reign of Sultan Firoz Shah, 1325-ish.  Mid-day, students sat in the windows of the old school on their lunch breaks.  It reminded me of my father’s stories of studying Greek as a teenager on the steps on the Parthenon when he emigrated from China.

8 thoughts on “Spinning Sex”

  1. Hi Theo – that add for the vaginal cream is unbelievable!! I can’t imagine an add like that running here in Australia let alone Mumbai. Love to you all. Liz

    1. i first saw the story and a link to the commercial in tehelka. i couldn’t believe it was legitimate… and i ignored it for a few weeks. then it started appearing in the mainstream press. how goes down under? any work excuse looming to make back to the sub-continent for a visit?

  2. Your comments about Yardley stubbornness gave me a knowing chuckle. Eileen and I have seen streaks of that in the up and coming Seattle generation of Yardley/Gregorys as well! I like to think of it as “steeliness”, sounds better? At least we know they will always be able to stand up for themselves, right?

    Sherrie Bennett ( Cousin Scott’s wife)

  3. There’s nothing I want to read about more on my sister’s blog than vaginal cream, so thanks for that. But in a culture as conservative as India’s, I’m surprised they didn’t change the product name to “18 and wedlocked after a properly arranged marriage again” cream. I wonder what they think about “legitimate rape” in India…? But Livieratos stubbornness? I’ll never admit such a thing exists. Tell Jim and the kids I send my best!

    1. i wrote this one for vlad! i know he’s still cringing…

      and i haven’t heard from my mother.

      the best story of livieratos stubbornness that lives-on with the kids is Alec sitting on the roof of the car that blocked him into a parking space.

  4. No comment on the cream.
    I loved your last paragraph. Your mom and I had lunch in a wonderful and over-priced restaurant in Haus Khaz, so it brought back some good memories. We missed the madras. I wonder if some day those students will wistfully remember their lunches in a historically significant building as your dad often thought of his time on the Acropolis.
    Love to all the stubborn Yardleys,

    1. the funny note on the cream is that i had a few open tabs on my computer with the commercial and news reports. when i hooked the computer to the projector in my classroom, one advert and headline in big bold print appeared. i fumbled for a new tab… but not before the class read it. i stuttered out something about this being an interesting controversy… then tried to segue into the lesson on summary leads.

      had a scare with Akbar today – he went into what appeared to me as spasms and now he can’t walk on his back right leg. i fear neurological complications but the vet thinks it’s just an injury… he’s calm now and nestled for the night in eddie’s bed… but i worry.

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