In the new CNN series Sex & Love Around The World,” CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour penetrates the sex lives of women in six countries, some of them places where sex, and even the discussion of sex, is taboo. In the episode we watched — which took Amanpour to New Delhi, India, she interviewed men and women of all ages to get a glimpse into the complicated social culture of India. On one hand, India is the home of the sex manual The Kama Sutra. On the other hand, the country still encourages arranged marriages, as young people secretly search for “love marriages” and casual sex hook-ups on Tinder.
Her interviews revealed that India has one of the highest rape statistics in the world, and one young girl told Amanpour that the guys are so rapey, that she had to buy a bicycle to just get around, which “gave her freedom.” In another segment, she interviewed a transgender who is so shunned by the country’s conservative society, that she couldn’t get work again as an engineer once she transitioned to womanhood. Although these stories were sad, just discussing them offers hope, and an opportunity for cultural change.
In a third segment, Amanpour interviewed Sunny Leone, a Canadian born, American porn star with Indian parents. Leone retired from porn in 2013, moved to Mumbai and became a Bollywood movie star and reality television star. According to one of Amanpour’s male interview subjects, Leone “earned the respect of the country when she got married and had children,” which sums up the conflicted views of women in India. According to porn site Pornhub, Leone remains one of the most watched porn stars in India.
In the CNN 6-part series, Amanpour travels from Berlin to Beirut, with stops in New Delhi, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Accra, the capital of Ghana. “Everywhere I looked I found people seeking–and craving– love, intimacy, and sexual fulfillment,” Amanpour told CNN. “My quest took me to women and girls, who we so often dismiss as only victims of our patriarchal, misogynistic, hypersexualized culture, who were boldy seizing every opportunity for satisfaction and personal pleasure.”
Above: The look on Christina Amanpour’s face when two twenty something Indian girls from New Delhi tell her that single people in India “don’t date.” But that Indian dudes do watch tons of porn and that’s where they get their sex education from.
The 3rd installment of the 6-part series airs on Saturday, March, 31st on CNN at 10pm.