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It would take me at least that long to walk back to my guesthouse, but I wasn’t too worried about being accosted by demons on the way. ” I asked Sarasi, a 19-year-old college student I’d met while walking around Kandy Lake in central Sri Lanka.She’d asked me if she could practice her English with me; we spent most of the next week together.I asked him if I could remain clothed for the massage; he nodded and smiled beatifically in his long white skirt.But once we got into the stuffy, dark massage room, he motioned to my skirt and top and said, “Off.” I hesitated for a moment before pulling off my outer garments and lying down on the table.But just a few minutes in to the massage, his heavy breathing and disproportionate focus on my inner thighs made it clear that he was not only doing this for the money.
I had indeed noticed two or three middle-aged women traveling with (and paying the way for) younger Sri Lankan men.
During my first few weeks backpacking around Sri Lanka, I’d felt uncomplicated rage at the general pattern of male/female dynamics, where girls’ virginity is tested before marriage and couples rarely do more than hold hands before their wedding day.
Yet widows are widely seen as “easy” because of their vulnerability (few men would marry a “used” woman), and white women are taunted with jeers like, “Do you like the f**king?
Like many of my female friends, I’ve also had sex when I didn’t want to to get a persistent guy to stop pestering me. I was distracted by these thoughts on my walk home from dinner with Sarasi, hardly noticing the fruit bats swooping in and out of lush rain trees.
Although I found it stifling to imagine being deprived of erotic intimacy outside of marriage—not to mention a fun night out once in a while—the comparatively extreme sexual freedom of the U. Our conversation had unmoored my beliefs about sexuality.