What is ‘orgasm equality’? Period sex: Yes or no? If these are questions that you are concerned about, you can be sure that there is a video on the same by Leeza Mangaldas, 30, who is one of the most popular sex educators on the internet right now. After she switched to making Hindi videos during the pandemic, her followers have grown multifold.
Q\ What triggered the project in the first place?
A\ There is so much stigma, shame and misinformation around sex. Cosmopolitan itself issued an apology about spreading the myth of the G-spot for decades. I am not a doctor or an expert, but I am a sexually active person and vagina owner with limited access to credible resources. So, around 2017, I decided to talk about it and, hopefully, to have a forum for conversation.
Q\ At what point did you decide to switch to Hindi?
A\ I was working as a TV presenter and my sex-ed videos were all in English. But then the lockdown happened and my regular work stopped. I used this time to create more content and started doing it in Hindi. I grew up in Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and then went to college in the US, so I never really spoke the language properly. Even now, it is a running joke with my followers that I sound like Alexa or an inflight announcement. But they do not really mind. Between 2017 and the lockdown, I had 50,000 subscribers on YouTube. In this last year I got over four lakh subscribers.
Q\ What about trolls?
A\ I have been fairly lucky; most people feel grateful for this information. Some of the most rewarding messages I get are when women reach out to say, “Yay, I got my first orgasm”, or “I got my first vibrator thanks to you”. Also, I am really lucky to have family that is supportive. They are my biggest cheerleaders, because trolling starts at home. Of course, there is the occasional comment like “chup randi” (shut up, slut) on the internet, but there are filters to block such abusive language now.
Q\ Are there patterns with sexual health inquiries in a pandemic?
A\ Questions that occur recurrently since I started this channel are the ones on body image and what is considered normal. Porn has become their first visual reference point for sex and it is totally unrealistic. The overarching questions are, ‘Am I normal?’ ‘Are my fantasies normal?’ We pathologise our healthy bodies and desires. People also have a lot of questions about self-pleasure, but I am not sure if the pandemic has anything to do with it.