So he just wanted to have sex. And in a sense, maybe, I guess I lucked out.

Aziz, who grew up in Bangladesh, was interviewed for a radio program on U.S. sex crimes. After describing his own sexual experience as a child, he described the different relationship between sex and intimacy in his home culture and in the West.

Source: A Long and Dangerous Road: Gay Men, other Queers (and One Straight Guy) Talk about Sex Offense by Adrienne Lauby, Queer Radical Radio, May 15, 2009

Download of the mp3 file of the interview
Aziz report starts at 14:32 and the second part is at 52:31.


Moderator: Aziz had his first sexual experience with a man who, like almost every other man in Bangladesh eventually made a traditional marriage. I met him in a sidewalk cafe, a day before he left for an extended stay in Bangladesh.

When did you first think about yourself as someone attracted to the same sex?

Actually that happened when someone seduced me when I was about ten years old. A friend or distant relative used to live with us. I believe he was about 25 years old at the time. And he seduced me and after a few times, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really think of myself as gay man at the time. I just really enjoyed the sex.

And had you had experience with the word homosexual or gay or that kind of reality, up until then?

No, I was 10 years old and this was some time ago and homosexuality was not really in the news, particularly not in Bangladesh and hardly much here, in fact. It was just a fun thing to do. And I kept on doing it.

Do you still know this man?

I still know him. He’s married, has kids, and I don’t think he’s a gay man. He’s bisexual, it seems, because – I found out later – he used to have sex with many women as well. So he just wanted to have sex. And in a sense, maybe, I guess I lucked out.

You don’t feel he harmed you?

No, not at all. I mean, I wouldn’t say that initially it was consensual because I had no idea what was going on, but after a couple of times, I enjoyed it and it was fun.

Later on, I had a longer-term, sexual relationship with a friend of the family who was ten years older than me.

[Moderator momologue, then Aziz continues to outline his position]

Aziz: In terms of sex between a man and a boy, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so much of a taboo as it is considered in the West. But at the same time, it’s not something that people should just say, “Oh, it’s okay.” It’s something that should be studied well, rather than, “Oh, it’s very bad,” or, “It’s quite okay to do it.” I mean, people are different. Some people mature very early but, in general, a boy is very impressionable. People have to wait until there’s a certain degree of maturity, where you can understand what is consent, what is not.

My experience is just my own, individual experience. It cannot be transferred to anybody else. Somebody else may have had a similar experience to mine and it may have had a really bad, long-term effect on them. So policies and general guidelines should be set in place, I feel, rather than hard and fast rules.

Policies for the best interests of children should include sexual education. They should include all kinds of sexuality and not just whatever sexuality is socially predominant. In the absence of that, I think many young, gay boys would probably say, “My sexual relationship with an older man was very helpful,” because that’s what helped them come out. But with healthy sexual education, as well as people you can talk to about sexual stuff, then the guidelines about sexual mores are probably more useful.

Obviously, there has to be consent, no question about it, for any age. But when someone is underage, the consent has to be looked on very carefully. We have to be sure that they understand what it is, what it means. And there is hopefully adult guidance with it, which can only be if the child feels safe enough with the adult to accept the guidance.

Moderator: Have you ever visited a country where same sex friends and relatives routinely hold hands as they walk down a street? If so, you’ve noticed a public expression of homosocial culture. Aziz explains what that meant in his childhood household. And talks about the deficiency of physical bonds in western society.

Sex, in the West particularly, is a way of intimacy. But in the West people are very alienated and so you rely on sex as the only way to be intimate. In Bangladesh and a lot of developing countries, people can be intimate in very many other ways without having sex.

I consider Bangladesh to be, in a sense, a homosocial society. A typical thing would be for me to be lying down and talking in bed with my male cousins and a friend, with one lying on top of the other. It’s just very, very common. I’m sure there’s an underlying element of sexual attraction, but it’s not overt, yet it’s very intimate. This intimacy allows people to become closer to each other. We don’t have the rules that you cannot touch each other, but instead, we have ways of showing physical affection to each other, which allows the intimacy to grow without necessarily having sex. It’s not so black and white as it is sometimes in the U.S.

In the more industrially developed societies, they put restrictions on this expression of intimacy. And it is these restrictions that are, I feel, more unnatural. Maybe it’s society that makes intimacy seem unnatural.

Ultimately, people want to be intimate with other people. If, in the West, they say, “Well, sex is the only way you can be intimate,” then people seek for sex. And sex is a tremendously strong desire, one of the strongest, like fear, but on the good side. Any such strong desire, I think, will have an impact unless one knows how to deal with it. And I don’t think there’s enough sexual education or sexual maturity, particularly in the United States, to deal with this strong desire as a tool to become intimate.