It was my wedding night; the first time I would be intimate with a man. My head was a blur of images, of dreams and desires from the many conversations with my close friends and the pornographic videos I had watched.
I entered the room, holding a customary glass of milk, keeping my face down. It was all very traditional, just as I had imagined.
In my fantasy, I entered our room and my husband embraced me tightly, smothered me with kisses and passionately made love all night. In reality, he had fallen asleep before I came in.
#HerChoice is a series of true life-stories of 12 Indian women. These accounts challenge and broaden the idea of the “modern Indian woman” – her life choices, aspirations, priorities and desires.
During my college days and at my workplace, I saw many girls and boys striking deep friendships. They’d rest their head on their partner’s shoulder, walk past holding hands and I’d feel jealous of them.
I had a big family of four brothers, one sister and older parents, yet I felt alone all the time.
All my siblings were ilies. Sometimes I wondered if they even cared that I was getting old and remained single.
Do men hate fat women? Is my weight the reason for my family not being able to find me a match for marriage? Would I remain single forever? Would I ever lose my virginity? The questions jostled in my mind all the time.
100 Women: I divorced my husband because he couldn’t satisfy me
During our engagement, I shared all my feelings with him but he didn’t pay attention nor respond. He seemed to be nervous and would sit quietly, eyes facing the ground and merely shake his head.
I thought it was because men are more shy than women these days and that my fiance was no exception.
I told my mother-in-law and she defended him: “He is a shy person who has always green singles hesitated talking to girls, he studied in a boy’s school and has no sister or even friends of the opposite gender,” she said.
It wasn’t only sex I was uneasy about; he hardly spoke to me, he never touched me, nor held my hand.
If a woman even slightly adjusts her dress men ogle at her but when I’d undress at night my husband would avoid even glancing at me.
I didn’t know who to talk to and my family were under the illusion that I was happy with my new life. I needed to find a solution.
“Don’t you like me?” I asked him. “We haven’t been intimate once and you have never expressed your feelings in words either, what is your problem?”
I had imagined that my stimulation would increase the size but I was hugely disappointed when I found it to be too small.
I was very confused whether this was the real size of a penis? Was what I had seen in pornographic videos enhanced with graphics?
Just like a woman’s beauty is judged by men, why couldn’t I judge my husband’s physical attributes? Why was it wrong for me to have some expectations of him?
I began to understand that he was impotent and that doctors had told him this before we got married but he and his parents had kept me in the dark.
Society always amplifies every small mistake that a woman makes but if the man is at fault, even then the woman is the one who is blamed.
“You can do whatever you like, sleep with whomsoever you wish, I won’t bother you or reveal this to anybody,” he said.
No woman should ever hear such horrible, heartless ideas from her husband. He was a cheater and he was asking me to do this to save his and his family’s honour.
I couldn’t imagine doing what he had suggested, which only left me with the option of either leaving him or giving up my sexual desires, and settling for companionship.
My parents didn’t accept me but with the help of my friends, I joined a ladies’ hostel and found a job.
My husband’s family was shameless and they accused me of adultery to hide the real reason behind our marriage breaking down.
I fought back and arranged for medical examination. It took three years but finally I was able to get a divorce from him.
In the past few years, I’ve been approached by many men. They assume that I left my husband only because I was not satisfied sexually and so sex is all they want from me.
I have desires, dreams and feelings but I want to express them only to the man who loves me, cares for me, understands my feelings and will be with me for life.
There is no dearth of people who judge me for what I have done. I hope they’d understand that women are not lifeless objects; even they have many feelings.
This is a true life-story of a woman who lives in southern India as told to BBC reporter Aishwarya Ravishankar. The woman’s identity has been kept anonymous on request.
Have you been affected by this story and would like to find out more information on the causes and treatments available for impotency? There is more information about erectile dysfunction here.
What is 100 women?
BBC 100 Women names 100 influential and inspirational women around the world every year and shares their stories. Find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and use #100Women