A Right for Pleasure?

By Nalin Jayathunga

A victim of waywardness, a source of harm they call
In this drinking weather, the clouds are raining
I am only a wish for the first rain of season
When there is nobody other than you and my body

Let them call me a victim, but I am an agent, an agent of sexual strength
I am only desiring, but you call me transgressing, that too in your own right
I have power in my desire of which I am not ashamed, just so you know
I only get a dime, why not give my right, a right for pleasure

Let them call me a disease, for all they know is too little
It is neither danger nor violence but pleasure
And moralistic, anti-sexual and body shame edict has no place
In my globe where I have a right for pleasure.

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Respect Sex Workers

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About the Author

Nalin Jayanthi is currently working towards her Masters' in International Relations from Nottingham Trent University. She obtained her Bachelor's in English from the University of Colombo, and previously worked as a Project Coordinator for the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KICA). Nalini notes that much of the discourse around sex workers has been limited to victimization, pathology and violence. Even though development sector work is key in addressing these issues through human rights, it is equally important to address the need for a right for pleasure. Therefore, rather than seeing the sex workers as victims of violence and abuse, this poem attempts to speak of their right for pleasure.