‘Imagine a world where all sexual experiences are consensual, safe, and pleasurable’ reads the Instagram bio of digital creator Leeza Mangaldas, who seeks to normalise conversations about gender and sexuality.
From openly talking about sex toys to demystifying ‘female pleasure’, the 30-year-old influencer from Mumbai breaks down sex in a way that is easy to understand for her audience across YouTube and social media. “I get so many messages from women and vulva owners saying they had their first orgasm because my content helped them figure out their own pleasure…that is just so gratifying for me,” she remarks.
At a crucial juncture in life, when Mangaldas was navigating her own sexuality during her undergrad days at Columbia University, she recalls that she was supported with adequate information and healthcare resources due to the judgment-free ecosystem that existed there. She herself was a resident advisor in college where part of her job was to talk about topics like consent and point students to where they could access resources like contraception.
For Mangaldas, the content she creates is simply a way to recreate this space online and help facilitate crucial conversations about the human body, sex, and sexuality amongst other aspects. It was upon her return to Mumbai in 2012 that she felt the need for a safe space to initiate such conversations without shame and judgment.
“In [Indian] schools, there may be one chapter on the reproductive system or one session where the girls and boys are separated and the girls are told about periods,” she says. “Even finding a gynecologist as a sexually active unmarried person whom you can turn to for information and support is difficult,” she adds. As a result of the stigma and shame attached to sex and sexuality, most young people live ‘double lives’, Mangaldas feels, and can’t be their authentic selves in front of their parents, doctors, and teachers, and this is exactly that void she aims to fill by making sex education more accessible.
Dismantling taboos surrounding sexuality
The journey to becoming a full-time content creator was not straightforward for Mangaldas. After returning from New York in 2012, she started off as a TV presenter. She was quick to realise that mainstream media platforms would only explore topics that brands would pay for and that if she wanted to discuss ‘shush topics’ like sex, she would need her own platform. In 2017, she started her YouTube channel as a passion project and today it has amassed over 4.5 lakh subscribers. Ranging from the concepts of virginity and sex-positivity to practical advice about birth control and menstruation, Mangaldas covers a whole gamut of otherwise silenced topics. But, creating content in this…
Read More: How This Influencer is Using Her Content to End The Stigma Around Sex