Jasmine Aziz is the sort of woman you want to become BFFs with immediately. The Ottawa-born writer has an infectious energy and is as frank as Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones.
Aziz calls herself a “retired vibrator seller and poster child for masturbation.” She was inspired to share her experiences as a Fantasia party host in her new novel, Sex & Samosas.
Exploring themes of sexual awakening and female empowerment, it is a hilarious romp of self-discovery.
As a 32-year-old South Asian woman, protagonist Leena was taught that “Sex is very simple dimple. You just let him do what he need do and count to forty in your head. When it be over, you make dahl.”
Although she was born in North America, Leena doesn’t question her arranged marriage and has never dated. Most importantly, she has been taught that sex is “the man’s domain.” A woman’s domain is “the dahl.”
Leena’s journey of self-discovery begins after she attends a Fantasia party.
The novel begins with a party scene, where Leena is shocked by the openness of the “drunken Western women,” who dole out high-fives and fellate bread sticks to demonstrate sexual accomplishments.
Aziz says the queer community will relate to her book.
“My gay friends loved it,” she says, insisting it’s a story about self-love and masturbation, regardless of sexual preference.
With guidance from her sexually liberated best friend, Mahjong, Leena buys her first G-string and rents a same-sex porno. She soon learns that women can own their sexuality and eventually begins to embrace hers for the first time.
With a few more nudges from Mahjong, Leena goes at it solo, surprising even herself at what turns her on.
“I’m most fond of when she goes grocery shopping with crotchless panties after a Brazilian wax,” says Aziz. “Everything she touches becomes something erotic. It’s a redeeming scene because it is also a public moment, and Leena becomes alive with herself.”
She says she had a hard time finding a publisher.
“I didn’t think that masturbation as a theme was such a big deal, but I met a lot of resistance,” says Aziz, who eventually decided to self-publish and get unabashedly honest about sex.
Aziz laughs about the scene linked to the book’s title. “It occurs to [Leena] that the triangle shape of the samosa is that of her own shape, and she becomes aroused” until eventually, “she accidentally performs cunnilingus on a samosa in front of her husband.”
The novel is funny, but it also has a serious message. Aziz wrote it during a hard breakup and says it helped her to heal. “As a woman, you have to love yourself first,” she says. “I’ve had some beautiful emails from women saying that after reading my book they learned something about their bodies that they didn’t know.”