I was lucky enough to have Yasmeena – Afghanistan’s only pornstar – on LustCast. The conversations I usually have are fun and about getting better at sex or relationships. But speaking to Yasmeena was a reminder that sex can be serious too and in conservative cultures can even get you killed.
There are not many pornstars from Muslim backgrounds, I can only think of six in the entire industry worldwide. That’s not to say it’s a Muslim thing. In general, you will find that pornstars tend to come from more liberal cultures regardless of religion.
For example, there are over a billion Indians but I don’t know any that have come to Europe or America in search of a career in porn.
Even within Europe, there are stark differences. There are very few porn performers coming from socially conservative Poland or Italy but many coming from the Liberal UK and France.
So it was fascinating to talk to Yasmeena about how she went from a strict Muslim background – raised under Taliban rule in Afghanistan in her early years – to being a super open-minded porn performer.
Afghanistan and The Taliban
Yasmeena’s story started in Afghanistan where she remembered The Taliban taking over and feeling a sense of dread and disbelief about what was happening.
She paints an incredibly vivid picture of what life is like in Afghanistan. I’d read stories in the news but ultimately I just assumed that most people just live normal lives and the stories we hear are the extremes or exceptions.
I was so wrong. It was shocking and disturbing to learn of the extreme violence and brutality that was part of everyday life in Afghanistan.
And I couldn’t believe that people actually followed the rule about not educating women and girls and keeping them hidden from the world. I figured most people would want to educate their children. Yasmeena blew my mind so many times in this podcast.
Yasmeena was lucky that her family helped the British during the invasion of Afghanistan and she was able to move to the UK. This gave her access to education and I found it humbling to see the power of education to liberate her.
I realised I take education for granted and that ultimately it’s education that frees your mind. If you are uneducated you are like a prisoner to other people’s whims, be it your family, a government or a corporation. It really made me think.
We also talked about sex education in strict Muslim households. It seems similar to what I saw in strict Christian households where sex education is denied and then the parents are surprised when their children learn about sex from porn.
Only Yasmeena’s Afghan background means that it can get a lot darker than that. We talked about some difficult subjects around Islam and sexuality, including forced marriages and rape.
Making Afghan porn
So how did Yasmeena become the first-ever pornstar from Afghanistan? It was all about education again. Yasmeena was lucky enough to participate in sex education classes at her school.
This was her first real exposure to sex. She tried masturbating but in general, she kept herself sexually repressed until she managed to escape from her strict family life.
It took a lot of soul-searching to accept her sexuality and start exploring it, first in private and then with others.
It was a long gradual process that culminated in her finding her husband, David.
David is a photographer and Yasmeena liked the photos he was taking of other girls. She asked him to take her photos because she wanted to look beautiful like the girls she saw in his pictures.
One thing led to another and she kept pushing her limits, eventually discovering webcam, then BDSM and finally pornography.
Anything I say here won’t do Yasmeena justice so I’d urge everyone to go watch or listen to the podcast. I’m really proud of it and I think it’s the best one I made so far.
As the only pornstar from Afghanistan, Yasmeena has a fascinating story to tell and she tells it with intelligence, humour and warmth.
And the important issues Yasmeena brings up around women’s rights and human rights are important for everyone, not just porn models.