Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on FIT.
If you have any problems, doubts or queries regarding sex, sexuality or your relationship, which you can’t seem to deal with, or need some advice, answers or just someone to hear you out – write in to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop in a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s Q&As below:
‘I Like Men From Economically Challenged Backgrounds. Am I Weird?’
Dear RainbowMan, ,
First of all, thank you so much for starting this wonderful column. I’m a doctor who has just finished his MD. From childhood I am more attracted to men rather than women. I’m currently 32 years old. Over the past few years I started developing some weird attraction towards men. I get more attracted to my building watchmen, sweeper or blue-collar workers. I feel very scared to express this feeling to my friends. I believe they won’t like this and will not understand. I’m a well settled guy, if I get a guy of my choice, I would not mind getting settled with him, no matter what class he belongs to or what work he does. I am just worried about society. You think my friend circle and close family members will accept my partner.
There are many other factors involved as well in this. Even if I start dating a someone from a modest family, will he feel comfortable coming with me for parties or to expensive places? I’m very confused.
Dear Confused mind.
You are a beautiful soul for whom class and caste don’t seem to matter. That’s how perfect the world should be.
Don’t doubt your perfection. There is nothing weird about your attraction towards men. It is normal. It is natural. It is instinctive. And there is nothing wrong or weird about your attraction towards a certain type of men. It is real. It is true. It is natural.
Why should it be weird when we fantasise people who are lower in the economic ladder, when it is not weird when we fantasise about those who are affluent and high up in the economic ladder like actors, filmmakers sportspersons and their likes?
Regarding settling down with your partner, are we jumping the gun here? We will cross the bridge when we reach it. Your first step is love. May you find love and let that love be the truest and purest.
We do have a long way to go. Queer people are not special people. The same challenges of caste and class run deep within the queer community. In fact, it gets magnified with our different realities intersecting with each other.
Isn’t it already a sign of progression that we are worried about people’s reaction regarding the class of our lover than the gender of our lover? Sadly, If we get progressive in one way, we also stick to our regressive mind-set in other ways.
Yes, there would be challenges. Not all people will be accepting. But love needs the validation of lovers, not the world. I firmly believe that true love will find acceptance. It will take time. But it will reach there.
Keep the faith.
P.S. Love sees no class. Love is the class.
‘I Don’t Like Having Sex With Men’
I am a married woman and am 34 years old. I got married at the age of 30. It was a late marriage because I was very reluctant to get married. The issue is, I don’t like sex. I desire it sometimes, but those times come once in a blue moon. Even when I am feeling sexual, I would rather masturbate myself to an orgasm rather than have a man. I also thought I could be gay. However, even when I tried kissing one of my lesbian friends, it didn’t feel right either. I don’t think I love sex. Or even like sex. What am I going through?
Dear Finding Nemo,
Thank you for sharing with me. Just as it is natural for people to feel any attraction towards a certain gender or more than one gender, it is also natural for people to feel no attraction towards any gender. Similarly, it is okay for you not defining your emotions based on sexual attractions. You could feel love and feel no or very low desire to make love.
You could call yourself asexual. Or you could also choose to not define yourself in that manner or put yourself in those boxes. It is your body. It is your choice. It is okay. It is natural. You are natural the way you are.
Here is a blog about asexuality.
I am aware of social realities. I know that the social construct and hierarchy is such that heterosexually married women find very little or no voice when it comes to will in sexual activity. However, I would urge you to find your independent voice. I urge you to meet people who could be thinking like you and find comfort from each other’s stories. At first, I urge you to see a counsellor and create a support system around yourself. Find ways to communicate with your partner about what you really feel about the sexual encounters.
It would be nice if this conversation is deeply rooted in science and love, because there is a chance that this conversation could drift into a direction where you both start feeling inadequate to satisfy each other.
Because remember, there is nothing wrong with you. You are love even if you don’t feel like making love.
P.S. Things get better.
‘Why is Sonam Kapoor Spreading Homosexuality?’
I support LGBT people. Don’t get me wrong. I am an ally. However, I don’t know why should we make a big show about it in films all the time. Films influence young minds. My son is a fan of Sonam Kapoor. My son is just 13 years old. He is a school-going boy. He read some article regarding Sonam Kapoor playing a gay character in Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga and told me “now isn’t it cool that people are coming out as gay? It is so cool”. I think he is getting influenced by films and may someday come out and experiment. I understand LGBT rights, but why do this display in films? Is there some way the censor should stop it? What if he decides to take up homosexuality? I am not regressive or a homophobe. Don’t get me wrong, I am just a concerned mom.
Dear Concerned Momma,
Let me begin by thanking you for sharing your concerns so openly and so decently with me. No, I don’t think you are a homophobe, if you ask a question and clear out your concerns directly with a homosexual person.
I acknowledge and recognise the space you are coming from, a teenaged child is always bubbling with enthusiasm. Teenage is the definitive years of one’s life. I understand that your fears are not coming from the space of homophobia, but concern. And it is normal for a parent to be concerned about her child’s future. More so, because you are aware that non-heterosexual relationships don’t have it as easy always as heterosexual relationships. I want you to know that I am not rubbishing your fears and I am with you in this moment.
Coming to your question, firstly, till the film actually releases, it is only speculative that this is a queer themed film. Now, if this is a queer themed film with Sonam Kapoor playing a lesbian character, (which I also think is the case, from the trailer. And I also trust Sonam to depict the character perfectly well and it to be socially positive. And more than even Sonam I blindly trust my friend, the story writer – Gazal Dhaliwal) your son will learn that he should not despise homosexuals (just as you don’t despise homosexuals) or any person for who they love or what their gender is. He will become a better human being by consuming queer sensitive cinema.
Now coming to a film influencing your son to “take up homosexuality”, homosexuality is not a homework assignment. He will grow up to be who is, just as you and I grew up to be who we are. There are thousands of children across India who grow up with parents who do not listen to them and despise them for their sexuality. Many children try to take their lives, I know this, because many times, I have been the last call dialled. I know your child, with your support and understanding will have a better future, if he is not heterosexual. I am certain, that you will want the best for your child and the best is, when he grows up, to be the truest version of the person that he is, rather than putting up an act of falseness.
Also, it would be interesting to take notice of the fact that I am a homosexual. Everyone in my family, to the best of my knowledge, is heterosexual. All the films I saw till a very few films like Philadelphia and Kal Ho Na Ho and My Brother Nikhil came to life, were all heterosexual love stories. I didn’t turn heterosexual. Because I cannot turn heterosexual. I can only be who I am.
I am not saying that he is gay. But what if he is? Will you stop loving him? Will your love for him reduce if he loves another man? If you believe in personal liberty of your child, does that personal liberty come with the condition of heterosexuality?
It all boils down to one question. Do you want your child to live a life of lies or do you wish that he embraces his truth. Whatever that may be, heterosexuality or homosexuality?
Now speaking about the film specifically, you and I should really be bothered about violence in films, vulgar item songs and other vices in the celluloid.
Shouldn’t we all get positively influenced by a film that gets you to love and respect love in all forms and teaches us that it is wrong to discriminate? I really wish the film has a U/A or U certificate where children get to see and understand that love is not monochromatic, it comes in all colours of all genders and all sexualities.
There is hardly anything that children cannot be exposed to these days. It becomes important to let their morality take the stand of equality and freedom irrespective of what they watch.
Regarding actors speaking about homosexualitY - it began with Celina Jaitley, who spoke about LGBT rights when it wasn’t even in the news.
Regarding Sonam Kapoor, well, she is a real champion for LGBTIQ rights. She is someone who walks the talk. Your son has the right ideals if he loves people like Sonam Kapoor and follows her advice against homophobia. He will grow up to be a fine human being.
Do join me in wishing Sonam, Gazal, Shelly and everyone huge success for Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga. And I would urge you to book two tickets, for yourself and your son – first day, first show.
P.S. Sonam deserves love and praise. I am certain she would influence your son. For the good.
(The text and the location has been edited to protect the identity of the people. You can send in your questions to email@example.com.)
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals.)
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