Sex and sexuality are talked in hushed down tones inside the closed doors of our houses among our friends and people who we trust. Actually sometimes not even with them. It is not a topic conventionally discussed between parents and children. Millennials are bringing it out of the closed doors in metro cities and trying to make it normal but the older generation still insists on keeping mum on about it.
Our social conditioning is such that even now, I get uncomfortable when a sexual scene plays out on TV while watching a film or a condom ad comes when a movie or a TV series breaks. Have we made too big a deal about the word sex and anything associated with it? What keeps us away from discussing it if we’d wish to?
I remember studying (not really) about sex education in 10th standard. And what was the reaction among teachers? My Sanskrit teacher in one of her lectures exclaimed, “who teaches sex education, even birds can do it!” Can you believe it? This is why many girls get pregnant at a young age and partners get STDs and so much more.
At the Women Writers Fest in Mumbai, these and many other aspects of sexuality were discussed in a panel with Vinta Nanda, Deborah Grey, Harish Iyer and other panelists. It should be mandatory for sex to be normalised in the Indian society was the conclusion.
Author and journalist Deborah Grey insisted that sexuality for her is as normal as eating, sleeping and pooping. “You do all of that and you have sex, it is just a part of life. There is no point making a big deal out of it.”
“You get satisfaction from everything. If you had good rest, a great meal, it is so satisfying similarly when you get an orgasm it is utterly satisfying as it is almost like a spiritual experience,” she said while loudly exclaiming oh yes, oh yes!
Deborah Grey shared that on many occasions she was judged for her body. She recalled a few accounts when people called her breasts ‘chests’ because of her masculine demeanour.
Kankana Basu, whose recent put was an erotica novel agreed with Deborah. “Like a person has so many facets, sexuality is just another aspect of us. We are all a combination of so many things like aesthetic sense, creative area and sexuality is just another part of us.”
Vinta Nanda, the producer of famous program Tara with Navneet Nishaan blamed the society. “The society has blown the subject so out of proportion and so much focus is put on it which I think is just another part of us. And regarding alternate sexuality I think we have come a long way as just last week I was at a book launch soiree and we were asked to read out the most steamiest passage and in the audience we had my 89-year-old father, my son and a whole lot of other relatives and did not have the slightest qualm reading out about my character who was a cross-dresser and I feel 20 years ago probably this wouldn’t have been possible.”
But myths emerge and then stick around. As noted by the LGBT Community which is often seen fighting the stereotype that homosexuals prefer to be in the fashion or art businesses.
Activist, Harish Iyer says, “I know a lot of gay people who are in non-creative fields and the biggest misconception is that gay people only belong in fashion or writing or art etc.”
He further speaks to the audience and elaborates, “I have a problem with the word alternate as well when attached for LGBT people because for me heterosexuality is alternate sexuality.”
To this, Vinta Nanda, added that whatever you conform to is sexuality and other than that everything is alternate sexuality so everyone’s definition of alternate sexuality can be different. “I would say that being who you are is a very liberating experience. Therefore when you talk about sexuality it is just about liberation. And the more it is suppressed specially when it comes to alternate sexuality, we just see it face up more ferociously.”
As moderator Harini Calamur summed up, that sexuality is very personal and should not be characterized or boxed into a generic idea. People may have varying thoughts on it and no one should preach one and negate others. Being more open to ideas of sexuality and gender is all what we can do in the world to promote peace and happiness.