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I remember my business communication class in MBA. We were asked to talk on a recent article that made us take notice and why. I spoke about sex.
Yes, in a room of 120 students, I went up to the podium witnessing every snigger and cringing over the repeated use of the word sex. It made me wonder why was this considered a bold or a controversial topic? I ended with the question “If the mere mention of the word that is an empirical proof of our very existence makes us giggle foolishly, shouldn’t we be questioning our existence as well?”. Thankfully my teacher agreed and I got an A in the project.
But the better part of the story is that I was able to change some of the perceptions in that room about talking about this topic – sex.
One of the main characters of a popular sitcom lists 50 reasons of having sex. While she is able to list 49 reasons, her husband finishes the list with the last one, the reason being love. Yes, sex is a wonderful way to express your love to your partner and it feels absolutely magical with the right person, but here is the thing, it doesn’t always have to be that. Much of the guilt that come after a break up is probably because of this fact, “I slept with him so I should be with him, if not, I am a slut.”
The popular notion remains that for a woman to have sex, she has to be invested in the relationship emotionally. Research conducted on women in college campuses in USA show that women tend to think that even a hook up will lead to a relationship eventually. While I agree that the general picture that is painted of a women wanting to have more than just sex may be true, that does not mean exceptions doesn’t exist. Most importantly, the exceptions that exist are actually are not wrong (or sluts).
Have you seen Margarita with a straw?
For those you who haven’t, it is a story about a woman suffering from cerebral palsy trying to find the normal way of living and coming in terms with her sexuality. For me, one of the defining scenes was when she admits to her girlfriend that she cheated on her with a man simply because she was attracted to him and he thought that she was beautiful. She doesn’t do it to pursue a relationship, she only had sex to feel good about herself.
I don’t propagate cheating. But, I did admire her character because of the fact that she was honest about the real reason behind the sex. Sometimes, the real reason is not love when it comes to having sex. In other words, having sex is not always about making love. I know a host woman in my circle who have had one night stands not for love. But we belong to a society where the morning after comes crashing down on us. We somehow tend to deviate towards the reason that it must have meant something. Because we really can’t be as emotionally detached and frivolous as men are when it comes to having sex. Another generalisation, I do not quite agree with – men can do it without any emotional investment.
The only good thing about the movie Pardes was Apoorva Agnihotri’s speech on the hypocrisy of Indians about Sex (Remember him?). He tells Mahima Chaudhry (his fiancé) that having premarital sex is such a big deal in a nation where the population is through the roof, in his words “bachche paida karne ke mamle mein subse aage!”. That’s actually another topic for another article. But Indian movies (and the culture) has always stressed on the fact, that sex (and god forbid pre-marital) is all about being pure and for probably one sole purpose – to have kids.
Thank god that has changed!
What has not changed is our acceptance of the “sinful” thoughts that come and go in our mind. The fact that the 49 reasons stated by Lily from How I Met Your Mother can in reality exist. Sex can be all about everything else other than love for women. Which in no way is a demeaning my race, it is just natural. And this acceptance actually makes it easier to talk about it as well with your partner.
There has to be a need to not brush this word under the topic, certainly not by us educated lot. At the end of it all, when you do make love, it is as beautiful as it can get. But every single time you have sex, one thing trumps it and that is respect. Before you start to call a woman a slut or a man an ass for having sex for reasons other than love, respect their point of view.
In a world of grey shades, accept it like any other color and stop sniggering (or frowning) towards people having sex without being in Love.