Everywhere around us, we see/hear/read messages concerning sexuality. But are they ever directly about sexuality? Do we ever come across positive and healthy discussions on different kinds of sexualities? Rarely to never is our guess.
But in reality, sexuality is everywhere. It is often hidden, often bold and in your face. It is expressed through the awkward questions that children ask about where they come from. The proof of its suppression lies in the common response of disgust that children have when the truthful answer to that question is given. But sexuality is beyond the act of sex. It is apparent in the way one dresses up. Or chooses a particular shirt over another. Or the way one walks. Or talks.
Sexuality has much to do with the choices people make in every aspect of their life. It gets reflected in the way we or people around us label us. For instance, the act of calling oneself “Gay” proudly and being called gay by bullies around you are both expressions of very different positive and negative facets of sexuality respectively.
Media is also a very important source of messages on sexuality. Whether they are advertisements of perfumes, Salman Khan’s bulging muscles or the numerous item numbers- sexuality is everywhere. It is pervasive. It is everyday.
But do we get to see all its sides? Do we get to see sexuality in all its forms? Are some forms more acceptable than others?
There is one story which we do hear. That too again and again. That of marriage. In the Indian context, marriage is that institution gives social sanction to sexual relations between men and women. But even this comes with so many conditions! The most easily accepted and commonplace marriages are those which take place between men and women from similar backgrounds, which in the Indian society would imply the same caste, class and religious locations. Besides these rules, many unwritten rules about how men and women should behave also exist. For instance, men should be the breadwinners and masculine, while women should be nurturing, caring and submissive to men. And yes, even if love marriages are being increasingly accepted, only certain marriages are accepted whole-heartedly and so many are still policed and opposed.
But is marriage the only channel of expressing one’s sexuality? No! It is definitely one legitimate route, but there are so many more!
Now, you would say, but people talk about love these days. Oh yes, they do. They always have. Bollywood films have only and only been about love. A hero and a heroine struggling to keep their love alive despite the millions of obstacles that come their way! That’s the story we grew up listening to. But who are the people we see on screen? The rough and tough handsome man and the petite and shy girl! Also, one sees that that inevitable connection being made between sex and love. Even in Hollywood, whose films are supposed to be so much more progressive that us, people may begin sexual relationships with the intention of never falling in love, but always end up falling in love all the same.
No, we don’t hate love. We love love. In all its shades. It should be celebrated, talked about. Perhaps more than it is now. But should we only talk about it and no other expression of sexuality? And should love always be talked about in the context of sex. Can there be no asexual love, which is just as romantic?
Romance is an amazing idea! It has inspired generations of artists, given us the songs we listen to when we feel lonely, given us the books we so love. But there can be people who personally don’t subscribe to the ideals of romance, courtships and marriages. They may want to express their sexuality with people they may have no intention of being romantic with or even eventually falling in love with. And there is nothing wrong with that! What matters is that everyone involved in that equation is aware of what the intention of the other person is. Tricking someone to have sex with you by faking emotional attachment is wrong. But, expressing one’s sexuality without any romantic feelings, as long as the other person is aware of the arrangement, is just another way of life. Nothing more, nothing less.
There are also people who do not wish to have sex with others. At all! Does it make them automatically less sexual as people? Everyone is different. Everyone has a different style of expressions. Whether that expression be of work, of friendships, or even Sexuality. Some people may just want to keep their feelings to themselves. Not do anything about it. They may wish to keep their sexual words- which may have as many desires and fantasies as anybody else’s to themselves. The immediate understanding of such people is that –oh they are shy! They can’t get anyone even after having tried! But that may not be the case each time. How would we know unless we have actually engaged with that person? There are people who can very well approach people, but do not wish to. And that is perfectly okay!
At one point, people used to be shamed because they express their sexuality too freely. The opposite is true too these days. If people wish to not act upon their sexual desires, that too is policed and ridiculed! Isn’t that funny? Shouldn’t everyone be allowed to be themselves? Wouldn’t that make life much more interesting? As long as nobody is being bothered, actively hurt, live and let love. And let not love too. 🙂