Okay, I’ll admit that heading isn’t entirely accurate. Talking about sex isn’t hard in India – at least it isn’t if you’re youngish and male. What I really wanted to discuss here isn’t why we can’t talk about sex. Like I said, we can (if you’re surprised, read on). What I wanted to discuss is why we can’t talk meaningfully about sex, without the haa haa hee hee, without the nudging and gesturing and without the general immaturity.
See, there’s a big difference between talking about sex and talking about sex like a frigging adult. I’ve been to high school in India. I’ve gone to engineering college in India. I’ve worked closely with young engineers in India. I know Indian guys talk about sex. They (that is to say, the uninitiated ones) talk about it like it’s some kind of shiny object in the sky that they want as soon as possible. They talk about it like it’s something they need to grab, grasp, enjoy for themselves. They talk about it like it’s just another toy they want, like a car they’d like to buy. And at that point, I tend to ask myself – aren’t they missing a little something here?
I’m not about to brag about the extent of my sexual experience here, but you see, I do have a little, and as far as I know, the act takes TWO people. You can’t just have sexual intercourse on your own, you need someone to have it with. And notice – I said someone not something.
The typical Indian guy’s view of sex seems a bit like this – Sex is like this awesome fruit. I need that fruit. I can’t get it on my own, so I have to get a tool to grab it. That tool is a woman. Ergo, I need a woman.
The woman is incidental, little more than an enabler. She’s not the point, the sex is. She doesn’t count, the physical act does. She’s like a keyboard on a computer – vitally important to what you’re trying to do, but not something you really think about or even want to have to think about.
To be fair, this is not something that’s uniquely Indian. I have a number of American and Canadian acquaintances who think similarly, and I’m sure the Europeans aren’t immune either. BUT, in India, unlike America, Canada and Europe, this seems to be pretty much the only point of view that exists. Not the dominant point of view. The ONLY point of view. It is accepted, completely and utterly, without any challenge whatsoever. Accepted in the same way that you might accept the sun rising in the east. If you try to question this notion, people look at you like you’re speaking Swahili.
Why is it accepted? Because we’re a sexually repressed nation.
Sex is dirty, wrong and thirty six different kinds of evil, so just brush it under the carpet. Send your son to grab a glass of water when there’s a condom ad on television. Protect your daughter’s innocence by protesting against sex education. You know the drill. Save Indian culture while you’re at it too. That’s how it works with ‘respectable’ folk in mainland India.
‘Respectable folk’ fail to understand that sexual repression, like most kinds of repression, doesn’t work. You can’t really effectively repress something as fundamental as sexuality. All sorts of people have tried it for thousands of years and haven’t succeeded.
See, kids are going to find out about sex sooner or later. This shit isn’t hard to figure out -it’s not meant to be hard. It’s arguably our only real purpose on earth.
What we can do, is deny people exposure to the modern, civilized way of thinking about sex. Leave them to caveman instincts, then rave about moral bankruptcy when it doesn’t work. Become an apologist for that repression. In other words, become a member of the ‘respectable’ clan.
It’s time we lifted the covers off this topic as well and let people know the realities of their own biology. The link between letting your teen attend sex ed and seeing a fall in sexual harassment (“eve-teasing”) may sound tenuous but is very real. Let’s cut those giggles and reserve them for inappropriate farts. Let’s wipe those stupid smirks off and bring some maturity here. Consensual sex is something that most of us want and enjoy – let’s acknowledge that as a fact instead of some kind of dirty secret.
The less we talk about it, the unhealthier and more ill-informed our actions get.
Let’s stop being ill-informed. Ignorance may be bliss for a while, but it is never a virtue and it catches up with you at some point in life. You don’t want to be at that point; let’s make sure none of us are.