Some of us buy cologne, some of us improve our manners, some of us become nice to the opposite sex, some buy cars, some take fancy apartments on rent and some even take the extreme step of marrying: all for that one thing we are obsessed about, sex.
But for all the obsession around sex in India, a peculiar feature stands out, namely, we are terrible at it. Frustration is celebrated as a virtue, indulgence is condemned as sin.
The only ones that rejoice from this conflict of instinct and morals, are advertisers and marketing chaps who bombard us with sexual innuendos and explicit media content, no matter how mundane the product is (I am referring to the cement ad where a girl in a bikini walks out of the ocean). Our obsession has reduced the need for them to be creative. No doubt, they are happy with it.
The result is that the average Indian is sexually frustrated and should the opportunity for sex present itself, there is confusion thanks to porn and articles such as “100 ways to please a man” and “100 ways to please a woman”. No wonder then, that a significant percentage of Indian marriages are failing due to sexual incompatibility. Having mediated many such failing marriages as a lawyer, I am at a point where I ask myself if it is really that complicated?
After all we breathe and eat without any such strings or contexts, then why is sex that difficult? For one, sex has stopped being understood as an instinct and instead been glorified as an art. Secondly, all our moral and religious code has reduced sexuality to the penis and the vagina, instead of perceiving sexuality in terms of personalities. A man or a woman is more than just their waste expulsion organs, they are unique individuals with psychiatric and physiological characteristics that govern their life. Unless sexuality is perceived from the point of view of personality instead of genital organs alone, we will never truly overcome our problems with sex.
Victor Frankel in his book “Man’s search for Meaning” defines love as a sort of mutual curiosity and a journey of self discovery through mutual discovery. In his work, love is not understood in terms of how long lasting it is; but rather how intimate its practitioners can become. In that sense, sex is not that different. In the overall process of mutual discovery, understanding each other’s mind and mindset is one component, but understanding each other’s body is the other side of the same coin. This is where sex plays an important role and this is where most of us fail.
In our effort to find pleasure ourselves, we forget this journey of discovering the other person. As a man, a woman’s body and mind is a subject of profound importance to me. Not only are we men intrigued by their thought process (and often exasperated by their mysterious ways), but a woman’s body is a source of comfort, beauty and joy, most of which, is not even sexual. This intrigue or curiosity, should define our approach to making love to a woman. The questions we should ask ourselves during the entire process of entering into sexual relations (whether involving intercourse or not), is who is this girl? What does she like and dislike?
What makes her laugh in joy? What does she not enjoy? Be it the act of foreplay or actual penetration, as long as one remains intrigued by these questions and patiently and sincerely pursues an answer, I suspect it will be an enjoyable experience for both the parties. Therefore, sex is not so much about learning or studying the techniques.
On the other hand it is about unlearning and embracing it as an instinct, because left unpolluted by societal values, the most fundamental human instinct is caring and non violent. There are no 100 ways to please a man or a woman, there are just three such ways, viz., be sincere, be absolutely candid and be selfless in one’s expressions of affection. That’s why we use the word intimacy as synonymous with sex.
Literature and media have reduced sex to a set of techniques and hyped it up to be a supernatural experience. This raises expectations and induces nervousness where there ought to be confidence. Under the circumstances unlearning can become difficult, but not impossible. To begin with understanding of the male and female bodies definitely helps. The human anatomy is connected by an intricate network of nerves, which contribute significantly to pain and pleasure perception. Although I theorise that each individual’s network of nerves are unique, the act of love making should involve the discovery of these networks.
Secondly, little bit of science doesn’t hurt. What is safe sex? What is healthy and what is unhealthy? How does one create a safe framework for experimenting? How does hygiene come into the picture in an act that clearly involves exchange of bodily fluids? What is the nexus between mind and body when it comes to sexual relations? Equipping oneself with elementary knowledge of human health and sexuality, certainly lowers inhibitions and increases confidence. But to us, pornography has become our mentor which explains why the whole act of sex has become devoid of good instinct.
Thirdly, at the risk of contradicting myself, eventually one should discover selfishness by being selfless.
It is important for both parties in a relationship to find happiness in their time spent together. Unless each of the actors in the act of love making enjoy themselves while making love to the other, the circle of intimacy will be incomplete. In a spiritual sense, intimacy is losing the notion of separate existence and becoming conscious of a deeper connection. In that space, there is no difference between the pleasure the other person is experiencing and one’s own sense of pleasure. Therefore, beyond a point, selfishness and selflessness lose meaning and become one and the same.
Last but not the least, try and have fun. As Ran Gavrieli put it in his talk on ted, nothing good can come out of an encounter between a man and a woman if they cannot even share a laugh together. Whether a one night stand, friends with benefits, live in relationships or marriage, creating an atmosphere of intimacy involves being playful with each other, sharing a good laugh together and just generally retreating into a world where just two souls exist.
Symbolically, sex is an humbling experience, an act of surrender and letting go and to have that trust rewarded with comfort and warmth. So in 2015, let us resolve to be healthier people, mentally and physically and lets all promise ourselves to be find happiness unperturbed by fictions and an exaggerated fear of judgement.
Read More By Ashok G.V.