Dear Amma,

In my 19 years of life, I haven’t really had sexual feelings for anyone. I don’t even feel like being particularly romantic with anyone. Does this make me incapable of love?


Dear Macchi

First of all, what you’re feeling right now is perfectly normal and it definitely does not make you incapable of love. It isn’t necessary for you to be sexually or even romantically attracted towards anyone. I hope you’re acquainted with the concept of “Asexuality”. It is a sexual orientation which basically signifies a lack of sexual attraction towards others. Within this asexuality spectrum fall the “aromantics” or “aros”. An aro refers to any individual who experiences little or no romantic attraction.

Now that I have familiarised you to these sexual identities, let us come back to your problem. Not being able to feel sexually or romantically for another individual doesn’t mean you cannot love them at all. We all feel platonic and familial love for those who really matter to us, be it our friends or our family.

I understand, my little idli, that when you look around at people falling in love, it might appear all beautiful and delightful. You may feel afraid or worried that you may never experience that happiness and might just feel a little left out. But I want you to understand that romantic love isn’t everything. It is often considered that romantic love is a level following platonic love. But, I believe they’re just two different kinds of love that are equally powerful in their respective spectrums.

So instead of viewing romance as something better than platonic love, try perceiving the two as equal. Try channeling your energy, that one would put into a romantic relationship, towards your platonic relationships. Embrace your friendships, dear chutney, and love your friends with the power they deserve. Because at the end of the day, love is love, be it someone you have sex with or someone who had sex and came to you first to talk about it.

I will leave you with my final suggestion. Try to not box yourself under any one identity. Feel free to explore and do not shy away from new experiences. After all, life is short and love is for everyone!

Sex Amma

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The act of making love (or making babies), maybe that’s how we explain the three-letter word that is SEX. Sex, an activity that gives comfort to some and discomfort to some others when talked out loud.


In retrospect, my nimble pre-high school mind was told by a couple of so-called “corrupted” friends that sex is basically, “jab bade log nude hoke pyaar karte hai“. The image of a man and a woman, hugging passionately bare naked and kissing each other. That’s it. Nothing much but still more raunchy than Bollywood songs showing scenes of flower pollination back in the 90s.


Again, I could never think that anyone other than a societal pair of a man and woman would engage in this lovemaking because I of course, didn’t know same-sex couples could exist. It’s a shame that my generation was introduced first to cuss words like “faggot” before terms like LGBTQ.


Anyway, this whole sex thing just sparked a slow-burning fire of curiosity in me, rather than lust or infatuation. Still, that was early childhood, age of being satisfied with whatever my normal happy middle-class life offered me, rather than craving for more. I was happy enough to see a bikini-clad model on a misogynistic page of Delhi Times or a late-night telecast of FTV. I, of course, used to feel guilty about viewing such stuff and being pleased about it.


I used to feel the same guilt after I started masturbating a few years later. Maybe, we all share that guilt at one point or the other. And this is the tale of my normal sexual awakening. I’ve had friends who faced other kinds of guilt. One of my 10th-grade friends felt guilty that he started fantasising about male celebrities just like how the majority of the boys in my class were busy lusting on the female ones. Another of my 10th-grade friends felt guilty on masturbating itself, as she felt masturbation is a taboo for girls.


And such guilts exist mostly when society starts getting prude. It’s this prudeness that we need to remove, in order to normalise sex, sexuality and sex education.


Of course, this does not imply for all the kiddies; they should have their own time and space to explore their body and traditionally, giving sex education might seem like you’re telling them “18+ stuff”. The problem is with this concept itself. Sex education isn’t always “18+ stuff” that’s to be hushed when the kid is young. We are talking about a normal physical activity, not a pornographic fantasy.


Apart from the inner workings of the body, we should all be educated well on how normal an occurrence is sex. In certain societies of this country, we look at sex as something very special and maybe the whole specialness takes away the normalcy. It’s then when sex begins to be seen as something abnormal, a taboo.


These days, the kids are getting smarter and smarter. They won’t be fooled if you tell them that babies fall from the sky or any one of those tales. Before they enter adulthood, they must be educated in bad touch, consent and the very fact that sex is normal.


They’re to be told that it’s normal for any gender to make love with each other. And just like any normal collective decision that we take in our normal life, we need to ask too. You call up someone for a party; you ask him or her. You choose a college course; you ask your parents (although ideally, you should just ask yourself). Similarly, it’s perfectly normal if you want to get productive in this reproductive task but ASK FIRST. And this should be one of the basic tenets of Sex Ed for any layperson.


Consent is something which should be kept in mind even if you are naked with your lover. A friend of mine told me how she knew this man who was having sex with his lady, putting a condom on and then suddenly stopped mid-way, removed the condom and resumed entering her. It shocked me how the chap didn’t even ask his partner before engaging in raw love making. Sex isn’t a one-person act; therefore, just considering the opinions of one person in a sexual union is a real “dick move”.


To put it in a nutshell, educating a youngling on sex focusses less on how to do it but more on what to do before you do it. If sex is something that adults do, then better grow up when you do it. Your bed should be thought of more as a sensual space of consent and being content for making love rather than a set-piece for making hardcore porn.


So, this was my story of how my mind opened up to sex and everything associated with it because you see, it’s not just the reproductive parts that should be involved in this act but also your productive mind!


Featured Image Credits: Salt n Peppa

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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Directed by Shonali Bose, this heart-warming story about young Laila suffering from cerebral-palsy and undergoing life changing experiences is an underrated gem that you must watch.

Margarita with a Straw begins with a montage of simplicity, with sequences of a disabled girl taking active part in routine family car rides and having fun with college mates. This cuts to a scene where Laila (played to perfection by Kalki Koechlin), in her wheelchair is being carried by two men to the upper floor of her college. Kalki’s expressions evoke Laila’s disgust with this way of transport.

Unlike other portrayals of differently abled characters in Bollywood, the viewers aren’t made to feel pitiful or sorry for Laila. Laila is like everyone else. She makes mistakes and owns up to them. Her explorations might hurt others emotionally, but she is unapologetic for undertaking her journey.

Revathy, who plays Laila’s Aai is earnest and sincere. She is understanding yet a typical prude Indian woman who can neither accept that her daughter has a boyfriend nor that she watches porn. Still her apprehensions to accepting her daughter’s sexual preferences are not melodramatic; they are subtle, veiled and anti-climactic.

This isn’t a coming out story, or a love story. Rather, it is a journey of a young girl, going through changes, going into the real world, breathing in independence and exploring her sexuality and preferences.

It takes her half the film and romantic relationships with four different characters to finally say that she is bisexual. The film takes liberty in not only making others realise that Laila is attracted to both men and women, but also lets the audience see how she herself comes to that conclusion.

The clear distinction between a lesbian (Sayani Gupta’s brilliant Khanum) and bisexual is a feat achieved by this film because it clearly and aptly represents not one, but two people identifying in different ways with the LGBTQ+ community.

The depiction of Laila’s journey isn’t like a fierce roller coaster ride. It is like water currents of a river, which eventually end up finding its way to the calmness of the sea. It is an emotional, compassionate and humanistic portrayal which will certainly move you.

Feature Image Credits: Variety

Sakshi Arora
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