Since the last blog was about marriage counselling, and since my last book was carnal prose, this blog could only be about one thing: cooking.
No, I’m joking, don’t touch that remote. It’s sex.
I often joke to my friends that Indians don’t do sex. And they counter with the billion plus population. But I really do want to re-iterate: Having children has not much to do with sex. Not of the kind I’m talking about anyway. Just like food: we eat for survival, but we also eat for pleasure. And, we have sex to procreate, but we also have sex for fun. Or to express our feelings for a partner. Or to feel good. Or to make someone else feel good.
I was asked, after Slither came out, why Indian writers, most writers, in fact, fail at sex writing. I hadn’t thought about it, and I’m not qualified to make that judgement. But I did say that the answer might lay not in our skills as writers, but as sexual beings. I want to use this forum to explore this idea, and I encourage readers to join in the discussion. Let’s keep this serious folks, and not get all silly about it. Indians have a tendency to get silly about all things sexual.
For example, I was recently asked about a kiss in some film – I’m told there’s a controversy about whether or not it should stay in the film. Not having seen a Bollywood film in years and years, I had no idea this was still an issue. Especially as the song videos that play in the one Indian restaurant in my small town look to me like pornography in full clothing. I mean they are doing it all. All but penetration, that is. I think I’d rather watch honest pornography. There is something inherently ugly about the non-sex in the Bollywood song and dance. It makes me cringe, in spite of the undeniable beauty of the stars.
Seriously, is sex a problem in India? I have not lived there in over a decade, so I don’t know anymore. But, here’s an anecdote from my former life: I had this boyfriend. I assumed he felt about me the way I felt about him. We were young, and not in love of course, but definitely attracted in the way the young are. But, he wouldn’t physically respond to me in any way. In fact tried very hard to keep our relationship in public places. I mean movie theatres and restaurants. I finally asked him point blank what the problem was. He said, ‘after marriage’. I was appalled, and stopped seeing him. I was accused of being sex-obsessed, and various other things too. You know, the usual. But from my point of view, what if I married him – or anyone – and then found out he had limbs where he should not, or that he smelled like old socks?
You tell me, don’t you test drive cars before you buy them? And more important, don’t you learn to drive, and get a license even before that?
I remember being interviewed by Society magazine. I was asked how I felt about living with my boyfriend (different one from old socks). I know now the question was about sex, and not about sharing the utility bill. The journalist wouldn’t ask directly, and I didn’t catch on. I really just didn’t. I assume today lots more people are living with people they have sex with, and marriage is not a prerequisite to sex anymore. But now, that we are having more sex (of the non-procreating variety), are we having it well? Creatively? Satisfactorily? Most important, are we getting experienced enough to write about it well?
That’s where I was going with this: how are we supposed to write about something we know nothing about? Something we are not allowed to know about? or at the very least have to pretend not to know about?