(Trigger Warning: Some questions could make you feel agitated. Reader discretion is advised.)
Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on FIT.
If you have any queries regarding sex, sexuality, or your relationship, and need some advice, answers, or just someone to hear you out – write in to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop-in a mail to email@example.com.
This week’s Q&As are below:
‘I Am in Love With My Professor’
So, I have been in love with my teacher for the past 3 years who is twice my age. To be specific I'm 23 and he is 46. Such feelings never have occurred to me until I met him when I joined the college. I have confessed my feelings for him from the very onset. He has always respected my feelings but at the same time, he says he cannot reciprocate it back since I'm his student. Moreover, he is associated with a religious body and that his life is drastically different than mine. The fact that my feelings are not reciprocated has always been the primary cause of my sadness. I have even tried changing my college a few times but due to some reasons, I haven’t been able to.
I constantly daydream about him, about us getting married and having kids together and staying together which gives me enormous momentary pleasure but when the reality sets in it hurt a lot. I have discussed with him several times on this issue and he has always been incredibly patient in hearing me out. He cares about me which gives me a little ray of hope that maybe he admires me too.
Once I asked him a question if he would change his mind once I stand on my own feet. He said that he would answer me when the time is appropriate. The way he cares about me is different than other student and he is very concerned about me and always advised me to focus on my studies. He is also the first person that I could share my deepest secrets with so I'm quite attached to him. I have cried, tried avoiding him, got angry because of what I felt but he never treated me badly. In fact, we are still in contact. I'm yet to give my final year exam which is on halt due to this pandemic since March.
When my feelings are not reciprocated, it hurts a lot. It has even led me to wonder if something is wrong with me or that if maybe I change things about myself he would start liking me.
If only you could suggest me something to deal with this. I've tried things on my part too.
Please do respond.
Regards, Troubled Student
Dear Troubled Student,
Thank you so much for writing in.
Love transcends age, religion, and even geographies. I am sure that with all the aches and butterflies, there would also be unbridled joys that just being in love brings.
Irrespective of your status as student and teacher, as adults, you both are free to love each other, if you want to. The truth is though that you are fond of him immensely, and probably he treats you differently because you are different from other students. You are certainly more expressive with him and share a very special bond with him which is highlighted by the fact that you don’t mind sharing secrets with him.
Love is a special feeling. It expands as we expend.
You are in love with the idea of him. He is open and receptive to receiving the kind words of praise that you shower on him. This may be his way of reciprocation. This reciprocation in kindness is his way of showing gratitude for the respect that you show towards him. Besides, it is also the hallmark of a decent human being – to be kind and accepting.
Wish one could read minds and tell how he would react to our love and dreams of a future together.
The reality is that we could spend the rest of our life in the hope that love would germinate in another’s heart as much as it does in ours. But one needs to make their mind at some point – do we want to spend all our lives in anticipation of another’s reaction or should we get on with our lives and let love happen when it happens if it happens.
We cannot help but feel stagnated in thoughts when we don’t let love flow. Let love flow. Don’t hold on. Let it flow.
Beyond him, look at life in its entirety. Give yourself time for yourself beyond imaginations and desires of being with him. I believe life will surprise you if you do let life free from the clutches of expectations of a particular kind.
Let life surprise you.
P.S I am not asking you to let go, but see if you want to go with the flow.
‘I Want to Have Sex Outside Our Relationship’
I am a 30 yr old guy and in a relationship with this girl aged 22 years for about 2 years. Neither have I been in a relationship earlier nor has she. We both love each other and take care of each other really well. We have a huge amount of respect for each other. Due to the long-distance relationship, we hardly met for 4-5 times in these 2 years
When we met last time we did normal stuff like kissing and hugs but when we got to the intimate part she didn't give me permission for that and said "I found this bad, thoughts of family confidence in me come into what I'm doing ".
She doesn't want to have pre-marital sex but she wants post-marital type affection from me. I told her about my needs and she is silent over this issue.
Please advise over this, help me I don't know what to do. Our marriage would take at least 5 more years! It'll be as frustrating for me as I would never do anything without her permission.
Dear Desperate Man
Thank you so much for writing in and congratulations on finding someone who you love and respect.
Honesty and respect gives the relationship the kind of stability that one desires and in fact, what everyone deserves.
I am glad that you are discussing your deepest desires with each other and not taking the plunge and doing something that the other person may not appreciate.
We all have our ideas of how we wish to proceed with our “first-time sex”. While you may consider sex before marriage as absolutely appropriate, she has every right to look at it from another lens. Somewhere you both should achieve the middle ground. Discuss more frequently about this issue. Maybe, phone sex conversations could be helpful. Maybe, meeting more frequently could be helpful. Try and make time and effort to meet each other more often.
Do not have sex without the knowledge of the other. Retain the honesty and respect in the relationship. But have more candid discussions on how you would like to explore your feelings and satiate your desires.
Be sure to not pressurize your partner, to agree to your proposition. Pressure kills love. Patience is a sexy thing and consent is the sexiest thing ever.
Give it time. Give it effort. Be patient. Engage in things that you desire doing besides sex. Go on a trip. Do an online course together. Love unconditionally.
Things get better.
P.S. I reiterate – things get better when you are patient with things.
‘Am I Addicted to Sex?’
I am a 22-year-old male.
I write this mail to seek advice from you about my sex life.
So, I was in a 5-year long relationship but was never loyal. I was involved in multiple flings and am continuing to the same even now. And not that I wasn't in a happy relationship, I had the best partner one could ever have. We broke up for some other reasons but I have come to this realization that I can't get over sex and have not been feeling nice about it lately.
I haven't been able to focus on my career as I have now realized that I was running after sex. I never had a hard time getting it and was/am involved with multiple women at the same time with them knowing that I am dating.
I tried to get away from it on multiple occasions, ended all my flings and other physical connections but that was hardly for 2-3 days. I get easily lured into it.
I have sabotaged my career because of this. Is this some kind of addiction or what?
Dear Seriously Speaking,
Thank you so much for writing in.
To have the best partner ever at one phase of your life and to not have that person in physical form in the next could be a very challenging feeling.
I hear you. I am with you.
I am not going to judge your appetite for having sexual feelings for more than one person. We all are wired differently. Honesty matters though - It is really nice that you are honest to your partners about your affairs. As long as we are safe and honest about our relationships, there should be no judgments whatsoever.
Let your life be led with the same honesty and purity of thought and action always.
Things sometimes get murkier when we don’t do things merely because we desire, but do it rather because we want to prove something to ourselves or others. It is troublesome at times when sex becomes more about habit than desire.
Maybe it is time to ask yourself “am I getting into physical relationships with multiple partners because I am eager to have sex or am I doing this to fill in the gaping hole that my loved one’s absence in my life has left”?
Do not hesitate to speak to a counselor.
P.S. Keep the patience.
'I’m Going to Have An Arranged Marriage’
First and foremost, I hope you are keeping up with the situation right now and thanks for this move to address questions on sex and relationships.
Well, I have got a few very important questions and I really need you to answer them for me.
I'm going to get married to a guy in an arranged marriage set up. Though it's arranged, we are very much comfortable with each other.
None of us is a virgin. The fact is that he has had more number of sexual partners and casual relationships than mine. He is currently in London, wherein he is sharing his flat with three women with whom he has had sex (and he clearly told me this when I asked).
I respect the level of honesty he shows, to be honest, but somewhere I feel what if he loses interest in me in due course of time?
Since he has had around 12 sexual partners earlier, he must have got some benchmark and I'm worried if I'll be able to match that or even come nearby.
Another important question is Doctor, he is very much into oral and anal. He, in fact, is expecting a lot of them to post marriage. I've said that I'll try but I'm sure I won't like it.
And that's what is most engaging for him.
Now, please answer these 2 questions for me. It's really becoming a big deal for me right now.
Looking forward to your response Doctor
Dear She Waits,
I am doing fairly good during this look down, though there are some mental health challenges. I am seeing my psychologist and psychiatrist and am doing better thanks to their advice. Thank you for asking.
Firstly, I am not a doctor, though I would love to be one – maybe, get a Ph.D. someday?
Now coming to your question, I think it is brilliant that you both have conversations about sex so openly before marriage.
This is not a contest where one needs to keep up with the scores of each other. Irrespective of how many people either of you has had relationships with in the past, what road you charter in the future would be entirely dependent on what you both seek from life and this relationship.
I would rather recommend that you have discussions beyond the realm of sex and see how compatible you are with each other.
Now coming to your next question, sexual relationships between partners is a constant act of proposals and sometimes negotiations. You may not share his desires for oral sex and anal sex, but there could be other things that you both agree on. There is nothing wrong with evaluating your sexual compatibility before marriage, especially if the marriage is going to be a closed one where you both don’t see other sexual partners. One may tell you that love is all that counts and sex doesn’t matter. But it all boils down to you and what you and your partner desire from each other in the sexual expression of your bond.
Understand from him what he wants. Tell him what you want. At no point assume that you have to agree to what another person wants from you, just because of their gender. You have all the right to be yourself.
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children, and animals.)