(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:
‘My Husband Flirts With Other Men, How Do I Save Our Marriage?’
I have been married for the past 3 years and my husband is American. We actually met when the SC had ordained all marriages as legal. We have been in a happy and blissful life. Everything is working fine. We spent most of the corona period together, cuddled in the bed.
However, my husband has been coming home late these days after work. He doesn’t speak to me as much as he did before. I saw him on Grindr the other day, and when I confronted him, he asked me to take a chill pill and not be a drama queen. He brushes off questions that I ask him too much. He thinks its normal to chat with other people and that he is not sleeping with anyone. Last week, we had a friend sleeping over at our place, and my husband and he were all over each other.
Do I doubt too much? Is there something wrong in my thinking or my understanding of life? Is it just my “Indian values” that is coming our way? Am I normal? What can I do to get better and salvage our relationship?
Dear Worried Partner,
Thank you so much for sharing with me. I think life takes us to unchartered territories. We never know what our journey would be like until we embark on one.
Corona has pushed us to understand how uncertainty looms in our lives. It also pushed us together in our homes and closer to each other. Many of us had been too busy in the rat race to make our financial life better, that we never really paused to look at other facets of our lives. It took a virus to make us pause and take notice of what we were missing.
Familiarity, in some cases, also breeds contempt. We get too much of what we are not used to. And sometimes we take a detour.
It is not our place to play the guessing game. Conversations are the genesis of change.
There is no better way of knowing the truth than asking the person themselves. When we ask, it is important that it doesn’t come from the space of doubt, but from the space of clarity. We need to watch our tone and words to not end up making it about accusations, but about love and sharing and understanding that comes with it.
In every relationship, committed, open, or polyamorous, it helps when we revisit and if need be, restructure our relationship.
It is time to have the discussion. Tell him what you are comfortable with, and what you are not. Listen to him attentively when he opens up too. If you happen to disagree with something, very politely tell him that you will get back to him on these points. Do not confront, do not react abruptly. Give yourself time to process what you hear.
To love is good, to be loved back, even better. You have reached a good place in your relationship with this belief. But love is never a destination. It is a journey.
I know sometimes our partners say the most inane things and we find it very cute in the beginning. The same inane things turn insane when it is used as a tool to make us doubt sanity. Gaslighting is not okay.
In love, we often play along. However, when the play gets rough and the going gets tough, we should tell our lovers off too.
Tell him off and let him know, politely, yet sternly that you do not like it when he dismisses your concerns with a mocking tone.
I can’t stress more on this. No vows are forever. We need to renew our vows when new realities strike us. Renew your vows. Have a discussion that is open, honest and civil. Tell him what bothers you. Listen to him when he tells you what bothers him. Don’t react abruptly, give yourself time to process and then act.
P.S. Things get better. When we speak out.
I Don’t Feel the Urge for Sex
I am a 38-year-old woman. Alright, here we go. I don’t enjoy sex with men. Before you tell me another thing- alright, let me tell you, I tried with women. I don’t enjoy sex with them either. I don’t enjoy sex. Period. I am tired of answering the question – did you have a happy childhood. I have been the very few lucky ones who has never sexually abused. I have had a happy childhood. I just don’t feel the need for sex. Am I abnormal?
Dear Miss Alright,
Thank you for writing in.
The world would cast its aspersions, impressions and aspirations on us. It is on us to stand true to our authentic selves even if we are the only ones doing so.
No one has the right or the authority to decide what how your sex life should be. You are your own being.
It sometimes helps to know that there are many people who are feeling similar to what we are feeling. There are many people in India and the world who do not feel the urge for sex or even define their lives on the basis of sexual relationships. Some of these people openly identify as Asexuals.
Asexuality is also a spectrum and it is for the individual to decide if they identify as a person who falls in the asexual spectrum, or they simply would like to believe that they are okay with who they are but don’t want to put a label on what they feel and what they do not.
P.S. If these thoughts bother you much, don’t hesitate to fix a consultation with a good counsellor.
I Don’t Like Men Without Beards, How Do I Tell My Husband to Keep a Beard?
I don’t like to be with men in bed who have no beard or moustache. I love my husband, but my husband has none. He is always clean-shaven. How do I ask him to keep a beard?
Dear Worried Wifey,
Thank you for your question.
Your partner is their own being. He will dress his face with a beard or a moustache, if he wants to. You can only share your desires with him and leave the agency to decide to him.
Have a clean conversation with him about your desires. Ask him if he would like to sport one. Don’t demand, just express your desires.
Don’t confront. Speak!
P.S. if it is only about being “in bed”, well, there are some artificial moustaches available in the market. Role play during the act?
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals)