(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 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 Was Sexually Abused by My Parent When I Was a Child.'
I have been an ardent follower of your writings and advice in The Quint, so I am also hoping that you will listen to me and tell me what I should do next.
I had written to you a couple of times before here on your Instagram I didn’t hear a response.
I am wondering if that is because you say you are a feminist and cannot take it when I tell something that a woman has done to me.
I know you are like those feminist men who don’t care a f@!# about what really happens to young boys when it is women who are doing those things to young boys.
I think you can relate to these things.
I have been fighting disbelief and disgust that people have towards me when they hear that I am talking like this about a relationship that is considered very revered by everybody.
But all this bullshit is what is causing my heart ache.
I am a 28 year old man from Mumbai. I was sexually abused by my own mother when I was a child.
She used to masturbate for me when I was 8 or 9 and continued doing it till I was 17.
I am an adult now but I cannot bring myself to like my mother who now acts as if she loves me immensely.
What love? What love can she show me now that can wipe out so many years of abuse because she says she loves me.
Really? Yes she stopped doing it to me when I was 17. But she is yet to say a sorry to me.
Recently, I had a girlfriend and I told her that this happened to me so I am scared of getting into a sexual relationship with her.
She then told me that I was possibly a gay and that’s why I am making fake stories about my mother.
Speaking of being gay… my mother had seen me kissing another boy when I was in school. The teacher watched us and then complained to my mom. That’s when my mother's sexual behavior with me started.
I don’t know If I am putting complex things together to build a story...I don’t know if it is unrelated but wouldn’t you think it is related? Who wouldn’t think its related?
I am not gay. But I had to be abused and my innocence had to be tarnished to ensure that the blot of homosexuality doesn’t fall on my family.
I can read all of that now. I want to know what I should do?
Thank you for writing to me. And sincere apologies for not responding to your messages on time. It had landed into my others folder.
I am a staunch feminist. And feminism does guide me to listen to all narratives without bias irrespective of the gender of the perpetrator.
Children explore with each other. They sometimes touch and feel or even kiss each other. Explorations are not determinants of sexuality. One is gay, only when someone says they are gay. There is no other way.
Being a parent is a position of responsibility and also power. Given what you shared with me, it is clear, here the mother abused that power. And we should not shy from calling a spade a spade.
I will not assume her innocence. I believe that child that you were. I thank you for finding the courage for sharing and for your trust in me.
I know that we are brought up with the notion that mothers are the perfect epitome of kindness and values. But mothers are humans and humans are of all kinds.
I believe every survivor would choose their own reaction to the something that has happened to them.
Some take a legal recourse, some don’t. It is not for me to tell you what you should do. I can however, share the options that are available.
There is a law in India called POCSO. POCSO stands for Protection of Children From Sexual Offences.
Under this act one could be prosecuted even if it has happened years before.
It is a long odious battle, be just sure to consult a good lawyer and check about all the possible outcomes before you venture into it.
I will also urge you to visit a mental health professional. All of these things tend to take a toll on our mental health.
Following up regularly with a good mental health professional will add clarity and resilience to our lives.
Do not neglect the same.
There are organisations like Arpan (Arpan.org.in) which offer mental health counselling for survivors. Please reach out to them.
I trust you and I believe you. I hear you.
P.S. again, apologies for the delayed response
'I Don’t Exactly Know What My Gender Is.'
I was a woman but now I think I am a man. I don’t know what my gender is. I am wondering how I will come to know who I am. People around me refer to me as a he. I was born female. I feel confused. Am I LGBTQ? I don’t know.
Thank you for writing in.
Your gender is what you are, and not what the world perceives you to be.
I mean the public and the world around cannot dictate what your sexuality is. I understand that sometimes some of us feel terrible ambiguity about our gender.
We sometimes feel safe if we find a box that we could fit into. Your feeling about your body or your gender is valid even if you fit into no box, or fit into all boxes or fit into one box sometime and in other boxes other times.
Please don’t hesitate speaking to a counsellor or a friend about what you are feeling. It is okay to seek help and assistance when things start bothering us a little too much.
P.S. Gender is fluid. And the Q of LGBTQ also stands for questioning.
'I Am a 36 Year Old Man Who Doesn’t Produce a Lot of Sperms. Will I Be Able to Become a Father?'
I am a 36 year old man who doesn’t produce a lot of sperms. Will I be able to become a father?
Dear Daddy Dreams,
Thanks for writing in.
Every single ejaculate has thousands of sperms. You just need one motile sperm to navigate through the cervical mucus mix with the egg to form a child.
I believe that the motility of sperms is more a determining factor than the quantity of the ejaculate.
I may be wrong though. I would strongly recommend that you meet a fertility expert to get your sperm count and sperm motility checked.
Such things need thorough diagnoses and treatment by a doctor if there is any intervention that is needed.
P.S. Being anxious doesn’t help. Speaking to a doctor does.