(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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s Q&As are below:
'My Dad Doesn’t Respect Consent'
My dad is a porn addict and has been watching it since I was in 2nd standard, I guess.
He forces himself on my mom, and looks at her as an object. He hardly respects her and appreciates her. He is, at times, violent, but I have been there to stop his punches.
He touches other women's "personal areas" whenever he encounters crowds. He often misbehaves with my aunt. She is still quiet and avoids seeing him, just like me.
I ignored these things for years thinking that I didn't had the power to speak about it. I thought that it's non of my business.
So I avoided going on family trips, hated going out with him, avoided sitting in the same room when he's watching porn and had focused on the good side of our relationship.
But now I'm 20 years old, and when I see him touching other girls/ ladies in front of my eyes (even after me strictly telling him to keep his hands to himself), I get enraged.
Tomorrow there could be anyone in the place of those girls - my friends, sisters, aunts...me?
He is a good dad. Cares about me and my studies. But he's a pathetic and nasty person. I hate him.
I feel traumatized even thinking about it. I can't focus on my studies. I have lost my goal. Mentally and emotionally I have tried to be strong but feels very weak now. What do I do?
Young Worried Woman
What you shared with me is really intimate, thank you for trusting me with that.
When we see people in antisocial behaviours, we tend to measure their whole selves on the scale of good and bad, right and wrong. The truth is that anyone and everyone is shades of grey.
Someone could be a great person in all other aspects, if one were to ignore the fact that they are also someone with a roving eye.
That’s why we are often times confused about our reactions and emotions that are oscillating like a pendulum between extremes of compassion and love, and anger and disgust.
Let us peel the challenges here and find solutions to each one of them.
About your mom.
Every person is entitled to life and freedom. And we as members of civil society need to ensure that they have both - the voice and the choice regarding absolute autonomy on their thoughts and their bodies.
That said, it is easy for someone outside to sermon, the reality on the ground is only known by people who are the real characters living the game of life.
The most logical thing for anyone to say would be to ask your mother to walk away from this abusive relationship and start life on her own solo, with you.
However, this has a lot of other factors that one needs to consider - is she financially independent, is she emotionally independent, will she take this leap, does she have a safety net etc.
To break the cycle of decades of abuse, one needs to be willing to do self work to realise their own inner potential and self worth.
Let’s begin from there. Get your mother to gauge her interest beyond marriage and bringing up her children. Get her to engage with her friends circle, relating to her interests. Get her to speak, get her to listen, get her to explore. Bring in all the options and opportunities and put them on her lap. Let her take the leap when she wants to, if she wants to.
Undoing years of abuse is a slow gruelling process. There is immense amount of patience, commitment and self care that is required to ensure that.
Regarding yourself - I think one needs to find one’s own path. Independent of your family. Eventually, if not immediately.
There is a time when the bird should grow its feathers, should leave the birth nest, flutter its wings in the open sky and perch on the twig that it so long admired.
I wish that for you.
Regarding your father and his inappropriate behaviour, if he is open to listening, please suggest that he sees a psychologist. Again, he should be willing to see one and be willing to understand that his behaviour is antisocial, and he needs help in rectifying it.
If he doesn't listen, it may help to be independent of him.
Things get better when we resolve to work on them. This is true for you, for your mom and also your dad.
All of you should independently be willing to seek help of a mental health professional who could guide you towards wellness. Please take that giant leap.
Good Luck and Love,
P.S. I hope you take my suggestion of speaking to a mental health professional seriously.
P.P.S. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Always there is.
'My Wife Isn’t Responding To My Texts'
I am a 34 year old man who has been in a relationship for 14 years. From the age of 20, my wife and I have been together.
We got married just 5 years ago. Never has she not responded to my texts in few hours if she was busy. This time it has been 1 week and she hasn't called or taken my calls.
She is at her mother's. Her mother's phone is reachable, but her mom tells me that my wife doesn't want to speak to me.
I don't know what is happening. Before leaving, she did have a small quarrel with me.
I kissed one of my male friends. Does she think I am gay? It was just a truth or dare kiss. I told her, honestly, that I felt nothing. But I wonder why she doesn't talk to me now. My head is splitting. Please help.
Dear Husband Guy,
Thank you for writing in.
As someone who has been ghosted by my loved one at some stage of my life, I do understand the desperation and frustration that one could go through.
Unclear and unresolved queries leave a whirlpool of thoughts. We start giving meanings to every action and every inaction. I realize after many such experiences that one can do only as much as they can.
There is a point when we all need to understand that not all questions can always be answered, not all queries can be resolved and most importantly - that patience is the only key.
To be who you are, to do what you want to do, what you share - is your prerogative. How other people receive that information is their prerogative. They will take time if they need to and they deserve that independent moments to process what happened.
Regarding your wife assuming that you are gay. It may or may not be the case.
Some people have an imaginative mind where the same incident plays and replays in their minds.
The least we can do is give them time, give them space and give them love and not pester them for a decision or a response.
True love that is still alive, shall stand the test of time.
Give time and space for love to grow.
P.S. patience is key
‘I Have Small Asymmetrical Breasts'
I am a 23 year old girl with small and asymmetrical breasts. Please tell me how I can get into a breast enhancement program or something?
Thanks for writing to me.
There are plastic surgeons available who can gauge the asymmetry and suggest implants to bring them to a size and shape of your desire
Your breast size and shape doesn't define your signature or your complete identity. And breasts are not always completely symmetrical.
The bigger questions, before plastic surgery, is - do I want it? Do I need it? And then when you consult, you need to answer the answer - Can I afford it?
As long as the answer for all these questions are a YES - then it is your body, you, and only you have the right to decide what you want to do with it.
Just take care that it is for yourself and how you want to feel about yourself and not about how the world perceives you. Because the world’s perception of you will constantly change, our bodies cannot change in tandem with it.
P.S. Good luck