(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:
'My Husband is HIV positive'
I am a 38 year old woman with a unique story.
I don't know if you will respect me after hearing this. I was having multiple sexual affairs when I was 27-30.
I have done all kinds of things, including threesomes and foursomes and even orgy parties. I have also been paid once for the fun of it when I was in another country.
I'm unable to fathom how I fell in love with my husband who was one of the many people I had sex with and we ended up madly in love.
After that I gave up everything and was totally decent and committed with him. I didn't have sex at all. Never ever after I married my husband.
The issue is that I discovered that my husband is HIV positive. Now, I was thinking he got this from me. But he has been using a condom with me since a year.
Has he got it from me? Am I HIV positive too? What if he has got it from me... will he stop talking? Or has he been having a secret affair outside who infected him with the virus.
Please help me.
Thanks for pouring your heart out to me. With me, you get patient listening, and no judgements.
You are not a consequence of your past. Your true essence is what you are in the present.
You had sex with multiple people, and that is alright. It was your body, and if you feel your body deserves to feel pleasure and love, it should be only your prerogative to allow it to experience that.
The world needs to move ahead of good-and-bad and right-and-wrong kind of judgements.
There is nothing wrong in having sex. There is nothing wrong in wanting to have sex. There is nothing wrong in having sex with multiple people.
One just needs to be careful about STDs and will have to ensure consent of all partners involved. And if you are getting into a relationship while you are in a committed relationship with someone, it is important that the person knows about the arrangement so that the partner knows what they are getting into.
Honesty and kindness should be the premise of every relationship. You have been honest and you have been kind after you committed to your partner.
So quit blaming yourself for anything.
Regarding HIV, have you got yourself tested? I strongly urge you to get tested. And irrespective of the result, it is important for you to know that it is possible to live a healthy life with the virus in our body.
If one is positive, they can avail of anti retroviral therapy or ART. Regular ART can keep the viral load low and undetectable.
I know you feel the urge to trace the route of the virus to your husband. You want to know who infected your husband and does this mean that he cheated.
I urge you to do two things
Get yourself tested too.
Have a quiet conversation with your husband.
Keep it low on emotional outbursts. Keep calm and very composed. Let him open up about the truths… make space for it.
And once you both have discussed the route of the virus, you could also discuss what the future holds for the relationship between both of you. Always keep your personal joys, health and wellness as your priorities.
Please take care of yourself.
Whatever you decide to do with your relationships or the truths that you encounter, remember to make yourself the priority.
Do not hesitate to seek the services of a mental health professional and also a health professional who would help you deal with both - being a partner of a HIV positive person and also give you tips of how you could be safe and take care of yourself and your partner who is positive.
I wish you all the love.
P.s. Get yourself tested. And remember to read up about ART.
'My Boyfriend is a Cheater'
I am a 37 year old gay man.
My boyfriend is a cheater.
I saw him in the bed with someone who I call my brother.
So therefore I have been cheated by both my brother and my boyfriend of 4 years.
How can I proceed in this relationship? Should I proceed or should I end?
Thanks for writing in.
We shouldn't lose mutual respect and kindness even when we are hurt by the ones we love or loved. I read what you have written.
I understand you are angry and upset and everything in between.
The decision of whether you should continue with the relationship or not is a decision that only you can take.
Others can just give you an insight from their standpoint, but it is you who has to make the decision for yourself.
I urge you to have a clean and clear conversation with your partner. Sit down with him. Keep a healthy physical distance. Be stoic. Emotionless.
And ask him what he wants to do with his life. Tell him what is acceptable by you and what’s not.
Listen to him. Let him tell you what he feels about the relationship between you and him. Check with him on how he would like to proceed.
Have a conversation, then take your decision.
Also please take care of your mental health.
P.S. Lead with compassion. Deal with empathy.
'After all these Years I Realise I am Gay'
I am a 56 year old man and after all these years I realise I am gay.
Can it happen after so many years?
Dear Oldie Goldie,
Thanks for writing in.
You can realise you are gay at whatever age 10-15-20-45 or 87 it doesn't matter. The reality of our sexuality can dawn whenever.
You are what you know you are. Time and tide don't matter.
P.S. I'm here, if you ever wish to speak