“I feel very strongly that I’m surrounded by other realities.”
– Ingmar Bergman
Fantasy is make-believe. We make something up and then we believe it in order to make it exist. However, in some contexts, the make-believe is relegated to the realm of mere ‘play’ (as opposed to the ‘real’), but there’s no denying that make-believing is a crux of human civilisation – children naturally play make-believe games that steer them in their growth, adults use the hypothetical in their thought to make everyday decisions, and both children and adults rely on fantastical stories and myths to construct a common meaning that contributes to creating the world as we know it.
In sexuality, when we talk of diversity and inclusiveness, we’re referring to acknowledging and respecting all the different kinds of people that ‘make up’ the world, and the various ways in which they each would like to live. To be able to connect to one another whilst also giving each other the space to grow and blossom as we all go along requires a generous bow to the role of fantasy in our ever-changing sense of collective reality.
In the Issue in Focus for this month’s Fantasy and Sexuality issues, Radhika Chandiramani examines how the intersection of fantasy and sexuality can veer into territory that some can find scary and might try to extinguish. Fantasy, after all, is a play at the edge of comfortable reality and the unknown. But this territory can be emancipating, can actually feel like freedom, she writes. Surbhi Dewan takes us along similar lines of ideas about fantasy as she narrates the story of her childhood dream of becoming a cricketer, and what her adventures with the bat, ball, and her cricketing heroes taught her about sticking to her dreams.
Anjora Sarangi interviews Ute Pauline Wiemer, co-founder of Lovetreats, a women- and couple-friendly intimate online portal that sells sex toys and hosts discussions on sexuality. Wiemer chats about her insights into and vision for sexual openness in India. Shikha Aleya makes observations about the kinds of fantasies that we as a society tend to find permissible, and how they can actually be limiting to our abilities and desires.
In the Brushstrokes section, The Kinky Collective, a group that actively promotes awareness on bondage, domination, sado-masochism and kink in society, contribute photographs that depict fantasy in kink. The Humour Corner is an artist’s ironical comic strip about the oversexualised depiction of women’s warrior outfits in graphic novels and comics.
Sharaddha Mahilkar writes a poem in Hindi where she explores the freedom she enjoys in living in her fantasy world while also staying firmly grounded in her reality.
With parent-child, romantic partners, and many other kinds of relationships, there’s a degree of keeping up of fantasy involved. Trying to live up to the expectations of those you care about isn’t easy! The Video Page features a woman who’s found a creative way to negotiate her mother’s yearning to have her married.
In the mid-month issue, Sheba Remy Kharbanda writes a beautiful story about a little girl called Eudaimonia who braves the darkness that befalls her and finds a way to living life in full technicolour. Jaya Sharma deliberates about why there should be space for sexual and romantic fantasies in feminism, especially ones that are considered politically incorrect.
Syed Saad Ahmad reviews the Raj Kapoor classic film Satyam Shivam Sundaram for its take on the nature of fantasy, beauty and desire.
In the Hindi section, Asmi contributes an article on how pornography has shaped our perceptions of BDSM. Shraddha Mahilkar translates Radhika Chandiramani’s Issue In Focus for the month on what happens when fantasy comes together with sexuality.
Four curated articles feature in the Blog Roll: a moving piece on the comfort of forging an intimacy with a digital confidante; fascinating new scientific research on women’s sexual fantasies; an essay on the mobile phone games (a surprisingly large number of) women play; and a new graphic novel about Priya, the “superhero” rape survivor who fights acid attacks.
Next month’s issues will be about People’s Movements and Sexuality.
Until then, happy reading!
The TARSHI Team
Cover image via Tumblr