In our mid-month issue, Rahul Sen writes of the impossibility of intimacy, of the gnawing pain and underlying cruelties it may unsheathe and how it is at best an illusion while Pavel reminds us of how, in our search for intimacy, we keep bits and parts of our lost loves and they keep parts of us, and how through being loved by them we learn also to love ourselves.
Every match that came my way, every person I spoke to, every time someone pointed to the word “asexual” in my bio – it was all an exercise in acceptance, compassion, and empathy. People were asking questions because they wanted to know how best to interact with me, how to respect my boundaries, how to to get over their own misgivings about ‘my kind’.
For a while now, I have been invested in noticing the unique terms of endearment that characterise individual relationships. What are some of the non-verbal, non-physical ways in which couples begin to connect with each other? Intimacies that are so subtle that they are almost invisible and often hidden in plain sight?
Roland Barthes writes in A Lover’s Discourse that we begin to think of ‘love’ as an idea only when our beloved or the object of desire has departed – either when love has failed, or in the absence of the lover – that is absolutely crucial to any theorisation of love.
यौनिकता पर संलाप या डिस्कोर्स नया नहीं है। समाज में हर प्रकार के विशेषज्ञों ने इस पर चर्चा की है। विज्ञान से लेकर अध्यात्म तक यौनिकता के प्रसंग विशेषज्ञों को रिझाते रहे हैं।
For them there is always a smile, and for them time has stood through. Memories are edged in the season of those years in which I met them.
We would spend hours just lost in our sweet, intoxicating world of soft skin, whispers and drenched sheets. It was amazing. But also, I remember the most just sitting together at midnight talking about his mother, my childhood, his habit of wearing a nightcap while sleeping or just our Instagram browsing-patterns.
We might need, therefore, to uncouple sexuality from intimacy because they do not necessarily belong together. Intimacy points to the comfort of knowledge while sexuality often shatters what knowledge we think we have.
But whether you root for this couple or not, Little Things makes you think about the small things – like reading out a line from a book of poetry, sharing a friend’s WhatsApp message with your partner, forgetting to wash your dirty socks before they make the room stink – that make or break a relationship.
The point is simple. Intimacy is not about sexuality, penetrative sex, gender, BDSM or any one parameter. Yet, intimacy is about all of them AND MORE.
The process of connecting with another person, opening up to them, and getting close enough to build an intimate relationship is fraught with complexities and grey-areas, which often has a marked impact on how we interact with that person and how we choose to conduct ourselves around them.
Co-founder of The Chinky Homo Project, a digital and print queer anthology from North East India, Kumam Davidson talks about growing up in the shadow of insurgency, his writings, and his worry that “in 2019 even after Section 377 has been partially revoked, I continue to grapple with questions of intimacy and sexuality here in my state.
After five months I received a call from Natasha telling me about the content of a WhatsApp chat that Raajveer was having with one of his male teachers. “He is missing his Sir and crying. He is very confused. He sent him roses on chat and reassuring messages saying that he will always be there with his Sir and will never leave him. We are very worried. My husband is not aware of this, and neither do I want to tell him about it. Please help him”, said Natasha over the phone.
As we move toward destigmatising the topic of sex for all genders, we should include the language of intimacy as we collectively create a new cultural grammar around sex.
Artist Amanda Oleander’s paintings chronicles the everyday lives of couples and the various mundane things they do together that are simultaneously deeply intimate and poignant.