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Editorial – Humour and Sexuality

Close-up of a brick wall with heavy neon graffiti. The text, wherever present, is in French.

Humour makes us feel good, relaxes us, lubricates social interactions, and often allows us to see things in new ways. Who doesn’t love a good belly laugh? However, what tickles your funny bone may be very different from what tickles mine. Our funny bones come in different shapes, sizes and sensitivities, and sometimes a much-loved joke may well fall flat. Humour may be the best medicine but it can also be damaging and outright destructive.

In a fun and funny article, Shikha Aleya explores the complexity of humour and sexuality, stereotypes, subversion, toxicity, and more. We meet an irreverent embroidery group that specialises in profanity, a host of comedians, a sampling of jokes both good and bad, many thought-provoking ideas as well as some rib-tickling ones. Yes, humour is complex and it takes an expert to walk the fine line between the funny and the inappropriate. Who better than well known stand up comedian Radhika Vaz to ask about this? In a no-holds barred interview with Shikha Aleya, Radhika talks about this as well as her feminist beliefs and how she uses humour to call out that which is obvious but that people pretend not to see.

Often people pretend not to see that which makes them uncomfortable. Edwina Pereira reflects on the right of children to be protected from abuse and how humour and a light touch can be incorporated in providing sexuality education. A light touch can also help deal with unwanted memories of the past as Hritvika Lakhera shows us in her short and wryly funny poem.

In Hindi we bring you an original article by Gunjan Sharma writing about humour and sexuality in her own inimitable style, and a translation of Srishti Gupta’s review of the Amazon Prime Video show about female friendships and fantasies, Four More Shots Please!

And for a good laugh, watch Ramya Ramapriya’s spin on hormones, genitals, and a truly surprising way of figuring out whether one still has ‘feelings’ for an ex!

Continuing with the theme of Humour and Sexuality, we bring you more articles in our mid-month issue.

We all know how we feel appreciated and part of the group when people laugh with us. Conversely, being laughed at tells us clearly that not only are we not included, but also that we deserve only ridicule and derision. Rupal Rupali carefully unravels the multi-coloured skein of humour to reveal some of its threads and helps us distinguish features that mark queer humour. Rupal highlights how queer humour not only validates people’s differences of being but also invites us to celebrate those very differences. Then there are the ‘That’s what she said’ jokes that can alienate people or help forge ties. Tanvi Khemani analyses what makes this controversial genre of jokes ‘funny’, how they are misused and consequently not funny at all, and the special circumstances in which they may send people into gales of laughter and cement bonds.

Humour does many things. It serves to strengthen connections, find delight in the unexpected, share joy and wonderment, and, quite simply, offers us moments when we are unselfconsciously gloriously alive. And, as Gunjan Sharma shows us in the English version of her original Hindi article that we published earlier this month, it can be a wonderful tool, in the right hands, to facilitate and lighten potentially embarrassing, difficult or disturbing conversations about sexuality.

Humour is also a marvellous way of leading one to enjoyment, pleasure and to feeling safe. Meisha S takes us into the world of BDSM at the Kink Con, a national three-day festival organised by the Kinky Collective. Meisha skilfully moves aside the heavy veil of misconception that BDSM is all about torture, screams, grimaces and tears, to reveal kink’s light-hearted, mischievous and giggle-inducing side.

In Hindi, we bring you the translation of Edwina Pereira’s article, originally published in English earlier this month, about using humour in sexuality education.

That’s it from us for now. Until next time, stay well and keep your funny bone happy!

Cover Image: Photo by Alice on Unsplash