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CategoriesSex and SexualityThe I Column

Sex and Me, an Intimate Affair

I love sex. I feel that the pleasure in it is beyond divine because a lifetime of oppression, guilt and shame disappears like it never existed when I am in bed with a man I desire. In seeking sex, I found love – love for my body, my desires and myself. And as I pursued it further, I also found love with and from another person. Engaging in sex makes me feel invincible, and in owning it, I feel empowered. But this love story has not always been a smooth and breezy affair. It’s been a bitter-sweet journey. Sometimes it has lifted me up with excitement and made me feel glorious in myself, while at other times it made me cringe under my blanket and left me feeling harassed and exploited. And yes, there’s the hypocrisy of which type of sex one should be ashamed of and which one should be proud of, although people enjoy them all, all the same. Nevertheless, each sexual encounter either reveals or exposes more or helps me dig into myself or my partner, more intimately.

Sex has been one of the truest friends in my life. It taught or rather made me realise so many truths about myself. It took its own time to knock sense into my head, but I don’t blame it. Society is like a cunning, aggressive, grumpy, power-hungry and deceitful chap. It tries to tell me that I am what I am not, and scares me with consequences if don’t abide by its rules. It convinced me that I was wrong, and made me wish to change myself. More than that, it even made me believe and pray for ‘miracles’ to happen. To allure me, it promised me social status and security and painted a wonderful mirage of what happiness it has in store for me if I abide by its terms. It never told me that it would be at the cost of my own real happiness. Sex, on the other hand, never made me any deceitful promises. It never spoke highly of itself. It always tried to show me what my real desires are. When I fantasise about engaging in the desire that is inherent in me, it gives me moments of ecstatic pleasure, and when I try to force desires foreign to my being upon myself, it very clearly gives me a ‘no-boner’ signal. But this damned society and it’s deceitful ways of scaring and shaming homosexuals made me spend years wishing to change myself for good, but it didn’t work.

When love and lovers failed me, sex stuck around. Society had already failed me in the beginning. In one-night stands and hook ups, I could piece together a string of love stories for myself so that I didn’t feel left out as my straight friends coupled up. Love wasn’t allowed to house us queers; the homophobes had claimed it all. They didn’t leave it at that; they hunted us down, convicted us of felony, put us behind bars or took our life. In such a terrorised state, those who could probably become lovers at last only bloomed to romance in discreet and anonymous spaces.

When I came out as a proud queer, I felt morality would finally leave my bedroom. Instead, the world just conveniently put on me the tag of ‘heinous’, marked out spaces I inhabit, and inscribed on my body yellow barricade tape with ‘slut’ boldly marked on it. People said we are inherently perverse and hence we do not deserve love, yet they constantly asked us to prove ourselves as ‘virtuous’, while they kept sexualisng and jeering us and making indecent proposals to us. I felt it would be a mockery if I conformed to being ‘virtuous’ as expected. Then, I would only be allowing myself to be fooled, with them fishing submission from me with false hopes. I told myself that if I were denied a love that lasts forever and that swears me loyalty, I would take what I can. I took to social media websites and networking platforms for seekers of homosexual sex. I sought out the company of people like myself and learned from them a thing or two about cruising and how to pick up boys. Thus I had my second puberty in life –becoming a full bloomed gay bottom queen.

I found myself in the company of men in bed – men of diverse shapes, sizes and colours. It not only added spice to my bedroom affairs but also opened for me the horizons of who all could be gay. I guess when one seeks fearlessly, one comes across a thousand more. Not because I was wearing sex on my sleeve, only because this time around, desire, instead of inhibitions, took the frontline. Hopes and wishes can only open up doors to possibilities, first in one’s own mind and imagination and then in the interaction one has with the world. Meanwhile, as my approach changed and the diversity of men increased, what has stood unchanged is what I desire with the men, how I derive pleasure from it, and how glorious each orgasm of having indulged in one’s own desires and pleasures felt.

Each time I did it, my acceptance and ownership of my own desires grew stronger and stronger. Simultaneously, discussing them with my friends and also listening to them speaking about theirs made me realise that it is not just about desiring men and getting them to bed. While to homophobes and judgmental folks, sex talk and discussions between my queer friends and me might sound like some perverted queens engaging in more perversity, for us, it is one of the most sacred spaces and a key approach to becoming more intimate with one’s desires –what one wants to be, the role or character one wants to play in bed and what validation and services one deserves. No one can ever show or tell me what I truly deserve other than my so-called ‘slut’ friends. And no discussion other than us discussing boys and sex can give me the clarity and hence the confidence and conviction to reclaim the dignity and command one deserves in bed and otherwise as well.

Besides all this, what intrigues me is when the heterosexual world asks us curiously or moralistically: Why is sex so integral to you? Well, first and foremost, they are the ones who are blind to what we do and live by or live for. Their imagination and curiosity about us is only limited to questions about the sex we have. When we try and talk about other matters in our life, they show a lack of interest and often say, “Well, that happens with everyone” and dismiss what we share as if it doesn’t qualify as ‘real homosexual issues’. Enough of the hypocrisy to reduce us to ‘kinky sex’ and narratives of ‘unrequited love’ for their own pleasure, to boost their ego, and feel more fortunate than and superior to us.

Every time I have sex with a man, I feel a small sense of victory over what is denied of me. Each time I explore another kinky way to have homosexual sex with a man, or I queer what heterosexuals do to each other by doing exactly the same with my partner, I sneer inside about how uncreative homophobes can be when it comes to thinking about us. Every time we do it in hiding, I feel I have yet again duped the facade of piety that heteronormative society puts up while creating hostility towards us for loving and being intimate with each other. They will stop at nothing to come between the ecstasy that could transpire between my body and senses and my partner’s. And when we are ‘loud’ about it, it is just to show that we don’t actually care and that we know as well as everyone else that it exists, and everyone knows about it even though everyone pretends that it is unthinkable and unimaginable.

Ever since my childhood, I always wondered why people fear sex so much when it feels so good. It hasn’t killed people; only people have been killed for doing it. I have always felt that it is hypocritical to pretend that one doesn’t like or seek sex. The world would want me to lie just as they do, but it is important to me to not want to lie to myself. I feel that when society has denied me the agency to act out my desires, the best way I can reconcile such a loss is by being genuine and honest to myself about them. The irony is that genuineness and honesty in this matter is taboo while lies are upheld and glorified as being virtuous. More offensive is when one is pushed to have the sex one detests –that is sexual harassment. Sex by itself is only pleasurable and comforting, it’s the prejudice around it that makes it a shameful act. Homosexual sex is as ‘natural’ as heterosexual sex and every species of animal and humans of every creed, caste and ethnicity have engaged in it. And if it is consensual then, what’s the problem?

Early in life, I chose to embrace sex, then loathe it. Befriend it, then betray it. Taking a moral high ground over it and restraining myself from it could only mean confining myself to a limited knowledge of sexuality, which is actually a stupid thing to do if one has intellectual aspirations to know about the world in depth. Loving sex has only opened doors for me to know more about the world and myself. It helps me love and appreciate myself more and also, to a fair bit, tolerate this hypocritical and violent world. It gives me hope. It brings me faith that happiness has not been wholly robbed from me. It gives me strength to write my own story of love and indulgence. And I can vouch that no one and nothing has ever been so consistent and unchanging as the happiness and sense of exaltation good sex promises and delivers. Good sex doesn’t judge and discriminate. Nothing and no one can make me love my own skin and myself as good sex can. As I said earlier, it’s been a bitter-sweet journey, but even the most beautiful love affairs have their ups and downs. A thousand cheers to sex and me, the best loyal and loving affair in my life!

Article written by:

Pavel is from Imphal, Manipur and currently works at Nazariya – A Queer Feminist Resource Group in New Delhi. A vagabond by heart and queer feminist by practice, Pavel has worked on issues of engaging men and boys for gender justice and creating safe and shared space for women and girls and is a co-founder of The Chinky Homo Project. Storytelling is ze’s passion.

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