But self-care is not a clean and happy procedure, it is not definitively achievable when systematically explored. To understand the scope of self-care we need to see the ‘dark side’ of the landscape, and destroy the versions of self-care that denounce our plurality. In this fight, the only outcome can be a recognition of experiences beyond the wellness narrative structured around the neoliberal agenda. This article is an attempt at foregrounding some aspects of self-care that decentralise the prevalent commodification of it.
You see, numbers are tricky, data is tricky. More importantly, data is dehumanising. Add sexuality and intimacy to this and the waters get even murkier. Maybe it’s good to leave a few things unaffected by too much data. Maybe we do not want to talk about data and sexuality. Maybe we instead want to talk about why data around gender and sexuality must not be recorded, and instead, maybe focus on why we should honour every kind of sexual preference which is within the purview of the safe and consensual.
Our bodies become the form and medium through which we present ourselves to the outside world, engage with it, interact with it, perceive it and are perceived by it.
Just as there are diverse ways of expressing and experiencing one’s sexuality, pleasure, too, is experienced in multiple forms and through multiple practices in each relationship.
Inspired to collect photographs of women spending time by themselves and for themselves after a conversation with her mother’s friend, Surabhi Yadav began the project, Women at Leisure.
Just as capitalism has learned how to co-opt feminism into its model, it has done the same to ‘wellness’, so much so it has become an industry of its own. Mental wellbeing, no matter how necessary and important it is, remains a luxury with more than half of our country either unaware of available mental health resources or not in a position to even afford therapy.
Will I write openly about what is or is not done, what is or is not meaningful when it comes to sexuality? Yes. Will I talk about BDSM and kink as a way of life, despite it being taboo for discussion? Yes, I will talk about BDSM and kink, and many other things as well, but I will not evangelise for them.
My journal has many entries that are speculative and fantastic. Writing about the mundane leads me to question the way the world operates and from there I frog-leap into a world of ideas where I imagine a radically different way of being. In my journal, I imagine a politics of care, community, and compassion. I become grand, valuable, and unstoppable, even in a world where I am sometimes made to feel small.
Continuing with our theme of self-care being about sustaining ourselves, our work, our movements, keeping the fires lit, and relating with love to ourselves, in our mid-month issue we bring you more articles looking at self-care from different perspectives – individual, queer, activist, collective, organisational, not necessarily separated, or in this order, of course.
I found The Butterfly Effect fascinating; it was wonderful to see discussions around porn without a singular lens of exploitation, and to tease out the nuances of how porn can be helpful – as in the case of those who request customs – or not
I think the best thing we can do as we take this conversation forward is to consider this multifaceted breadth of desire as erotica; to include and not exclude in our definitions, and to accept desire wherever it lives, and in whatever form.
This movie had instantly called out to me because the book had made a huge impression many years ago when I was going through a Stephen King phase and consuming as many of his novels as I could. It is a story of resilience where a woman had to rescue herself from a dangerous situation of metaphorical and emotional bondage as well as the physical and sexual kind.
In the middle of this pandemic, can one seek sexual support in the form of a hook up with one’s best friend, ‘just because’? Is it redefining boundaries, is it sympathy sex, is it simple indulgence, or is it something that one or both might later resent?
Every part of life, the world too, is storied. Stories are the thread that hold histories and truths together. Stories are at the core of myth-making. Everything that we know is part of multiple crisscrossing relational storylines that we raise and those that we have no power in raising.