Age is not just a number, like it is often said to be. It is a lot combined together. It is about grace, it is about exposure, it is about knowledge, it is about the ability to fight back. And yet, in endless other ways, age IS just a number.
Combine sexuality, not sex, with LGBT, Polyamory, and BDSM and there’s a vast array of non-penetrative arousal, activity and sexual frameworks.
My sexual desires may not be what certain people called ‘normal’ and I could not share this with my so called friends as I thought they would consider me weird. Surprisingly a woman in my hometown introduced me to the world of Kink. She was a regular housewife and with her for the first time I got to know what I actually needed and wanted and it went on for a good amount of time till I moved out of that place for many reasons.
Self-care is influenced by the environment we inhabit, the way we relate to others, the way we negotiate with other living beings or structures. Self-care is also interlinked with other types of care – whether that is in community resources, psychosocial support, engagement with medical and health care institutions, and of course in collective agency and solidarity.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.