I realised that we are constantly thinking about the future and our life as we age, and are afraid of facing the world alone. The uncertainty of future events, of which there are many combinations, makes us feel insecure and vulnerable.
For a queer person, or for someone who remains single by choice, everyday existence requires strength and will. That is the embodiment of kun faya kun as a personal philosophy: to manifest the person you want to be through sheer will.
Play is not only about cocks, balls, vaginas, paddles, or anything that happens between two consenting adults in the bedroom. It’s also about what goes on in a masochist’s mind before they submit to a cane, or a whip, and before they orgasm from the pain.
To chase down our own vulnerabilities around sexuality is a short run around the corner, five minutes ago, last night sleeping alone, with a lover, a partner who lost interest, the Insta post that leaves you feeling you’re not good enough for the hug, the kiss, the cuddle and are you perhaps the A of LGBTQIA+?
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.
If you are true to yourself, and attuned to your emotions and needs, you’ll invariably find that even a core belief (such as: not believing in the institution of marriage) is complicated by what the lived experience of that means (not only discriminatory experiences, but also intimate ones).
Sexuality and self-care are related at many levels, right from the level of knowing what you want and what you don’t, how you feel about yourself, how you are able to communicate your desires and how you are able to enjoy your experiences.
It is true though that ageing has brought home realities about my body that I ignored when I was younger. It has made me mindful of what I value, and what I choose to let go of, without too much of thought or unnecessary angst.
But what has been amazing to witness is how quickly young women in particular, took to the ideas of Why Loiter? and pushed them even further, creating new movements to expand women’s rights to the public, including the right to be out late at night, to stretch the curfew at women’s hostels, to demand extended access to women’s toilets, to public transport etc.
Coupledom may or may not be for everyone, and does not mean the same thing to everyone. Importantly, coupledom does not hold the same value or position in our lives, even in the lives of the individuals perceived to be parts of a couple structure.
Growing up, for me, has been about accepting that the loneliness and sadness woven into the fabric of my being do not go away with entering conventional arrangements like monogamous relationships or marriage.
“I feel comfortable with who I am,” he responded. “I’m at ease with myself. I don’t wake up and hate myself. I can’t tell you how amazing that feels.”
“I know how that feels,” I told him.
In this issue of In Plainspeak our contributors reflect on and reveal the myriad facets of being single – is it a choice? A condition? A state of being? Lonely? Joyful? Not one or the other, but a glorious mix?
Happy New Year! As 2021 begins and we are filled with a sense of hope and desire for better times, we resolve to find ways of sustaining ourselves while caring for others. And so, in this anthology issue we republish articles about wellbeing.
Ageing is often associated with a loss, a lack of ability and strength. When combined with sexuality, in the popular imagination, fed especially by market forces, youth is to be lauded and ageing regarded as the impending horror that must be evaded for as long as possible.