With the growing exposure, adults and young adults in India nowadays are becoming more and more open to topics of sexuality, pre-marital sex and even homosexuality. The generation Z and famous millennials are no longer holding back due to age-old customs, traditions or so-called taboos of the Indian society anymore. Evidently, couples in today’s time are seeking safe and judgement-free spaces to explore and enjoy life on their terms.
Catering to the needs of this massive segment of Indians, India has seen a surge in hotels, Airbnb and rental rooms within their cities. Also, the harassment, threats and denial of hotel rooms in India for consenting adults to have sex, cuddle or simply spend time together out of the public eye has inspired many to create the same space for themself and open it to others as a business venture.
Sumit Anand who was once blasted with awkward questions while trying to book a room with his girlfriend went on to then start Luv Stay, a hotel aggregator that lists couple-friendly rooms available for a few hours or a few days.
In 2015, Delhi–based Sanchit Sethi and Blaze Arizanov launched a similar initiative called Stay Uncle, an aggregator that finds hotels for travellers wanting to book rooms for less than a day. The duo has said that 99% of inquiries that came to Stay Uncle were from unmarried couples looking for a safe space to spend some time together. Now, the Stay Uncle founders are looking at the LGBTQ communities as a possible segment of the target audience.
Most people’s favourite, Oyo Rooms in 2016, launched a new feature for unmarried couples. Unmarried couples are now given priority at Oyo rooms. They have access to 60 per cent of 70,000 rooms in 200 cities across India.
A lot of other hotel ventures like Awesome Stays, FabHotels and Zo Rooms also followed suit.
Even though Indian law does not frame pre-marital sex between consenting adults are unlawful, the patriarchal set-up and deep-rooted belief systems that promote the institution of marriage without consent having any say in it, all couples, whether young or old, are subjected to traumatising experiences at the hands of backdated thoughts.
Not long ago, in a case that blew up way more than it should have due to the media attention it received and that most Indians had to have a say in it, an engaged couple who sought a simple get-away in Mumbai’s Madh Island was charged with the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
A law that pertains to human trafficking was imposed on two consenting adults who decide to spend time together at a hotel in the fast-paced metropolitan Mumbai.
Many similar incidents have brought to light by media and social media that question the narrow-mindedness of the Indian society at large. With endeavours such as Oyo rooms, Stay Uncle and many more, the current Indian youth has been more than fortunate to have access to closed safe spaces that do not burn a hole in their pockets.