(Trigger Warning: Some questions could make you feel agitated. Reader discretion is advised.)
Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on FIT.
If you have any queries regarding sex, sexuality or your relationship, and need some advice, answers or just someone to hear you out – write in to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop in a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week’s Q&As below:
‘My Girlfriend Is More Focused on Her Career’
I am a 26-year-old man from Mumbai. My girlfriend is of the same age. She has got herself an offer to work in Amsterdam, and she has readily accepted the offer. She would be joining in after the lockdown ends and it is safe. The problem is that she never thought of what will happen to our relationship when she moves there. I tried getting a job in Amsterdam, but the job market is quite tight, she is just plain lucky. I am upset that she thinks about her career, and tells me that she is missing me but doesn’t make efforts to stay with me. Does she love me at all?
Dear Love Sick,
Thank you for writing in. Your message to me is both of latent realisation of things and a proof of your undying love.
Love is straight, right? It follows us around all the time, even when lovers don’t.
What your girlfriend is doing is not wrong. She is bothered about her career. She wants to be successful. She has ambition and wants to stand up for her ambitions. That’s not wrong. That can never be wrong.
You love her. You want to be with her. If she agrees, then you are not wrong either.
One needs to finds a fine balance between expectations and Opportunities.
Don’t blame her for having ambition. You could choose to have your own ambition too. You choose to have the ambition of being with her. It’s a choice that you are making. She has to consent to being with you, but she necessarily doesn’t need to wish to give up her career plans for love.
I suggest that you speak to her openly. You both should sit down together and put on the table – your ambitions in life and expectations from the relationship. You cannot be mirror images of each other all the time.
You cannot expect her to give up her career for you. However, it is important to ask her what she sees as a future plan for the relationship. If she loves you, she would have given your relationship some thought in that direction and will discuss the same with you. Once she shares, have an open free-flowing discussion on how much are you both willing to stretch yourselves for love and how much do you wish to stretch yourself for your career.
Even when we prioritise work, we can find a place for love in our lives. It doesn’t need to be an either/or.
P.S. Talking openly will result in clarity. Lovers deserve clarity.
‘I Am Living With My Abusive Boyfriend’
I am a 29-year-old girl living with my boyfriend in Mumbai. We have a clandestine affair where none of our parents knows that we are actually living together. He is very loving and caring most times, but he has weird bouts of anger. Before the lockdown, he got diagnosed with a mental health disorder, I don’t know the name of it. He visited the counsellor after much persuasion from me. I didn’t think his bouts of anger were normal. He got diagnosed with the illness, but he refuses to visit the counsellor again. The counsellor recommended a psychiatrist, but he flatly refused to be a part of – in his words “any activity that is just there to prove that he is a ‘crackpot’”. Now things have worsened. We are locked up in a one-bedroom apartment all by ourselves, and he is so angry that every day at least once, I get slapped by him. When he gets too agitated, he pushes me on the floor, spreads my legs and has forceful sex with me. He never stops to see if I am enjoying, to him all that matters is to find a way to deal with the frustration he is feeling at that moment. The truth is that he does cool down after he does that with me, so I think it works just fine after that and I don’t broach the topic again with him. Neither does he show remorse or apologise, on the contrary, he reminds me that it was my mistake that I keep coming to help him despite being told off. I want to help him, how can I?
Dear Love Troubled,
Thank you for writing in. I want to tell you that I hear you, I read you, and I understand that this is not easy. To contain your feelings and frustration in words is never easy. I am so glad that you are speaking to me. I wish you do so more often. I want you to ask yourself one basic question.
All the care that I show towards others, do I show it to myself?
I think it is time to put yourself first, and not last.
I think it is time for you to stand up for yourself for no one else will. I think it is time to understand your needs from this relationship. I want you to find out what are the non-negotiable terms in this relationship. I wish that you put “mutual respect” as one of the non-negotiable term.
Love is good, only if it is reciprocal, continuous, and empathetic.
What is love if it is seasonal and situational - that is good for any business transaction, not love relationships. Having said that, love is serious business too, you need to yield profits in terms of love-back-points. There should be a give and take here. You have given him an abundance of liberty and self-respect, but somewhere you need to understand - You can’t keep giving, and he can’t keep taking.
I guess I am a giver like you too. At one instance, my psychologist shared a quote with me that could be helpful to you too…
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Now coming to his mental wellness, I am glad that he visited a psychologist. The things he is doing are not normal and shouldn’t be treated as normal. It is good to nib bad behaviour in the bud. And for that one should tell you things without a filter.
Forcing your lover to have sex with you is rape. It is not love.
Please do not hesitate to call the police if he does that again with you. Please seek the assistance of a mental health professional who could help you in building your own strength to stand up for yourself.
I know it is challenging to stand up for oneself when all that you have done is standing up for others.
But if not now, when? The lockdown is not a licence for anyone to behave badly. From your boyfriend’s point of view too - when people are not stopped at their bad behaviour, they end up thinking that they are not wrong and they end up becoming worse.
A mental health challenge should not be used as a justification to treat someone badly.
Stop excusing his bad behaviour. I would strongly urge to not hesitate to call the police when he forces himself on you or beats you up. I also know that we sometimes need assistance to just see what is so obvious to the naked eye of others. Do not hesitate to seek assistance.
Sometimes we don’t seek assistance because we know that the experts would advise us to take action against the ones who we are trying to protect. But deep down we also know that the experts are right, and it just feels awful to listen to those words from an external person.
Maybe you need to listen to this – YOU ARE NOT ALONE. WHEN YOU HAVE YOURSELF, YOU ARE IN GREAT COMPANY.
Give yourself love and care. Speak up to meaningful friends. Seek counselling for yourself. Many offer counselling over the phone during this lockdown.
P.S. You have been there for others, now please be there for yourself.
‘How Do I Shave My Hair on My Backside?’
I have too much hair on my bum area and I want to shave it. I have no hair on my front crotch area but my backside is full of hair. How do I shave it?
Dear Hairy Man,
I cannot recommend any method as I know that there are safety precautions that one needs to follow while shaving off or waxing hair from the behind.
I can tell you what people I know of do. There are many who shave using a razor. Having two mirrors one facing the place where the hair needs to be removed, and the other in the front for you to see could be helpful. However, it is quite a technique to follow to see clearly. One ought to be careful with the razor to avoid cuts. Some use hair removal creams, but once again needs to be careful of allergic reactions that could occur. Parlours offer waxing facilities. It is called Brazilian wax.
Please use precaution and seek the advice of your doctor.
P.S. Be careful, man
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals)
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