Friday, September 07, 2007

Love, Romance and Sex

The best thing about having people like Aneesh for friends is how easily they are able to drive you into serious discussions. I exchange regular emails with Aneesh and today he asked me a question.

One of my friends just got lucky with his girlfriend. i.e. he had sex. Now this got me thinking. It's not the usual sex before marriage thing, but i was wondering would i be able to do it if it ever comes to that. I have no idea where ethics figure in this or anything, or how the girl might feel about it. But was just wondering, what's your opinion?

I replied to him and realized that the reply is almost a blog post. I put it here with minor edits. These are personal viewpoints, and yes, you may make value judgments on me based on these. :)

You have asked a difficult question. I have thought about this thing, amongst the many things that I have thought about and I have not really reached a conclusion. However, let me put down what I think about it. The views are completely personal and as yet unformed.

The upbringing that I have had is extremely conservative. Sex and all are not talked about. Even things like love marriages and petty romances are taboo. With such a background I have a natural taboo against promiscuity.

I have, by the way of my education, come to terms with romance. I think it is perfectly okay for young people to be in a relationship. The issue of sex is however problematic. I approach these questions from a very personal viewpoint.

Part of my ideology is constructed around the idea that if something isn't harmful to somebody then people should be allowed to do it. If two young people have sex then it isn't really causing any harm and thus it is perfectly fine to do it. However, I imagine - what if the girl I was in a relationship with had had sex with someone before me. Despite all my libertarian leanings, I think I would be uncomfortable. That is taboo setting in. I have certain notions of fidelity drilled into me that I'm not able to get rid of. And it is not about the girl having done anything wrong. It is more a question of loyalty. I would not feel as close and as attached to this girl as I would feel with someone who has only given herself to me. Possession is an important aspect of romantic relations.

But I also understand that people change. That girl may have been in love with another person at some time. She may just have had sex just because she wanted to have some fun. What really is wrong with it? It does not necessarily imply that that girl is any less loyal or loves me less. When I think this way, I feel that I would be okay with her sexual history as long as I am convinced that she really has moved on.

But thinking that way, would I be comfortable with her having sex with someone while she is with me? After all, she may be doing it only for fun, and this may not reflect her feelings towards me in any way. I don't think I would be comfortable with that. For me, sex is an expression of very intimate romantic feelings for your partner. So if she does it while she is already with me, I'd be offended. Yes, I am judging her by my own standards and not hers (her views on what sex means may be different) but what other standards do I have?

Moral of the story - I'm perfectly okay with monogamy. As long as you are with one partner at a time, I'm okay with it. You may move from one partner to another but not more than one person at a time. Having written that I realize how western that sounds. That is precisely how fidelity is defined in contemporary western world. And I'm amused at how easily I discard my native morality and embrace the Western one.

One a more private note I think I will be able to do it if there are no strings attached. One night stands. If we are just doing it for fun for one night and are never going to see each other ever. I may do it. But if there is any kind of interaction between me and the girl, I can't do it. For example, I couldn't do it with an acquaintance. First issue would be hurting her because having sex probably means a certain kind of commitment. It may not and the girl may be very casual about it but how can I be sure. Second, I just wouldn't feel comfortable doing it with someone I'm not really close to.

So for me it is the extremes that is okay. Recreational sex is okay. Making love is okay. Not chasing girls just so that you can bed her and then leave her to her fate. I don't know if you get this but I can't put it better than this.


  1. Nice topic! I've had lots of discussion on this topic with my wingies and I have more or less the same views. In general, I guess it is a sort of war between our traditional upbringing and modern education. I particularly agree with the problem of the girl having sex with somebody else when she is seeing me. Some things like loyalty (in this case, defined as not having sex with somebody else when u are seing someone)are expected from a partner everywhere in the world. This is not too much to ask,i guess!

  2. @ Preshit - Hey! Nice to hear from you after such a long time. :) I always had this uncanny hunch that all IITians think alike. On a more serious note, I think that is the viewpoint that most of our generation takes. And yes, I do think that it is some sort of compromise between the old values and the new.

  3. Very honest opinion of a man.
    When you have sex with a stranger, you don't think of her previous relationship,etc.It's gr8.It's victory.
    However, when you are in something called 'love', then there are all the problems.

  4. @ Adit - Yes, honesty is the crime that I have often been accused of. :( And I don't really think of sex as a victory. It is more of something that one does with mutual consent.

  5. is done wid mutual consent otherwise one ends up in jail.
    Victory is feeling that comes when you have sex with a complete stranger. It is with mutual consent. It feels like you are smart enough to
    attract the female. So, victory in that sense. But when one is in love then having sex is certainly not a victory.

  6. @ Adit - I still don't see any victory but I understand. :)

  7. hmmm.....i will mail u sometime abt the V feeling....1 hottie in a pub...10 guys...and you get that moment...hmmm..i think a mail on real life experience will make it more clear..! ;)

  8. @ Adit - Adit, of course, I understand. I just don't see it personally. Don't you get the difference?

  9. anyways....what u say is more is not a battlefield!

  10. Now here I would like to discuss two things :
    1. Although Vinod hasn't suggested this in any form, still in most cases i get a feeling that people confuse between modernisation and westernisation. Why is being a libertarian seen as being modern? I dont say its wrong or anything as it should best be left to personal opinions, but I do not see any modern thing in being a libertarian. Such people were always there (even in our country) and so this is just another way of thinking.Coz i dont think that if I am a person who doesnt believe in sex with multiple partners, that makes me any less modern.
    2. It is general tendency in the subcontinent people to deviate from your own culture. I again dont know whether its right or wrong but personally i have always felt that a person should have some respect for his traditions and culture. Now , today as my culture, my traditions, the philosophy my society pursues, tells me that sex is a taboo. Then I guess i am being clinical and not conservative if i carry the same notions. Afterall, no one is prohibiting you from having sex. All the society demands is : with the right person and at the right time. Even science supports the fact that early sex may be harmful to the body. And as our society stands today, you can easily marry a girl of your own choice. Yes, they do ask for some restraint from your side and you may ask why, as what you are doing has nothing to do with others. But then i believe thats why we humans stand different from animals. Coz sometimes we go beyond reason. Sometimes we do things only because the society says so. The society may b wrong but oit may be right too. And we will do no harm to ourselves if we compromise a bit.

    As for me, I would certainly never be able to indulge in sex before marriage. Reason- just one. Whether or not my parents come to know about it, i'll feel i have betrayed them coz this is against their philosophy if not mine. It doesnt matter whether their opinion bears reason or not. I hardly care. i have always felt that human behavior goes beyond reason. I will do what has been taught to me to be right by my parents since childhood. Coz i wont gain anything even if i prove that they were wrong.

    As for most cases i see around myself i feel that ppl having sex are doing something wrong because otherwise they wont behave the way they do and wont hide it from others. However, if one himself is convinced that having sex in this age is nothing wrong and has the audacity to face everyone including his/her parents and still defend his/her act, i guess thats when he/she really 'may' be right.

  11. Hmm, so first off we all are a little divided between how we're bought up/what we've seen and what really goes now/what we reason differently now.

    So love isnt an issue, sex is. I used to think that I would want to take my relationship to that level only with someone I'm sure, I'll marry. But see, it doesnt work that way because when we truly fall in love, we never ever want to believe that it wont work out. So it might get hard to distinguish boundaries in those ways.

    So how to draw a line, remains a question. I dont know, thinking like a poet, I'd say trust your heart. I trust mine, we just KNOW what to do.

    Infidelity is unacceptable. Even if you forgive the person, it wont work. If he loves you, you think he's trying to make up. If he doesnt - well you'll think he still doesnt value you. It is sick to sleep with someone else while you are seeing/dating/sleeping with some other. Whatever be your belief system. If you dont share your same belief system with him/her, it very very insensitive and hurtful.

    One night stands, hmm, personally two agreeing adults who understand the situation well, shoudnt be a problem. I just dont wanna contract AIDS. ;-)

    @ Shashank

    I thought that was such a close minded view. I'll stop at that.

    @ Vinod

    See... Sex sells! You should try Violence next time. Or even Pornography for that matter, that might do EVEN better .


    Good post! I liked reading your views :)

  12. @ Nainy - Yeah, I've been dying to do a post on pornography. What would you prefer? The Genre's of Porn or My Personal Preferences in Porn?

  13. @ Vinod

    I can use Wikipedia for genres of porn. Lets see what you prefer.

  14. @ Shashank-
    I am not sure whether our Indian culture thinks sex is taboo. It is our existing society that holds this view. I won't go into that Vatsyayan & Kamsutra details but I am sure Indian culture was quite open minded about sex. The current social mindset about sex is nothing short of disgusting and hypocritic.

    I agree with you about human behaviour being quite irrational. So I respect your decision to not indulge in pre-marital sex because of your respect of your parents' views. But I still believe there is nothing wrong with having pre-marital sex. I think that scientific claims about early sex may not be valid for adults of our age. I have not had sex till now and the society denies me this pleasure and asks me to wait until either i have found the right girl, or I give up and ask my parents to marry me off to some random girl whom I meet 2-3 times. Also, in today's Indian society, a boy and girl having a relationship (even without the sex) is an absolute NO-NO. So how do you think I am going to find my "right" girl?

    @ Vinod-
    Please go ahead and write about pornography...that wud be fun to read as well!

  15. @ preshit:
    Forget history PD. Today sex indeed is a taboo in this country, at least amongst elders. Although i would agree that the scene is fast changing and nothing can be a better example than this blogpost :)

    yeah nainy, I am often told that!
    Just one question though :
    If you read my comment properly, you would find that i have not given any absolute judgments. In fact I have not even said that premarital or early sex is good or bad. In fact I myself do not consider sex as anything wrong(wrt whatever you wanna assume) until the persons involved have a clean mind and they are fully aware of the consequences and realities attached with their act. I am just trying to say that sometimes it is not about right or wrong or good or bad. Its about choice. And i would like to make a choice which is neither biased by western views nor is it such that it may hurt my close ones.
    Thus I am open to your arguments and I respect each one's personal choice.
    While at the same time you have been kind of judgmental in tagging me as close minded (thats again just my personal opinion)

    Hope you had not stopped there :)

    Never mind! I have enough things to be open minded in. And if chosing to abstain from premarital sex is being close minded, I am happy being so. :)

  16. porn....hmmm.......Vinod Bhaiya, kya kha pee rahe ho aajkal?

  17. *YAWNS*

    Yaar, I was invited to read this topic but as expected it lies beyond my comprehension. :P I certainly think that there are better things in life to have fun than sex. If two people agree to have one night stand, they should be immediately convicted and put behind bars because in most cases they will end up cursing their lives and spoiling others. Sometimes we just flow with the emotions convincing ourselves that sex is the way to go right now but emotions don't last long. Ofcourse, if I had just one night remaining before I touch down heaven (or hell! :P), I would go for it. But if I am going to have rest of my life which 'might' be subject to remorse of any sort... I will rather not. Play Safe! ;)

  18. Mr. Khare am extremely delighted to know your views more so that thr are ppl who think in this fashion...