This is not an age of the cliche; it is an age of rediscovery. Of finding new shades to relationships. Just ask me: there are many experiences shared on my call-in radio show, Between The Sheets, which testify to new-age thinking under the covers. For instance, a woman took the discussion on love and expectation to a new level by saying she had a “friend with benefits” who she hoped would not fall in love with her. It was convenient, there was no mush, there was a connect and there was practicality. There was lots of “good sex”. Another lady caller thought long-distance relationships were the ones that last; you get space to breathe, you aren’t under a microscope—what you are wearing, who you are seeing or when you will come home. Clearly, space is as much of a priority for a woman as a man.
The cheating code is changing too: the “two-timer” is ‘the man’ no more. “What is the harm in dating more than one guy?” I was asked, while doing a show titled ‘Who’s On Your Mind Tonight?’ That said, the woman is exploring her options, but hasn’t lost her emotional side. Several women callers spoke about how marriage is not the fiasco that everyone keeps making it out to be; with many saying the love stayed even after a romance turned into a commitment. That particular show about love before and after commitment strengthened my belief that ‘happily ever after’ has in fact come to pass in many lives.
On another segment, in which callers divulged their sexual fantasies, women were more open to talking about theirs—lingerie, the bathroom to the rooftop, no bar on any spot for a little canoodling. The men, in contrast, were damp squibs, exhibiting little or no imagination in regard to fantasies. The only thing on their minds: to be in and around her. Period. Alas, the new-age man is a confused creature, often left with little choice but to accept without understanding the changing woman.
An interesting discussion on virginity unearthed further cleavages. Many women said virginity wasn’t important, that it wasn’t a sign of docility or submission, with several even preferring a partner with confidence in bed, a partner who knows what they want and lets them be the partner they want to be. Most men were partial to the ‘virgin’, wanting a girlfriend with experience, but not a wife. Things have to change a whole lot.
Everyone thinks that the male ego doesn’t permit a belief in sharing—his woman is his property. That’s not across the board apparently. We heard a caller talk about how he knew his girlfriend had three other boyfriends and that he was okay with it. It hurt him, but he loved her too much to let go! So do men now have to swallow some of what has traditionally been their pill?
It’s accepted that there’s scope, every so often, for another woman to crop up in a man’s desires. He is still vulnerable (open) to drifting, still very much attuned with his desire to have variety, still struggling with monogamy. That’s not to say, though, that men are forever mindlessly chasing the external appeal of a woman—beauty lies deep within. Where physical attributes might make men notice someone, personality is what makes them stay. A discussion on what makes a woman attractive to men also identified other qualities besides ‘looks’.
Even post-relationship dynamics have grown in import. Emotional baggage from an old relationship doesn’t always get in the way of friendship. Many men are friends with the ex, the girl they once desired. The transition, they say, is smooth; not every flame is worth never stoking again. Sometimes, this friendship comes along with some benefits.
All in all, it’s a fun ride for both sexes. People are evolving. Women are more in control, and men are more accepting.
(Anil Srivatsa anchors the late night call-in radio talk show Between The Sheets on www.radiowalla.in).