Are we having more sex than ever before? I don’t know. It’s impossible to tell what people did behind closed doors in the seventies. Indians are bloody good at subterfuge, so it’s entirely possible that our parents’ generation had as much sex as we do, only they were better at hiding it.
In the new culture of openness, it’s okay to have sex and be honest about it. For you have done nothing wrong. You don’t have to shout it out from the rooftops (Facebook will do), but you don’t have to be in denial either.
When talking of casual sex, we often tend to confuse it with one-night stands. Not true. In most cases, casual sex refers to multiple sexual partners with whom one has sex more than once. Both partners are aware of this. How much information you share about your other partners depends on your relationship with that person. In most cases, people prefer to spare each other the lurid details. Don’t ask, don’t tell. And do people use condoms? Not really. When I asked a friend why, she laughed it off saying, “Because there is no AIDS in south Delhi.”
Honesty between partners can only be a good thing. It eliminates the possibility of cheating and the attendant problems: lying, guilt and deceitfulness. Truth and respect are the new keywords of this generation. A guy who sleeps with more than one woman is no longer called a cad. A woman with multiple sexual partners is no longer considered to be a whore.
I once took a girl I was sleeping with out for dinner. She was alarmed. She told me not to take her seriously. “Please don’t buy me gifts or dinners. I don’t want you to get ideas. I hope you realise we are just having fun. Don’t even think of marriage.” Nowadays, a woman does not hesitate to tell a man what she wants and what she doesn’t. We don’t play emotional games with each other anymore. We just go out and play.
Or take the example of my friend who was packed and booked to go to the Andamans to see this woman he’d been sleeping with. That is before she called and said, “Look. My ex-boyfriend is turning up in Port Blair too. It’s gonna get sticky.” She told him not to come. He wasn’t upset. He said he understood. He said she needed to figure it out. Two days later, he was cooking squid for another girl who two nights earlier had herself been in bed with a white boy from Defence Colony. Nowadays, there is little heartburn, and no bad blood.
The obvious next question would be: do men and women who indulge in casual sex ever get hurt? Is it the woman who gets hurt or is it the man? Is there ever trouble in paradise?
The answer is: sometimes, but not often. When both parties are looking for sex and that, and only that, is the driving force, things are pretty straightforward and simple. Much hooking up for casual sex is done via sexting, and sexting—the word is self-explanatory—is, well, always about sex.
Here’s how it happens. A girl sends a friend request on Facebook. I accept it, glance through her profile. Hers says she’s single and looking for men. Mine says I’m single and looking for women. I ask her if I know her. She replies, “We don’t but we should.” A couple of days later I send her a message saying, “Sup? Wanna meet” Two hours later I get a message back from her: “Was in a shoot. What you up to?”
“Not much. Whisky?”
“Nai. Me more vino rouge.”
“Cool. Your place or mine?
“Send me your addy. Should I pick up some red on the way?”
Or I might be sitting at my desk writing in the evening and get a message from my ex-girlfriend whom I haven’t seen for a while saying, “Wanna try something naughty?”
Since casual sex is about sex, feelings are seldom involved. People are seldom hurt. Sexting makes the intentions as clear as daylight. In fact, don’t expect any sympathy from the girl you are having casual sex with when you’re down and out. She’s not your wife or girlfriend. Last month, two girls sexted me when I was down with a bad chest infection and Augmentin 625 had blunted my sex drive. I replied to both saying sorry, I’m unwell. One messaged back: “Old man”, while the other said: “Ok. Later then.” Sweeties, how about “Get well soon”?
And then they say that women fall harder than men. That casual sex is more a man’s thing. In the post-modern world we live in, temperament matters more than gender. If anything, women, who can naturally juggle and multitask more than men, perhaps find it easier to handle casual sex. They know how to keep it light. When Mr Husband Material comes along, a different bulb lights up in their heads and hearts.
It would be no exaggeration to say that women have driven the casual sex revolution in India. They are the ones who’ve decided to grab the bull by its balls so to speak. There are many reasons for this: financial independence, the availability of over-the-counter contraceptives, the rise of chick-lit as well as women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan, which put sexual and personal fulfilment at the heart of a woman’s life, unlike earlier ones like Woman’s Era, even Femina, which prized family and fidelity.
Let me give some unsolicited advice to the single male in his thirties who thinks he’ll land his future wife bed-hopping in south Delhi. You don’t stand a chance. For the world of casual sex has nothing to do with marriage. Girls in their twenties will say, “Sex, yes, but marriage? You must be joking. Can’t you see I’m too young? I have to see the world, discover myself.” Divorced women in their thirties feel they married too early, now is the time to realise their professional ambitions, as well as experiment with different partners. “Please don’t drag me back into marriage. I just escaped!” They might remarry but that’s for later. And divorced women in their forties, well, they’re done with both marriage and kids. As they slip into the next phase of their lives, there’s not a chance in hell that they’ll turn to the waiter and say, “Can I have a repeat please?”
So. If you’re a single male in his thirties desperate to get married, avoid the world of casual sex. Your best bet lies in signing up for a privilege matrimony website.
The writer is the author of Eunuch Park. His new book The Butterfly Generation will be out this summer.