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Revealed: Bangalore’s Basic Instincts

by Prasad Krishna last modified Jan 10, 2012 06:50 AM
This is a first – a sex survey that focusses only on Bangalore. Sure, we have sex surveys telling us what the country thinks. But we wanted to know what our city thinks about the three-letter word. The article was published in the Bangalore Mirror on 8 January 2012. Sunil Abraham is quoted right near the end on why Bangalore might not figure in Google Search rends' top 10 India locations for porn-related queries.

And it wasn’t just sex that we discussed. We also quizzed people on fidelity – emotional and physical –  homosexuality and love. Predictably, Bangalore’s responses were far from predictable.

Lover 1

Instant attraction

Cynics may scoff at love at first sight, but youngsters are not yet cynical. And love seems to be catching people very young with kids as young as 13 claiming to be struck by Cupid, leaving even school principals shocked.

D Shashi Kumar, principal of Blossoms School, says, “Even kids from fourth to sixth standard claim to have fallen in love at first sight. I am  flabbergasted and it’s difficult to deal with this though it is  normal even in primary schools. Where is the innocence that one associates with childhood? They seem to be in a hurry to grow up.”

But, given Bangalore’s overwhelming response in favour of instant love, we found someone with a happy ending. Hear it from Narasimha Murthy: “We looked, we smiled and I was a goner. It’s been eight years since we got married and that love still continues to make my heart beat faster every time I see her."

True love waits?

The rip-roaring double standards for the goose and gander does not  exist more strongly in any other case. Despite the emergence of the metrosexual male, men still want virgin brides.

As a result, women find it difficult to confess about their previous sexual partners. For instance, 28-year-old Menaka has been married for more than four years, but her guilty  conscience hasn’t given up. “I had a boyfriend in college with whom I was intimate. When I got married, I decided to let my past be and start afresh. Everybody has a past, why rake it up and ruin your future? The more practical reason for me to have made that decision was because I knew it would ruin my married life.  But then, my husband recently confessed about his affairs before we got married and now I am consumed with guilt. But what would have been even more ideal was for me to have waited till I got married,” she says.

Masti after marriage?

A city that so overwhelmingly believes in love seems to think nothing of infidelity. It’s all about the thrill.

Abhishek Rana, for instance, is a self-confessed stud since college. His list of girlfriends was like a telephone directory and he managed to date multiple girls simultaneously. Finally, he tied the knot with his childhood sweetheart (who knew about his escapades) a couple of years ago and is quite happy with his marriage. But that has not stopped the Casanova. “If anything, I am going out with more women now than I did before I was married.
Lover 2

Back then, it was the thrill of watching me succeed with the ladies where the others failed. Now, it is the thrill of making sure I don’t get caught by my wife. It is forbidden so it makes it more attractive. I have to come up with innovative reasons when I go home late. Once I told her I was helping my Man Friday’s daughter with homework in the office and she bought it! It’s not that I’m not happy with my wife. But, you need to keep the zing in life,” says this alumnus of a top B-school in India.

Unhappy about gays

It has been nine long years since Adithya Rao’s (name changed) father has spoken to him. “I was 24 when I told him I was gay and that was it. He slapped me and that was the last time he ever spoke to me,” says this designer who takes his boyfriends home to introduce them to his mother. “She is the one who keeps peace in the family,” says Adithya.

Forget the decriminalisation of Article 377. Homosexuality is still taboo in the city. Nithin Manayath, who is gay and a very vocal activist for the rights of homosexuals, says it is the shame around the idea of being homosexual that is the main problem. This 33-year-old English literature professor says, “My extended family knows that I am gay because I have even appeared on television. But I still have overzealous aunts and uncles who tell me about this ‘nice girl’ that I should meet. So depending on who it is, I politely tell them to introduce me to guys instead. I don’t think it is the idea of men sleeping with men that has them in knots. Their problem is talking about it in public. Even my parents don’t really talk about it. My mum is sometimes okay talking about it. But dad prefers to just never bring it up.”

Lover 3

Live-in is in

For ad woman Ashima, 28, and HR professional Jeremy, 31, (names changed), after five years of being in a relationship, the next logical step was to move in together. Although the decision didn’t come easy with parents opposing it, the couple went ahead and moved in together in January last year. Ashima says she always wanted to live together with her partner before taking the plunge.

“When you are dating someone, it’s different.  You don’t get to spend that much time together. It is only when you are living with a person that you can understand how your partner lives, know his personal hygiene, his moods, his habits. I thought living-in would be a good way to test our compatibility before deciding to get married,” said Ashima.

Jeremy says moving in was also a matter of convenience. “It made sense economically as well for us to move in together. Both our parents don’t live in the city but when we told them about our decision, their primary concern was what people would say,” he said. 

Dr Bhupendra Chaudhury, consultant psychiatrist, The Apollo Clinic, Koramangala, says that live-in relationships are never permanent. “Live-in relationships are always transient. The good thing about a live-in relationship is that both the people in the relationship are not sure about where the relationship will lead. With a change in the demographic trend where most people are living away from their families, a live-in relationship is natural. With such couples, there is no family pressure and with both partners working, they can afford their own expenses and in most cases parents don’t know about it. A live-in relationship can either end in separation or marriage but I have never come across any couple who has lived together for long. It is never permanent,” said Dr Bhupendra.

In the case of Ashima and Jeremy, they passed the compatibility test and after a year of living together, they are ready to say ‘I do’ this month.

Pure emotions

When Uma Rao found out that her husband of 30 years had cheated on her with a young girl, it hit her hard. “At first, I thought he was going through a mid-life crisis and was looking to spice up his life. I imagined it was just a fling.  But, when he said that he was in love with her, I was shattered,” says Uma who divorced her husband last month.

But what if it was the other way round? Rajesh, Uma’s former husband, says: “If Uma had had the affair, I don’t think I would have been able forgive her. I think it is a man-woman thing,” says the father of a 20-something daughter. Incidentally, he’s considering marrying his girlfriend who is also in her 20s.

One wild night

“Why not,” asks Pavithra (name changed), a college student who has already had multiple partners. “I am single and I have the right to enjoy life,” says the nubile young thing who does not label it as sexual promiscuity, but experimentation. “I don’t come from my mother’s generation to subscribe to the idea that you have to sleep with only your husband. Sexual attraction has nothing to do with love or other mushy emotions,” she says.

But for 39-year-old Manjunath, a photographer who indulges in one-night stands, “one-night-stands or a sexual partner is a much better option than dating somebody after you get married. It is too much risk with too little benefit. Enjoy the experience and move on.”

The work-shift rift

Any sexologist tell you that the most number of cases with marital problems are between couples who work in highly stressful jobs. “Couples are now older as people are more concerned about their careers. They do not realise that people have to give time to a marriage. I once had a couple come in after just two weeks of their marriage. While the wife worked in an advertising firm, the husband worked in a call centre.

So they had no time for each other and they realised this within two weeks of marriage. Relationships need patience and perseverance more than anything else. Finally, it came as no surprise that they were divorced within a year,” says Mamtha Shetty, a psychiatrist in the city.
Lover 4

Social network gets a poke

“My husband works in Mumbai and I work in Bangalore. We meet once in a month and Facebook is the only way I keep in touch with him and know what is happening in his life minute by minute. Now, most people think that we can do this over the phone, but we are so tired at the end of the day, I don’t have the energy to have a long-drawn conversation,” says Shefali Gupta.

There are many such couples, you realise, if you listen to Suma Gowda, a private marriage counsellor. “I had a case where the couple were on the verge of getting a divorce, because the husband had complimented his ex-girl friend on Facebook. But what made it even more weird was that their entire fight was going on on Facebook. They refused to talk about it at home whenever they got together. You need to understand that  talking is what keeps the marriage going,” she says.

“The days of marriage as an institution are all but over. Today people see it as a compartment and that is where the problem begins. You have to emotionally invest in relationships. Couples today treat it like they can lock it away as a small part of their lives instead of looking at it as an anchor. They don’t have the patience to make a relationship work and it is not just marriage that I am talking about.  It is almost like couples have a separate person for every need of theirs,” says Sushil Unni, a certified life coach.

Porn supremacy

Vinutha Reddy never understood why her husband would lock himself in his study. “My husband was uninterested in me sexually. We had had sex once in the six months that we were married. When I finally summoned the courage and told him that we need to get some help, he refused. After a lot of pressure from the family, he agreed, and it was then that he opened up about his fetish for middle-aged women.  He would surf the internet all night to find these websites.  There was nothing I could do about it,” says the homemaker who is still in the marriage since the last five years because of family pressure.

But despite this, Bangalore does not figure in the top 10 of porn-surfing cities in India while Mangalore makes it. Sunil Abraham, executive director, Centre for Internet Society, explains the science of surfing. “If you look at the Google trend or any other website, Bangalore does not figure among the top 10 cities that surfs for porn. But that does not mean that Bangalore does not surf porn. It only means that we have a very sophisticated surfer with a very specific type.  They don’t go through Google or other websites. They know how to go about it. But whether it affects their personal lives is lot more complicated,” he says.

After a lot of family pressure, he opened up about his fetish for middle-aged women.

Read the original in Bangalore Mirror


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