Monday, December 27, 2010

A positive take on pornography

It's so disturbing to open papers and read about rape, sexual and child abuse.

These abhorrent acts scar individuals and create dysfunctional relationships. Even more disturbing are skewed sex ratios where there are approximately 800+ women for 1,000 men, because these ratios will lead to further sexual frustration and acts of violence. Once the 800+ women have committed to men, what will the balance 200 men per 1000 do for sexual satisfaction? Prostitution is illegal and so is pornography.
Activists may shout aloud that pornography objectifies and degrades women, but I think that sexism, not sex, degrades women. They may argue that pornography leads to violence and intimidation of women. But I say that such cruelty existed for thousands of years before commercial pornography. In fact, countries with no pornography, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, do not boast strong women's rights records.

What we should address is that sexism and violence arise out of economic, emotional and cultural factors.

Is pornography a friend or foe? For those that say some pornography is objectionable, I say the answer to that is good pornography, not zero pornography. The problem is not sex, it is force.

We need to severely deal with those that practice female foeticide and also consider alternative sexual outlets for the lonely men out there to keep our women and children safe. We need to wake up to their lonely, frustrated reality.

1. Hi Pooja, I'm a teenage girl studying in class 10. Recently during my summer vacations this year, I met a guy who is also my age. We first started chatting on a networking site and then he asked me for my number, after which we starting texting and talking almost everyday. He stays in Mumbai and apparently his sisters and me are classmates. He is a very caring and sweet person but not expressive and very moody. I really like him and he likes me too. The problem though is his big ego and mood and he keeps telling me that I never take him seriously. Recently when he came to Bangalore his sister told him that he irritates me a lot, which is not really true and from then he just stopped flirting with me or even talking to me properly. After 10 days, I called to ask him why he didn't tell me directly that he doesn't want to talk to me and is saying it through his sister. He just laughed it off and said he would talk to me later but its been 2 days, he has not called me. Now I don't know what to do. It's been almost 7 months since I know him and I still love him. Should I forget him and move on or what should I do?
- Chavi, Bangalore.

Relationships can be tempestuous and immature at your age. It doesn't mean the love and caring isn't real, but it's subjected to a lot of volatility and change as you develop likes, dislikes, expectations and go through your own inner personal growth processes. Think about it. You are romanticising being in a relationship with a moody, egoistical man. How sensible is that? His non-communication isn't reasonable either. It's so much easier when people are upfront about what they are experiencing, even though it may be hurtful at that time. Figure out a good time to talk to him face to face so as to ascertain your role in his life or get closure on the relationship.

2. Dear Pooja, I am a 19 year-old teenager. I met a guy five years back. We became good friends, in fact the closest friends and I soon fell in love with him. He also developed feelings for me but then he stopped himself because he didn't want to hurt my mother, he's a family friend. I told him about my feelings three years back and we remained good friends. But now he's getting married next month. I am trying to keep a distance from him, but I don't want to. I can't see him with another girl. He considers me as his best friend and doesn't want me to leave him. I miss him and my feelings are just getting stronger day by day. Sometimes I feel like committing suicide. I can't imagine my life without him. What should I do?
- Anon.

He's a good man. He hasn't let you or your family down in any way, and such goodness, integrity and friendship should be rewarded with gratitude and happiness for his future. Your jealousy and suicidal thoughts will only hurt you and the wonderful bond you share with him. You don't have to have a life without him, as he considers you his best friend. All you need to work on is altering your expectations of him. If you can't handle it, just take a friendship sabbatical to heal, move on and get your emotional balance before you reconnect as friends. It's been a five-year investment into making an amazing friend and it would be a shame to let it to go forever.

3. Dear Pooja, I am a 28-year-old married woman. My husband is a businessman and used to travel a lot. I am addicted to sex. Before my marriage, I had physical relations with my brother's friend who is eight years elder to me. After my marriage, I didn't have much physical contact with my husband. So I often, felt alone at home and addicted to the net. I have so many online friends and they satisfy me through chat and we exchange few pictures. Meanwhile, I met my cousin online and we both began sex chat and now we have physical relations too. My husband comes home once a week and spends just a night with me. So to satisfy myself I usually go to my cousin's apartment. Sometimes my ex-boyfriend (my brother's friend) comes over. My cousin is not ready to get married since he thinks of me as his wife. But that cannot be possible and I tried to convince him that even after his marriage we can have a physical relationship. But he is not ready for that. What should I do?
- Prabha

Gosh! You are confronted by multiple issues. Firstly, your sex addiction needs urgent counselling if you wish to bring loyalty and integrity back into your marriage or any future relationship. Secondly, are you sure you want to stay in an unfulfilling, lonely marriage whose vows you have clearly violated? Lastly, encouraging your cousin to marry and be adulterous with you is simply appalling. In his best interest, I suggest you cut off all ties with him, and in your best interest I suggest you focus on sorting out your own problems immediately.

4. Hi, I am 23-years-old and my boyfriend is 25. I've known him for the last three years. For the first 20 months we were friends and after that, we fell in love. He said he will not marry me as he doesn't want to go against his parents' wishes. But he wants to be in a relationship as he says all couples do not marry in the end. I am unable to detach myself, but feel I am cheating myself and my parents. Whenever I need him and call him he just says he's really busy. This relationship is only frustrating me. He texts me everyday. Should I proceed?
- Mamta, New Delhi

Absolutely not! You are already unable to detach and feel guilty, so can you imagine how much more heightened those emotions would be if you got into a relationship with no future? He's selfishly thinking of his needs and his parents' happiness and not of yours or that of your parents. It's said that if you fill your life with clutter then there will be no space for the right man when he walks in. Realise your worth and potential and go out there and find a man who values you and thinks of a future with you.

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