'Indians don't talk about sex - so I help them'

Jagadeesh Tamilselvan 12 Jul 2021 19

Looking back, my conservative Indian upbringing was actually the perfect grounding for someone who would end up as a sex coach...

Many Indian schools provide no sex education, leaving it to parents to talk to their children about sex and relationships. But often they are unsure what to say, sex coach Pallavi Barnwal tells the BBC’s Megha Mohan.

The earliest influence on me, although I didn’t realise it at the time, was my parents’ own relationship.

There were rumours about my parents’ marriage for years. When I was around eight years old, I started getting questions about it. At parties, if I was separated from my family, an infantry of breathless aunties would corner me for an interrogation.

 

“Do your parents still share a room?”

 

“Have you heard any arguments?”

 

“Do you ever see a man visiting?”

 

I would be standing by a dessert table, about to spoon a scoop of ice cream into a bowl, or wandering through a garden looking for other children to play with and before I knew it, I’d be surrounded by excited women I barely knew, asking questions to which I definitely did not know the answer.

Years later, after my own divorce, my mother told me the full story. Early in my parents’ marriage, before my brother and I were born, my mother felt a deep attraction to a man that turned into a physical affair. Within weeks guilt set in and she ended it. But in Indian communities, there are eyes and mouths everywhere. Over time, rumours reached my father.

It took my father 10 years, and two children, to finally ask her about it.

He promised her that any answer would not affect their relationship, but after years of murmurs he had to know. She told him everything. It was less about sex and more about intimacy, she said. It had happened at a time before they had started a family, when their marriage hadn’t yet found its groove.

As soon as she stopped talking she noticed an immediate chill in the room. My father had instantly withdrawn. My mother’s confirmation of a story he had suspected for years immediately severed any trust between them and their relationship rapidly decomposed.

This showed me very clearly that our inability to properly talk about sex and intimacy could break down families.

read more at BBC

Tags: Sex, India, Women, Talk,
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