‘I Don’t Exist For Your Male Gaze, Neither Does My Sexuality’

Posted by Damini Yadav in LGBTQ
February 15, 2017

Most misconceptions we hold about sex begin with its very definition. It’s exclusive, to say the least. And I didn’t realise that it marginalised me too.

I discovered that I was bisexual when I was 16, all alone in an empty room, in front of a laptop which has probably seen more of me (I’m not making a metaphor here) than anyone I’ve ever known. Judge me all you want but I have no qualms with the way I found out that my dating pool had expanded because I’ve known others who had it much worse, falling in love with their straight best friend. I will omit the strange details of this mega event of my life owing to the natural tendency of leeches that are known to infect the Internet, to hyper-sexualize a woman’s honest encounters with her sexuality. But I will tell you this; it had a lot to do with the tabooed kind of self-love. For the uninitiated ones, it was while masturbating (although I hadn’t really learnt about the “how” of this utterly satisfying art at the time).

I grew up fairly well-read and well-informed and wore the badge of a liberal feminist ever since I was a 12-year-old who never hesitated when talking about sex. I wasn’t ashamed of being involved in lengthy conversations about sex.

So what came next was surprising.

You see, I had read about internalisation of “heteronormativity” but I never thought I had done it too until I really started thinking about the virgin jokes that were thrown in my face by the adult friends that surrounded me and how easily I accepted them. I knew that virginity was a construct of patriarchy and the comprehension of straight people about “losing your v-card” was confined to penetration – which I’m guessing was to really just stroke the fragile male ego and make men believe that they were in-charge of this sacred task just like every other “sacred” task.

But come to think of it, I believed it for a really long time too. And when I started dating a woman, we were both pulling our hair out in the confusion of “have we had sex or not?”. Even though we’d accepted the revised definition of – “sex is about orgasms, if you’ve had one with your partner, you’ve had sex,” I don’t think we’d really understood what it meant. Subconsciously, we were still stuck on the ancient version, at least I was. Anyway, thanks to Internet education and the adolescent enlightenment, we now think of “having sex” in a way that is much more accommodative of who we are.

I’m about to turn 18 and I think have started placing things in a political context. I want to tell all those boys who in a very cavalier fashion replied with, “Wow, your boyfriend would be lucky,” while talking about my sexual orientation – I don’t exist for your fantasies. I don’t exist to help you get off with the thought of a threesome with my girlfriend and me. I don’t exist for you to fetishize when bored and condemn when charged with a nationalism that teaches you to call me unnatural. I don’t exist for your male gaze, neither does my sexuality. I, in simple words, do not exist for you. It took me a while to understand this, but now I know.