The word ‘Asexual’, according to the Oxford Dictionary, means ‘Without sexual feelings or associations’. But not in India. In India, it means ‘being in a state of confusion and not knowing what we are missing out on’. Being anything other than ‘straight’ is a taboo in India. You’d think that in a country where having a boyfriend is widely and harshly condemned, people wouldn’t mind the fact that there are people who are not interested in dating or having any sort of sexual relationships. Most of the people don’t even understand what being asexual means, and by some miracle, even if they do, they think you’re too young to make a decision on what sexual orientation you belong to.
Try telling your mom that you, an independent woman who has just reached or crossed the age of 24 (which marks the beginning of societal pressures on various aspects, mainly your marriage), are not comfortable with the idea of marriage and especially consummating your marriage, and watch her eyes widen in the fear of “Log kya kahenge (what will people say).” And then the questionnaire starts: “What do you mean you don’t want to get married? Marriage and motherhood will complete you as a woman. How can you even think about not having children? What do you mean adoption is an option? It’s not!! What about us? How do you expect us to be respected by this society if my daughter is a non-sexual?”
Witness the transformation of your parents, from people who always advocated against you getting a pet because you were ‘too young’ to take on such big responsibilities, into concerned adults who think that you’re old enough to get buried in responsibilities by getting married to a stranger and having a child with him, in seconds.
If by some miracle, you get out of this questionnaire still strong and determined to hold your ground, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have won the war. Then come the waterworks and the ’emotional blackmailing’. I, being a South-Indian myself, feel like this is where the long hours your mom put into watching her overly emotional soap operas come in handy. If you watched them along with her, then great! If not, uh-oh, you’re in trouble.
I don’t think i have come across even a single case where logic has won the battle over tears and the question, “Why are you doing this to us?” Ironic, right?A sizable majority of asexuals give up at this point. The remaining ones, still somehow find the courage to say “Screw this. I can’t live with myself if I change who I am,” and get disowned.
I know we can’t blame people for not knowing the term ‘asexual’. We make up a very small percentage of the world’s population, and chances are high that you’ve never met or even heard of one. But we can blame people for not letting us live our lives the way we want, for judging our reluctance towards sex, for trying to brand us as normal when we are a deviation from the norm, for trying to ‘make us normal’ by forcing us to give ‘straight life’ a try.
We are happy and content just the way we are, and even if we were given a chance, we’d never want to change ourselves, not even if the world was at stake. We are not broken, and we are not alone.