Sexolve 227: ‘I Am Married to a Woman but Attracted to Men’
“But I love my wife very much and I really want her to be happy.”
(Trigger Warning: Some questions could make you feel agitated. Reader discretion is advised.)
Sexolve is equal rights activist Harish Iyer’s Q&A space on FIT.
If you have any queries regarding sex, sexuality or your relationship, and need some advice, answers or just someone to hear you out – write in to Harish Iyer, and he’ll try and ‘sexolve’ it for you. Drop in a mail to email@example.com.
This week’s Q&As are below:
'I Am Married to a Woman but Attracted to Men’
It’s been six months since my marriage to a woman. During my childhood, I was more attracted to men than women and I still am. But I love my wife very much and I wanted her to be happy always. During sex, I am unable to get an erection. I don’t know whether it’s due to the fact that I am not attracted to women or the pressure to perform well in bed with her. I have no clue. I am thinking of using viagra. But even if we use viagra, the tablet only works if you feel horny right? Correct me if I am wrong. Or are there any other strong viagra tablets which can induce erection without feeling horny? Please help.
Dear Confused Man,
Thank you for writing in.
Sometimes life takes us to places that our bodies don’t want to go. To be married to someone with no desire to be bodily present with the person we are wedded to, is one such thing.
Are you looking at ways to please your partner so that she feels satisfied or are you looking at ways to perform better so that you feel good? These are two different things. And both are important for a successful relationship.
I am glad that you have love and affection towards your wife. Does she know about your leaning towards men? Do you intend to discuss with her or are you planning to keep it a secret?
If you are not okay discussing that aspect of your life with her, I would suggest that you seek regular counselling. One cannot force themselves to perform every night when their mind and bodies don’t want to go that route.
In many cases, the performance pressure takes the route of violence. The fact that peer group, family and society at large expect the husband and wife to have wholesome sex all the time puts immense amount of pressure on relationships. Wives of men who have sex with men, majorly face the brunt of this violence.
Variants of Viagra are available over the counter in many stores – I wouldn’t ever suggest that you take any of those without a proper prescription from a qualified doctor. Also, be wary of fake “cures” with absolutely no scientific basis. It could end up causing you more harm than good.
We can’t always swim against the tide. You will have to find a better way to deal with this soon.
I gather that you are grappling with too much, all by yourself. The physical or sexual inability to perform is a result of you trying to be someone whom you are not. Please get yourself an appointment with a mental health professional who could listen to you and intently look at helping you find new paths and newer methods to deal with the challenges you are facing.
Please do fix yourself an appointment with a counsellor.
P.S. The burden of keeping a lie is often far more than the effect of stating the truth.
‘When Can I Have a Sex Change Operation?’
I am a 36-year-old man, trapped in a woman’s body. All my childhood I was called a Tom Boy. I never objected to it, I felt great. So there was no question of being bullied. I lived with the title of a tomboy all through my life. In the local trains also, many women object to me getting in the woman’s compartment and I travel in gents compartment as one of them. I have always been like a boy. Of late, since the past 7 years or so, I feel more like a man. I want to convert my gender to male. I don't like these breasts that I have and I use clothes to bind it well. I don’t know of people like me. I am in Mumbai. I have two questions – when is a good time to fit myself a penis and remove my breasts? Where can I find people like me? Please answer.
Dear Tom Bhai,
Thank you for writing in.
Gender is a social construct. Irrespective of what sexual organs you have, your gender is what you affirm you are – and not what the world presumes you to be.
Your sex assigned at birth could be female and you can be a man. The truth of your gender is only what you tell it is. Rest all are presumptions.
Affirming surgeries to homogenise your sex with your gender involve a long procedure of psychiatric counselling and several surgeries colloquially referred to as “top surgeries” and “bottom surgeries”. There is psychological and psychiatric intervention because these operations are irreversible and take a great deal of effort, besides money. Please write to Bombay based support group Umang at firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also check the website www.gaysifamily.com for several stories and personal narratives. They have a lot of events – online and on-ground, that have a floating crowd of people from all walks of life and all genders.
Do feel free to write back if you think I could be helpful with any more information you need.
P.S. you are who you are.
‘I Reprimand My Boy When He Wears Skirts’
My son loves to wear skirts and female outfits. I wonder if this is a phase or this is a habit or is this his gender? How will I come to know? I tried scolding him and also once asked my wife to reprimand him, but he doesn’t listen. This habit is sticking on him. How do I correct him? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind if he grows up and becomes whatever, but at 12 he is a child and I don’t think anyone would appreciate that he does this at such a young age. Please help?
Dear Worried Dad,
Thank you for writing in. I am not a parent of any human as yet, however, one but I hope you would listen to me intently.
Respect is a two-way street. Children need to be respectful of parents and parents need to be respectful of children.
Let me first share with you about sex, gender and gender expression.
Your child’s sex assigned at birth was male, because your child was born with a penis.
Your child’s gender is not for you or anyone else to presume, it is for them to affirm. Your child could have their sex assigned at birth as male and identify as female. Gender identity doesn’t always have to be congruent with the sex assigned at birth. There is nothing “wrong” with your child if their gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth. They are not an aberration of nature, they are a variation in nature.
Your child could also have their sex assigned as male and the gender identity could also be male, but they may choose to express their gender wearing clothes or expressing themselves in ways that majority of females do.
All permutations and combinations are valid. All permutations and combinations are natural.
We can’t force our children to live true to our idea of their gender. They can only be who they are.
So, I would suggest you read up a little about sex, gender and gender expression. Don’t reprimand your child for being different.
Being different in a world that is all the same is scary and lonely for a child. Don’t augment their fears. Support them.
I will suggest what I think is ideal.
Sit down with your child. Tell your child that they can be the truest version of who they are. Tell them that you will support them for who they are and be with them to guard them if they face any challenges.
Love them intently and intensely. Join them in their struggles and unlearn hegemonic practices that supress children and sabotage their potential to be the best version of who they are.
You don’t need to give your child the wings. They have them. Just don’t cage their gender and gender expression, because when you cage a part of them, you cage the whole of them and then, they wouldn’t be able to fly.
P.S. Beating or threatening your child is child abuse. Try more sane ways – like say…. Talking!
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals)
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