SONGSOPTOK: Is the subject of sex taboo in your own personal family and friends circle? Do you talk freely about sex with your partner / children / friends? If no, why? If yes, what exactly do you talk about? Take this as an academic exercise, and do explain.

KALYAN: Sex is not a taboo now in my close friends circle. In family circle, with some it's still a taboo depending on the age difference and at times the relation. I talk freely about sex with my partner and with most of the friends but not with my child till now in all probability because of his age. I talk about all possible aspects of sex with my partner. But with different friends I speak about sex at different level.

SONGSOPTOK: In the society you live in, is the subject of sex a taboo? If yes, how do you explain it? Is it because of the religion that is practiced in your country? Or is because of your culture, or even the beliefs of the political parties in power?

KALYAN: Yes it is still a taboo. Religion has much to do with it as it has developed a moral code of ethics on sexuality and the way it may be expressed openly. In many religions the manner of practice of sex is also dictated. It has gone to the extent that even positions of the mere act of sex is linked to the likings of "god". Culture is also a great factor in making sex a taboo as culture is greatly influenced by religion. Interestingly I find there is a great discrimination between male and female folks as far as we can accept the openness about sex in preaching and practicing. This is a deep-rooted syndrome and has its origin in religion and culture.  It is noteworthy that economic conditions play crucial role in this context. Interestingly, at least in this part of the world we find that in the economically weaker sections of the society sex is less of a taboo. It will probably not be out of context to mention that initially in Hindu religion sex was not a taboo as is found in mythology, art and sculpture. Over the years the society clamped more and more restrictions on sex in the name of religion and culture. I wonder whether it is to have a control on the number of off-springs or to ensure a more secured family. But I strongly believe that sex-related taboos are widely against females mostly because of their anatomical structure and physiological properties. Women are developed physically to facilitate giving birth and the act of sex is obviously interlinked with this. Another fact I wish to mention is that that sex is pleasurable only in case of human being in the whole animal world. In all other cases it is a compulsion and in many cases like bees etc it is followed by death of the male partner. And since religion tried to take control on all the sources of pleasure in life - that's how probably sex became a primordial taboo. It's a long topic – but I have to stop now.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that the society today is more permissive compared to the time you were growing up? Do you think it is a good thing? Please let us have your detailed opinion.

KALYAN: Yes, the society is opening up fast. I really do not know what is good or bad for a society. I see it from a different angle. When a society changes it changes because it needs the change. Whether it is good or bad only time can tell - or can even time tell? The society is really becoming more permissive. Spouses are not now expecting their partners to remain virgin till marriage. Masturbation is not a taboo. Homosexuality is being discussed quite openly. And so on.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that a permissive society is dangerous for teenagers, both girls and boys? Or is it on the contrary a good thing since it demystifies sexual acts and makes them look at it as something mundane and normal? Is that a good or a bad thing?

KALYAN: No, a permissive society is not at all dangerous for teenagers. But let me point out something very different if you allow me. While a society does give a physical security to a child, a society also comes with its own baggage. Any society in the name of social norms imposes a whole lot of constraints and burdens on humans and thus tries to control the mental upbringing of a child. It is the society that makes a child a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian and thus transmits to them all the taboos. That way it moulds the virgin mind and turns them into a societal member and does not allow them to remain a man or a woman.  Demystifying sexual acts? Do you think sexual acts are all about sex? No! The act itself constitutes only a small part of the concept of sex. The thought process involved with sex and the philosophy of sex all are sprinkled with taboos. Discussing openly about sex is just another aspect of it. For example, how many people know that "female on top" position is liked by most males only when "he" wants it, but not whenever “she” may want it! Chauvinistic – yet so true - we males love to be dominated only as long as we want it! Dominance shown by a female partner may not be tolerated!

SONGSOPTOK:  History tells us that sex was not taboo in ancient societies. What, in your opinion, is the genesis of this attitude? Do you think that the rise of patriarchal societies all over the world is the main reason, where man gradually started looking upon the woman as his own property? Or is it mainly religious, where woman was treated as the root of all evils?

KALYAN: I already hinted at the genesis. It is sheer male dominance, the will to control birth etc which led to sex becoming a taboo subject. In ancient times we needed to grow fast – so sex was not a taboo. Then came a time when growth had to be controlled.  Yes, even today men think women as their property. Men are physically stronger than women. I believe nature made it so – since men needed strength to pump their seeds into the female body to give birth to a new life. I wonder what would have happened if nature designed women as the stronger humans who could suck the seeds out of men – and create life within them. Had nature not divided the power of sowing seeds and nurture life into two bodies – but endowed women with both strength to draw the seeds and the power to nurture life within them – would men be still able to dominate over women? I doubt. With muscle power on their side, men treat women as the root of all evils – their eternal escape route for all their vices.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you believe sexual attitudes and acts to be normal like all other bodily functions or do you think that there is a special significance to sexual acts? In other words, do sexual acts need to be couched in special sentiments and sanctified by the institution of marriage? What is your own experience? What is the experience of people close to you?

KALYAN: To be fair – initially I did think that dinning together and getting physical pleasure through the taste buds, speaking together and getting pleasure through ears are equivalent to getting sexual pleasure by mere rubbing of skins. I lost many friends specially ladies for this. But then, over time I realized that sexual act is unique in the sense that it is related to create lives, to give birth. Sharing a common story. A woman goes to bed with her boyfriend, defying all social norms and is filled with ecstasy, throwing caution to the wind. The next morning, when the social norms dawn on them, the lady gulps a birth-control pill and goes into depression – as she feels terrible to kill the possibility of a life created by her boyfriend in her womb. A child is not only another life – it is a continuation of their love. That is the uniqueness of sex from all other physical activities. The sanctity of marriage is fading away fast. Sex is getting freed from the shackles of marriage. That is the experience of people close to me. Marriage is about responsibilities. Sex comes with love, as a natural consequence of the wish to give oneself completely.

SONGSOPTOK: In your opinion, does the taboo about sex give rise to repressive societies where men and women feel obliged to curb their natural instincts and take recourse to abuse, rape or incest?

KALYAN: The society is still now heavily lopsided against women as far as taboos of sex are concerned. Men and women are basically beasts. They are human only through the " controls" they subject themselves to. Animals are polygamous by nature. Given the opportunity, humans would also be the same. Opportunities are indeed increasing these days.

SONGSOPTOK: This brings us to the issue of violence against women in different societies, where women and girls are abused and raped on a regular basis by members of their own families. Do you think that the taboo about sex is the main reason for such behavior? Would a change in attitudes actually make a difference to the position of women in such societies?

KALYAN: Yes the taboo is a cause. But even if there is no taboo this will not decrease, as torturing the weak is a basic animal instinct. So the security of women from their own male folks will not come only if the taboos are gone. Change in attitude will come only if we have the strength to control ourselves – through education, through awareness.

SONGSOPTOK: Have media in general and Internet in particular played a role in either enhancing or diminishing the taboo about sex? In what way?

KALYAN: Yes, to a great extent. But please note that taboos are not diminished in most cases, they are simply replaced.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that ultimately sex is all about power and domination, both for men and women? Why? What is your personal experience?

KALYAN: To a large section of society sex is about power and domination. That's the way it has been – and it will take time to change. Men have been taught to think like that. Women have been taught to submit. Personally I am far away from this. To me sex is an expression of love. I do not believe in sex without love. My love completes itself into sex. It terminates there and fulfills itself. And I know many people like me.

KALYAN MUKHOPADHYAY: A Master IN Physics - An IPS officer by profession - ageed 52 (on the rising side). Life to him is about endless fun and joy.

We sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.
Aparajita Sen



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