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Are Indian gay men obsessed with sex?

Are Indian gay men obsessed with sex?

Why does every gay chat conversation on social media start with the topic of sex?

That’s the question someone put to me a few days ago.

After all, my friend reasoned, it doesn’t happen that way when a straight guy and girl start to chat.

They do not ask each other in their first conversation, let alone the first line of their conversation, ‘What do you like in bed? What is the size of your cock? How long can you go for? Top? Bottom? Versatile?’ or any one of the many other, sometimes much stranger, questions gay guys fire out or get quizzed on.

Is the reason we gays start chat with that kind of language that we are all just sluts? Are all gays just sex beasts? After all, even in social media groups for gay guys in India, most status updates are for sex meetings and ‘fun only’.

I was very keen to oppose the questioner’s argument. But it wasn’t easy. I have seen for myself, on Facebook and other social media, not to mention dating sites, that 99% of gay status updates among Indian guys are for sex and ‘fun’. Only 1%, I would say, seem to be about men seeking a lifelong relationship.

Why? After all gays are like other human beings and human life is not just limited to sex. There are many other factors; emotional and social concerns, career and material needs and general values which we have to discuss as LGBTI people.

On the face of it, South Asian gay and bi men have so many experiences to share with each other – and so much to gain from doing so – they really shouldn’t be portraying themselves as only sex creatures.

To answer, you have to look at the social structure of South Asia.

Let me start by looking at three people: A straight girl, a straight guy and a gay man.

The first two are accepted in society on standard terms all over the world. Everyone, at least everyone in India, expects a girl and a boy to be decent, well behaved and have good social values.

By comparison, the terms ‘gay’ and ‘third gender’ are not commonly used in South Asia and few Indians know and understand them. Those who do are very often in the higher classes and living in one of our more metropolitan cities.

For them, gays are just feminine boys, or perhaps even eunuchs.

Even in Bollywood movies, gays are portrayed as comical characters with feminine gestures who are constantly flirting with male hunks. (There are a few exceptional movies disproving this rule but this is the common image of gays.)

In these kinds of circumstances, most South Asian gays remain in the closet. They do not want to be ridiculed in their workplace or in social life. But we all know that if you are gay, you are gay, and you cannot erase this truth – no power in this world can make you straight.

Being gay is not a choice but society here has still not accepted this fact – so much so that our laws criminalize gay sex.

All we can do is suffer in loneliness and agony.

Or until recently. All of a sudden social media has given gays a platform. Gays can create fake identities for themselves on social media to protect themselves. In fact, I will call these ‘true identities’ as it is the one place they show their original, true, uncensored selves.

With this shield, for the first time, they are liberated to search for partners, friends and – yes – for sex dates too.

And I feel nothing wrong in this, sex is the need of every human, and those who are socially banished crave it even more. If you think hook-ups are shallow or shameful, I can only point to the many friends I have seen who started that way and now meet regularly for friendship or a relationship.

Who knows, one day we may see South Asian gay couples in open, lifelong relationships. But at least now we have a platform to speak and raise our voice – a platform of like-minded people.

Harry Ess is a pseudonym to protect his identity.