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Lies, dam lies and sex surveys

You know the funniest thing about a sex survey apart from what it reveals? Everyone wants to read them but no one wants to take them. They plant in your mind seeds of doubt and cause you to double guess - that innocent looking girl, could she really have a naughty side? Maybe I should really start checking my partner’s cell phone bills. Largely, these surveys conform to the ‘everything you wanted to ask, but couldn’t’ format.

A population of more than a billion serves as a precursor to one truth - we may be shy talking about it, but are sure as hell doing it with great aplomb. Over the last decade or so, a few national magazines have an issue dedicated to this cause – the annual sex survey. In them, you get facts such as which city has the highest rate of extra-marital sex, the percentage of people who have tried a particular sex position, among other such libido enhancing revelations. But the sex survey can do so much more than just elicit letters of wrath from readers, induce giggling fits in beauty parlours and empty boasts in dingy pubs. They can inadvertently wreck havoc in the most common situations. Sample this probable exchange:

Prospective father-in-law: ‘So, you work in software. Adhan problem. Chinna vaise liye rumba panon pannarel (that’s the problem, at a young age you make a lot of money.)

Prospective future son-in-law: ille uncle, na romba simple iyer paiyyen. (no uncle, I am a very simple Iyer boy).

Prospective father-in-law: By any chance, neengo .... survey le participate pannirkela? (By any chance, have you at any point participated in a sex survey?)

Stunned silence from all corners.

Continues...ille.. thappa edikadhengo... edho sex survey le padichen, indha software office, BPO office le rumba love affairs nadakarde... (don’t get me wrong, I read in some sex survey that in these software and bpo offices many love affairs take place)

Prospective future son-in-law: Ile uncle (no uncle), the only girl I have touched is your daughter.

Prospective father-in-law: Yen ponne thoteerkiya! )You’ve touched my daughter....!)

If anything, we aren’t comfortable in our own skin. Virginity comes at a premium, while at the same time, there is a steep rise in demand for hymenoplasty. Sex education doesn’t find a place in the school curriculum. With Valentine’s Day inching closer, the moral police are rubbing their hands in anticipation, gearing up to ward off any influence of ‘western civilization’. Instead of wrecking greeting card shops, destroying condoms with vibrators and beating up women in the name of upholding culture, they can do the same to rapists. Instead of wasting the tax payer’s money discussing cheerleaders in parliament, our elected representatives can pass laws that make our cities safer for women. But these objectives don’t find a place in their scheme of things. With so many politicians with rape cases against them, and the moral police needing their support, why isn’t that surprising?

Until we bridge this dichotomy, the sex survey, at best, will serve as a case of voyeurism. They may seek to inform us, but the most asked question on most people’s lips after reading them is simply – who the heck is taking these surveys in the first place? Since we are so hypocritical about it, we assume it is some made up mumbo jumbo, something that happens on a planet far, far away.

We may have given the world the kama sutra, but need Cosmopolitan to reinterpret it for us. Like in the movies, Woody Allen has the last word on this complex topic - ‘Love is the answer. But till then, sex raises some pretty good questions.’ What he didn’t say was so do sex surveys.


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