An email: Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.

I did not think this was a pornographic mail.
How do you think would our Hindu Taliban groups react to an email like this? Would their reactions be different if the email was from a man?
What would be your advice to the email writer?
Here’s the mail:
Dear Indian Home maker
I am a regular reader on your blog although I never contribute by writing comments. I have a problem I want to talk about with you and your readers. I am going to be 40 soon and I am not married. I don’t know why I couldn’t get married – may be it was luck !
My parents are still looking for a boy for me but not enthusiastically as before. I think they have also resigned to the fact that I may not get married. As far as I am concerned I am also OK with the fact. I am independent, earn a good salary (I work in a public sector company) and lead a good life. Please don’t think I am sad or depressed because I am not married because in reality I am not.
I have always had friends who were boys, I still do but never ever had a “boyfriend”. So I have never been physical with any guy in my life.
At this stage of my life I am quite OK with not getting married, but what I am not OK with is that fact that I will never experience a physical relationship. I sometimes wonder what it is like to be emotionally close to a man and also to be in a physical relationship. Sometimes I don’t really want to die a virgin !
Also a part of me is so scared that if I meet a man now and get into a relationship, wont it be weird trying to have sex at 40 ! Imagine a virgin at 40 ! I know times are changing and people do have sex before they get married but I am not desperate to have a casual fling with anyone just to satisfy my curiosity .. But I am curious… do you think its silly to expect a physical relationship at this age .. I mean if I meet a man now I will be too embarrassed for him to find out I am still a virgin !  Am I behaving in a slutty manner because I have these thoughts?
Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.
* * *
I live with my parents and we have a lot of relatives, so my social life is visiting them seeing the occasional movie … since beginning I have been reserved and not much of the party type anyway ! I have friends but since they are married I can’t have much of a social life with them ! We close friends discuss all sorts of issues including sex, but I never discussed this with them. 
The problem is not that I live with my parents so i don’t have a guy .. they will be so happy if I find a guy ..and they are modern enough to allow dating but I am not able to find one !!!.. I don’t know may be because I have always been slightly reserved and not very gregarious ! ..and never made the first move ! My problem  is not marriage or what society feels about me being unmarried.. that has been discussed endlessly on your blog …  it is physical relationship and emotional bonding and feeling sad that I may die without experiencing them .. and a bit of embarrassment.
Thank you !



82 thoughts on “An email: Also this is a genuine question and not a pornographic mail.

  1. I always thought that it’s unfair for women not to have access to sexual services for monetary compensation. Of course, given the horrible nature that female sex workers are subjected to, it’s clearly not a freely chosen profession for most sex workers. I would imagine however that a few call girls take it up of their own volition.

    A pity there are no such avenues open to women. Because it doesn’t look like you wish to be in any kind of relationship. The trouble is finding a safe way to have sex without any of the attendant consequences…


    • Am sure such “avenues” are available to women also. I mean, am sure if a woman actively looked out to for a sexual partner and offered money for it, there would be men out there open to it. it’s probably not as common. Mostly, perhaps, because of the way men and women are trained to think about sex. The popular belief is that with money a man can entice a woman, who wouldn’t otherwise want to sleep with him. Whereas, a man will probably want to sleep with any woman anyway, money or no money.


      • Well I have been found sexually unattractive by men that I found sexually attractive.

        The myth that men are ready to sleep with virtually any woman is well, a myth. I have no idea how this stereotype of men being sex-crazy helps society or men in ANY way.


    • Paying for sex is not a solution. Sex trade be it with women or men is about exploitation of the WORST kind.
      What this writer should do is shed this ‘morality’ garb she has forced herself into. If she meets a guy and finds him attractive enough, she should make sure he knows it. There is this lovely book by Anita Nair called Ladies Coupe… the protagonist finds herself in a similar situation.


  2. Hmmm..this is a pickle ain’t it?..try and meet as many people as you can..if u can’t do it in reality, try finding like minded people online..not to say that you can trust them entirely and set up a rendezvous with them..but be ultra careful..n how on earth is this a pornographic mail?


  3. are you feeling pressure to get married? if you are happy the way you are then there is no need to get married. marriage should only come after you have met the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, it shouldn’t come with age. Just because you are 40 doesnt mean you have to be married. Its better to be happy alone then get married in a rush and then be unhappy. so dont worrry, you have a lottttt of years ahead of you, enjoy it and keep an open mind. If someone comes along who is worth you, then get married. If you are serious about finding someone and really want to be married, you can look at matrimonial sites, there are plenty of nice people there. Again, dont rush into getting married, just talk to people and get comfortable with them and then see where it goes. One thing is, dont be extremly picky. be picky but about things which matter. don’t be like some girls who are like ‘the guy should be handsome, dress well, be funny etc”. in reality the only thing that is going to matter is if he loves u or not. I have some friends who are not married because they were extremely picky and now they regret it. Yes its a serious decision but care about things that matter in a guy, not materialistic things.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with being a virgin at 40 and there is nothing wrong with losing your virginity before you are married. You have to do whatever you are comfortable with. Don’t force yourself to sleep with someone just because u feel like u r getting older so u have to do it now.

    Honestly, when you are a virgin it feels like losing it is going to be a very big thing and after it you are going to feel really different but in reality, it is not. You are still going to be the same person and feel the same way. It’s just an intimate feeling you share with someone. okay now I feel like I am rambling on and on.

    To summarize, don’t rush, keep open mind , you don’t “have” to do anything you don’t want to.


    • Female sexuality is shrouded in mystery.

      A few years ago, a close male friend of mine, single and in his late 30s, told me that he believed women over 40 had lower sex drives compared to men of that cohort.

      I was a little taken aback because he was an educated, well-informed man.

      There is a strong, enduring stereotype that women over 35 don’t have physical urges.

      These stereotypes force both genders to deny their own sexualities to fit into a predefined mould.


      • As a matter of fact, now that I am in 30s, I sometimes fear what if my testosterones start falling anytime soon. I have read here and there that they start to fall in middle age and that makes me worried about my relationship with my wife. You know how the dynamics work. If a man has low sexual drive, he is less of a man.


        • B, you’re not middle-aged if you’re in your 30s. 🙂

          I understand where you’re coming from — the obsession with male “performance” can be quite stressful.


        • Quote
          I have read here and there that they start to fall in middle age …

          Not if you are N D Tiwari or Berlusoni.


    • Agree with most of your points…but this is a bit jarring – //One thing is, dont be extremly picky. be picky but about things which matter. don’t be like some girls who are like ‘the guy should be handsome, dress well, be funny etc//
      Hell you are selecting a life partner, not a paint for the wall…you damn well be picky. ‘Dress well,’ ‘Sense of humour’ – pray, what is wrong with these qualities? I think less of people who are not presentable, who take offence at the drop of a hat and who think smiling takes a lot of effort. And when I say presentable, I don’t mean designer clothes – I mean someone who is neat. What is materialistic about this? If these qualities are important for a girl, then why should she comrpromise on this just because she has reached a certain age? Whatever is the age, one needs to be with a person for the right reasons, or just remain single. We cannot, and should not judge what qualities are important/unimportant because each of us are different. And seriously what about all the middle-aged single men who STILL look for fair and slim women?

      //in reality the only thing that is going to matter is if he loves u or not.//
      Not at all. The important thing that ACTUALLY matters is whether BOTH of them love and respect each other or not. The saddest thing that can happen is when one is unable to reciprocate someone’s feelings in equal measure, and yet be bound in matrimony with the person. It is very hurtful to the other person, it is traumatic for onself too. Yes, sagas have been written on ever-lasting love – but it all boils down to day-to-day chemistry.


      • clothes and looks are materialistic. All I am saying is, she should be realistic. I am not saying this because she is 40, even if you are 20 i would still give the same advise. you need to make sure the person is good and loving and that u have good communication, dress well, handsome etc, should be at the lower end of ur list. If you are going to put them at the high end of ur list, then that means other qualities, such as honest, loving, good human being will have to go to bottom. I dont know which world you live in a PERFECT person doesn’t exist. You have to see what is most important for u and go with it. if you are going to look for person with 1000 qualities, u r not going to find him in this world. Being realistic!


        • Happily married for over a decade, thank you very much. And yes, I found someone with all the qualities I respect in a person (note – person, not just man). Jumping the gun are’nt we? Just because I expect a person to be well-groomed and articulate you concluded I don’t value honesty?
          //I dont know which world you live in// Lets see…I come from a world where I don’t go around with a parameterised checklist to judge a person.



        • @moonbeam if you ask any happy married person, he/she will say that her/his partner has all the qualities. i also believe my husband is well dressed, clean, handsome, tall, loving and a lott more, BUT when we met, the materialistic things were not on top of my list. Its good if you can find someone with all 1000 qualities but not everyone can. If you go with open mind then u can find the right person but if you always go with ur list of 1000 things then u will overlook some good people. No need to get personal, I am just trying to help someone here. she wants to get married so I am trying to give her some practical advise. something which will actually help her.


        • gk84 – where is the need to be vicious just because I have a different opinion than yours? Where on earth have I said one should always look for 1000 qualities? And let me remind you that YOU are the one who got personal, and questioned which world I lived in, and instructed me to be realistic.

          Like you, all of us are giving different persepctives.

          Let me also point out why I get disturbed when i see lines like ‘don’t get picky’ directed to women. It is the woman who is uprooted from her familiar surroundings and is thrown amidst a new family after her marriage. For few, it is an easy transition. For many it is crushing. The only familiar person they have by their side is the husband. So why should a woman not be picky when choosing her husband? We have seen many cases on IHM’s blog itself where women and men were married away based on what the family felt are good values – but the couple in question continue to feel trapped and unhappy to the point of suicidal desperation. Why? Is it because they both are not honest, decent, hardworking, respectable? Not at all – it is because they both are not compatible. I know many in this forum scoff, and call people like me shallow and materialistic – but face the truth – compatibility works at all levels – from surperficial perspective to a mental wavelength. And that’s ALL i pointed out – that it works differently for each of us, so please don’t give advice that go ‘don’t be like some girls who look for good-looking’ etc.

          Let me also point out that this ‘don’t be picky’ advice is often given to girls. The man’s family, however, never backs down from their list of expectations that includes everything – slim, fair, beautiful, convent educated, academically qualified, and whether she has a career or not, she is expected to be suitably domesitcated DIL. And this very advice transforms to ‘learn to adjut, don’t be picky’ when a married girl starts facing severe compatibility issues in her marriage.

          Please, when you see a contrary opinion, do read it with an open mind.


        • @moonbeam, i said “don’t be extremly picky. be picky but about things which matter”
          notice the word “EXTREMLY”.

          “Where on earth have I said one should always look for 1000 qualities?”
          you didnt say u that but when someone is being “EXTREMLY” picky they are looking for 1000 qualites or more again notice i said “EXTREMLY” picky, not just picky. I am not talking about you, I am talking about people who
          are like that.

          looks like u r really frustrated with people telling woemn to “dont get picky” so u r taking all that anger out on me. I am NOT telling her to “dont get picky” I am telling her to dont get “EXTREMLY” picky.

          “Let me also point out that this ‘don’t be picky’ advice is often given to girls. The man’s family, however, never backs down from their list of expectations that includes everything – slim, fair, beautiful, convent educated, academically qualified, and whether she has a career or not, she is expected to be suitably domesitcated DIL. ”

          I never said a man should be extremly picky either. Both man and woman should focus on what is important in a person insteadof focusing on stuff which doesnt matter as much.

          I know u r happily married but I am sure there might be some habits of ur husband which annoy u. Most women complain about
          snoring, not cleaning sink after burshing teeth etc and most men complain about women shopping too much, talking to much etc.
          Now if both men and women would StOP focusing on these little things and try to understand each other better there will be no problems.
          My husband has improved on a lottttt of things which used to annoy me and i did the same, this is what marriage is about. ur husband can change
          little annoying habits for u and u can also do the same but to reject someone because they are not “pefect” is not good. u will lose a good person because of that mindset.

          I am not going ot reply to u anymore. I am just commented to help out this girl not here to make you like my opinion.


  4. “Is it slutty to have those thoughts to not die a virgin?”
    A ‘slut’ is a patriarchal word, that aims at controlling the sexuality of women. It’s just human to want to have sex, to love and be loved.
    Being a virgin is not a crime or a sin and nothing to be ashamed about. You are what you are. It’s your body; it’s your choice. Wanting to have sex with someone you love is a reasonable expectation.

    Moving out of your parents’ house might help you act out on some of your expectations. A fling might convert itself into something serious. Either way, give yourself a chance.
    All the best!


  5. My two cents: Go out there and meet people who share your interests. Join a theater class, pottery class, painting classes, book clubs, or whatever your mind fancies. Even if you don’t know whether you like it or not, this is your chance to find out! Make an effort to meet an interact with people at these places, work against your introverted nature. Along with this, also start a physical activity of some challenging sort, like running (I promise you, it’s never too late to start) or some sport. Join a club.

    These are what this will get you for sure:
    1) Satisfaction of interacting with many different people:- I believe this and I have read often, that the most satisfaction in our lives come from our relationships with others.
    2) A physically active life will lead to a boost in your mood and also in your fitness. You will feel more confident about yourself and you will exude that confidence.

    What it may get you (you never know :-)):
    That special someone, or even multiple special someones who you can share a bond with, emotionally connect and perhaps even physically, if you feel right about them. Do not be afraid to step out there and allow yourself to connect with someone. Sometimes the only thing holding us back is ourselves.

    Also, if you don’t already, masturbation is healthy and recommended by medical professionals. This will also make you feel good about yourself, as long as you don’t have a mind-block against it (which you really really shouldn’t – it is a completely normal and healthy activity). It’s not the real thing, but its pretty good by itself!


  6. Your age is irrelevant. Sometimes you dont meet a man. It happens. Wanting sex does not make you slutty. It makes you human. Also as gk84 said, losing your virginity is really no big deal. If you dont want to get married – dont. If you feel like you want to have a fling with someone, i think that’s perfectly alright. It doesn’t need to be true love or ‘The One’. Just make sure you find someone who will be kind to you – after all its not all about what he wants. Maybe you could use some body/sexual confidence – it really makes a difference. Do you live in bombay? There are plenty of belly dancing classes. I’m told that they help immensely in making you aware of how you hold your body – i’ve never tried, what with my two left feet and all.

    Please dont be embarrased by your thoughts. As for it being weird at 40, i’ve a friend exactly like you. Well shes almost 30, but your thought echo hers and I’m going to tell you exactly what i tell her – everyone comes into things when they’re ready for it. There’s no rule that milestones are the same for everyone. Forget about how things should be, but concentrate on how things will be for you.

    Good Luck!


  7. There is nothing pornographic about what you are saying. It’s completely normal to want to have sex at 40. The only difference is that many others don’t have to express the desire because they already have a sexual partner.

    I would say meet more people, be open to the idea of meeting someone who can also be a sexual partner. There is nothing wrong with “casual” sex as long as its consensual and safe and both of you are ok with what’s happening. Many relationships start out casual and then lead to something more intimate. Whereas other relationships start out emotionally intimate and then move towards sexual intimacy. I would say stay open to both. But just be clear in your head that there is nothing wrong in what you are asking for. Just keeping in mind that whatever you choose to do, make sure you and your partner are being safe!

    My suggestion is that till you find someone, you need to start thinking about your own sexuality and become comfortable with you own body. Start thinking about what it is that you want and be open to the idea of meeting someone who you want to be sexually intimate with. My suggestion is to take a look at the website of The Pleasure Project ( It’s a good place to start understanding sex,sexuality, and sexiness in the context of pleasure and safety. I think one step towards being sexually active is by thinking about yourself as a sexual being. Once you are comfortable with that idea, I am sure you’ll be more open to the people you meet and you’ll also be more clear about what you want


  8. Have you tried any online dating sites? I will be surprised if we don’t have any in India. Try to go our with a few guys till you get a hang of it. You really have to jump into it to see if you like it or not.
    And if you just want to see how it feels physically, I am sure there must be male excort services available online. I am not sure how reliable they are but they do exist. I read about them in a newspaper once.
    There is nothing pornographic (where did you get this idea from?) in your mail. It is a basic human need. Its not as if you are commiting adultary.


  9. First things first– this would not qualify as pornography even by the standards of the Indian Taliban, so don’t worry. And you are not being slutty at all if you want to have sex– you are a human being and all human beings, including women, are meant to want to have sex at some point.

    From what I could gather from the mail, you did not get into a relationship when you were younger because you were waiting for your parents to find you a groom and like many of your generation, were too much of a good girl to consider going physical with one of your guy friends. You wanted to save your virginity for your future husband. Marriage and sex were kind of synonymous in the traditional Indian society until quite recently. You’ve started to think of sex as distinct from marriage only now when you feel that your chances of having an arranged marriage have dwindled.

    You say you’re not unhappy or depressed about not being married, but I get the feeling that you’re not quite happy about it either. On the one hand you still appear to subscribe to the notion of sex outside marriage being inappropriate (slutty?). You say you want to experience a physical relationship, but do not want to have a casual fling. On the other hand you’re also embarrassed about being a virgin at forty.

    My advice to you would be to be more proactive in your personal life and follow your own instincts. Go out with your guy friends and meet up men on the matrimonial sites. Trust you gut feeling when a guy feels right and see how things work out between you. It may lead to marriage if both of you feel up to it or it may not. Do not rush things. And as gk84 above said, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.

    All the best to you. cheers!


  10. This is one of the problems with expecting sex, or even just intimacy, to exist only in marriage. What then, about all those people who marry late, or not at all ?

    Just because someone by choice or accident do not marry, it’s ridicolous to expect them to live their entire lives without intimacy or sex.


  11. First of all trying to talk about your own sexuality is not “slutty” nor does it make this post pornographic.
    I think it’s very natural to be curious about something you’ve never experienced. Sexual cravings are natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
    Perhaps you feel left out because you have never had sex and miss the emotional bonding that you see your cousins/friends share with their better halves. This is but natural – we don’t get everything in life and at this stage in your life you haven’t yet had a chance to experience these things. But it doesn’t mean that you may never get to experience them! In today’s world the age restrictions for marriage (also for sex) are fast disappearing. These age milestones (married in your twenties, children before thirties) have been set by society and unfortunately most of us have been conditioned to follow them!
    Since you want to experience sex but don’t want to have a “casual fling” – I suppose the only solution left for you is to go out and meet people. You never know you might just meet someone who means much more to you than a casual fling. 
    But honestly sometimes casual flings are not such a bad idea  (as long as you are doing nothing unethical like cheating on someone). You also need to enhance your social circle and not just stick to your family – I think you are rather an introvert and not really the party types – so find out what your hobbies are and cultivate them – join a book club, photography club, travel club, even a yoga club ! Go out and meet people but never with this sword of “Ok I must find a guy here” dangling over your head – Just go out there and enjoy !
    Don’t think too much about you being single and a virgin at 40 – Focus on the positives, life doesn’t end for a woman if she is not married or hasn’t had sex – These things are simply a very small part of life and believe me Life has so so much more to offer us ! And as for what will the guy think if he finds out you are a virgin at 40 – well if he loves you – will it really matter to him?


  12. in no way is this mail pornographic and having natural urges which hormones make us feel is perfectly natural!!! I would say explore life, go beyond your social circle and give life a chance to bring new people to you. not because you are desperate to meet the one person of your life or have sex but this will make you feel even more happier!!!


  13. This post disturbed me. I dont not know why the person waited for 40 years to express her feelings, what stopped her in exploring her desires, wants before.
    Who instills such sense of guilt in women “Am I behaving in a slutty manner because I have these thoughts?”
    Of course if she wants to experience them there is nothing wrong in it. I think she should be open to meet new people, and for sexual advances she has to decide if she really wants to proceed with a particular person.
    She has to decide what she wants from that companionship, is it just mutual consented sex or she is looking commitment and relationship. In both the cases nothing should stop from her experiencing it.
    Age is never an issue for looking for companionship. My grandmother’s mother (my great grand mother) died when my great grand father was 50 years old. Then my grand mother who herself had two kids by that time got her father married to a widow. And they lived a content life for 35 years. My great grand father died 3 months ago. There are many such instances.

    So if it is not wrong for a man to look for a companion at 50 years. It is absolutely not wrong if a woman does the same. So take out all the fears, inhibitions and guilt. Start looking for a companion with an open mind.

    All the best. Lots of love.
    Ms. Lipstick


  14. Hello e-mail writer,
    first and foremost , please remove any thoughts of self-guilt. This mail is not pornographic in any way and it is absolutely okay for you to feel emotions that are physical in nature. There is no need to feel limited by you age as it is only a number.What is important is what you really want. If all you are looking for is physical proximity there are options. Shed your inhibitions and explore. Challenge yourself and indulge in activities where you can meet a lot of people. But if you feel that 40 years and still no physical relationship, I would say please don’t berate yourself. All things happen when destined and most certainly when you want them to. So give yourself a chance and stay open to options. And if in the process you do manage to meet that someone who manages to tug your heart you can take your time to decide on the emotional compatibility.
    Finally do shed the garb of hesitation and inhibition that’s crippling you and enjoy your body and know your self well. Wishing you all the happiness !


  15. One of the many cruelties inflicted by our patriarchal system on individuals. THe trampling of fundamental rights never ends. You are perfectly fine, and it is perfectly fine to think about sex, it is perfectly fine to WANT to have sex, and it is perfectly fine to have sex whether it leads to a longer commitment or not. That is how the entire world works – at least the parts of the world where men and women have a fairly balanced equation.

    But I am not sure about the access you might have. You see I know a lady in the same age group – she is single, and she is seriously looking for a life partner. 99% of the profiles of the men who contact her are great – you know fantastic jobs, they’ve travelled everywhere and the hobbies they list make them as interesting as Mr. Darcy. In reality they are hopelessly emotionally stunted men. At 40 plus, they still want their aged parents or sisters or brothers to ‘meet the girl’ and ‘if they say yes, then it is okay with me’. My friend finds it nauseating that they don’t even have the interest, neither do they take the initiative to at least MEET a potential match on their own. She met one such guy for 10 minutes in his house, as usual he stays with a large family. By the time she returned home, he had said ‘yes’. When she wanted to meet him alone in a restaurant so that they could talk more freely (she wanted to tell him she needs more time), the guy took offence and his parents felt she is arrogant o_O. Of course she chucked them. All she wants is to date a potential match for 6 months and then decide. And all the guys ‘reject’ her when they hear this because the idea is ‘too westernised’ apparently – and she may not gel with their ‘traditional family value system’. One guy, very highly placed in a well-known multinational even reminded her of her age and told her she ‘has no time to do all this’. There were some ‘good’ matches…but she rejected them. She told me she can’t even imagine holding hands with the person, forget about sex – so how can she even think of marrying in this case? But she was berated so much by her family. How sleazy can ‘elders’ get? Talking of sleaze, the number of sleazeballs she comes across is astounding (one had listed lingerie under hobby). And this is in a matrimonial site. I can imagine the filth that inhabits dating sites in India.

    IMO we have always been very immature about relationships, and we will continue to be this way – at least as long as we associate sex with morality. Even most young adults are so brainwashed that they believe once they get physical with a person, the relationship has to end in marriage. Not everyone can handle an individual male or (and especially) female who assert their sexual independence. So I hope you find someone with whom you are comfortable with, with whom you enjoy a warm friendship to share your special moments. I wish I could say go to a dating site – but I am not sure if it is safe at all.

    But seriously, I wish there is a way where you can move out, and live on your own. You may or may not get a partner – but being on your own is extremely liberating. All the best…be safe 🙂


    • I guess the problem with your friend is that she is looking for “good matches”. If she widens her horizon, and does not restrict to these deeply entrenched in society kind of families, she will definitely find a fun guy. But she has to give up the qualifying requirements she seems to check first, like “good family”, “great job etc. in a traditional sense. There are many jobs that aren’t seen great traditionally but are wholesome anyway.


      • ‘Problem with your friend’….
        Let’s avoid judgements and misinterpretations.

        And there’s nothing wrong in looking for a ‘good match’ as in someone who matches her wavelength. And ‘qualifying requirements?’ She wants someone who behaves his age and shows enough emotional maturity and independence – this category seems to be in very short supply.


        • Based on my personal experience — if a man is over 35-40 and not married; there’s usually a good reason behind his being single.

          Men in their 40s who are single are either not good at building long-term relationships or are not interested in them.

          The good ones usually get “taken” by that time, IMO.


        • iThe good ones usually get “taken” by that time, IMO

          Maybe it’s just my idealistic young self speaking here, but that does sound hideously regressive, specially if you’re talking about ALL men, not just men from patriarchal societies like India or the Middle East.

          If I don’t get married by 35, I’m not a ‘good’ one? Really? Maybe I was just too busy trotting the globe back then. Maybe I was in a shitty relationship and got divorced. Maybe I didn’t want to get settled back then, but do now. Doesn’t make me a bad partner, just a latecomer to the scene.

          Not denying your experiences or your opinion, of course, but it’s just a bit hard to digest statements like these.


        • Replying to CE. As I said, this is MY observation; based on MY experience.

          It also applies to India, specifically Bangalore. You may reject my views because you disagree, but that doesn’t mean that they’re unfounded or unmerited.

          IME, it gets progressively difficult for both genders to find suitable mates post 35 in India; especially if there’s a history of broken marriages or relationships.

          Relationship baggage is crippling unless the individual has taken the time and effort to work on their issues. Many don’t and this affects how their future relationships pan out.

          Also, people with good relationship-skills do not ask their parents to find them mates, when they’re in their 30s and 40s.

          In India many single people in their 40s still want parental involvement/approval while searching for prospective partners. I think that’s a sign of unhealthy emotional dependence that bodes ill for the relationship’s success.


        • biwo,

          I’m not disagreeing with your statement, because I cannot. It was not an assertion of fact or opinion, it was an assertion of experience. I can’t ‘disagree’ with an experience.

          I’m not claiming that your experiences are unfounded either.

          What I’m really disagreeing with is the assertion that it becomes difficult to find a good partner post 35 BECAUSE all the ‘good ones’ are taken.

          To me, that does not make sense at any level, considering that most Indians still have arranged marriages and that selecting a ‘good’ partner (in a non-materialistic sense) is not really a part of the arranged marriage system.

          If you had said that everyone with a degree from IIT and Harvard is taken, or everyone rich is taken, yeah, I’d agree with that.

          These people are in demand in the Indian marriage market.

          People who are purely good partners aren’t.

          Thing is, most everyone in India – male and female – is ‘taken’ by the time they hit 35. Beyond that point, I guess there just isn’t that much choice in this country.


        • Replying to CE: You’re right; the implicit assumption was people who were considered “good catches” in the arranged marriage market.

          I assumed, based on the LW’s post, that she was looking for somebody in the arranged marriage market. If one applies conventional parametres, such men are harder to find post-35.


    • Indian men are evolving at a slower pace than are women, so many women over 30 find that men their age do not share their views on sex and marriage.

      Matrimonial sites are a great way to learn about human nature. One needs to be a great judge of character to find THE ONE on matrimonial sites.
      There’s quite a lot of weordos and flotsam floating around. That’s probably true of sites like too.

      Many think matrimonial sites are dating sites. Quite a few men on are looking for casual sex/ a fling/ checking what’s on the market pre-divorce etc etc.

      Also, in my experience, men over 35 have very contradictory views about women and sex. They may not refuse a woman’s offer of physical intimacy, but in their minds, she will be filed under the category of “whore/slut/not wife material”.

      So this writer needs to be very good at “reading” men if she wants to find someone who will not judge her for being honest about her desires.

      In my experience, many men feel threatened if a woman asserts her right to sexual pleasure and satisfaction vocally. The writer will have to grapple with the legen that is the Indian male ego.


      • If wearing certain kind of clothes can invite vulgar comments, I can only imagine if a girl asserts her sexual freedom! On the other hand, I also believe a MAJORITY of girls will judge a guy if he says he’s open for a no-strings-attached arrangement.

        Both men and women are brought up in an atmosphere that is academically enriching perhaps – but socially we are so ill-equipped.

        I think there are many men and women who are happy to just remain single, sex or no sex – but the constant nagging and pressure to get married at any cost is just too much to bear. You would think at least at 40, you will have some semblance of control on your life….it is too sad.


        • Agreed, Moonbeam. However, the sexual double standard is kinder to men than it is to women. A wife will accept and forgive her husband’s past relationships.

          Very few men can stomach such truths about their wives past relationships. Men and women are not judged by the same sexual yardstick, however much we may deny it.

          Divorced men are sympathised with. Concerned aunties will scout around for a “match” because the poor fellow needs “looking after”.

          A divorced woman is usually given unsolicited advice on “how she should have adjusted” or how “everything would have been alright if she’d compromised”.

          Indian culture forgives men’s marital failures and sexual foibles more easily than it does women’s.


        • //Men and women are not judged by the same sexual yardstick// Not just sexual biwo – everything is measured by a differnt yarstick. Which is why I vehemently disagreed with gk84’s comment that asked the LW ‘not to be picky’.


        • @Moonbeam, my apologies. I read your exchange with gk84 after I sent in that comment.

          Completely agree with your pov about compatibility and how women are urged not to be “picky”.

          Marriage is one of life’s most important milestones, so it pays to go after what you want and stand your ground.


        • In love with all your comments..@moonbean
          cant agree more, as if you speak my heart out! If only evry women starts thinking like this & taking charge their life. Having said that its just not easy doing dat as well…personal exprnce…mee in my twenties..and the onlu talk wherevr i go(now evn my home) is to get me married asap. Hell i want to but just cant stand bold enough to hurt my parents.Constant emotional pressure 😦


      • “I also believe a MAJORITY of girls will judge a guy if he says he’s open for a no-strings-attached arrangement.”
        Glad you pointed it out. It is not so much that Indian men evolve slower than women, but the culture which makes sex outside of wedlock look like the greatest threat against social order (ironic for a culture where dowry deaths and child abuse are far more prevalent).
        The majority of Indian women come from the same cultural mold that creates these men. Which means, a lot of these women have a conservative ‘if you break it, you buy it’ attitude towards sex. Any man who violates this ‘code of honour’ by sleeping with a woman and no serious commitments (of marriage) is considered to have ‘betrayed her trust and used her’, by the women themselves.


        • the sad part is even the law has such a weird view. If a couple are in a live-in relationship, and the woman is in this arrangement ‘under the impression’ that eventually she will become the Mrs…and if this does not take place, then she can slap a rape charge against the guy. I find it too strange! Calling consensual sex as rape is ridiculous – it trivialises the actual crime. Apparently this law was introduced to prevent ‘cheating’. Either of the partners having second thoughts signals the end of the relationship. Instead of enabling people to get through a broken relationship and moving on; criminalising it serves no purpose. Just the way being a rape victim is traumatic, it is equally crushing to be falsely labelled as a rapist.

          This is one law I feel very strongly about …where men get the raw deal. And it is laws like this which increase hatred towards women.


    • I’m not sure Patriarchy has anything to do with our attitudes towards sex. From time immemorial, men were allowed to have as many mistresses as they wanted. So one really can’t say patriarchy clamped down on sexual freedom for men. I would say the attitude has more to do with being a religiously conservative society.


      • Errr….not talking about men at all. In any case don’t you think it is this unbridled sexual freedom ‘offered’ to men, while allowing women to be treated as sex slaves (mistresses and keeps) is exactly the hallmark of a patriarchal society? It is patriarchy that seeks to control every aspect of a woman’s life – from the way she dresse up to her sexual freedom of women. The fact that you think patriarchy has no adverse effect on the way we conduct our sexual lives simply because MEN are allowed to have multiple sexual partners, is, in itself a result of patriarchal conditioning.


  16. This is a really interesting letter. If she were a woman living in the USA, I feel I would know the exact advice to give, but in India? I honestly don’t know.

    My first thought was checking dating sites, but then I wondered if such sites exist in India? It sounds to me as if the LW doesn’t want just sex, but actually wants an emotional relationship with this person. Maybe a boyfriend, perhaps? What she needs is a man who is similar to her: 40, single (never been married, preferred) who is independent enough to seek out companionship and some sexual passion. Nothing slutty or pornographic about that!

    Just what are the avenues for finding this guy? Can you see if any of your friends know some nice guys? I also like the suggestion of exploring your interests and maybe meeting a guy that way.

    Someone should start a dating site in India. At first they will be lambasted, but later on, make millions because I’m sure our LW is not alone in her quest for some loving sans the wedding.


    • Starting a dating site in India sounds dangerous!! Think of what the Indian Taliban would do to the girls who wants to date. I can imagine all sorts of scams and rallies etc


      • Women in Mangalore were beaten up for attending a birthday party in the afternoon.

        What will the Hindu Taliban do when women register on dating sites? Maybe they’ll arrange for public executions like their “brothers” in Afghanistan.

        I find it beyond ironic that the Hindu Taliban has SO much in common with the real Taliban, yet they both hate each other!


    • I’m sure someone’s already mentioned this, but the myriad matrimony sites double up as dating sites for younger folks in India.

      Let me tell you something else too – online dating proper isn’t going to take off in India anytime soon because a most people (esp. women but also men) will be too scared that their parents (or relatives or neighbors or whatever) might find their profiles on there, which would obviously lead to long, dirty talks in middle-class drawing rooms across India.

      And if that sounds weird to you, you’re only betraying your American roots. 🙂


  17. “I sometimes wonder what it is like to be emotionally close to a man and also to be in a physical relationship.”

    I am a bit intrigued about the emotional closeness bit. I would say, if the emotional connect happens, the physical will happen sooner or later. But the other way round? I’m not so sure.

    I’d also like to know, would men get emotionally close(i.e. more than just a friend) to a woman if they’re not convinced of her sexual attraction? In other words, in order to get male friends (possible romantic partners), how important is it to be suggestive, rather than to be yourself, as you would with female friends?


    • I would say, if the emotional connect happens, the physical will happen sooner or later.

      Doesn’t work that way, IMO.

      You can have a lot of emotional connect with people you never end up being physically attracted to.

      Physical and emotional intimacy are two different things. They can complement each other, they can contribute to each other, but they definitely don’t go hand in hand every single time (in either direction).

      men get emotionally close(i.e. more than just a friend) to a woman if they’re not convinced of her sexual attraction?

      Not sure what you mean by “more than just a friend”, and can’t speak for all men, obviously, but as far as I’m concerned, emotional closeness has very little to do with whether the person I’m getting close to wants to sleep with me or not.


      • By emotional closeness, I mean the kind one expects with a romantic partner, not with any other. If a prospective partner is someone you vibe well with, would it take too much effort to get the physical aspect kicking?
        On the other hand, the writer doesn’t seem to be looking to just have a fling without any emotional intimacy. So, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? (Read, should you get into bed first, or should you see how well you get along first?)


        • In my opinion, the emotional connection should precede the sexual one. Sex is much more satisfying and meaningful if have an emotional connect with your partner.

          However, different strokes for different folks, as they say.


        • The issue here is that you’ve defined ’emotional closeness’ in a way that presupposes a romantic relationship.

          The question you’re asking, therefore, isn’t really whether emotional intimacy leads to expectations of physical intimacy. You’re asking whether a romantic relationship always leads to expectations of physical intimacy.

          IMO, it does, most of the time. Unless there is some very specific reason preventing them from doing so, most people will at least contemplate a physical relationship with their romantic partners at some point of time.


    • In my case, i couldn’t even get my head around your question and i had to think of how such a situation is even possible. If i am romantically involved with someone(assuming that is what you meant by emotionally close and more than a friend), at some level i am sexually attracted to her and want to have sex with her. Now sex might never be possible because of a variety of reasons and i might never let her know that i would want to have have sex with her, but that does not mean i don’t want to. I don’t think i can separate the two and it is not even a chicken and egg problem.

      If you are like yourself just like you are with your friends, but show some extra interest in the guy, it might lead to romance where the guy is open to a possibility that it might not lead to sex. But if you actions lead him to conclude that you going out of your way to act suggestive, then he might feel betrayed if you take it only up to romance and not to sex.


  18. I don’t see a problem here, single surrounded by relatives who are married. Laugh at their miserable lives, go travel the world and show them pictures of your adventures. Then see how much they talk about sex.


  19. I have a question for the letter writer: does she masturbate?

    It would be a great first step, in my opinion, to get to know her own body and what she likes just by herself, without any “performance anxiety” or the pressure to please another person. She can look this up on the internet, or if even that is too embarrassing for her, I can send her detailed instructions/guidance/help (and she can remain as anonymous as she likes if we route this email through IHM or if she contacts me through a throwaway email address). I am not a sex therapist or professional, obviously, just someone who learned how to self-pleasure only a couple of years ago, so I know a little about the hesitancy and embarassment and difficulty of figuring this stuff out on one’s own….

    Offer is open to anybody else on this thread who wants to contact me. Also, I hope this is obvious, but this invitation applies to WOMEN ONLY.


  20. Sex is over-rated, never lasts long and you might end up with more than you are asking for. STDs, unwanted children which can spirals down to a lifetime of misery. Enjoy your freedom, not many people have what you have, if you only knew.


  21. Dear LW,

    First of all it’s actually perfectly normal for a healthy adult to talk or desire sexual activity. This holds true for women and women in India too. So pls don’t guilt yourself into thinking that you are being slutty. I was watching Dr. Drew on CNN and he mentioned that if any healthy adult who, by the age of ( 23 or 27) has not had any sexual thoughts or feelings is not normal.

    Secondly, pls don’t package marriage, emotional intimacy and sex into one big package. Most marriages in India are only arrangements IMO. Some couples genuinely fall in love and most just learn to grin and bear. Most women do not get the emotional bonding, love and support from their husbands at all. I am saying this because I get the feeling that you feel, you may not get these things without marriage.

    //I don’t know why I couldn’t get married – may be it was luck ! My parents are still looking for a boy for me but not enthusiastically as before. I think they have also resigned to the fact that I may not get married. My parents are still looking for a boy for me but not enthusiastically as before. I think they have also resigned to the fact that I may not get married. As far as I am concerned I am also OK with the fact.

    The problem is not that I live with my parents so i don’t have a guy .. they will be so happy if I find a guy ..and they are modern enough to allow dating but I am not able to find one !!!.. I don’t know may be because I have always been slightly reserved and not very gregarious ! ..and never made the first move !//

    There is nothing wrong in being unmarried at 40, but I don’t think you are unmarried by choice. If I were you, I wouldn’t just give up be “OK” about it. You are only in your late 30s. I’ve seen people get married and have families even later, so please don’t give up so easily. But, if I were in your shoes, I would also look back to see if there are any lessons to be learnt. Why not change expectations or cast a wider net. You certainly shouldn’t have to put up with adult men who have the maturity of a potato and who in their late 30’s need approval from parents or siblings. But why not take a chance with someone either outside of your preferred line of work for a future partner, or give the widower or differently abled person a chance.

    Also, if you think that your being reserved is one of the reasons you are unable to find a partner, then why not try changing it. Now i’m not suggesting that you turn into the life of the party, but whats so wrong in taking the first step once in a while.

    My suggestion would be for you to join a hobby class or volunteer for a cause that is close to your heart. This will allow you to be in the company of adults other than your family, friends and co workers, plus you will already have one shared interest in common at least. Use that as a starting point to making new friends and see where that leads you.
    I know times are changing and people do have sex before they get married but I am not desperate to have a casual fling with anyone just to satisfy my curiosity

    This is where you need to as the other commentator put it “shed the garb of morality”. There is nothing wrong about consenting adults having responsible sex. I know that in India we want the story to read as marriage first and then love and sex, but try to remember that it always does not work that way. You will certainly not become a bad or lesser person, just because you try to satisfy what is a natural and normal desire.

    So go out and try to be and have fun if you can.


  22. The basic issue is that Indian Woman do not get enough private space , when they are unmarried .
    If they stay away from parents they are thought to be “not good ones” and if they stay with parents they are being “zealously gaurded” what ever age they may be

    Whether they are working or non working , they have to be “answerable ” for every phone call even if its on their personal mobile .
    Its never a “invasion ” of privacy its just that girls are supposed to get married and find a place of their own as parents home is not their .
    They may have a room of their own , but they can naver take any guy to their room because even if they are not having “sex” they are supposed to do the same and parents never “permit ”

    why unmarried , i know a couple of divorces very young ones being protected by their mothers as they have to get married again . one of them is employed with a reputed hotel chain , has a daughter and is just 30 , she lives with 3 married brothers and a mother , in mothers room

    the talk of 2nd marriage is going on , she says she is not intrested but the whole family wants her to get married
    she wants to take a job offered by the hotel chain into some other citi but thats a complete no no .
    she wants company other then her own family and her body needs would be far more then the needs of the unmarried as she has experienced it before but her mother is not willing to understand to give her some space away from family


  23. Emotional Bonding comes AFTER you know a person. AFter you like the persona dn can be free adn communicate and share witht hat person. This cannot be shared with a stranger , it develops, So my advise look actively, seek like minded perople or even unlike minded 🙂 but find someone whom you like, meet people and be social , join hobbies, classes, groups and take your mind off finding someone and you will. I don’t think age is any bar to this.
    it’s a matter of exposure and how many people you meet , the qulity of people you meet.
    physical relationship is a beautiful if you share the bond, the passion and the excitement. can be got by casual flings but IMO it gets much better with the friendhsip/bond that comes from knowing and caring for the partner.
    Don’t give up, what’s there to give up, go meet people, make friends, and enjoy yourself and you will find that people enjoy your company in return 🙂 good luck.


  24. Response from the email writer.

    Dear Indian Home Maker and everyone who commented on the post,
    I can’t thank you all enough. Indian Home Maker, I wonder if you realize how much of a boon your blog is to people like me – In this country such topics are still taboo with friends or relatives and this is where people like you are doing such a commendable job. Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

    To all the commentators – Thank you so much for taking out the time to answer my queries. I truly appreciate it.I have been reading the comments all of yesterday and doing a lot of hard thinking. I really don’t want to go into details here, But your comments have made me accurately analyze what my problem is and how I should go about resolving it. It has also helped me come out of the pity I used to feel for myself because I was not married. I now realize that marriage/sex/emotional bonding can be mutually exclusive and perhaps I need to change my mindset a bit. Also as someone said as an independent single women I can do and enjoy so many things that others don’t – so I should make the most of it!Once again thank you – each one of you – for your time and support ! This post has helped me more than you all can imagine !
    Best Regards.


  25. Hi,
    I feel that for a women getting Emotional bonding is more important then sexual need..
    hence you should 1st find a person who gives you emotional warmthness and bonding of love and then getting physical with your love will be enjoyable.. and Love has no age limit..
    As per me unless and untill you have urge to be physical you cant be with anyone just for physical satisfaction


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