How much do our parents teach us about ourselves? If science and psychology have proved that sexuality and sexual development grow and bloom in the course of our lives along with our other faculties, what role do our parents have in what we learn about sexuality? And, as parents, surely there’s so much we learn about sexuality, ourselves, and everything else from essaying the role? To parent is to learn how to teach what we already know, and to be able to receive more than a few surprise lessons ourselves.
Talking about migration would be talking about what happens with the crossing of boundaries. Boundaries of culture and climate, and boundaries of visibility, where a change in semantics can come to render what was invisible visible (an accent, perhaps a way of dressing, one’s values and ideas, the experience of being surveilled as an alien), while also allowing the migrant certain new freedoms to be invisible (anonymity where ‘nobody knows your name’, and certain kinds of agency one may not have enjoyed back home).
Where perhaps attire traditionally demarcates community identity (one’s tribe, religion, caste, class, etc.), it has in more recent times (along with other identifiable commodities) come to also be used to express, assert, assess, control and contest individual identity. How does sexuality come into play in matters of attire and identity? And how do they all relate to how we live and connect with each other?
With Assisted Reproductive Technologies, science has managed to use technology to prise apart previous associations between reproduction and sex. With gender, class and queer theory, the social sciences have prised apart previous associations between gender and sex. We have found that knowledge through science, like knowledge of sexuality, can’t be pinned down to absolutes. “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know,” said Aristotle. While science may value the systematic and objective, it cannot escape the baffling convolutions of lived experience. How does life influence knowledge, and knowledge influence life?
Sexuality can be said to influence and be influenced by every aspect of our lives. Talking about sexuality, however, is widely tabooed, especially at the workplace. Anything that evinces sexuality is at once mired in controversy – from clothing choices (of women, especially) to sexual harassment cases, from gender role-challenging career choices to sex work. Why is anything to do with sexuality seen as taking away the gravitas of work?
Is there a relationship at all that cannot be defined by love? And, if we were to begin talking of relationships other than romantic love, how would we speak of sexuality? Upon this deliberation, we realised that our Love and Sexuality issue seemed to revolve around romantic love and sex. The departure this issue on Relationships and Sexuality makes is to try and incorporate forms of relationships that might not be about romantic love but have their own kind of romance, and facets of sexuality that might not be about sex per se but will place its interest in alternate relationships to it.
Not only has evolving discourse on sexuality influenced the fate of how sex work is understood, but also with the growth of sex workers’ rights movements, discourses on sex work are now being able to influence how we think about sexuality. In our issues on Sex Work and Sexuality this month, we hope to be able to traverse some of these convergences.