This Article is From Jun 29, 2016

Karan Affairs: I Don't Get Sex - And I'm No Longer Trying

So my therapist, who's really quite up to the minute with trendy new terms, asks me if I have FOMO. And I say I no longer do. I did for the longest time, but then slowly realized that for me it was the fact of missing out rather than the fear of missing out. 

What was I missing out on: well, the fact that I haven't had as much sex as I should have!

My very shy Punjabi father never taught me about the birds and bees. So shy was he that he may have thought he would get arrested for even talking about it. Then there was my mother, brought up by prudish German nuns. She, of course allowed me to believe that her very best bundle of joy (me!) had been handed to her by the heavens. I had no siblings, no older brother to enlighten me. I grew up in a snooty neighbourhood and since I was also a shy kid, I never went out and met or made the kind of friends that could have at least told me this was something I needed to know about. 

So the fact of sex just went over my head. 

So much so that when a bunch of classmates solemnly swore to a 12-year-old me that a blow job is when you take off all your clothes and lie on the bed with the fan on full, I followed it religiously, And very proudly told them after the summer vacation got over that I had had a "blow job" every day!

Then I went through a phase where I just wasn't feeling attractive enough. I wasn't secure enough, I wasn't sure enough. By the time I lost my virginity, I was 26 and that was after Kuch Kuch Hota Hai when I felt mildly famous. And so fame took the place of some of the shame. But again, since I didn't grow up in a sexually informed, involved or enlightened atmosphere, by the time 26 rolled around, there were all kinds of silly notions that had crept in my head like having the lights off. 

In fact, I remember politely asking the person I was engaging with if we could "start the process"! I didn't like watching porn because I didn't find it sexy. I couldn't understand how others got excited watching other people having fun. Porn made me feel worse. It only reminded of my own, well, shortcomings. 

There were so many issues I had with myself. I wasn't happy with my body, wasn't entirely comfortable in my own skin. And by the time I gained confidence, too much time had passed. With fame I stopped feeling I had to hide: lights didn't have to be all the way off, I felt I could flirt without being slapped. But it was hard work getting there from the fat kid I was - ashamed of his body, ashamed of who he was, largely sexually ignorant and convinced he wasn't attractive to anyone. Which is probably why the first time I had sex, all I could say was "thank you"! I felt gratitude not sexiness - thank you for ticking one very belatedly off the bucket list. 

I also wonder if we are programmed by movies and rom-coms and ads and the general popular narrative to feel sexy in ways that aren't achievable. We seem to forget that sex when it happens is often clumsy and sweaty and sloppy and not always that sexy. Have we made it into an unattainable phenomenon? More about conquest and technique and a lot less about romance and affection?

I've heard expressions like "Are you good in bed?" What does that even mean? For me, good in bed means sleeping seven hours. Undisturbed! If I get eight hours, that means I'm amazing!

So I guess my question is: have I lost out or am I not missing out at all?

Is the payoff underwhelming for everything that goes into getting it? Sexting? Tinder? Grinder? All that effort for just five minutes? Why is old-world romance considered a novelty suddenly?

I feel liberated not experiencing it anymore - or chasing it any more. There's no longer fear. I have now proudly informed my therapist that I am going through AOMO - the acceptance of missing out. 

I'm making a declaration - I'm not chasing sex (anymore). If someone wants to chase me, they can certainly go for it. I can't do it - all that stress related to sexting, and should I put off all the lights or make it dim, followed by "am I good in bed"? I was once invited to an orgy. I declined. I can't imagine anything more awful. I really am clumsy! I wouldn't know what to do, where to look. I can barely handle one person, where could I hope to manage two or more?! 

That said, am I the person who yearns to get it? Who wants to embrace it, enjoy it and get what the fuss is all about? Of course part of me does, but I think it will only follow love. I still believe in the intimacy, the quiet moments, the beauty of a kiss - but the sharing will always be more exciting to me than the act itself. No chains or handcuffs or toys for me thank you very much, I don't get the fuss - maybe I'm alone but I don't get it. 

I'm also saying (to myself as much as to anyone else) that it's ok to feel unsexy. It's ok to feel nervous, it's ok to not have moments that feel written out of a movie script. I feel Victoria may have a Secret but you don't have to know it! And those Calvin Klein models - don't be fooled by the socks that they got. 

And finally, to all the people who keep telling me to put myself out there - I just want to know where "there" is. Where is this mythical "there"? I have looked for that "there" everywhere but I have not found it! 

And that's fine too, because where I am now this minute is a pretty good place to be after all. 

(Karan Johar is one of India's best known film and television personalities)

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