BENGALURU: One of the tropes in Indian movies of the ‘80s was on the spontaneous sexual escapade of youngsters, often depicted by the proximity of combustible substances spontaneously bursting into flames. That and two flowers kissing. In Hollywood movies and lately in our own movies, things have become more human – the actors playing the lead characters actually kiss and do stuff.
The problem though is it is still so much spontaneous combustion.Our TV serials and movies value spontaneous physicality in totally unrealistic and very harmful ways. You see two people look at each other and next minute, they are eating each other’s faces off and two seconds later, one has jumped and has legs around the other’s hips.
Growing up on a diet of such messaging, would it not be disappointing that neither you nor your partner do those spontaneous high-jumps? Do people’s legs even work like that at will and if the partner isn’t quite ready, can you imagine the tumble?
Our backs are fairly fragile things as anyone who has experienced any degree of spondylosis can attest. One small twitch and we might be laid flat for days on end. If we look at a bare human skeleton, we see how our spine hinges on our hips so precariously – like a spinning top on the ground, one tiny end of a rickety, tottering set of jointed bones balanced on a hip. Other than gymnastic acts for talent shows on TV, I am yet to see one real life moment with real people where they literally jump on each other. We see dogs and babies spontaneously jump and even they are trained out of it. Hardly any adults do it unless they are trained cheerleaders, athletes or performers putting on a show.
Think about it. If a grown person asked if they can jump into your arms, throw their legs around you, wouldn’t you want to take a moment to check in on whether you are up for it? You might think for a bit before saying, “Ok, fine!” say “I am ready!” and when they run to you, you might still have second thoughts and say, “No, no! Stop! I can’t!”
Why would it be different just because it is a possibly romantic or sexual situation? If we are being fully honest, while we may romanticise the idea of spontaneity, in reality, we don’t really want to be surprised physically. We want to be able to say No.
If all we see in our movies and shows are spontaneous combustion, we lose sight of actually expressing desire, asking for consent and more still, don’t realise we want to consider our response, and that it might be No and even if we say “Yes” first, we can change it.
(The author is a counsellor at InnerSight)