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I’m A Believer
Articles - Relationships
Written by Indu   
Wednesday, 30 July 2008 00:00

Image Copyright of Sayoni

Love. Amour. Pyaar. Ai. No matter what language, what culture, the L word dominates our thinking, our lives, the media. Finding (and keeping) love, is the universal theme that connects humankind.

It might be partly the fault of media, that we have been absorbed into the myth of “love”. It begins with fairytales as a kid, when the Prince falls in love with the beautiful princess, and they live happily ever after. Then the movies, songs, which all seem to speak of this. Love has a powerful grip on the human imagination and consciousness, to the point where we almost seem obsessed with it.

Love has a special place in the queer culture, because it is the chief, if not only justification for our existence. If procreation was the only object of human existence, then we can’t exist. But humans are built for more than procreation, we are built to find affection and happiness. Love is the shield we use against religious fundamentalists – how can anyone question two people in love, or deny them the right to? Love is the reason we decide to live against societal norms.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:34
 
Sexual gratification & Sexual attraction
Articles - Relationships
Written by AnJ   
Monday, 28 July 2008 00:00

“She just turned straight.”
“She was straight… but now she’s with so-and-so…”

I think it’s high time we differentiate sexual gratification from sexual attraction. With all the muddle over sexual orientation and its pervasive inaccurate conclusions, surely we need to know what we really mean when we use words like “gay” and “straight”?

In the “ideal” world, people get attached to those they find physically attracted to. In the “ideal” world, people are sexually satisfied/gratified with someone they find physically attractive. Very ideal… But it doesn’t always happen that way.

Sexual gratification… is just a fulfillment of your sex drive.
We have all heard of sex drives. Those who say they don’t have it are either asexual, occupied/distracted/physically unwell or in huge denial. Sometimes people “self-help” by masturbation. Sometimes people use toys in their sexual activities with themselves or others. Sometimes people just have sex with other people. And then they become sexually gratified.

No one has ever come up with a sexual orientation for those who have sex with toys. Like, “oh, you sleep with your toys? You are toy-sexual” or “touching yourself makes you narcissist-sexual”.

So why is it that a woman who slept with a man is labeled “straight” automatically?
Why do we brand women who slept with other women as “gay” immediately?

What if she’s just “using” him/her for sexual gratification?

I think lots of people just settle for sexual gratification.
Like folks who tell me that partners who look too good give them insecurity. [Well lady/dude, if you looking good doesn't give her/him insecurity, what does that tell you about you?]
Plenty of people say it’s more important to find someone you can “click” with than having a good-looking face. So there, emotional attraction is prized above physical attraction. Since sexual orientation is about physical attractiveness, i would hesitate to label a woman who receives sexual gratification from another woman she didn’t find physically attractive as “lesbian”.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons why people make love in the dark.

Maybe some people are not bi-curious or exploring their sexual orientation. Perhaps they are just interested in a wide array of sexual gratification methods/activities…

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:33
 
Obsessed with keeping your partner?
Articles - Relationships
Wednesday, 23 July 2008 00:00

In your love-drunken stupor (which you are stuck in), you linger on your partner of several months…

… She’s altogether lovely, a goddess from the heavens… Sweet, loving, intelligent, possessing a zest for life… You think she’s the most beautiful girl you have ever seen. She’s everything you ever hoped for… your dream come true.

And then you look at yourself…

… “Blah! I am too chubby over here, my hair doesn’t look great… my career is not having the break through that I hoped for… Not good-looking enough, not successful sufficiently… I think I suck.”

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2010 15:50
 
The Honesty Policy
Articles - Relationships
Written by moonflower   
Monday, 07 July 2008 00:00

This begins a column on Relationships by moonflower.

Enters Lav, a masculine lesbian student in her twenties. Lav and her girlfriend had been together for a few months when she decided to tell her of her sexual past. Lav had a relationship, on and off, with a married man many years her senior. The relationship was a one-way sexual affair and never proceeded to intercourse. Lav had decided to break away from this clandestine relationship and was successfully faithful with her girlfriend. Lav’s girlfriend received the news with disbelief and the relationship descended rapidly into disintegration.

Is honesty always the best policy?

What should we come clean about?
What should be left buried six feet under?

In considering these questions, “consequences” is the word. If the issue is discussed or remains untold, can this issue directly or indirectly affect you or your partner adversely in time to come?

Some issues are best laid on the table. Presenting your children as your niece or nephew is a big no-no. Concealing health problems such as your doctor’s report telling you that you are likely to be dead in 10 years, a nearing two-year stint in another continent, or a psychopath-ex on your tracks with near death escapes for weeks… would be irresponsible to say the least.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:32
 
The Joys Of Being Single
Articles - Relationships
Written by (Guest Writers)   
Thursday, 29 November 2007 00:00

This guest article was written by ebelle

I haven’t been entirely single in over 12 years.

This is the first time that a relationship has ended for me without another one looming in the distance. When the full impact of my newfound singlehood finally hit me 6 weeks after our breakup, I was devastated and lost. However, now that I have finally accepted the fact that we are not going to be getting back together, a whole new world of possibilities has opened up.

So, what is so great about being single?

From www.dictionary.com

single [sing-guhl]

4. unmarried: a single man.
5. pertaining to the unmarried state: the single life.


It’s not such a bad thing being single, because it simply means I’m not married. I’m not alone, because there are many other single people out there. Or are there?

With the vast amounts of dating websites available on the market, I found myself venturing onto websites such as Fridae and Sayoni Forums to make more friends. The objective was to keep myself occupied after the failure of my relationship and at the same time, find out more about the local lesbian dating scene.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:37
 
The Perfect Drug
Articles - Relationships
Written by lublub   
Thursday, 07 June 2007 00:00

Love is like a drug. Isn’t it?

You inhale the vapours. It makes you high for a while. Then you start tumbling and falling back down. Crashing into hard, solid reality. It seems like love always ends in hurt. One relationship after another. A never-ending cycle of temporary happiness.

False joy.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 23:22
 
A sex-issue (indirectly)
Articles - Relationships
Written by AnJ   
Tuesday, 08 May 2007 00:00

After a good chat with friends over the past fortnight, i came to this conclusion:

Women will never say that it's a sex issue.

Most women anyway or else it is said with great reluctance. Because proper girls are supposedly asexual. Sex is a bonding affair for good girls, never meant to be physically gratifying. Only bad girls like sex.

Ya right. *spit*

However, this is so deeply ingrained in most of us, we don't even know it consciously. It has an insidious effect- identified only by those who could remove their 'moral' glasses.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:28
 
Concept of Soul-mate- disastrous?
Articles - Relationships
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 05 April 2007 00:00

I was reading an article on psychology today. The author started with the alarming news: “Marriage is dead! [Alarming because if you are the average folk, you would think that marriage should be certain in a sea- life- of uncertainty. Certainty helps keep you sane.]

Briefly, the author wrote that the concept of having a soul mate has raisen our expectations of our partners, and thus aggravated divorce rates. The author compared this to the traditional model of “father who brings home the bacon” and “mother who bears and raises the kids”. In other words, people in the past marry for practical reasons; people of today marry for the impossible concept of perfect love. The article seemed to ring a whiny tone, lamenting the low divorce rates of the not-too-distant-past. Obviously advocating for something our government would like- the agenda is glaring in my face.

The article continued to write of the benefits of being hitched and segregated these benefits according to gender: Marriage gives financially stability to women particularly; married men live longer and both genders are satisfied with sex (simply because there ain’t anyone else you can compare with when you are in a monogamous relationship).

 
Interracial Dating: Rules of Attraction Part 2
Articles - Relationships
Written by Indu   
Sunday, 25 February 2007 00:00

In the second part of this series, the author explores the flip side of Rules of Attraction. Read the first part here.

Exotification

chinese woman in cheongsam

Exotification is the rough opposite of sexual racism, but still has its roots in the totem pole. It is generally exhibited by, for the lack of a better term, 'superior' races, in whichever pairing it is. Caucasians with an Asian or Black fetish, or in a local context, maybe Chinese who have a thing for Malay/Indian/mixed people, tend to those who exotify others. Exotification, which often goes hand-in-hand with the colonial mentality1, such an extent that it becomes a sub-culture, as with the potato-queen-rice-queen phenomenon in Asian countries. Or with the SPG culture.

Exotification can be flattering, but at the same time, a little discomfiting, speaking from personal experience. Yes, it is nice knowing sexual racism has been turned on its heels, and the person is attracted to you, not despite, but because of your race. However, it does raise questions about whether the person likes you for who you are, or because he/she projects this exotic image of who you are supposed to be. The entire SPG culture thrives on exoticism. Exoticism can also derive from a sense of superiority and domination, of a certain kind of racial power-play they are unable to enact with those of their own race, but can with those lower on the “totem pole”.
While exoticism is not bad in itself, the attitude behind it can be. It would be up to the person to maintain respect for the person, and see beyond his/her racial identity.

Internal Racism

So much about inter-racial dating, sexual racism and all. It would seem that the races at the top of the 'totem pole' are the bigoted ones, and the ones below the 'victims'. But things aren't that simple. There is another, hidden layer to inter-racial dating, which is internal racism. Certain people can actually be prejudiced against their own race so much that they will refuse to date them. This may seem incredible, but this phenomenon is well and alive.2

There are two types of internal racists.3 The first type are those who think of themselves as inferior due to their race, or see some defect in their race. They are unable to respect and be attracted to someone of their own race enough to be in a relationship with them. This attitude is endemic in most potato queens, naturally. And this is an attitude I've encountered many times in local Malay and Indian queer folks. This is also directly related to the point about media and beauty. It saddens me to see people fall into this trap, time and again. I will freely confess I was in this trap until a few years ago. I did not find south Indian women attractive, as in my mind, the ideal of beauty was something else. Only by changing my perceptions about beauty and all was I able to gain self-confidence and lose this internal prejudice.

The second type are those who do not have inferiority complexes, but see something fundamentally wrong with people of their race, and consider themselves to be different from them, hence worthy. Ever heard of the phrase 'familiarity breeds contempt'? They do tend to look down on their own kind, and may have a white inside, brown outside mentality. They may date people of almost any other race except their own, but since the prejudice is against their own, they may not even consider it racism.

Trophy Partners

The above-mentioned internal racists can also fall into a group of people who consider their other-racial partners as “trophies”. This is an almost subconscious attitude, one which is hardly ever articulated. If you will remember in the first part, I spoke about the totem pole, and how if the “superior” race on the totem pole is to pay attention to the “inferior” race, it is considered a “gift” and a privilege?

This attitude can be internalised so deeply that a person can consider the fact that he managed to “ensnare” someone who is “superior” a compliment to himself and his attractiveness. Having this attitude, it might be almost unbearable of them to “downgrade” themselves by dating people of their own race or those lower on the totem pole.

In a nutshell

Clearly not all the phenomenon I have described exists in all interracial relationships. There are people who are in happy, healthy relationships with none of this racial baggage. Nor are people who have only dated their own, racists.

One is free to date whoever he or she wants. And one is free to have preferences of whatever nature. However, do keep in mind especially us queer people cannot quite afford to discriminate against people based on colour, being a small community. Not to mention it would be the most stupid thing to do: how do you know Mr or Ms Right isn't that person whose profile you just closed once you caught sight of his/her race?

***

Related Links:

Review of Rice Queen Diaries – A classic example of exotification
Confessions of a Rice Queen

 

  1. Colonial mentality not just refers to the dictate of the Caucasian 'supremacy', but also how it has been transposed in certain countries to make the 'whiter' race 'superior', as with the Chinese [back]
  2. Clearly, not all people who have only dated those of other races, are internal racists. Some people just happen to fall that way, due to circumstances or due to their own attraction-preferences. In this context, however, I refer to those who do not consider their own ethnic members potential partners at ALL. [back]
  3. In this discussion, I am limiting internal racism to those who are lower on the “totem pole”. I cannot speak for people on the “top” of the “totem pole” who are internal racists. But this attitude, I’ve noticed from entirely personal observation, come from those who exotify others [back]
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:27
 
Interracial Dating: Rules of Attraction Part 1
Articles - Relationships
Written by Indu   
Thursday, 22 February 2007 00:00

This begins a tri-part column on the racial politics of dating. The author, a bisexual Indian female, speaks from her own experience and all her viewpoints are representative of herself, not the organisation. This article addresses audience of both genders.

Interracial gay couple

Images from fotosearch.com

Rules of Attraction

I am by no means a Casanova, nor a dating guru. Quite the reverse, in fact. But that does not mean I've not had enough experience in the matters of inter-racial attraction [both ways], because almost my entire history is taken up by this phenomenon.

I would also like to say that I am speaking of general trends, and what I say may not apply to everyone.

Let's start from childhood. I was about 11, and hormones had started to course through my bloodstream, altering my body shape, moods and personality. But I knew puberty had really hit home, when I had a crush on a boy in my class, who happened to be Chinese. This, in the fashion of adolescent love, lasted a couple of months and took up a lot of space in my diary. And of course, being an idiot of that age, I tried all kinds of ways to make him fall for me.

My biggest insecurity of that time, of course, was that he was Chinese, and me Indian. The funny part about this insecurity was that if we both swapped genders, I would have no such insecurity. When I confessed my crush to my friends, one of their first ways of teasing me was emphasising the racial difference, and a unspoken sense of going for someone 'too good' for me.

Totem Pole

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:25
 
When we talk about Lesbian Relationships
Articles - Relationships
Written by AnJ   
Wednesday, 14 February 2007 00:00

young lesbian couple

Not too long ago, i attended a forum held by the only inclusive church in Singapore. This forum, which focused on lesbian relationships, sparked off a series of thoughts in me.

Are lesbian relationships fundamentally different from heterosexual relationships. If so, in what ways? Essentially there were two schools of thoughts- yes and no. [Sounds deep, doesn't it?] Lesbian relationships are no different from heterosexual relationships. At its core, we have two persons loving each other and making their connection work. The elements are the same: open communication, honesty, a fantastic sense of humour etc. Yet, lesbian relationships MAY also be besieged by identity-conflict (in one partner or both), possible pressure from family/colleagues, and different degrees of out-ness between partners.

And then i had a revelation… Sort of.
A lesbian relationship, in and of itself, is simply a connection between two persons. It is external factors such as condemnation, as well as fear and confusion from this condemnation, that make sustaining a pairing between two women a feat greater than it should be. Think about this: if everyone recognizes same-sex love as LOVE, would anyone still be fearful or confused? Would any lesbian even need to think in profound terms what it means to be lesbian? Few heterosexuals out there… think carefully about what it means to be straight. They simply follow a script. Where there is no condemnation, there is no fear and confusion. You don’t even need to think.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:23
 
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