By Damian D'souza Jan. 10, 2018
Section 377 is not just an anti-gay law. In the age of modern love, 377 is an anti-sex law that can land even hetrosexuals in trouble.
Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
– Section 377, Indian Penal Code
Bol na aunty aaun kya, sot main lagau kya
– Om Prakash Mishra, 2017
If you are familiar with the furore surrounding the above two quotes, then you will also know that between these two lie our very weird attitudes toward sex. On one hand, stands our archaic penal code that decides that there is a right and a wrong way to have sex. And on the other is Om Prakash Mishra who, using the right to freedom of speech enshrined in the Indian Constitution, offers to “lagao sott” to aunties everywhere.
Section 377, commonly known as the anti-gay law, is not just an anti-gay law. Unless you’re the sort who gets their freak on out of reading Indian Kanoon, you probably don’t know that in the age of modern love, 377 is like an anti-sex law. It primarily deals with “unnatural sex”. But what is unnatural according to our law books, however, is fairly commonplace to most contemporary sex lives, unless we’re talking about the timid 1950s, black-and-white, vanilla “let’s lie on top of each other for 10 seconds” shit Bollywood engaged in.
Consent is as complex an idea to lawmakers as freedom of speech is to the current dispensation.
According to Section 377, anal sex even between two heterosexual individuals can lead to arrest, as can oral sex. Yes, that means a blow job. Yes, that includes cunnilingus. It is ordained as “against nature” and put in the same bracket as bestiality. The only thing that having sex with an animal and giving your girlfriend head possibly have in common, is that neither one leads to the creation of babies. Simply put, the law does not want you to fuck for purposes other than procreation. Luckily, Section 377 overlooks masturbation because even the IPC feels bad for you that you can’t get any action.
It’s 2018, butt stuff and the use of sex toys is as normal as getting a turmeric chai latte at the neighbouring Starbucks. But Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code punishes the sale of any object which falls under the rather subjective term “obscene”. While men might be forbidden from buying a sex doll, they may feel free to stick their dicks into flesh lights, pillows, fridges, sofas, and whatever else is available in the supermarket. We’ve all see Brahman Naman and American Pie, and we know that if it vaguely verges on some vag, chances are we’ve tried to fuck it, at least once. In that way, in the eyes of the law, we’re all delinquents.
The law does not understand that consent is the only thing that is required when it comes to any act of sex among adults. Consent is as complex an idea to lawmakers as freedom of speech is to the current dispensation. You will not be arrested if you rape your wife, but you will be arrested if you attempt to pleasure her orally. You will not be arrested if you promise to “sott lagao” aunties, but you will be arrested if you attempt to buy a prostate massager to tide over a lonely night.
With our burgeoning population I’ve often heard that India needs a lesson in sex education (or free samples of condoms!), but along with that, what India really needs is a lesson on the idea of consent. If only our lawmakers understood that we should have less of “boys will be boys” explanations and fewer attempts at “curing” homosexuality.
Damian loves playing videogames. If all the bounties he collected slaying zombies were tangible, he wouldn't need to write such bios. Seriously though, Damian used to be a cook who wrote, now he's just a writer who cooks.