By Atika Shukla
Atika Shukla is a psychologist who has been treating people from diverse backgrounds. She is the Founder and C.E.O of “Breaking Barriers”. Atika has been actively involved in the field of mental and emotional well-being for the past 13 years, she has counseled clients, covering a wide range of issues such as marital distress, self-esteem issues, occupational stress, suicide, parenting challenges, relationship problems, personality disorders, and mental health problems. With a masters in Counseling Psychology from Amity Institute of Behavioral, Atika has changed many lives. She speaks to Hot Friday Talks about the sexual behaviour of Indians and what makes them behave the way they do.
Do you think Indians are sexually frustrated? If yes, why?
Atika: Coming from the land of Kamasutra where sex was for the pleasure it’s ironical that today,it is mostly a mechanism for procreation and less for pleasure, this has been compounded by the overall taboo around sex and the aspirational demanding lifestyles we as Indians are leading and hence being less sexually active.
What are the major issues you have realised are hitting Indians?
Atika: Urban lifestyles the stressors of modern living wherein both partners work long hours to keep up with the demands of work including the increase in travel times to & fro from work and business travel. In addition, the nuclear family settings which are more prevalent today which entails taking care of kids in the absence of support system and managing household chores eats away the desire to get intimate and indulge in sexual activity unless it’s for procreation.
From a psychiatric point of view, what is your view on the entire situation?
Atika: It’s a mindset in the Indian society that sex is acceptable only after marriage. However, things are changing and acceptance of premarital sex and having more than one sexual partner in a lifetime is slowly gaining acceptance especially amongst millennials. However, the other issue is that many couples indulge or don’t bother about discussing their likes and dislikes or preferences for sexual activities which is important for sexual satisfaction for both partners. Further gadgets have taken precedence over intimacy; more people are getting addicted to their phones and other gadgets Vs spending quality time with each other. For example increasingly when I observe couples at a restaurant it’s ironical that on dates they are actually glued to their gadgets versus spending time with each other. Today’s demanding lifestyle has led to an increase in depression and anxiety which in turn has led to a lower sexual drive.
What are the things that can be done to ease the situation?
Atika: Let me try to summarise this here:
- Couples need to take out quality time for each other despite the busy schedules and commit for example one date night a week
- Women need to also think about their desires & pleasures and pay careful attention to their needs which once in a while should be given precedence over their work, household chores and kids.
- Physical exercise is a must to increase what I call the happy hormones which can put us in a positive and happy mood to indulge in intimacy.
- Keep the gadgets away while indulging in foreplay else any interruptions can be a real dampener.
Overall Atika says that it’s important we make an effort to know what the other partner enjoys. Talk openly about it and indulge in it to make it exciting as sex is as important a need as hunger and thirst!
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