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Coping with sexual sadness: Here’s what we learnt

We spoke to some Agents and put down some tips to help us all with the feeling of loss, rejection, unfulfillment, the sense of being a sexual-have not

Illustration of a crying heart, looking through a telescope. Hindi song lyric, “Tu kahaan, main yahaan,” appear beside it.

Tip 1: Acknowledge that finding someone is hard

(toxic positivity makes it harder)

“I wish people would acknowledge the struggles that lead to no sex or relationships. Queer people struggle to date with an extremely limited and fraught dating pool. If you're introverted, there’s fewer opportunities to find people. If you’re conventionally not good looking, it will be less easy—it shouldn’t be, but it is. Or you may be just plain unlucky. It may make you pissed, but these are the truths behind those who have more successful dating lives. Acknowledge this, because you may be blaming yourself when there's plenty of other things that are actually equally to blame.”

Illustration of a heart, labelled a horny heart, with flames spouting out from it.

Tip 2: Masturbate

(Pleasure is not a consolation prize)

“Sach kahe toh, I believe that no one may give you as good an orgasm ever. And there’s a chance you may be really really satisfied with that. I have realised that sexual sadness sometimes can feel worse when you’re horny? So, I try to address my horniness first, then see if I’m still sad.” 

Illustration of three hearts on a podium. The three sections of the podium are labelled 1, 2, and 3. The heart in the first place is happy and the heart in third place is crying.

Tip 3: Remind yourself sex is not a contest

(No winners, so nope, you’re not a loser)

“You think everyone is having more sex than you simply because people talk about what’s going on in their lives only when there’s something to gossip about. If people spoke more about the frustration of dating, being single or going without sex for long periods etc. you’d realise more easily how effing common it is.”

Illustration of a heart wearing a party hat and sunglasses, and holding a drink, indicating that it is on a exotic holiday.

Tip 4: Try a change of scene

(Enjoy the movement and connection)

"Go meet friends/family in a different city. Sometimes a physical break from our environment helps us shift our mood. Spending time in a new routine, or with different people with whom we have fun or find comfort can help us to get out of a funk. "

Illustration of a heart playing a guitar, with a flower behind its ear, and saying, "my heart is beating."

Tip 5: Flirt for fun, sweetness and good vibes

(It’s not all about scoring)

"Nothing lifts the mood like smiling at someone and being smiled back at. Wear your favourite outfit or do what you feel makes you look your best and go out for a coffee and just smile at the strangers you meet. Harmless flirting has many benefits and can help you feel good about yourself!"

Illustration of a heart lying in a pool of its own tears

Tip 6: Don’t let lack of experience give you a complex

(Lots of sex is not automatically equal to good at sex)

"Maybe having more sex makes us confident, or even skilled. But eventually people are very different and you have to learn from scratch every single time. A question asexuality brings to the table - is a person who has sex once a year “bad at sex”? Learning to be good at sex is not necessarily a straight line of having more sex. It's more complex than that. I think an asexual who has sex for the 3rd time at age 37 may not bomb it the way we fear. Don’t buy into the fake sexual confidence of lifestyle mags."

Illustration of a heart with wings. There is an “open” signboard hung from the heart

Tip 7: Don’t get trapped in fixed expectations

(Be open to experiencing something, even if it doesn’t work out)

“We can have sex and be sexually disappointed. I had been in a very long-term relationship prior to getting into a situationship. It was a risk, because I felt that for me the anxiety of the dynamic would reflect in how I viewed it sexually. And in fact, I quickly realised that the romantic ambiguity was not for me.

But, even though this wasn’t what I wanted, it was worth the experience, because I understood how sexually contented I feel is closely related to how secure I feel in the relationship. I knew for sure now what I didn't want in the future.”

Illustration of a crying, broken heart, with bandaids over the cracks saying, “fuckboi forever.”

Tip 8: Don’t date or hook-up as a coping mechanism

(Fearing failure can set us up for failure)

"You might have bad hook-ups or upsetting experiences like ghosting or feeling casually treated. Don’t cope by doing it over and over to cancel the feeling that you’ve failed at something and have to get it right this time. Don’t make every date or hook-up a test you have to pass.

Take your time to see if you really feel a buzz, or need to know someone more – whatever takes you towards a genuine sexual experience, and hopefully, pleasure."

Illustration of a heart wearing a crown, and a sash that says, “Guess who?” Surrounding the heart are tags such as, “Femme,” “Bottom,” “Top,” and “Butch.”

Tip 9: Don’t let labels hold you back

(A label is not a lakshman-rekha)

"What made me feel sad was primarily how there was a sense of conforming to different tags within the gay community, such as - "Oh he's a bear", "He's a bottom". These tags, which were initially created to let the other person know one’s preferences, ended up feeling like a constraint to me, like an atmosphere of judgement that I was doomed in. Coping with it, called for having a strong sense of self. Having an idea of what I am as a person and what I bring to the sexual table helped me overcome that trapped feeling."

Illustration of three hearts, leaning on each other and crying together.

Tip 10: Share your sadness

(Phone a friend)

To cope with breaking up with a partner after 14 years of marriage I realised leaning on friends, although very hard, became very important. Knowing that there are other people around me who love me and support me makes me feel less lonely and anxious about my future. It may not be the same thing as romantic love, but love is love, na?

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