We have experienced sexual fantasies that turn us on and disgust us at the same time. Can this uncomfortable, yummy-yucky place help us understand the power of nationalism as espoused by the Right Wing? In exploring this idea, I will draw upon research that I undertook for my forthcoming book entitled Fantasy Frames: Sex, Love and Indian Politics.
I would like to begin with responses to an anonymous online sexual fantasy survey that I conducted. The 30 respondents were urban, educated and from diverse gender and sexual backgrounds. The fantasies which they shared with great honesty, broke a wide range of sexual norms including sex with more than one person, sex in public places, sex for money and sex with a person of the “wrong” gender. However it was not these fantasies but those which involved pushing boundaries of mutuality, dignity, consent and rights that respondents expressed bewilderment and discomfort about. This is what a 37-year-old woman had to say about one such fantasy:
“I don’t understand, and find myself very troubled that I find that hot. I’m the clichéd independent woman… why would (such) an act…be attractive to me.” A transman wrote,“I have a considerable amount of shame around (my) fantasy. I keep rationalising it by reminding myself that…the acts (in my fantasy) are all consensual. This makes me feel better for a while, but I return again and again to shame…I am somewhat surprised because my actual/non-fantasy sex life does not reflect these acts or even desires.”