24 March, 2020. I will never forget that day. The day India went into lockdown and my life took a 360- degree turn. After almost 3-4 years of living with my boyfriend, away from family, I was back home. And I absolutely loved it. I mean who wouldn’t? After eating bread butter and cornflakes for years, when you smell garma-garam aaloo ke paranthe in the morning, you ought to love it.
In midst of the weekly tasks of thaali bajaana and diye jalaana, I felt something was missing. It was my boyfriend. We had never tried long distance before so this was a first, and a really tough one at that. It didn’t bother us in the beginning but soon we realised our relationship had come to a standstill. Being stuck at home made us frustrated and we started bickering and arguing on every little thing.
Being together for so many years, physical intimacy had become an important part of our relationship. In addition to that, our love language was ‘physical touch’. So, you can imagine our misery. I knew sexting and doing it over the phone was always an option, but I never really paid much heed to it. But after exactly 1 month and 21 days (yes, I counted), I decided it was time to finally put technology to use.
I knew the basic drill. But I wasn’t going to give it a shot without more preparation. There was so much to learn from dirty talk to the right timing. And don’t even get me started on the emojis. Tacos, water, donuts, eggplant, hotdogs, even the peace sign, everything was a sexting code. I instantly cringed at every time I had sent these emojis on the family group chat.
After all the planning, I still had to discuss with him and see if he’s comfortable with sexting (Yes folks, consent works both ways). I wasn’t going to send an NSFW text or picture out of the blue, without his consent. We discussed and made sure that we both wanted this.
I had many questions in the beginning. For instance, do I wear a sexy lingerie or should I just stay in my pyjamas? Is it necessary to send and ask for nudes? The answer to all my worries was- if you’re comfortable with it, do it. Sexting is all about consent and trust. So, we decided on 2 rules to begin with.
Rule 1- Don't do anything you’re not comfortable with.
Rule 2- Don't get caught.
We had to figure out the best time that suited our busy schedules and when we won’t be interrupted by our families. When you are living in an Indian family, especially in lockdown when everyone is home, there is no such thing as privacy. I'll be honest, working out all the technicalities isn’t the best foreplay to get in the right mood. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
In the beginning, it was difficult for me to even start the conversation. How do you convey flirting, eye contact and getting a little physical by texting? Because this is not your normal step-by-step kissing, foreplay and hooking up. Normally we would just understand the signs and get right to it. But oh no! this wasn’t the case in our virtual lives. We would miss all the signs and before we knew it, the moment had already passed.
This one time, he sent me a text hoping to get some action, saying “what would we be doing if we were together right now?” And I (being the dumbest person alive) started telling him the list of chores we needed to do once we moved back in our apartment. And thus began a long fight on how we don’t understand each other and what not. And you know the worst part about sexting? There is no make-up sex.
This was the first time that dirty talk and foreplay had turned into “aawaz aa rhi hai?” and “sorry just a second I’m getting a call”. Things just did not feel as smooth as before. There were times when we questioned this new arrangement and felt that maybe we were too old for this. There were various awkward moments where we didn’t know what to do or when we got interrupted by someone knocking on the door or spontaneous work meetings.
Then, one day a package got delivered to my home. I opened it and to my relief there was no one around, because there was a sex toy in front of me with a note that said ‘it's about time we get a little freaky ;)'. It was not your regular sex toy; it was an app-controlled sex toy that could be controlled by him. My first reaction was that of excitement followed by absolute horror, because if anyone found it, I would be disowned by my family. But I managed to hide it somewhere safe.
This app-controlled vibrator was a legit game-changer for our “techno-savvy” sex life. The all-new addition to our sexting kit was exactly what we needed to spice things up. It made us feel each other’s presence despite being miles apart. After many failures, we finally let our guard down and enjoyed the moment. Sexting gave us a safe-space to talk about our desires and we felt more intimate than even before. At last, I no longer felt so alone and neither did he.
For us, sexting and phone sex was more than just having a non-platonic physical relationship. It meant the ability to have a ‘3 am’ deep conversation and also be comfortable in the silence. Because kinky texts, sex toys and emojis will come and go. The only key to sexting is the ability to connect.
It might not make up for times when you wake up in the middle of the night longing to feel their presence or when you see that particular scene from a movie that reminds you of them, but it will surely help you feel closer to your significant other in times of stress and vulnerability.
Sexting has also left us in a dilemma. Now if one of us sends food or water emojis, we can’t figure out if it's because of their hunger or ‘thirst’. Pun intended. (Really bad) jokes apart, engaging in sexting and phone sex can be helpful for couples who are seeking new ways to keep the spark alive during lockdown.
Be it physical or virtual, the most important thing should be that you’re comfortable with the person you’re doing it with. And also make sure to ask the other person involved for their consent and how far they are willing to go. Using phones for sexting can have a dark side to it if you engage with the wrong company. If you have doubts or if you’re being forced into something, remember to stand up for yourself and say no to anything that does not feel right.