The Lock Down Dairies (IV) – Every Dog Has His Day

Sex has been on my mind these last three weeks. Not of course as a practitioner or a voyeur of the amorous art, but in a purely academic, dispassionate and distanced frame of mind. Somewhat like that old bull let loose in a paddock, full of young bulls and cows happily servicing each other 24X7, including gazetted holidays. The old bull would have no part of this frolicking, till one of the younger ones asked him why? He replied: “I’m from the World Bank, I only have Observer status.” Ditto for me, minus the World Bank pension. And I have a few observations to share with you about sex in the era of the lock down.

You could not have failed to notice that these days the govt. and its various specialists have been advising us on every aspect of life under quarantine: how to wash your hands, how to sneeze or wipe your nose, how to stand in a queue, methods for disinfecting the house, how to avoid depression, even how to beat pots and pans to the tune of Saare jahan se achha . But not one has any advice on whether or not it is safe to have sex during lock down, and whether social distancing includes sexual distancing- if so how so, if not why not? I’ve rechecked the Prime Minister’s Seven Steps three times but find no mention of it; Baba Ramdev has maintained a stoic silence on the subject; the ICMR has given it a skip, even Mr. Kejriwal only coughs (into his right sleeve) when you ask him about it. The only sensible related advice was conveyed to me by a neighbour who went to a doctor because he was having trouble breathing. Ruling out COVID, the doc advised him:  “Avoid any excitement – have sex with your wife only.” Which may explain why I haven’t had a heart attack yet but sheds no light on why the Nitty Gritty Ayog is silent on the subject.

In sharp contrast, the Belgium Health Minister lost no time in drawing her own Laxman rekha: all “non-essential” sexual activity was banned, along with wife swapping, threesomes and orgies, according to a report in the ” Essential sex” with the wife (one’s own) was permitted. We may however have a problem in adopting this in India. For one, wives may object to including ” essential sex” in the daily menu or even the Chef’s special; they may prefer to have it as part of a monthly ration under the PDS scheme, to be dished out along with the pulses and cereals once a month (provided you have an Aadhar card), or even as a, well, one- off Diwali sop. Second, the wife swapping ban is a bit superfluous under lock down conditions with three demographic dividends running riot in the house (who know more about it than you and your ancestors ever did): when you can’t make it with your own wife, what chance is there that you’ll have better luck with someone else’s? Orgies, of course, are a complete no-no, unless you want to invite the local SHO to it. But at least there was some clarity.

The Germans have been more forthcoming (not to be confused with “froth coming” as with Donald Trump). The Germans never mince their words and their health advisory is to adopt the “Doggy position” to avoid face-to-face contact. Now, shifting abruptly from the Missionary to the Doggy position requires, literally, a sexual revolution and should not be attempted if you have spondylitis or a slipped disc . If you are in the Missionary Up position when this advice reaches you, however, you should wait for the next tweet from the BJP’s in-house expert on orgasms, that MP from Hyderabad who has been defenestrated by an Arab princess, before redeploying your NPAs. But spare a thought for the proselytising religions for whom this is a mortal blow : their missionary activities have already been quarantined, and now they shall even be dethroned from the Missionary Up position. Don’t for a minute under estimate the enormity of the loss: the Missionary Up has been western civilisation’s most, well, seminal export to the heathens after syphillis, it has brought more men to their knees than all the Popes since St. Peter : how on earth will they now demonstrate to savages the proper method of praying?

In any case it’s so heartening to know that we are finally picking up some tips from man’s best friend. It would, of course, have been better if we had learnt other things from the pooch- loyalty, selflessness, love- but I guess we can’t be too choosy: in these difficult times we must take what we can, even if we have to go down on our knees to do so. But even this advice will encounter problems in India. Will the doggy position not amount to a crime under the Indian Penal Code- an “act against the order of nature”? In which case shall we subjected to the sight, every morning, of large numbers of Indian males being led along to the police station on leashes hitherto reserved for their dogs? Is it going to be a dog’s life now for us, in more senses than one? I guess the Supreme Court will have to finally decide on the matter when it returns from its lock down, summer vacations and recusals. It will, however, have to be at most a two judge bench, because the Belgium Minister may not look too kindly on a threesome, and a full bench may look like a juridical orgy to her.

A friend of mine in government, who knows a thing or two about ” working from home”, has asked me to keep an eye on the birth rate in January 2021; he expects a massive surge then. It stands to reason, if you ask me. Firstly, the word “working” in our country ( especially in govt. offices) actually means “screwing around”, so what else can you expect when you ask folks to work from home? Secondly, washing dishes side by side with the spouse does tend to make those pheromones buzz around a bit, what? I suspect Mr. Alan Greenspan’s Underwear Index may also have something to do with it: it has been falling consistently, and with the markets all shut how do you replace the millions of Jockeys worn out with all that sitting on the couch? If hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, lockdown hath no bigger danger than an Indian male with ungirded loins. If you don’t believe me have a look at the photo below, of the home delivery of another essential service:

[Photo courtesy Yatish Sud, unemployed hotelier in Shimla]
Incidentally, my mole in the govt. also advises me that a policy decision has been taken not to issue birth certificates to kids born in January/February 2021, on the grounds that their parents did not follow social distancing norms, and that these babies will be deemed to have been born out of wed-lock( down). They should have contained themselves.

In the meantime, of course, the Army has lost no time in educating its own on how to avoid the virus, in the explicit, no nonsense language it is known for. A friend has sent me a photo of a notice put up in a golf course, containing detailed advice on how to handle balls during the corona period:

[Photo courtesy Mr. Yatish Sud, now amateur photographer]
Now this is the kind of unambiguous advice we need from our Health Minister so that there’s no ball-up in our fight against the virus. (I presume, of course, that the advice relates to golf balls).




Avay Shukla retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. He is a keen environmentalist and loves the mountains. He divides his time between Delhi and his cottage in a small village above Shimla. He used to play golf at one time but has now run out of balls. He blogs at

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