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Saffron in the Streets, Woke in the Sheets

My brief liaison with a polyamorous man of the right.
Collage via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons.

This July, we’re heating things up with Sex-Rated: The VICE Guide to Sex in India. Come with us as we dive deep into Indian sexuality, as well as cherry-pick some of the best videos and stories about sex from VICE around the world. Read more here.

“I don’t like Modi but since he is BJP, I have to support him”, he confessed after pulling a long drag of the joint that we were sharing, sitting naked in bed. The US Presidential elections were two months away, and he was excitedly anticipating the formation of a new world order : Putin, Modi and Trump. He laughed gleefully at the thought of a world where the right have all the might.


He wasn’t a full blown karyakarta nor did he have a past in ABVP—he was just a regular Malayali guy in real estate. He said he’d been asked to join the Bhartiya Janata Party once but had turned the offer down. Occasionally, his elation while narrating tales of starting a lynch mob or beating the crap out of transgender women in traffic signals alarmed me to a monstrous side.

Though his words repulsed every cell in my brain, the gentle strokes of his hand on my bare back drew me to him despite myself. To have a right-wing guy go down on me, a left-leaning activist and journalist, became my own concocted version of dominatrix kink.

I questioned if I was compromising my beliefs by letting him in my pants. But we were never each other’s primary and that blurred some of these internal tensions into oblivion. I saw this man for three months and never regarded him as anything more than a lover. Yet to think of him as a mere bedfellow would be reductionist, since he paid attention, listened without mansplaining, and was sensitive to my needs and pleasure. He made an effort to show he cared, though neither of us had expected to grow fond of each other’s company.

He consented to lick my lips while I was on my period.

Physical attraction made us swipe each right, but while our chat online was refreshingly honest, he was quite stiff when we met. But I remained persistent (he was cute and had muscles) and talked him into giving me a “hot massage” that quite naturally ended with a happy ending and more.


I never thought there would even be a second date, but I was up for a good fuck. I didn’t even know or honestly care about his politics. When he first shared his loyalty to the RSS, I just shrugged it off. It didn’t stop me from having unprotected sex on our third date; mostly because he consented to lick my lips while I was on my period.

Nevertheless, he apologised for getting carried away in the heat of the moment, and the next day, sent me a photo. Expecting a raunchy dick pic, I opened it only to discover his last month’s blood report. “I just wanted to let you know I’m safe,” he wrote. This had never happened with any of the left lib woke bros, supposedly my natural allies, who mansplained their progressive politics to me. I had no similar report to reassure him. I had never even been tested. “Thanks,” I replied, sheepishly.

At the time, I was also seeing a Kashmiri man, whose long-lasting boner gave me a taste of azaadi between my legs. But he was an insufferable smug. He never paused to ask about my day, and our pillow talk centred around his hopes and dreams. And he never gave head.

Unlike this German love story, there were no bad surprises—we knew early on we were politically polar opposites. We’d get into heated debates, in which I’d call out his praise for demonitisation, since he got rich turning kaala dhan white. In turn, he called me a hypocrite for excluding Kashmiri Pandits in my essays on human rights in Kashmir. His disdain for Ram Rajya and resentment of the intrusion of North Indian right-wing politics in the South redeemed him a little. Mostly, though, he’d end up intellectually ceding to me and, to make up for it, I’d let him have his way with me as roughly as he wanted (with a safe word, of course).


What we shared was camaraderie about open partnerships, a hatred of watching Bollywood films, and collective contempt for North India. Casual sex doesn’t necessarily guarantee good sex but we had crackling chemistry. He loved that I wasn’t shy to sit on his face, cowgirl and reverse, and no one had ever rubbed my clit and anus with such deftness before. But our mutual agreement on non-monogamy and finding connections beyond one partner is where we hit it off the most.

He had a primary partner, who he planned to marry in a year, after rescuing her from an engagement set up by her parents. Between my work and travel and his kallaripayattu classes and her, we saw each other infrequently. Since there was little to validate or to live up to as a partner, we found ourselves relatively at ease with each other. I didn’t want him as a boyfriend but he felt like my own gigolo, who I liked to spoil with edible panties.

A couple invited him over to watch them 'go at it'—which meant the lady laying a brick and her better half eating it in front of him

Moreover, he was curious about me as a person, which is more than I could say about some partners who couldn’t understand why I expected more emotional investment even if I was sleeping with other people. For them, emotions came with exclusive rights, like property or assets.

“You don’t know how much I have been shamed — called a ‘sick fuck’ and immoral — for wanting to be with more than one person,” he told me as he narrated tales of orgies he’d been a part of. This one time, he said, a couple invited him over to watch them “go at it”, only to later realise that meant the lady laying a brick and her better half eating it in front of him.


My flatmate, who could not place him with me, was amazed that we were actually also doing the “dating” things: going out for drinks, attending polyamory meet-ups, picking up cat food and dropping me to the airport. He’d go out of the way sometimes just to see me for an hour—a welcome change from men operating out of pure convenience, or being ghosted.

Eventually, we got caught up in our lives: him unable to prioritise good company over family (his mother couldn’t sleep alone by herself) or his girlfriend. And just like that our oddball romance died a natural death.

I continued to seek polyamorous partners, with more similar views to mine—but the market is flooded with fuck bois. Ironically, many who agree with my politics can’t deal with the idea of multiple partnerships based on consent, care, honesty and responsibility. My right-wing ex once told me I couldn’t get laid as easily he could—words that painfully ring true.

As someone trying to be a feminist on the streets and between the sheets, my options are either disappointing or left disappointed. However repugnant his politics may have been, our brief relationship remains one of the most stellar on my record, even if it was a bubble waiting to burst. Though he may have been a political rival, he was an ally in bed.