Sex-Rated: The VICE Guide to Sex

This Amma Advises Students on How to Have Threesomes

The sex advice column started in 2008 in the Delhi University student newsletter reflects the changing attitudes towards sex over a decade.
July 27, 2018, 5:30am
Would you want her advice on sex? Sure, why not? 

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“Hey Amma! Me and boyfriend have been together for a long time now, but lately I don’t enjoy the sex as much as I used to, and I don’t feel like doing it but I don’t know how to tell my boyfriend.”

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Thus begins the query of a young college student to Sex Amma.

Sex Amma, living in a houseboat on the backwaters of Kerala listens. And pays attention. She’s wearing dark purple eyeshadow, a pink blouse and sari that flaunts her ample midriff as well her g-string. She has a mole on her left cheek and jasmine flowers in her hair. She is brave and fierce. She makes no bones about her sex life or that of others. And Delhi University students love her.

Sex Amma is a fictitious character.

In 2008, DU Beat, the Delhi University student newsletter started a sex advice column for students on the campus. This year marks 10 years since its inception.

As the years rolled by, although the tone of the column stayed the same, Sex Amma herself underwent a few iterations. In her dress. And the way she looked. When the column started, Sex Amma had a huge bindi, her hair was slick with coconut oil, and her face had a few wrinkles near her eyes. She wore a red blouse and a silk-bordered green sari paired with red lipstick, and a nose ring, pullaku, the south Indian version of a nose ring.

Lately, Sex Amma is more “modern.” No palluku. Instead she sports a few ear piercings. And wears a heart-shaped locket. Her nails are immaculately manicured.

Sex Amma sexed up for 2018 millennials.

But the content of the column hasn’t changed. Amma always has and always will respond lovingly, with empathy: “Hey, you little macchi, don’t you fret about this too much; Amma is here to help you out!” She goes on to advice the girl, who she refers to as Idli—her brand of endearment for the students—and when she wraps it all up, she says, “Whatever you do my darling puttu, don’t beat yourself over this and remember: It is normal to feel this way!”

Sex Amma never judges anyone. She advises based on her own experiences. Her answers to young students are kind, empathetic but also tinged with humour and light-heartedness.

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Sample this: Once when a student asked her about his/her dislike of porn, she responded saying, “You don’t have to forcefully like anything simply because it’s (sic) mainstream just like Amma isn’t fond of the Mysore Dosa everyone loses their mind over!”

Kriti Gupta, 31, who founded the column tells us, “We always kept the identity of the person who wrote the column anonymous. The caricature of Sex Amma is actually based on the student [who was from Kerala] and identified as bi-sexual and who wrote the first advice column.”

When the column started, the introduction of comprehensive sexuality education in schools was being fiercely debated across the country. “ Sex Amma was all about female empowerment,” Gupta says. “She stood for something. Here is an older woman. She is very sexual. She is old but has done it all. Had all her affairs. Slept around and has no qualms about this. And now she will teach her bachchas how to be safe and healthy.”

Talking about sex can be intense. And awkward. Sex Amma understands this. Young students come to her with all kinds of queries. About threesomes, masturbation and vibrators.

Gupta says, “We’ve received queries from the faculty too.”

Kinjal Pandey, the current editor of DU Beat talks about how she saw the column evolve. “More and more students are asking her questions about Tinder, dating, finding hookup places etc… And even though Sex Amma was designed to answer sex queries, the questions we receive now delve into the emotional aspect too.” For example: “I am gay and I am into my best friend. How do I navigate this?”

Kriti Gupta, who founded the Sex Amma column ten years ago compares notes with Kinjal Pandey, the current editor of DU Beat.

But how does Amma stay relevant at a time when information is freely available? “Amma is not just about information. It is the anonymity and emotional relevance that keeps her so connected with the varsity and students,” Pandey says.

Although Amma is a fiesty lady and doesn’t shy away from any question, she knows when to avoid situations that can be problematic. “Whenever a questions veers into the psychological problems under the sexual ambit,” Pandey says, “ Sex Amma avoids answering that.”

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Gupta, who is still involved with the column in an advisory role, says, “We would rather not give any advice than give wrong advice.” The student editors on the DU Beat team consult doctors sometimes if a query is medical in nature.

Given Sex Amma’s don’t-give-a-damn attitude, she’s ruffled some feathers too. She got into some trouble with right-wing students in the campus who allegedly registered their resentment with the authorities, to try and silence her. She went under the radar for awhile to avoid more trouble. She’s not any time for drama, but will be back, as Gupta and Pandey confirm.

And if you think Sex Amma doesn’t get hit on by boys and men, you’re wrong. Some of the emails that Amma has received have make her laugh. And also get angry. “Hey Amma, I am into older women. Do you think you and I can get it on sometime?”

No doubt Sex Amma will soon come up with some ways to whoop these boys’ asses and put them in place. Come on, Amma. I’m rooting for you.

Follow Maroosha Muzaffar on Twitter .