Games, Sex and Matches
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Games, Sex and Matches

Many Indians today are hunting in pairs, write Sushmita Bose, RPunoose and S Sebastian.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 10:32 IST

Mahesh Bhupathi tries it out with Martina Navratilova on the tennis court, but Indians, at large, don’t play mixed doubles in their social milieu — which is why Mixed Doubles didn’t exactly set the cash registers ringing. Right?

Wrong. Hear it from Indians themselves, loud and clear on the public domain (in this case, cyberspace).

Amit: I’m a married person, age 29, healthy and fit. Would invite like-minded, same-age couples for partner swap. We could start by meeting each other and continue by mutual consent.

Shekhar and Rita: Me and my wife too are of your age group 30-32. I am a software professional and my spouse too works. We too are interested in spouse swap for a change and feel of it! We too feel that we meet and then go ahead if things seem ok… what say?

Or, SR: Me and my wife (35 and 30) are very bored with the usual stuff… interested in swap game… I have gotten my wife interested at last…

Anil: Hi, my wife and I are into swapping and also orgies. It gives us pleasure to swap not for a day but for weeks endlessly… who wants to live with one wife in this day and age? Change without paying and enjoy the freedom that comes with it. But before that you must have an HIV test as well as ensure your wife has a protective diaphram for birth control. [sic]

Not quite a dangling conversation, but what’s clear is many Indians today are hunting in pairs. That’s what the KamaSutra Cross Tab Sex Survey 2005 corroborates. Across Indian metros, 33 per cent respondents disagree that wife/husband swapping is “uncommon”. Flip the logic. It reads: these respondents actually feel that ‘Mixed Doubles’ is pretty common. And there’s more: 46 per cent feel that feel that “wife/husband swapping” does happen.

“This is not pseudo-Westernisation but true Indianisation,” exclaims sexologist Dr Prakash Kothari. “We are going back to the time of Vatsyanana.”

Other than the ‘Classifieds’ section ads that tell you about “broad-minded couples looking for fun/friendship with like-minded couples”, try websites like or Rajesh and Jo (their real names? Maybe, maybe not), an Indian couple based in Ooty, who claim to be “humorous, sexual, witty, bubbly…” with a kid to boot — have put up their wares on display on the Net: explicit photographs and vital statistics. Stuff like, “Jo is 5’5”, 55 kg (slim), 27-years-old… Rajesh is 6’2”, 78 kg, athletic… both of us are fair and attractive… We are a curious, open-minded couple… love life…”

The two love “couple swapping, blindfolding, bondage, videotaping, phone sex… even sex in public places.” They are looking for “a couple only… We are looking for friendship from you… we offer an exciting experience from our side…”

Then, there’s the “shy and sexual” Ramesh from Bangalore, who likes laughing and is in good shape. He and his wife, too, are looking for couples. As are many more in cyberspace.

Getting offline, here’s a scene from the modern-day Age of Vatsyanana. Dr Kothari says he counsels a group of four “middle-aged, affluent couples”, all of who’ve been married for about ten years. The husbands are businessmen. The dramatis personae have been swapping for the past three years.

There’s a deviant twist to Vatsyanana’s rediscovered tale: the business of swapping is conducted in the same room, and the sex happens “in front of each other”. “They do it for variety and fun,” Dr Kothari explains. “It’s an anti-anxiety and guilt-free approach that they have with each other.”

Someone called Amit, who claims to live 70 kms from Delhi, is bored with his nine-year-old marriage. He talks in Hindi (with a strong Punjabi accent), and says he’s in the restaurant and real estate business, while his wife, Renu, is a housewife. They have a kid, and he says, “With a kid, relation main cooling aata hai and this [swapping] is like a shock treatment, like being newly married…”

His “first time” was while he was holidaying at a hill station with his wife. A couple approached them and while they were shocked at first, he and his wife later agreed. It was a great experience.

Anjali Sethi (name changed), a 42-year-old housewife in one of south Delhi’s colonies, says she “couldn’t believe her ears” when her maidservant told her that one of the maids from a neighbouring house suspected that “mein jahan pe kaam karti hoon, wahan ajeeb sa kuch hota hai… (strange things happen in the house where I work)”. “Often, this maid would see two other couples leaving early in the morning, and once she claims that she had seen her memsaab getting intimate with one of the other husbands,” says Sethi. “Other maids in the locality tell her that the place where she works is a den of gandi harkate (dirty goings-on).”

At times, says Shailender (name changed), an aspiring model, that’s exactly what it gets down to being: dirty. He and his girlfriend have no qualms about playing Mixed Doubles “on and off” — but always within a close circle of friends. “We never respond to newspaper ads,” says Shailender, “because there are times when a couple wants out, but can’t because there is blackmail from the pimp and, often, from the other consenting adults.”

But many times, trust is at a premium. Dr Kothari says that he was surprised when a group of “swappers” — who’d taken their first appointment by giving their actual names and phone numbers — turned up together. “They had issues about safety, things like HIV and AIDS. And they wanted to know about safe sex practices.” Later, in fact, they wanted to know if he could teach them some games that would spice up their sex lives.

The rediscovered Vatsyanana’s Age has, clearly, gone way beyond what Kevin Spacey said about The Concept in Alan Pakula’s Consenting Adults: “I mean, nobody wants to blow their marriage… but just one night would be… sweet.”

Thou shalt covet thy neighbour’s wife. And husband.

First Published: Feb 19, 2006 01:49 IST