Prakash Nanalal Kothari is an Indian medical doctor and the Head of the Department of Sexual Medicine at the King Edward Memorial Hospital and Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, Mumbai. A graduate of the Mumbai University, Kothari is credited with several books and articles on sexology. The World Association of Sexology (WAS) selected him as the Man of the Year in 1989. He was honored by the Government of India in 2002, with the fourth highest Indian Civilian award of Padma Shri.
Excerpts from my interview with him.
Has the way we look at sexuality changed in the last 42 years?
Oh yes, the way we look at it has changed considerably but the problems have remained the same. The difference is that we have become more vocal. When I had first begun my practice, I had not seen a female patient for three years. But today, the woman will come and say – here is my husband, doctor, you better treat him or else I am walking out of the marriage. Or she would say – I am not climaxing, do something for me.
I feel that knowledge and awareness of sex is very minimal in India.
Nowadays, the awareness is quite a lot – thanks to the print and electronic media. Women have become far more aware of their sexuality. They believe in having sexual rights and feel that their sexual rights need to be respected. This change has come in the last 10 years. Today, women are no longer of the opinion that sex is a chore. Women have become more comfortable with their sexuality and they feel that they can be helped.
Most men use their partners as sleeping pills – when their job is done, they just turn around and snore. They don’t bother that their partner also needs to be climaxed or satisfied. The reasons for this are varied – there are times when the men are unaware of women’s feelings, many times the men turn out to be a little selfish, and in some cases, it is the women who are not very assertive. It is very important to be assertive about one's sexual life.
The problem is that a man gives love to get sex, while a woman gives sex to get love. Sex can be the climax of love, but love does not necessarily have to be the climax of sex. The reason is that, eventually a partner may get bored of having sex with the same person, in the same bed, at the same time, at the same place, in the same position, in the same manner – so things inevitably become boring and this boredom often erodes the joy of a relationship and may lead to infidelity.
It is passion and urgency that characterizes the first few years, but eventually, no matter what, it disappears. But there is one thing – that some couples stay together, and they enjoy it as well – because they know each other, they know each other’s preferences, they know each other’s buttons, they know each other’s likes and dislikes, and there is affection, warmth, trust. It does not matter much if you have failed once. Because of these reasons, some couples still enjoy sex with each other after the first few years have passed. Some people say that these are the golden years of sexuality, especially after 60 – because there is enough affection, warmth, and understanding after having spent a lifetime together.
Every year, I get at least six to eight patients between the age group of 85 and 90 who want to improve their sexual performance or want to get married.