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The middle-aged Indian man and (more) sex: The dirty secret

If I lose weight, I am at lower risk for heart attack? Yawn. I knew that. Pass me those chips.

If I lose weight, I will snore less. That’s nice but why should I care? I don’t wake myself up.

If I lose some weight, I’ll have better erections. What? Why didn’t anyone tell me this before?

The study was actually about how exercise can reduce the onset of diabetes. It was done among a group of 900 men with the average age of 54 as part of a diabetes prevention programme.

But you won’t find the D-word anywhere in the headline about its findings:

Men who hit the gym to shed middle-aged spread get a boost in the bedroom

Middle class India, as we know, is bulging in all the wrong places.

Here's the gist of it: Men who modified their lifestyle by dieting and 150 minutes a week of exercise got a testosterone boost.

Sidharth Mallya was right.  Men only really trust their balls. And the only way to sell us anything remotely arduous such as exercise is to promise us bigger better orgasms. As a man in denial of my own middle age it’s good to know that all those hours huffing on the treadmill at my gym watching interminable Bollywood music videos without the sound might yield some real dividends. As in better sex right now, not those hypothetical years I am adding to the end of my life (which are the crappy years anyway), or the heart attack I did not have. I want to take a print out of this study with me to the gym. When I see the paunchy middle aged man, sweat beading his balding head, about to give up on his crunches while the bored trainer intones “Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, just five more", I can hand it to him with a wink and a knowing smile. “Imagine this,” I’ll tell him. “Each crunch you do is waking up another little dozing sperm cell. By the time you leave the gym you’ll have a million little man army raring to go.”

It sounds wonderful except it won’t do much good here.  Middle class India, as we  know, is bulging in all the wrong places. The experts have told us we are facing the “obesity epidemic.”  Indians are genetically susceptible to packing it on around the middle. Good living these days adds to those Goodyears around the waist. If anything can motivate us to get off our butts, and put down those sodas and bhujias, and get moving that’s always welcome.

The problem is we don’t have any role models to really extol the virtues of exercise. It looks like awfully hard work to become John Abraham and Bipasha split up with him anyway. On the other hand, Narain Dutt Tiwari does not look like he’s done a day’s bench press in his life and there he is at eighty-plus cavorting with two women on camera in the governor’s mansion and giving out blood samples in paternity suits. Honestly, which one seems to be living the good life?

The only power that matters between the sheets or on the casting couch is the power of your position and we are not talking about the missionary kind.

Indian men know that in the end their looks don’t matter. The ugliness of the Indian man is a many-splendoured thing wrote Mukul Kesavan in a famous essay about just that.

Why are Indian men like this? How do they achieve the bullet-proof unselfconsciousness that allowes them to be so abandonedly ugly? I think it comes from a sense of entitlement that’s hard-wired into every male child that grows up in an Indian household. That, and the not unimportant fact that, despite the way they look, they’e always paired off with good-looking women.

Our studly Bollywood stars are  rumoured to have wild sexual exploits and affairs.  But the ones that get caught with their pants down are the politicians. So we have Tiwari and the Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Singhvi appears to bob up and down in his CD, not the most inspiring performance, but like his government, he keeps puttering along doggedly. And then there is the BJP’s Dhruv Narayan Singh, 53, a father of two, who managed to be in the middle of a besotted love triangle with a married woman, Zahida Parvez, 35 and RTI activist Shehla Masood, 38. A diary of Zahida’s sexual romps with Singh emerged along with graphic videos and used condoms carefully preserved in small plastic packets with the date when they were used. The CBI found that Singh had as many as 15 girlfriends and he bought a cellphone with a SIM card for each of them. Obviously, he did not need (or probably have time for) 150 minutes of exercise every week for his bedroom boost.

And sadly, I’ll wager most of us would secretly just rather have the sex life of Dhruv Narayan Singh when we are 50 and N D Tiwari when we are 80 instead of sweating it out for hours at the gym in the hopes of that sturdier erection.

For what’s the point of the bigger and better hard-on when the average middle-aged Indian man is so hard up for sex anyway?