Sex, Masturbation & More: Here Are 10 Uncomfortable Questions That My Mom Actually Answered


I grew up around a superwoman – a loud, opinionated and dramatic superwoman. She raised me to be who she is and I wouldn’t have it any other way. While other kids were busy googling life’s unanswered questions or learning them in biology class, I was simply asking my mom.

Sonali Shivlani aka my mom, is a pregnancy and parenting consultant so it’s only befitting that I troubled her with these questions. She has raised two now-adult children and educated countless parents on the art of effective parenting.

My household always had a unique aura. I was treated like an equal, given the chance to have an opinion and taken into account for important decisions. Naturally, I grew up to be inquisitive and almost equally as opinionated and dramatic as my mom is.

After years of being best friends with my mom, I can positively say, I have a cool mom. She understands me. I complain to her. I cry about my relationship drama to her. I don’t see the generational gap that is so jarring to others.

I realise now that her brain is filled with random information about me. She has dedicated 21 years of her life to just getting to know me. So, today I decided to ask her 10 questions that I assume would be uncomfortable for any parent (not my mom though – she called them “fun” when she first read them).

ELLE: When children are around in the house, how do you have sex with your partner? Are you afraid they’ll hear you? 


Sonali Shivlani (SS): Children can be a natural contraceptive. (HA! Thanks, mom) Yes, there is always the thought that they could hear you, knock on the door at an odd time, or even need you in an emergency late at night. However there are always moments which can be stolen like when they are away at school, or you are on vacation.

ELLE: Do you completely lose your identity when you become a parent? 

SS: We are moms but we are also women, daughters, sisters, wives, friends and more. I found that carving a life that includes my children but isn’t entirely about my children helped me to keep my identity intact.

ELLE: What happens to your social life when you become a parent? 

SS: Social life did go for a toss in the first few months. Breastfeeding at all hours, and taking care of a baby did not leave much time for going out. Your dad and I had to do a lot of planning to go out together. At times he would stay home so that I could go out with my friends. We took our first trip alone almost five years after you were born because till then I could not imagine leaving you kids behind.

Now that both my kids are all grown up, I am again feeling super free. I make impromptu plans, take trips without worrying too much and in general am making up for all the time spent at home.

ELLE: Was I a mistake? 

SS: I have always said that my two children are like my two eyes, how can one eye be a mistake? When I first found out I was expecting you (and I did not know whether it was a boy or a girl), I was very scared and overwhelmed. But at the same time, I was very excited and elated. It was a surprise but a pleasant surprise because both your dad and I always wanted two kids because we strongly believe that two is company.

ELLE: Were you really a virgin when you married dad? 

SS: Yes, 100% a virgin. Your dad and I dated for almost 6 years before we got married and this was a choice that we both made that we would wait till we got married. It feels good to be emotionally and physically connected to one partner who is also like your best friend. Brings no past baggage to the relationship.

ELLE: What’s your opinion on sex before marriage? 

SS: In my opinion, sex is not just a physical act but an expression of love as well. It symbolises complete physical and emotional submission to the person you love and trust. Marriage is a societal norm which let’s just say is a reality in our country. It adds security and a sense of commitment to any relationship. I also believe that sex is a responsibility. If it’s two consenting adults who are mature, well-settled in life and can take responsibility for their actions then my opinion may not be relevant. I would however want my son to have respect and responsibility for the women in his life and I would want my daughter to be cherished and treated like the princess she is in our home.

ELLE: How long did it take you to lose the baby weight? 

SS:  Well I was lucky. I gained about 12 kgs the first time and lost all of it before I got pregnant the second time which was in 13 months. Then gained 9 kgs and lost it all in about a year. I weigh about 5kgs more than I did when I got married but I’m going to blame it on menopause and hormonal changes. The trick is a healthy lifestyle which includes good food, exercise and a happy family.

ELLE: How did you teach me about good touch and bad touch? 

SS: Some things that I was particular with was that I am very verbal and speak a lot with both my kids so communication was always there including words of endearment such as “I love you”. Hugs and kisses are also very regular in our home. This gives the child a sense of what a good touch feels like – warm, fun and comforting. We unfortunately live in a big bad world and as a mom, I may not have been perfect but I know that I am always available to take care of any mistakes that may have happened as my kids grew up.

ELLE: What’s your take on masturbation? 

SS: Masturbation is natural and healthy as long as it does not become all-consuming.

ELLE: At what age do you think mothers and daughters become best friends? 

SS: I think my daughter became my best friend the day I stopped being a complete parent to her. For the longest time, my brain was tuned to micro-managing her. This resulted in a lot of fights and tiffs which would end up making both of us use angry words and yell at each other. It was a tough phase and honestly, I was troubled, tired and a little desperate for some harmony.

I reached out to a friend who is also a psychologist and did a couple of sessions with her for myself. She made me realize that my daughter is growing up and I need to grow up too. The same methods will not work.

Today, we can talk for hours, we shop together, have favourite TV shows which we watch together always, share clothes and yes, she is even taking me along on her solo trip. I am still a parent – but that is in the background. The parent pops out only when I feel a little gentle guidance is needed.

- Fashion Writer

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