Sex And Sex Education: Why We Refuse To But Need To Talk About It has been edited by Nidhi Shah.
Ever noticed how whenever an advertisement of a condom comes up on television, our parents change the channel? Or when there is an intimate scene in a movie, everybody starts looking everywhere else except the screen? Why even filmmakers—thanks to the censor board—depict sex in movies by showing lightning, thunder, clasping of hands and two flowers getting close? Why is it that AIDS for us is only its full form, Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome? And not about how it is caused? These incidents make me scratch my head.
I wonder, why a country populated by more than 1 billion people is afraid to talk about sex and sex education?
Yes, sex is a taboo. A social stigma that none of us are comfortable talking about. We do it but we refrain from talking about it. Everything happens behind closed doors and everyone emerges completely pure. Apparently, our sanskaar restricts us from bringing this basic need to the forefront. We feel that sex is the product of western culture whereas it was India that gave to the world Kama Sutra. And even if Kama Sutra did not originate from India, how does one explain reproduction without sex? We are human beings, sexual creatures.
However, it is not just about sex. It is also about the way we have been raised. As kids, a lot of us were restricted from mingling with children of the opposite gender. We used to be reminded that having a boy-friend or a girl-friend is bad. We have seen our elder siblings, who were asked to focus on their careers and not talk with people of the opposite gender. They were then forced into an arranged marriage, expected to have babies with someone they barely knew.
We have not been raised as human beings, but as men and women in separate cages.
And it is not just about us, but also our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. We all have been brought up in the same way. This separation creates confusion, not only about the opposite gender but about ourselves too.
When growing up, a lot of questions start popping up in our heads. Young boys often think, “Why do we have to stand while peeing while girls can do so sitting?” My best friend did not know that men and women have different sexual organs till he was 12. I did not know anything about menstruation when I first got my period at the age of 11. The topic had not yet come up in Biology class, and I did not even know what periods are and why they happen. Since I got my periods a little earlier than usual, I had no one to talk about it with. My mother did not explain anything.
The result was that I became ashamed of myself because I felt that I had done something wrong to ‘deserve’ this pain. I stopped going out of the house except for school and my self-confidence dropped drastically. I could not understand the changes that were happening in my body and nobody cared enough to explain them to me. It is only now that I realise that a lot of girls like me went through a similar phase. It is now that I understand that my mother should have told me about the changes that my body will go through. Both physically and emotionally.
Children will have questions. At times, they ask very embarrassing questions. However, the embarrassment should not stop their parents from solving their doubts. When parents refuse to answer, or their answers are not convincing enough, children resort to other means to satiate their curiosity. In today’s digital era, there is no dearth of means by which they can get answers to their questions. Moreover, the possibility of them choosing the wrong means is also high.
Dear parents, if you find your child with a Playboy magazine, do not be surprised. He just might be using that magazine to resolve queries you left unanswered. Sex is a basic human need and you cannot ignore that. Both you and your child are in this world because of, well, having sex. Definitely not because God sent you wrapped in a flower to your parents. Sex and sex education is a reality and we need to accept it. Everybody needs it at some point in life.
When everybody is doing it, why not talk about it?
What is the harm? In fact, when you start talking about something, you get clarity. It clears your misconceptions. The sooner you know that it takes a vagina and a penis to conceive, not a kiss, the better it is. Sex education is as important as studying Physics, Biology, Mathematics, and Economics. Unfortunately, we undermine its value. Unfortunately, till date, even though condoms are readily available in the market, people feel shy to go to a store to buy them. The result of suppressed desires and pressures of the society can be seen from the population boom, the number of rape cases and the high growth rate of STDs.
A lot of these things can be prevented just by removing the taboo around sex. So all I can say is, talk about it. Spread awareness.
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