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SEX EDUCATION: Why so Taboo???

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-Anshul Tewari

Whenever we talk about life in general, we come across a number of issues that affect our lives, some which we physically see and some which we emotionally feel. Amongst these are subjects considered taboo. But, are they actually taboo? Should we shy away from them at any cost? Should we avoid them? Well I say, not at all. One such issue is the importance of sex education in India.
A much debated topic, sex education has not yet got the deserved status. The Supreme Court on 16 November, 2007 decided that Sex education in schools cannot be brought under the ambit of fundamental rights by making it a part of the right to education. “We cannot make it (sex education) a fundamental right,” a bench comprising Justice
Ruma Pal and Justice A R Lakshmanan said while dealing with a Public Interest Litigation, which had suggested making sex education in schools compulsory.

Sex education comprises a number of issues and factors. Lets start with the importance and lack of sex education.

Importance of Sex Education:

>Youngsters usually derive information on sex and related subjects from sources like friends, books, the media comprising advertising, television, magazines and the Internet. The problem is that these sources may or may not really provide them correct and accurate information. As such, sex education will help in transferring authentic info and and in the process also correct any misconceptions and misinformation that they may have apart from adding to their already existing knowledge.

>Sex Education imparted through schools can prove to be a significant and effective method of bettering the youngster’s sex-related knowledge, attitude and behaviour.

>Sex education in school is important because many parents are shy about talking/teaching their children about his subject.

>Educating children on sex related issues also requires one to know how to broach the subject, what information to impart and what to hold back. All these can be carefully handled by a trained sex educator.

>It is a fact that more and more teens these days are engaging into premarital sex. This further underscores the need for sex education to students. This will help them make better informed decisions about their personal sexual activities.

Many argue that sex education also helps to lessen risk behaviors in teenagers like engaging in unprotected sex which result in unwanted pregnancies and STD’s.

Around 80% teenagers are unaware of the various Sexually Transmitted Diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, and also about the reason for these diseases.

Sex education helps teens to be well prepared for life changes such as puberty, menopause and aging. It can develop skills to help children enter adolescence.

>Sex education helps understand the place of sexuality in human life and loving other people.

The lack of sex education has led and will lead to minor rapes, teenage pregnancies, high risk behavior, absence of knowledge leading to misuse of sexuality, Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Sex education must be imparted at school level to all students to avoid the above problems.

Teachers argue that how can sex education be imparted in school? It is unethical. Parents argue that how can they talk about taboo issues such as sex or the human body with their children? They feel shy. Peer groups and friends make fun of sex related issues.

Then who will educate people? It is our responsibility. Parents must talk to their children about this in order to make them aware and avoid any problems. Sex education must be a part of the school curriculum to impart formal education about the issues. Teenagers who are educated must behave responsibly and further the correct and authentic information about Sex.

So dont shy away. Sex education is certainly not taboo. Let us know your views, post your comments.

You must be to comment.
  1. Youth Ki Awaaz

    Hi “workhard”,

    Thanks for joining the discussion and welcome to Youth Ki Awaaz.

    You have quoted a good point here. Parents play a major role in leading their children to a better and healthy life. If they shy away from such issues the society is bound to shy away from the issue.

    Someone has to take the initiative. It is rightly said that a child’s education starts from home, be it of any kind. Even sex education. There is nothing bad in teaching a child about his body and how not to misuse it.

    I really liked a point you quoted here, that, parents should be counseled to deal with their children on these issues.

    Great comment, hope to see you more often.

    Anshul Tewari
    Founder and Editor-in-Chief: Youth Ki Awaaz.

  2. coltofpersonality

    actually ders no point in hidin dese things cauze eventually de kids find out abt it i found out wen i ws in 4th grade and sam with my frends we discuss it a lot but our teachers will never teach abt de sexual health in chapters.only our social science teacher did .i feel its not jst de problem of de parents but de society demselves
    PS im 15

  3. yssubramanyam

    it is more important now a days . some people are taking undue advantage over ignorance of people and making money.

  4. Ridhi Murari

    I had been questioning the same subject myself last year during the talk of the rape cases. It is a necessity to initiate sex education and begin clearing facts and developing responsible understanding in the future generation so that they gain clarity themselves from the right sources in a coherent manner rather than depend on unreliable bits of information which might lead them astray.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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