This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Rajkanya Mahapatra. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

You NEED To Talk About Sex And It Should Not Be The Great Indian Taboo Word: Reminding You Yet Again

More from Rajkanya Mahapatra

By Rajkanya Mahapatra:

Sex.
Yes, I said it. Out loud through my vocal chords. I wrote it on paper. I am typing it now on a digital medium. I can do that, right? I live in the India of 2013 and not 1813. Since I am pretty sure that everybody who is ever born has sex (it is a general statement, there are exceptions and I am aware) and that is how the world now has 7 billion plus people, isn’t it?

Sex happens to top the list of tabooed subjects in India. You dare talk about sex at home and your parents will give you a lecture on how you should concentrate on your studies or they might just chide and walk off. Or in school: the teacher will suspend you for bringing in an ‘inappropriate’ topic into an arena that is ‘pure’. Or in college when you end up getting pregnant or land up with diseases you didn’t even know existed. 11 year olds are found masturbating with absolutely no idea what and why are they doing it. The younger generation (here the reference is to the urban youth) is more misled than ever and know nothing and are rooting themselves deeply in a popular culture that is overtly sexualised and one that objectifies women.

sex talk

The above written sentences are little fragments of the long held annoyance I have had for the kind of attitude that the Indian society has cultivated towards educating its youth about an important biological need and process called sex. What with increased cases of sexual assaults in schools where teenage boys have lured their innocent juniors of the opposite sex only for that to have ended in rape, cases of children being sexually abused at home by ‘uncle paedophile’, and in schools by teachers. No place is safe for either sex when they are growing up. The other side to the coin has more causes for worry, teenage pregnancies and abortions, increased levels of sexually transmitted diseases and infections and of course AIDS.

When in and around 2007, the state tried to introduce sex education in schools, the society hit back saying it would corrupt young minds and ruin the long cherished Indian culture and heritage and the concept of sex education is purely western in nature anyways (yeah sure, Shakespeare wrote The Kama Sutra and Khajuraho is a temple in West Virginia). Even if the sarcasm is held back and a more rational approach is employed, it is but an act of blasphemy to deny that we have raised sexually violent and irresponsible generations.

The point is, parents need to have that sex talk with their kids. And there needs to be a curriculum that explains the why(s) and how(s) of the act of coitus because we need to come to terms with the fact that we are living in an extremely complicated time leading very stressful lives where banning pornography is not only very shallow but also definitely not the solution but adding a comprehensive syllabus that explains the various aspects (biological, psychological, emotional, moral etc.) of sex to children who are about to enter puberty and to the young adolescents so that they can make informed decisions, is the solution.

Before the youth goes to the internet or to their equally uninformed peers for answers, why not give them what they need to know in accurate terminologies, so as to delay or terminate endeavours carried out of sheer curiosity? The kind of curiosity that harms. Information about conception and contraception needs to be given technically. Also sufficient attention should be paid to the reproductive health care needs of the teenage population which has largely been ignored so far.

This article (and the countless others on the internet) could go on for pages explaining word to word and in detail as to why we need sex education in schools and homes more than ever today. The best way to spread awareness is to teach and also to separate the words ‘taboo’ and ‘sex’ from each other. It is high time now.

You must be to comment.
  1. Anshu

    “yeah sure, Shakespeare wrote The Kama Sutra and Khajuraho is a temple in West Virginia”!!! Wow! You have put up things so well..and especially this line..I still can’t help laughing! So apt and so Goddamn true! I loved your work. 🙂

  2. arpit goel

    India is not ready for sex Education in schools. It would be a cultural shock if suddenly it comes into Indian lives. It should be started like AIDS awareness. Involve the general public / educate parents ..and ask their opinions. After all their participation is essential in making sex education successful.

    Urban schools, that too private may be able to inculcate it in theory education framework in a way that carries some meaning. But rural areas are not fit to impart such education.

  3. Mohit

    Very aptly and nicely put!

  4. Aqsa

    Amazing work! 😀

More from Rajkanya Mahapatra

Similar Posts

By Zen

By Khushbu Gupta

By Divya Yadav

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

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.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

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.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below