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.
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.