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

Does Indian Culture Really Want You To Stop Having Sex?

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By Dhruv Arora:

Over the past few days, thanks to our Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the internet has been discussing in hushed tones, the problem with sex in contrast with the Indian culture; and let me be honest: there are problems with sex in contrast with the Indian Culture. The fact is that we have deviated from our culture and simply do not wish to follow it anymore. There is a reason our culture talks about sex and sexuality in a certain way and there is absolutely no need for us, as Indians, to deviate from that norm.


The fact is that our Indian culture has always celebrated sex, and the right to pleasure; and western influences have completely ruined the revelries that every sexual encounter heralded in. To come from a place where pleasure and sex (including same-sex relationships) were discussed openly and boldly in our biggest epics that are widely celebrated as a one-stop-shop for everything to do with Indian Culture, to a place where homophobia, a western concept, has become the flag-bearing-concept for Indian Culture, and false suggestions of “illicit sexual relationships” (loosely definable as those outside of a legal marriage, a concept that is far separated from our aforementioned Indian Culture) somehow being outside the purview of Indian Culture have taken over the public discourse on our roots.


Our love for our Culture can sometimes go so far that we start downplaying the importance of necessary protection real-life worldwide concerns like HIV, in the worry that it will somehow end up in a world where sex becomes our primary currency and one will not be able to open their own living room door without finding an orgy of illicit sexual partners in compromising positions. One could say that such concerns may not be completely grounded in facts, but then one would still be working on an assumption.


Of course, one can say that what is written in our books and vedas doesn’t have to necessarily be followed as-is, because as it would be, it has a lot of problems that need to be addressed, but in that case my primary argument would be that lets not worry about what is written in our vedas and culture and celebrate it, not enforce it, and leave it to people and their choices. To the culture-heavy folk, I am not suggesting we have no laws or rules, that we have a free-for-all in all places at all times where people do whatever they want wherever they want without consequence, but the primary word I’m going to leave you all with is one that I feel can answer most of those concerns (albeit some more complex discussions that will require some more introspection into the implementation of the word): consent. Meanwhile, let’s try and not let our western influence undermine the importance of condoms in sexual relationships, whether illicit or not. What say, Doc?

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  1. Duality of our Scriptures ?

    On a different note –

    Every liberal person has been ranting about how open and liberal as a culture we were regarding sex.

    But after reading two of our most popular scriptures (The Ramayana & The Mahabharata) I’d say the Indian culture was liberal to men a lot more than women in regards for sex and pleasure.

    Every one knows why Ram abandoned Lady Sita.

    And even in Mahabharata,several instances denote the patriarchal and not so liberal attitude of people of that time.

    Like Kunti.She had pre maritial sex and borne a child with lord surya but had to give up her child due to fear of being ostracized.

    Or Draupati,While it was allowed for her to have 5 husbands,Many people didn’t see her in a good light.during the famous episode of her Vastra Harlan,She was called a Vaishya (Prostitute).

    And let’s not forget Amba.
    Bhishma abducted the 3 ladies in their own swayamwara just because the king of hastinapura wasnt invited.She was in love with some other prince but he refused to marry her.

    So I dunno while some of our scriptures like kamasutra and Mahabharata (Bhrinallla alias Arjuna) do have a liberal attitude towards sex and homosexuality,The onus of maintaining the so called purity has always been on women and this is not a western influence

    1. another view on scriptures

      the examples which you cited should not be seen without what their end results were. These are incidents which can be seen in different perspectives. For instance, what happened between ram and sita led to them living apart for years and finally lord ram lost devi sita. What happened with draupadi became one of the most important reasons for the bloodiest battle of that time. Even bhishma’s act of abduction of 3 princess became the cause of his death ( he was blessed to die according to his wish, but amba became the cause of his defeat and death). Scriptures contain incidents in the form of story and these can be interpreted in both the forms, you can blame them of being parital and criticize them or you can learn a lesson from them. It’s just a personal choice

    2. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      Absoltely Agree any scriptures should not be just read with highlighting few of the excerpts….They are to be read from start to end so that series of incidence can be understood and conclusions and learnings specifically possitive once has to be drawn out of it….I always see people trying to highlight a few excerpts and argue on the religioug ideology of a particular religion…All religious book are a guideline to human beiign and preach possitiivity prrovided if you read them in that context …

    3. shubha

      and how did Kunti have the other 5 children? 🙂 Niyoga was an accepted practice during the period, which meant a woman could actually have children from a man other than her husband.
      Mahabharat tells you that Bhishma was punished for what he did to Amba – who took rebirth as Shikhandi.
      our epics are too complex to support simplistic arguments/ understandings. best way is to read them to understand, and not just to prove a point

  2. Gaurav

    our culture celebrated sex ….. I am not sure I understand what that means. anyway india has changed a lot and is going through many changes. relationships, sex, institution of marriage…. all that is changing. these problems are not going to go away by showing posters like the ones above.

    1. No sexual freedom

      You society has changed and I am all for Indian society embracing modern ideals.

      But the point is about Ancient Indian society.

      You say we celebrated sex.But then why the differential treatment to women ? The Kamasutra has techniques for having good sex but doesn’t give sexual liberation to women.Likewise even Islam spoke positively of sex so far it is within the domains of marriage.Islam also reccomends foreplay as a necessary part of sex and also commands men to satisfy womans sexual needs(Orgasms).So how were we different in celebrating sex if we didn’t even allow women basic sexual freedom ?

      A women in Ancient India was required to be submissive to her husband and remain a virgin till her marriage (Apparently the same values cited by Dr.Harshvardhan).

      ‘m an athiest and don’t necessarily vouch for the authenticity of Ramayana and Mahabharata as historical scriptures but I do treat them as literature of the past,Which reveals a lot about the psyche of Ancient Indian society which was a very patriarchal society indeed

    2. Gaurav

      please revisit your sources as the information you are providing is not correct.
      – which islamic source are you referring to ? koran or hadith, please read them and then quote them since you observation are wrong.!!!
      – Kamasutra is not a book about indian culture ….
      – please i would request you to read these books for a change and then quote them., and no dr harshvardhan has not commented on either of these topics.
      – Ramayana and Mahabharata has nothing to do with sex !!!
      – I would assume that when a writer writes his articles he would do some research and would read the books he is referring to.

    3. shubha

      dude, have you read mahabharat? ramayan? shakuntalam? meghadootam?
      visit any old temple in any part of the country and tell me there is no reference to sex, or pick up any ancient Indian text that upholds your idea of morality and sex – and tell me the name of the book. and then you can give all of us gyan on what Indian culture celebrates! cheerio 🙂

  3. Gaurav

    decide the topic of your article. is it sex in inda? is it indian culture? is it the changes that indian society are going through? is it islam versus hinduism? is it atheism versus hindusim? is it a critique of hinduism and call to islam? please decide and then write. it is important to form your thoughts and be coherent and not digress from the topic at hand

    1. Malcolm

      Dear Gaurav,
      It looks like you yourself have digressed from the subject. The post does not even mention Hinduism or Islam or atheism, let alone talk about it. Repeating your line, wouldn’t it be wise to ‘be coherent and not digress from the topic at hand’?

    2. Gaurav

      I am not digressing from the topic , I am simply asking the writer to mention the topic he wants to talk about… how does that become digression?

    3. Malcolm

      The topic is clear from the headline of the post, isn’t it? I think that’s what headlines are for; the writer does not explicitly have to mention ‘This post is about XYZ’.
      I think in essence the post is about the place of sex in Indian culture. The conclusion at the end – that of consent – makes sense too. Sex is a personal matter, and if two individuals are consenting to it, and are doing their business in an unobtrusive manner, who am I (or you or anyone else) to object to it?
      Looking at the post again, I do not think it digresses from the topic at all.

    4. Gaurav

      can you quote a single source where it says that indian culture is against consensual sex?

    5. Malcolm

      Neither is this post saying Indian culture is against sex. In fact it does say that ‘Indian culture has always celebrated sex’ in the second paragraph itself. The writer has not implied or stated otherwise.

    6. Gaurav

      in the very first para the writer says the problem with sex in contrast with the Indian culture. so for the writer made a presumptuous statement that sex is at variance with indian culture. if you chose to not see that , well that is your choice.

      also the vedas were mentioned by the writer and when asked to mention the veda he was talking about he could not mention the name of the veda let alone the reference to which he was pointing to….

      and no, ruth vanita is not an authority on indian culture. there are many books on indian culture and many aspects of any particular culture.

      i have nothing personal against Dhruv as a person . if you want to talk about sex, talk about sex. if you want to talk about religion talk about religion. if you simply want to give your opinion you can do that to.

    7. Malcolm

      The post only says that religious books and vedas do not need to be followed as is. That is an opinion, and it’s not even taking potshots at anything religious.

      Again, why do you digress from this discussion and talk about Ruth Vanita?

      IMO, judging someone’s intellectual integrity, and not sticking to the topic at hand is a personal attack.

      Having said all that, I believe we have reached an impasse. This discussion could have been more open if you were not being aggressive with your attacks.

      However, to each his own.

    8. Gaurav

      from the comments it is clear that many individuals have a warped understanding of culture and have unnecessarily quoted religious scriptures which have nothing to do with sex whatsoever. I understand that at least some writers at youthkiawaaz lack intellectual integrity and now that you have been ”caught peeing in the kitchen” you are acting stubborn. take my suggestion go back to fundamentals. taking potshots at religion is very easy. choosing soft targets to justify your own personal opinion is very easy

    9. Malcolm

      Yes, some of the comments may have quoted religious scriptures out of context, but the original post doesn’t. The post hasn’t really taken potshots at religion here, nor is it choosing soft targets.

      Meanwhile, you, Mr. Gaurav, are making a blanket judgment that ‘some writers lack intellectual integrity’. It would be nice if you would attack the argument of the post and not the writer. Would it be fair if I call you a ‘person without sanity and logic’ just because I disagree with your opinion? Not that I mean to do so, but how would you feel getting a taste of your medicine? Criticize the writing, not the writer.

      On another note, what do you mean by going back to fundamentals?

    10. Gaurav

      i am criticizing the writing and not the writer. intellectual integrity is to accept that you did mix religion with sex, which was completely uncalled for.

      these are your billboard days guys, enjoy and make the most of it. and learn to take criticism in your stride 🙂

  4. Gaurav

    writer is the head of engagement, but from the article it seems he does not like to engage his head before writing something. some questions which will force writer to think and use his head
    – please explain how you celebrate sex?
    – please explain the 3 pictures that you have attached?
    – you have quoted vedas, please explain why? which veda talks about sex?
    – you mention that our greatest epics talk about sex, please name those epics..

    more questions later

    1. Dhruv Arora

      The original article was written with references, and the references were missed out when publishing, so thanks for pointing it out. Check back in 5 to see your “questions” answered with links. (Quotes intentional).

      About your question on the pictures, I am just going to go ahead and assume that if you spend about a minute going through the captions, you’d understand that the images are to provide visual support to the article while at the same time ensuring the same back-handed light-tone that the entire article reads in. Please do go through the video and the text I am going to be linking, because it pretty much answers your questions regarding the names of the epics, but in case you’d like to extend the argument by asking me to write them out, I’d be more than “head”y to “engage”.

      Also, if in case you are actually seriously curious about how our culture was about sex, you should read Ruth Vanita’s books. First one I’d recommend is Same Sex Love in India, which you can get here

    2. Gaurav

      – … why is it that to understand the so called rich indian culture one would rely on books by Ruth Vanita these days, do you really think ruth is the best source about indian culture….

      – I am still waiting for the name of the epics….or the link to video that you promised.

      – take my advise start reading more books on culture…..

    3. Dhruv Arora


      It would be my understanding, that in order to understand something thoroughly it becomes vital to look at all aspects of the subject in question. Aspects that would best be provided by scholars and researchers who have, in their work, deconstructed the “Indian Culture” you speak of and highlighted things that stand out from that deconstruction. If you want to do understand something, my best guess would be to start reading about it (from trusted sources). If you’re implying that Ruth isn’t a trusted source, it wouldn’t hurt for you to perhaps figure out her credentials.

      The links have been updated, do check out the second para and give the links a read.

      And your last piece of advice for me, is, well, a great idea. I’d suggest you pick up a few books as well.

      Anyway, it was really nice speaking with you, I need to go get my head back into engagement!

  5. Prem

    A slight deviation from the topic but this too has a similar tone : Historically, people in India have been smoking since 2000 BC. And their choice of leaf was Marijuana or other medicinal herbs. It sort of became a cultural tradition for some. Tobacco was introduced into India around 1600 AD by the Portuguese. In India, currently, sale of Tobacco is legal whereas sale of Marijuana is illegal (Bhaang being an exception for religious reasons, which is surprising as to how the religion/culture demarcation was achieved).

    Just pointing it out.

  6. Gaurav

    I have come across many articles on youthkiawaaz which are :

    – poorly researched by the author
    – perpetuate personal opinions and prejudices instead of thoughtful and reasoned debates
    – vague or missing references
    – lack focus on the topic at hand
    – digress from main topic and provide insufficient supporting arguments or invalid supporting arguments.

    to me it seems that some children who got good marks in english have finally landed their first job.

  7. Sonia

    Don’t try to understand and comment on ancient books by seeing pictures and sculptures. When u talk about vedas you must realise you are talking of a way of life more than 5000 years and i am sure you would not have given 500 hours to read and understand vedas. Mentioning Khajuraho is as easy as mentioning Britain without visiting the place and merely reading reviews of people who are equally ignorant of the reason why Khajuraho temples have those images.
    As for HIV/AIDS prevention campaign Dr. Harsh Vardhan has not said that moral values alone will work neither did he mean ban sex al together. He meant that along with other methods we must cultivate values of honesty in martial relationships and prohibit from illicit sexual relationship. However in yesteryears the AIDS campaigners have run ad campaigns citing “Sayanm me Rehen, Jeevan Sathi se Imandaar Rahen. AIDS se bachen.” are these campaigners shifting from their previous stand and solely working for condom companies. What say Dhruv?

    1. Prashant Kaushik

      This comment is so sensible. I don’t see any reason why it should be disliked by a factor of 8. ( Normally comments dont get more than 3-4 likes/dislikes on YKA)
      Same is the case with some other comments which appear to be rational and still they are grossly underrated to an extent not seen on other articles.


      Or is someone just refreshing the page and busy disliking just to vent out his frustration at loss of arguments ?

    2. Gaurav

      some individuals got carried away and gave negative comments with eyes closed ….. 😀

    3. NSP

      But why would he want to ban sex education from schools saying it is against our culture? Is pornography part of Indian culture? Yet most people of my generation learnt about sex from internet pornography. This is simply because there was nobody to tell us what we need to know at that age. Hence people turn to other sources.

      Secondly, most of the rural population have no clue about family planning, sexually transmitted diseases,etc. Who will teach them about all this if not for our schools. Suppose a person is tested HIV positive. If his wife isn’t even aware of HIV, do you think she will be able to protect herself from acquiring the disease too. Studies have always shown that better educated the mother, the better she will be able to plan and take care of her family.

  8. Ra’s al Ghul

    Indian culture does not want to stop you from having sex, it wants you to have sex within the boundaries of marriage. You do not put your dick in any woman’s pussy you find, and a woman does not open her legs to any man’s dick she feels like it. Yes, sex is a natural urge, but it must be controlled and reserved for your spouse only.

    P.S. Every time a civilization reaches the pinnacle of its decadence we return to restore the balance.

  9. Kunal

    There’s nothing wrong with having sex. It’s a very healthy approach towards life. And also,don’t judge the negativities of vera copula by what ancient scriptures said. Talk of sex has been there since the time of Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra. So all this is nonsense. It’s just another case wherein modern, almost-conservatist is hell bent on implementing some ‘modern stuff’ in the form of so-called ‘morals’~nothing more. If two ppl want to engage in sexual relations&there is free consent exparte both of them, it’s not a crime,is it? Unless of course, society thinks so!!!

  10. Dipen Sharma

    This article shows how desperate the author is to have sex. In short his frustration has forced him to write this. Regarding sex education in school all of us knows that in the CBSE book of Class 9 what the student search for. They don’t want to have info about it rather they need that picture to shagg,

  11. hina

    like it…superb. Also, why it is taboo , right to live gives us right to live wherever, whomsoever we want to, why Indian culture has been misinterpreted.

  12. vishalbheeroo

    An interesting take on repressed sexuality in our culture and double standards where people forget that we belong to the land of Kamasutra. Its sad how politicians are being such hypocrites.
    Wrote few posts on our hypocrisy and do let me know.

  13. Amarendra k Sinha

    From nomadic life to civilised society the time span had been thousands of years.The law governing the social behavior is influenced by time and space.
    Its dynamic process.Its difficult to compare or make an opinion about past.Some opin it to be spiritual and philosophy of life.,it warrants indepth study.
    At the same time it requires knowledge of vedic literature, vedic language and philosophy.The inscriptions on the walls of our temples say more than we see
    It should be evaluated on tanial value not the facial value.
    The engraved pictures /paintatings requires deep insight. Its not like fast food or Maggie two minutes?

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