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“Causes Children To Have More Sex”: Ridiculous Misconceptions About Sex Education In India

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By Archeeta Pujari:

Why are we so scared of talking about sex? What kind of twisted logic drives some of our parents, teachers, and education ministers to protect children from sex education, and perpetuate the vicious cycle of cultural taboo and dangerous misinformation?

Sex Education

There are numerous misconceptions surrounding sex education in India. In my head, I imagine the conversation going something like this…

“Dear school teacher,

As a concerned parent, I wish to protest against the introduction of sex education in my child’s curriculum. You are clearly not aware of this, but sex is a shameful act, it is against the Indian culture and should be banned. Sex is a western concept. Indians don’t need sex education. If we want a child, we pray to God, and he grants our wish. See what happens when westerners teach about sex – their kids think that it’s okay to do it! Please don’t corrupt my child with myths, such as equal sexual rights for men and women, positive body image, and alternative sexual orientation. I prefer them to grow up with good moral values and correct beliefs, such as rape and molestation is always the woman’s fault, sex is a taboo subject, men cannot be sexually assaulted, homosexuality is a disease, and good people cannot contract HIV/AIDS.

Yours faithfully,
An indignant parent”

Sex education is not for my child… it is obscene; teaches our children to have sex at an early age.

Sex education does not teach children how to have sex at an early age. It teaches them about the physiological, social, and biological aspects of leading a healthy sexual life in the future. This encompasses not only the physical act of sex, but also – gender identity, physical changes, consent, awareness about sexual abuse, birth control measures, and prevention of AIDS and STDs.

If we ban sex education, our children will never find out about it, and this will solve all our problems.

Children are naturally curious about sex. Denying them the correct, scientific information leads them to seek knowledge from other sources, such as friends, movies, or the Internet. These promote rumours, misconceptions, and half-baked truths that are dangerous, and without any trusted source to clear them up, perpetuate well into adulthood. This has caused generations of adult Indians to ask questions like these:

Can I get pregnant from watching porn videos?
I have heard that regular application of semen to the face will cure pimples?
Does man and woman sleeping in the same bed cause pregnancy?
If I swallow during oral sex, will it cause pregnancy?

Sex education is only needed in the West, where they have all these silly problems like teen pregnancy and child abuse. We in India, with all our moral values, culture, and traditions don’t need it.

Yes we do. India has the highest rate of population growth in the world; one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS infection; and a shockingly high rate of sexual abuse amongst children and adults – men and women. The leading cause: reluctance to educate our youth about their bodies, their urges, and the meaning and importance of safe sexual practices. Moral values are not contraceptives; our culture does not prevent rape, our traditions do not educate the youth about  health issues, and the consequences of early pregnancy.

Sex is an adult topic. Adults learn about it on their own after marriage. Very young children should not be corrupted with sex education.

In India, a shocking 53% of children between the ages of 5 and 12 have been subjected to sexual abuse. 53 percent. That’s more than half. The culture of silence and shame surrounding sexual issues means that the victims cannot speak up, often, they don’t even know that they are being abused.

Teaching children about sex will only cause them to have more sex. Sex education is the reason behind teen pregnancy.

India’s rate of teenage pregnancy, 62 teens out of every 1000 pregnant women, is almost double of the US, 3 times that of the UK, and 10 times higher than Western Europe. Together with the other countries in South Asia and the Middle East, it is amongst the highest in the world. Why? 18% of the girls in India are married before the age of 15 and 47% before the age of 18. Teenage pregnancy is NOT a western import; it is a deeply ingrained problem in our society, resulting from out-dated practices, and perpetuated by a complete lack of awareness of the bodily functions, sexual choices, birth control, and contraceptive measures.

Teaching about homosexuality will make my child a homosexual. This is morally wrong and against nature.

Homosexuality is normal and innate; it cannot be cured or prevented. Teaching your child about gender and sexuality issues will help them come to terms with it and accept both themselves and others for who they are.

Men don’t get pregnant. Men don’t get raped. Men don’t need sex education. Sex education is for girls only.

Of the surveyed children who reported experiencing severe sexual abuse, including rape or sodomy, 57.3% were boys and 42.7% were girls. Approximately 18% of the Indian adult men surveyed, reported being coerced or forced to have sex. 61% of the HIV/AIDS sufferers in India are men. Sex education is for everyone.

There is no medical benefit of sex education.

Almost half of the young people in India do not know how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. Ignorance takes its toll – 26% of the Indians are infected with HIV/AIDS.

Over 50% of the girls surveyed in rural India and 6.7% of the girls in urban India were unaware of the meaning of menstruation. A very low percentage of girls in both groups were aware of the importance and the reasons behind the menstrual cycle, correct marriage age, safe sex, use of contraceptives, and knowledge about family planning, or health issues, such as anaemia, unsafe abortions, miscarriage, and sexual exploitation. It is estimated that almost one-third of the girls in rural India drop out of school due to taboos and myths surrounding menstruation.

Half-baked, incorrect knowledge about sex can be dangerous. Would you like your children to be unaware, instead of enabling them to make the right choices and live safer, happier and healthier lives?

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  1. ABs

    Although I agree with your overall point-of-view that Sex Education is necessary, I cannot help but disagree with a few points.

    1. Comparing India with Western Countries:

    I don’t think that is right to compare our statistics with Western Countries. Western Countries are different, and they have a different set of problems than ours. We have many factors to take into account, Religion, Poverty, Tradition, Socio-Economic conditions of the Surveyed Population, etc. India has a very unique set of problems, and they will not get solved if we continuously compare our country to another, particularly those which have the advantage of a longer duration of Independence, a very minuscule, or limited cultural heritage, and very little diversity.

    2. Sex Education should be made compulsory, but only during Middle School, so that Sex Education is effective, and is not lost in a jumble of technical words, and difficulties which will only defeat the purpose.

    3. I will be extremely glad if you could cite the sources of your Statistics.

    As for Indian Culture and Values, the true Hindu Culture encouraged Sexual Education for both Men and Women, and the Kama Sutra is a great example of this point. The Abrahamic Faiths brought with them the idea of sexual repression. Homosexuality was discussed in the Kama Sutra, and the famous Konark Sun Temple Sculptures are an example.

    True, Men have also been assaulted, been in abusive relationships, and the like, and I am extremely glad that you have included these points in your argument.

    1. Archeeta Pujari

      Thanks for reading an taking the time to comment. Here’s my take on your comments:
      1. Fair point, I don’t disagree.
      2. Young children need to be made aware of personal space and what potential abuse looks like. Sex and health education should be as non-techical as reasonably possible for all ages. Technical terms are for biology class.
      3. I submitted a very detailed list of sources to yka with this article (it took me ages to make). I dunno what they have done with them. They may be embedded as links within the text.

    2. Srikanth

      Archeeta,

      I see that the link is not correct for the ‘shocking’ (teen pregnancy thingie). The link given there is

      ‘http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2015/03/sex-education-in-india/%20http://sexualrightsinitiative.com/wp-content/uploads/India-UPR-1-YC.pdf’

      Change it to ‘http://sexualrightsinitiative.com/wp-content/uploads/India-UPR-1-YC.pdf’. That should work.

    3. Archeeta Pujari

      I didn’t personally link up the article I’m afraid. I submitted a full set of sources and that was the end of my involvement. I can see now that some have been changed/swapped.

    4. Jonathan Old

      “Ignorance takes its toll – 26% of the Indians are infected with HIV/AIDS.” – Please check – this number can not be anywhere in reach of the real one.

    5. Varun

      26 percent of people in India do not have HIV or AIDS. Should you really be writing this article? Got to be more careful!

  2. chakradhar bandaru

    Now my doubt is. Who is going to educate innocents?
    I mean almost many of people take advantage of beginners of sexual learners ( anxiety is very high for beginners leads to indulge with any one )
    What should be moral ? Who should teach it? What will be content in it?
    No teacher of today generation could be believed to be morally good in teaching it.
    It is a very hard thing to be taught. ( Even I feel I can’t explain freely, you may call me sexist for it ) (But I will not lie truth)
    Ethos of this relation ship is needed to be explained by parents.

    1. chakradhar bandaru

      nd make a software that will mail me if any new comment is posted under my comment or to the topic ok.

    2. chakradhar bandaru

      this msg is for youth ki awaaz

  3. vivian

    Comment *this was a very nice piece. I must comment, so many youths in india needs help both boys and girls. I’ve come across boys and girls do not know anything about sexuality. Just few days back a boy was telling me what he is going through. He gets a bulge when he sees a girl and goes to his bathroom to masturbate. He asked me alot of stupid questions that an 18yr old college boy should know. I adviced him to talk to his parents, he shouted like its some sort of taboo to talk about his sexuality. He begged me not to tell anyone. Most indian girls doesnt know how to package themselves, they litter pads all over the places because no one taught them. They get abused without knowing it. Most indians need awareness… Thanks

  4. fr

    ABs, I don’t agree with you when you say that ‘western countries have little cultural heritage’. This is completly untrue for european countries. Maybe you were thinking about the US… However, I am french and I can tell you that our country doesn’t lack any ‘cultural heritage’ : we have the biggest museum in the world, a enormous litterature, and a very long history – nos as long as the Indian one, but still…-. France is also a very very diverse country. France is quite small -the size of a big Indian state- but has many different cultures such as the normand, the britton, the alsacian, the gascon or the occitant culture. This is very important because I noticed that some Indian people have the feeling that their culture is the most important one in the history of humanity. It is not completly untrue because indian culture is one of the oldest, because sanskrit litterature is the biggest litterature in the world, because your culture spread throughout asia, because you invented modern mathematics and linguistics and the list goes on and on… But still others also shared a part in the construction of the modern world – french with the DDH for example-… Well really I mean no offense! This article was very enlightning for me!

    1. Ashitosh Sah

      Get age appropriate complete Sex Education at http://www.knowteens.com

  5. amit beshier

    I agree with your article.
    Sex education is essential for everyone whether teen , young and mature to be free from STDs and other problems.

  6. ranadipsg

    “There is no medical benefit of sex education.

    Almost half of the young people in India do not know how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS. Ignorance takes its toll – 26% of the Indians are infected with HIV/AIDS.”

    Fuckin horrible. Its 0.26 and not 26. The article is good but wrong statistics definitely push (force) people to recognize own self diffrently

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