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

What’s Driving Youngsters To Buy Condoms And Lingerie Online?

More from Ankita Ghosh

By Ankita Ghosh:

Did you know that the latex condom was invented in the 1920s, a good 3 decades ahead of the life-saving Polio vaccine? So we’ve practically had an antidote for unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases well before somebody came up with a cure for a deadly virus that was claiming over 300,000 lives annually. And yet, while organized global campaign has reduced cases of Poliomyelitis by 99%, only 5% of all males wear condoms today and 2.5 million people every year are still diagnosed HIV positive. You can’t help but wonder why the use of an ingenious invention such as the condom isn’t being promoted more.

PicMonkey Collage

Let us now consider the question of another ‘surreptitious’ invention, the bra. The earliest known brassiere had been patented in the year 1914 and has since been an intimate witness to the modern woman’s social history. Some artfully tailored cloth with less than a yard of elastic and little bit of wiring has held a social position of its own; remember the bra-burning movement of the 1960s? The bra today has a consumer market worth of 16 billion US dollars. Yet flashing a square inch of a bra is considered violation of dress codes even in certain progressive western societies. Menihek High School in Canadian Labrador city has appallingly sexist clothing requirements and sent several young girls home for exposing their bra-straps.

Regulars would know that condoms, lingerie, products for sexual wellness and adult recreation are discreetly marketed over online shopping sites. Ever wondered why? Competing E-commerce companies that market these products categorically take pride in who can best preserve consumer discretion. Try browsing the internet and Cilory, Healthkart, Shykart, Goodlife, Snapdeal will immediately try to lure you with their best available deals and promises of discreet packaging. They will even go to the extent of arguing in favor of online purchase over the supposedly humiliating experience at the local Chemist’s. Isn’t that how you’ve been buying sanitary pads since you were fourteen; carrying black polythene and wearing a red face?

On conditions of strict anonymity my friend explained rather bluntly, “Imagine walking into a pharmacy and someone your dad’s age judging you from behind the counter! I’d simply asked for a pack of condoms. Aren’t they supposed to cheer us for practicing safe sex?” Yet another distraught acquaintance narrates an embarrassing experience of walking into a small, crammed hosiery store in her hometown and having been given the stares when she asked for lace-trimmed push-up bras. It might be interesting to find out what determines consumer behavior and how fast new India is catching up with online-purchase.

One thing’s for certain though. India’s moral-police indeed seems to be at odds with her changing moral standards. There’s still a mighty lot of moral-shaming attached to purchase and possession of products catering to physical/sexual needs and more so in the acknowledgement of the same. A country chased by the dictums of centuries old social ethics is grappling with the evolving behavior of that very society. What can only be called an obnoxiously conservative response, from the self-appointed watchdogs of the Indian society, has stemmed from generations of deliberate indifference to all-round sex-education. Most of our present generation has had half-hearted sex education lessons in school while natural curiosity has been hushed at home.

Today when this very generation goes out to embrace its sexuality and becomes vocal about its bodily needs, we’re met with some of the most outrageous consequences. Buying lingerie or sexual welfare products physically becomes a task whereas online-shopping with its array of choices and mainly absence of societal disapproval becomes more and more convenient. Perhaps we’ve come a long way from hush-hush conversations to overall acceptance of sexual requirements. Yet, from discreet nomenclature to a society unyielding to the stigma that’s been created by it, it still feels like a long way to go.

You must be to comment.
  1. KinkpinI

    Good article by Ankita Ghosh

  2. Sneha Kukreti

    awesome article!!this was required to be talked about 😀

More from Ankita Ghosh

Similar Posts

By Shubham Raj Singh

By Neeti Kushwaha

By Sonia Mariam Thomas

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