‘Sex-Ed’: The Most ‘Fun’ Thing In School That Didn’t Really Happen

Posted on September 7, 2015 in LGBTQ, Sex, Sexual Health, Taboos, TalkSexuality
This post is a part of TARSHI's #TalkSexuality Campaign.

By Gaurav Sharma

Ma’am, do we have to make the diagram on page 144?” asked a boy as the others tried controlling their laughter. It was the usual diagram of a female reproductive organ. It didn’t look anything like a vagina and yet everyone thought they were looking at one. Our Biology teacher said nothing and moved on. All the boys thought that the alien-like diagram they just saw in their books is what a real vagina looks like, and were completely stupefied. At this point, we still had no idea that sexual intercourse between a man and woman involves a penis going into a vagina. This was grade 7.

school children classroom
In 9 grade 9, a friend of mine, in some bizarre excitement, came up to me and kissed me on the lips. This was the time when none of us had any idea about homosexuality, let alone any other sexual orientations. It was something that I felt was messed up, but I never thought of it as a big deal. Maybe there were a few kids at that time who knew they were gay. It was the time when most of of us boys had started masturbating, and porn images and videos from rented porn CDs, or ‘blue films’ as they were then called, were playing a big role. This was also the time a class topper was told that a guy has to put his penis inside a girl’s vagina to have children, and he just didn’t believe it. This is after we had had two classes on life cycle, and many girls in the class were visibly going through physical changes because of adolescence. The girls had hit puberty earlier and knew better than us (perhaps because someone talked to them about menstruation at least, if not other things), yet they weren’t the ones making sexual innuendos. It was all too confusing for all of us.

And then we grew up. It was in grade 11 when we started thinking about having sex. It was more about getting sex than being a part of it with a partner. This was also the time when we started to find out that the girls ‘wanted it’ too. It was a time when many found out about homosexuality and felt the same way about it as they would about falling in a manhole while walking. Because we did not know any better. It was just assumed that everyone was straight and was desperate to have sex; and yet no one did.

Even though there was much secrecy around the whole idea of sex, it was not uncommon to see bursts of its expression all around. And it wasn’t just us boys. The girls had started wearing shorter skirts, putting kajal, and rolling up their sleeves. Curiosity was all around in our adolescent heads, but no one really knew what to or not to do, or whether it was even okay to do something in the first place. This is when we had our first and last ‘sex-ed’ class. One of the guys in class thought he’d show off his libido and casually asked, “Ma’am how many times in a day can a guy masturbate?” But he received no answer.

I realised that hints were really subtle and no one would ever explicitly say that they wanted to make out or have sex. I figured out that I would have to take my chances with the girl I liked then, and thankfully it worked out for me. But it was lucky that it did, as no one ever spoke to us about the dos and don’ts of consent. With only porn as my guide, I learnt what to do with a woman’s body and mine when together; but it was not exactly like how it was portrayed.

There were many gaps between sex in real life and sex depicted in porn, and no one to clarify or clear the myths. Some of the many doubts were cleared when I first had sex but there was a lot that I learnt much later. For instance, information about a woman’s menstrual cycle or the fact that a girl can have sex even when on her period. We weren’t taught about different sexual orientations, or even the concept of ‘sexual orientation’. We were told to use a condom to prevent diseases and not that it is also a contraceptive measure. There was no information of how a morning-after pill works or how it differs from getting an abortion. Wait? Abortion? There was no talk of abortion, the availability of clinics, or its legality. Somehow when I think about it I feel we all could’ve done a lot better had we known more. It seems now as though the tiny bit of ‘sex-ed’ that we did get was more from a straight male’s point-of-view.

What’s done is done. I feel I will discover more in the years to come. From thinking that transgender people are the same as homosexual people, I’ve surely come a long way. But I hope young people in school today are not veiled from the reality of sex and sexuality.

About the author: Gaurav Sharma is an internet junkie. A copywriter by profession, he spends most of his time coming up with lame jokes and puns. He likes to stay at home and play video games but he’s also a closet party animal. He aspires to write a book one day but then he also aspires to rule the world, so don’t keep your hopes up.

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.

Conversations that remotely have any connection with sexuality are more often than not pushed under the carpet. TARSHI and Youth Ki Awaaz through #TalkSexuality have taken a step towards creating a space for these conversations around sexuality highlighting the need for Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

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