Imagine you’re sitting with your parents and watching TV when suddenly Sunny Leone appears in a seductive condom advertisement. By this time you probably feel awkward and act as innocent as you can.
But why? Are condoms bad? Is practising safe sex a crime? Is the concept of making love awful?
Since our childhood, our parents have always tried to keep us away from talking about sex freely. Whatever we came to know of about it was through some of our school friends. Sometimes they’d bring pictures of lingerie-wearing women and talk about sex. We were warned by these mates to not disclose any of this to our parents. That’s how all our queries and questions ended.
During biology classes when we would be taught about human reproduction, the students in the back benches would giggle. The teachers would smirk but would never really deal with the core issue. At home, dinner table conversations would revolve around politics and even murders but never about rape or sexual harassment. Those were things only adults could talk about.
Sex is a taboo in India. When we’re children, parents feel that we are immature to know about all this. When we become adolescents, our parents feel shy talking about it. Buying condoms results in people looking at you with shock and sanitary pads are given in black plastic bags because nobody should know about them.
Menstruation is considered unmentionable. We also believe in the “importance” of virginity, especially for women. Premarital sex is no less than a social crime. We lack social debates and conversations on such topics even with our friends.
The only excuse with which we defend ourselves is that India is a saanskari country. We forget that “Kamasutra” was written in India. Moreover, Purusartha defines four life goals where kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) is also an important goal of life.
I think what we need most right now is to just sit together and talk about sex and sexuality in an inclusive manner. So next time don’t feel weird when Sunny Leone comes on TV again. Just watch it like you’d watch any other advertisement.
Do you have an experience you’d like to share? Tell us your stories about talking about sexuality and sex, and why you think sexuality education is important! Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your story, or tag your YKA article with “Know Your Body, Know Your Rights”.