In a country like India, where arranged marriages still exist, and boy-girl friendships are seen as taboo, it should come as no surprise that sex education is off-limits. Because of this, many young adults are deprived of proper facts and end up in unpleasant situations.
The other day, my friend and I went out for a movie. We sat for lunch, and in between all the gossip, we somehow stumbled onto the topic of sex and realised that we knew very little about it. What’s worse is that we felt ashamed for even talking about it. That’s how Indian brains have been hard-wired from time immemorial. Sex is such a frowned upon word. It’s high time that mindset changes.
Sex education implies learning more about human development, sexual behaviour and sexual health. Sex is a natural part of any person’s life, and eventually, everybody is going to have sex. There, I said it. In countries like the UK and the US, people are much franker and parents willingly give their children “the talk” at a young age. In India, on the other hand, parents are so embarrassed even to say the word that children grow up thinking that sex is frightful and nasty.
Curiosity is one of the main reasons why there is so much active interest among the youth to “watch porn”. Let’s not kid ourselves, every single one of us at some point would have opened an adult website just to see what people actually do during sex. It’s natural to have questions.
A ban on sex education is a major cause of increased porn viewership. Students WANT to know the what, how and why. If they were given the proper information in schools in the first place, maybe porn would not have been the first place teenagers go to learn about sex.
Sex education also teaches students about various STDs like AIDS and Syphilis. STDs are on the rise, mainly in rural India in the villages of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, because children are ill-informed about the side effects of sex. Rape culture is on a significant rise as well, with the Jyoti Singh Pandey gang-rape being one incident that shook the nation.
Just think about it: If sex education was allowed in schools, could rapes have been prevented? Maybe not entirely, but at least India would not be known as the most dangerous country in the world for women.
Hotels openly advertising they will deny rooms to unmarried couples is a disturbing trend. At some point this country needs to stop pretending like people don’t have sex. We didn’t become 1.3 billion by pollination.
— Voice Of Ram (@VORdotcom) July 28, 2018
India has a current population of 1.3 billion people, which means we are pretty familiar with the concept of reproduction, yet the word ‘sex’ makes people jittery and nervous. In any Biology textbook these days, there is always a chapter on reproduction, with sufficient pictures on the respective reproductive organs, and the fertilisation of the egg with the sperm to form the zygote. But it ends there. And the main question on every student’s mind is, “HOW did the sperm come in contact with the egg?”
Why does the school syllabus not cover one of the most important topics on this subject? Why do people shy away from it?
One answer: It brings shame upon those who dare to speak about it.
Let me give you an example of an incident that happened in my Biology class years ago. Our teacher had reached the page in the textbook which talked about the mammary glands (basically, breasts) and instead of being mature about it, she SKIPPED that page and asked us to turn to the next page. Just a mere mention of a concept connected to the study of the female human body threw her off, and she flushed in embarrassment. This feeling of embarrassment is what gets passed down from generation to generation and ultimately results in a vicious cycle of awkwardness and unease. Removing the stigma off of sex education is a step forward in the right direction.
The Indian Government should take more forceful action to see to it that children are given sex education. But we can’t entirely blame the Indian Government for the lack of education on the subject. In 2007, a sex education curriculum was promoted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development but was deeply opposed by many states, resulting in controversy. Many state governments argued that sex education would tarnish a child’s upbringing and encourage promiscuity and prostitution among the youth. As a result, many states like Gujarat, Kerala and Goa banned sex education in schools.
Ellen DeGeneres came out about her sexuality on her sitcom which aired on April 30, 1997. Reportedly, there were many protests by certain groups of people to drop the episode and not air it on television. That particular episode garnered much publicity nonetheless. It’s 21 years later, and it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made. She got to live the life she wanted.
The reason I bring this up is because there are so many kids in India who are sceptical about their sexual preference and are just plain scared to admit it, lest they are shunned by society. Instead, if they are provided with the proper guidance and support, they would be in a much happier place. Teen suicides are also attributed to mistaken sexualities. Issues like these bring to light the dire need for sex education in schools.
“The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”, said Malcolm Forbes, the publisher of Forbes magazine.
Sex education should be made mandatory, not just for children but also for adults. The adults should know what is being taught and realise that depriving their child of it is not going to make matters easier. Let’s move into a future where it is okay to talk about sex with your mother or your grandfather. Let’s pave the way for a new India.