The closest thing that India has ever been a part of, regarding ‘sex education’, is the unnecessary amount of debates it stirs up at the mere mention of the word ‘sex’. Ours is a country of approximately 134 crore people, where ironically enough, condom advertisements are banned to be played on television until 10 pm. It is a country of people still believing in the myths regarding ‘virginity’, not to mention, that of a female. The only question that pops into my head, now, is “WHAT HAPPENED?” I mean after all, the great Khajuraho temple built centuries ago is in fact in our country. And how can anyone forget the in-depth knowledge of ‘Kamasutra’ which is one of the greatest gifts given to the world by India.
Just like the uncertainty of women’s safety in the country, there exists uncertainty in me as to whether this article would direct itself to the actual topic. The question I want to raise is that is ‘sex education’ actually non-existent in India?
The common ways in which we all get introduced to the concept of sex is through friends and unfortunately through the internet. The chapters in science textbooks regarding reproduction are conveniently skipped, and that is how the data of misconceptions keeps on updating itself. To be honest, I would not at all judge the science teachers for skipping those lessons, because it is indeed difficult to handle a bunch of teenagers with rather vivid imagination filled up to the brims of their heads. This state of a biology classroom is alarming and only states the importance of ‘sex education’. If these young minds are not guided in the right manner, they end up getting their information from all the wrong places. Moreover learning about sex from such websites is like learning how to drive by watching the fast and furious movies!
During the onset of puberty, teenagers are most likely to get the urge of knowing about sex. Since having open discussions about it, (in spite of ‘social and cultural advancements in the Indian society’) is still considered to be a taboo, teenagers turn to the easiest though incorrect source for information, the internet.
The content available on the internet is not always verified and at a majority of times it misguides the teens. Internet isn’t a safe space to learn about sex. It is important that teens learn about it from someone that they trust.
Parents are primarily responsible for their child’s emotional development. Instead of shying away from the topic, parents should encourage conversations regarding such hush-hush topics. A safe and open space needs to be created inside every Indian home for teens to talk about sex. Parents should also make sure that they educate their children regarding the most important thing related to sex, that is ‘consent’.
Along with the information regarding consent, it is also important to educate the youth regarding the methods of contraceptives. One of the most effective ways to spread awareness is by conducting workshops. There are a number of NGOs in India that work hard day and night to bring people to talk about sex and discuss their problems. They conduct workshops at educational institutes to put children on the right track. Some of the NGOs also work for women welfare and are constantly trying to improve laws for women and sex workers in this patriarchal society.
There is no doubt regarding the fact that sex education is in our country is in a state of pity, and it shows. It is about time that we demand a curriculum to be taught in schools, colleges and rural areas. Otherwise, it would be disgraceful to be a part of a country where ‘marital rape’ is still not considered a legal crime and change isn’t ever demanded or prevailed.