Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lets Ban Sex Education in India. It is dirty!

All right, this was a topic which I had in mind long back, but finally decided to put it down into words. I agree sex education is a sensitive topic, even more so in India where even the word sex is considered to be taboo, let alone discussing matters related to sexual intercourse and reproductive health. This is probably the most ironical and hypocritical situation in a country like India, which has the highest fertility rate and reproductive rate in the world, yet it shies away from discussing what is probably the biggest hurdle towards economic and social development- causes of overpopulation and family planning. It’s high time we accepted the fact that babies do not appear out of thin air or drop out from the sky.

I admit that vast majority of Indians are illiterate and many are barely literate. In such a situation, there is high ignorance and lack of awareness of family planning methods, and the importance of having a small family. In most rural parts of India, children are still considered as God’s gifts, and usage of contraception is considered as blasphemy. Another major issue is the demand for a male child, for which the couple will keep on trying to conceive, even at the cost of the mother’s life. It’s no wonder that the maternal mortality rate is so high in India, where even basic healthcare is a luxury for most.

Thus, there is absolutely no denying the fact that sex education is absolutely essential, and in fact should be made compulsory in all schools and colleges. Moreover, parents need to take the initiative by imparting sex education to their wards, as soon as the kids are, say 10 years old or so. But the most unfortunate fact is that parents themselves shy away from discussing this crucial information. The mindset that sex is dirty, vulgar and should not be discussed is widely prevalent in most parts of India. Many people even say-‘Its not in our culture to discuss sex.’ Yeah right, Kamasutra was probably Greek culture brought into India sometime in the past. Some people even remark-‘There is no need to educate a child about sex. It comes about naturally, and it’s a post marriage thing. He/she will automatically know about it when he/she needs to know about it.’ But maybe the hard realities will shed some light- over 12% of mothers in our country belong to the age group of 15-18 years. Teenage pregnancies and sex related health problems are growing at an unprecedented rate in our country.

Many people mistakenly believe that sex education is just about sex, the physical process. This is a common misconception. Sex education does not deal with just the physical aspect, it deals with lots of issues including reproductive health, family planning, relationships, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and their prevention, psychological and mental issues, etc. And there is absolutely nothing ‘dirty’ or ‘vile’ about this. The sad part is that even today, most people, including(shockingly) teachers feel embarrassed while discussing anything even remotely connected to sex. Some biology teachers are even known to skip the entire chapter on reproduction, advising the students to read it up themselves.

What happens as a result, is that children tend to get false(or semi truth) information from their peers, internet, magazines, pornographic movies, etc. Naturally, teenage is the age when they feel like experimenting, and being unable to distinguish between right and wrong, they get into trouble. In extreme cases, it may even lead to sexual abuse, assault, voyeurism and other perverted actions which are illegal. I can say, by my own experience that most males do discuss about sex, but in a very coarse and negative manner. It is quite clear by their upbringing that they have never been taught proper sex education at any level. For females, it’s usually just the reverse. They will avoid any discussion on sex[at least directly], and will subtly hint that it’s a very disgusting thing which should only be discussed amongst partners, that too after marriage. Even this attitude is not correct. It also leads to lots of incorrect information about reproductive health and taking care of their bodies.

I personally find that most young males do not have proper respect for females. They will keep ogling at them, and keep making derogatory comments. Such issues can be avoided to a large extent, if those males are properly educated from their childhood. Sex education can also actually help in bringing down the population level. It is a well established fact that the fertility level of a woman drops with increase in literacy. With proper education, we can limit the size of families and reduce the burden.

I will probably write more on this issue later[right now I just depicted the general picture in India], but for now, am ending it here. Take care everyone. And as usual, comments are welcome.


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