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Sex education or in broad terms “sexuality education has been a topic of great brainstorming in India lately. Just like every other idea it also has its own set of protagonists and antagonist. While supporters (I’m also one of them) cite “better knowledge about sexual health and well-being” as a reason, opposers bring religion, tradition and culture to support their stand.
Sex as we know it has been a taboo in India. People are not comfortable talking about it even though it’s as natural part of life as breathing. You can talk and discuss every other part of the body, their functions, diseases that affect them, the causes and remedies of these diseases but about your reproductive system? NOPE, that makes you mean, ill-mannered, ill-cultured douche and what not. You may find many saying that sex education is an obscene western concept and India with all its culture and traditions doesn’t need it. Yeah right! As if we reproduce by ‘photosynthesis’. Though the list of myths about sexuality and sex education is endless, Here we’ll try to bust some of them.
MYTH NO. 1: Sex education teaches children to have sex at an early age.
NOPE, It doesn’t teach children to have sex at an early age. It teaches them to understand their reproductive system just like any other part of the body. It teaches them about the changes they’ll be experiencing at puberty and how it’ll affect them. It teaches them how to handle and be at par with these changes. It teaches them about the the social, psychological and biological aspects of a leading a healthy sexual life. It teaches them about sexually transmitted diseases and their prevention, birth control measures, sexual abuse and its prevention etc. A healthy sexual life doesn’t only include the physical act of sex but the overall sexual well-being.
MYTH NO. 2: Keeping children away from these things will keep them innocent, well-mannered and cultured.
Well, certainly not. Children are always curious to know about everything and it applies to sex as well. Not telling them about these things will make them search for this information through some other medium which includes friends, internet and even porn. Chances are very high that these mediums will give him/her a half-baked truth and fill his head with myths about sex. It will only leave him more confused and disillusioned. I once checked a forum of sexual awareness people often used to ask their questions about sexuality. There I found teenagers asking if watching porn will make them pregnant or applying semen to face will make their skin soft. What do you think is the reason behind all these myths? Just one i.e. not talking to them about sex. That way they don’t get their information from credible sources and accept myths as truth.
Not talking to them about it will also make them too naïve to understand the difference between a casual touch and an intent of sexual molestation. As we all know that sexual abuse among children aged 5-12 is a grave problem in India. About 30% of the minors are sexually abused in some forms or the other. That is a very gruesome figure and a great cause of concern. A percentage of these crimes happen because children are not aware about it. Making them aware will definitely reduce these incidents by a great margin.
MYTH NO. 3: India doesn’t have cases of teen pregnancy like Europe. Why do we need this?
A grossly misinformed statement. Child marriage is still prevalent in many parts of India and it sure results in teen pregnancies. Actually the number of teen pregnancies in India is 62 out of a 1000. This is higher than Europe and America. Educating children about birth control measures will lessen the cases of such pregnancies thus saving many lives in the process as the cases of death of teen mothers while delivering the baby is dangerously high.
MYTH NO.4: Children should not be told about things like homosexuality which is against nature. It will make them homosexuals.
Homosexuality is not against nature. It is as natural as heterosexuality. Telling someone about it will not make them homosexual. Sexual orientations are decided by genetic factors ant can’t be changed just by knowing about all other orientations. Knowing about it will only make them accept the diversity of orientations and looks look at homosexuals with inferiority.
MYTH NO. 5: What about the culture?
Our culture never shunned “sex and sexual” from being discussed. In fact we had many scholars like Vatsyayana who did extensive research on this topic. His research is still a source of extensive learning on this subject. It’s the Victorian era moral codes imposed by European colonizers in the disguise of tradition and religion which is confused as Indian culture here. So, the bottom line is that you can educate children/teenagers about sexuality while Indian culture will remain totally safe and sound.