While growing up, the only chapter that I read related to sex was on reproduction in biology — 10th grade — it covered all the possible aspects of the human body and hardly dedicated two pages to sexual intercourse! Besides, the way it explained everything and was further elaborated by our teacher was everything but not what it was supposed to be — probably because of the controversial and scandalous image of the word ‘sex’!
I belong to that generation of women where every sexual thought was either of dominating, rape, assault or a marriage ritual — it wasn’t a happy or natural activity at all!!
While growing up, I realised that ‘sex’ was considered a sin to talk about but a duty to perform after marriage — virginity was a bonus point to your character certificate, and marital rape didn’t exist at all. And, somehow, it still holds true today.
Even today, while watching or reading news about rapes, our sanskarik adults curse the culprit but do not accept that there is a dire need of considering sex education in the curriculum. There is a dire need of talking about sex, vagina, penis, menstruation, etc. with the children and channelising their ‘good’ and ‘bad’ thoughts.
Not knowing and understanding these thoughts can lead youngsters to have weird or unwanted desires resulting in peculiar indifferences or unethical acts.
Sex is normal and important, and so should be sex education. Youngsters need to understand that they are not suggested to jump in bed with someone at this age but shouldn’t be ashamed when they decide to do it as responsible consenting adults.
Here’s why sex education important!
31% of the total population (2.3 million people over 15 years) are infected with AIDS/HIV.
Only 45% of young men and 28% of young women are aware of HIV/AIDS, its consequences and its prevention.
8% of unmarried women are not aware of even a single means of contraception and protection.
62% of young girls, even below 15 years, become mothers after getting married off to older men in many parts of rural and semi-urban India.
Approximately 50% of boys and girls face sexual abuse in their young lives as per a survey by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
2 out of 3 girls are completely clueless when they begin menstruating.
Sex education helps in learning about the mental, physical, emotional and social aspects of sexuality by making children and teenagers aware about their physical well being, health, hygiene, dignity and also enhances their skills, knowledge, attitudes and social values which further helps them in developing respectful social and sexual relationships.
While we may argue about morals and ethics and refrain from talking about sex and sexuality — proper sex education do help in
Increasing young people’s awareness and enhancing their approach to sexual and reproductive health and behaviours.
Reducing risky sexual activities and STDs/HIV infection rates.
Making a more gender-neutral environment and accepting others’ sexual preferences.
The list can be long and endless, but the end goal is making our youngsters less vulnerable and more aware of something which is completely normal and not just a taboo!
Countries are rapidly acknowledging the importance of sex education, and it’s time for us to make a move — make responsible choices and impactful actions. Sex education and the right to know about sex is as important than any other human rights.