Why We Need Better Quality, Early Age Sex Education in India
Sex. It’s healthy. Most people want to have it, a number of people have it, and many people are having it at this very moment. As intimately private the act of sex is, the education surrounding it should be, in my opinion, anything but private.
Having been a student of the Indian educational curriculum, I have come to realise the inadequacy of the sex education we’re given. It doesn’t go beyond human anatomy and reproduction. It’s at a halt; a regressive, catastrophic halt.
Below are a few reasons why I believe early age, qualitatively beneficial sex education should be made mandatory in India.
We often see kids gleefully giggle at the mention of the word “sex.” That may just be a behavioural characteristic carved out of mere innocence, but it may also be because the adults around them have always treated sex, or affection for that matter, as something that should only be discussed in privacy. Kids are more observant of the world around them than any of us may realize, so when sex or affection are discussed oh-so privately, kids grasp that, attaching an element of shame with them. If we teach our fellow younger humans that it’s okay to talk about affection, romantic and/or sexual, they shall grow up to become better informed individuals, if nothing else. Sex is just sex, people. Let's stop demonising it.
Necessity of consent
Consent should be an unspoken necessity. However, often, it is simply not spoken of. When young children are taught of the importance of consent, they are likely to grow up giving and rightfully receiving respect in any kind of a relationship, especially one of a romantic and/or sexual nature. This is also how they shall be taught that the world doesn't revolve around them - as harsh as it sounds. Rejection is inevitable. A “no” is a no.
Awareness of varying sexual orientations, and gender identities
Human sexuality is diverse. Different people experience sexual attraction to different people, and some people do not experience sexual attraction at all. There is nothing wrong with either of the aforementioned. From personal experience, the sex education I received in middle school and high school only disseminated information about heterosexual relationships. Although it was a learning experience, in my case, lack of mention of same-sex sexual attraction pushed me deeper into the closet, indirectly speaking to me in a manner that deemed same-sex sexual or romantic attraction as something undesirable, something that didn't even deserve a mention. So all that the 13-year-old me could believe was that I could only ever have sex with a girl, even though I never felt sexually or romantically attracted to a girl. A belief that wrong partly ate me up. Therefore, when young, learning, absorbing individuals are made aware of the existence of varying sexual orientations, and gender identities, it makes them accepting of others, and, more importantly, themselves.
Importance of safe sex
Safe sexual interaction is always beneficial. It prevents transmission of STDs/STIs, and it prevents pregnancies. Prevention of STD/STI transmission further prevents significantly damaging, even fatal, health-related issues. And prevention of pregnancies further prevents unplanned parenthood, or the physical and mental unsettlement one may go through when choosing to, for instance, abort. Not only should children be taught the importance of safe sex, they should also be taught how to practise safe sex. They should be taught to use preventive measures, such as how to wear condoms, which pills to take, and so forth. If/when these children grow up to be sexually active adults, they'll remember to have sex, safely.
Human anatomy is just human anatomy.
The components of human anatomy involved in sexual interaction should neither be over-sexualized, nor be given negative connotations. These components, such as penis, vagina, breasts, anus - they're just human anatomy. There is nothing wrong with writing or saying the words "penis," "vagina," "breasts," and so forth. From personal experience; I was once watching Sex And The City: The Movie on television, and the word "sex" was dubbed into "everyone." Either somebody was tipsy, or we're going to great, meaningless lengths to silence non-threatening words. Speaking of non-threatening words, in another instance, once when I was watching Grey's Anatomy on television, the word "tampons" was censored. Like, what? It's a medical show, and there are things that are actually threatening in contrast to a mere mention of tampons.
I am not a parent, nor a teacher. There's only so much say I get in how one's children are raised, and educated. But I was, I am a student. And I know I deserve better sex education than what I was given.
Feature Image Source: Youth Ki Awaaz