S** Education – Time to kill the asterisks.
on Sunday January 15th, 2017, By Aarti Pednekar

Children will be children. For their parents, for their elders, they will always remain the epitome of innocence and naivety.

It’s a trend. Children in India are pampered to an extreme level of danger till they are at the risk of impotency.

What we don’t realize is that while we are busy baby-sitting our children, they are growing up. Our new technologically and biologically advanced era has produced a new batch of children who mature early, both physically and emotionally. Studies have found that children are maturing more rapidly than ever before. On an average, a child reaches the stage of puberty between the ages 8 – 14 years.

Owing to our Sanskari culture, we let our boys and girls in India, stumble through their puberty and the rapid changes in their body. Most children are embarrassed to ask questions because naturally, questions are a ‘No –No.’ ; who would want to break the code with their parents who would feel both embarrassed and astonished about such an intimate topic? Shudders.

Puberty arrives hand – in – hand with sexual maturity.

I’m sure all of us remember , the first time we noticed that girl who had suddenly begun looking pretty in her uniform? The boy who had developed a deep, gravelly voice that made you tingle and blush? These changes are generally very subtle and sweet, they are supposed to be noticed gradually.

But alas! We can no longer expect an innocent change. With exposure to social media, we have also exposed our hormone-charged teens to easy and quick access to sexual knowledge.

No matter how much you parents try and avoid, yes, your child has found porn at his disposal. Having crossed that stage I can tell with absolute certainty that it is very hard to avoid temptation when one of your friends just happens to mention what he/she accidentally saw on the internet. You want that accident too. Curiosity is at its best, during these times. Lewd jokes, embarrassing terms, X-rated discussions. They all are fascinating, for our innocent teens.

Either our parents blissfully (or ignorantly) avoid this stage or catch hold of our taboo activities and force us into a strict academic regime, possibly even cutting off our communication with some of our badmaash friends.

This big ban on the word SEX begins even before the child knows what the word means. Before she has discovered the meaning of pleasure, she has learnt to hide her knowledge of it. Before he realizes just what he saw in the video, he knows it’s a sinful secret.

Its high time India breaks this Taboo built around the word Sex.

This Taboo, this No – No, this Hush – Hush, this Sanskar is causing more harm than good. Our reluctance to speak of this topic, even for the sake of guiding our youngsters is foolish. We are forcing our youth into misguided attempts at understanding this basic human urges.

One of the most terrifying outcomes of our dogmas is child abuse. A study found that 69% of children reported to have been physically abused. Out of these 54.68% were boys.

Yes, you heard me right. Our lame excuses so as to not speak about “SEX” are to be partially blamed for the growing rate of Child Abuse in India.

We have several misconceptions about Sex Education in India. Most of us, even the educated ones don’t exactly know what is covered under its curriculum.

          

Sex Education worldwide has been structured to provide young people with positive messages about sex and sexuality as natural, normal, healthy parts of life. It aims at eliminating shame, which generally associates with sex.

It includes information on the best way to avoid sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. It teaches that condoms reduce the risk of getting an infection, including HIV. It introduces the youth to all the other forms of birth control that also reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy for young people who are sexually active.  

It broadly covers human development, human reproduction, sexual health, masturbation and other sexual behaviors, sexual expression, sexual identity, and sexual orientation. It covers sexual abuse and consent.

Since we refuse to speak about such things, our children are not aware of good and bad touches. They are not aware of such an intimacy. Children fail to notice until late that the way their favorite Uncle is touching them, is not right. Children, because they are not aware of it , don’t recognize such a touch.

There are times when the partner doesn’t know what to expect from sex. Such cases can frightfully turn into cases of abuse. Several women, in interviews have confessed that even after being married for so many years, they have always expected sex with their partner to hurt.

Such are the dire consequences because we do not allow ourselves to ask questions about our own bodies, since we have shamed people who wish to ask.

Masturbation, the act of pleasuring oneself , is either ignored, or shamed. Many adults don’t even know such a concept exists. A man may find out soon, but women scattered in the rural parts of India have no clue that their genitals can be their heaven. A survey found that women, way into their adulthood, have shied away from even touching themselves “down there” because, they thought they would be punished by God.

We have reached a juncture where it is high time we incorporated Sex Education, not only for children but for adults too.

A positive step taken towards this goal has also been thwarted in most places. Schools in India were approached with a curriculum for Sex Education. In many schools, this attempt was vehemently protested against by parents in order to ‘protect their children’s sensibilities’. In other schools, the opportunity to teach Sex Education was placed in the hands of awkward teachers who turned the lesson into an awkward joke. Some other teachers took this opportunity to reinforce our culture and their dogma on the children by telling them that sex was profanity.

We have to understand that sex is a basic urge. Sexual maturity is inevitable. Our teens will discover sex and the pleasures of having a partner, no matter how hard we try to avoid the situation. We can either force them to stumble through sex without any necessary knowledge, or we could educate them so that they can have their share of intimacy with safety. Embrace the human in you and don’t impose doctrines that are bound to lead to an uncomfortable adulthood.

Adios!

Aarti Pednekar

I'm a philosophical soul, feminist by heart and a bibliophile. Expect a lot of meaningful deep conversations.

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