SEX EDUCATION - STILL A TABOO IN INDIA?

Updated: Mar 13


In India, the word ‘sex’ is equated with religious shame, tagged as a humiliating topic to be conversed about, is often synonymous with disgust, disappointment and detestation, and rape or sexual assault is justified merely because half the country isn’t even aware of whether it is right or wrong. Sex education does not just refer to sexual intercourse, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction but also includes educating young adults about an individual’s sexuality, gender identity, roles, and sexual orientation.


This atmosphere of petrification that the people around us create often compels teenagers to suppress their problems and issues, preventing them from freely expressing their troubles, which may cause hygiene issues and in the long term, the growth of serious infectious diseases. When parents avoid sex related conversations with their children, the lack of knowledge about sexual health and freedom, poses a big threat to them getting STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) as they might not be aware of what necessary precautions are to be taken. Over a period of time, their curiosity and inquisitiveness may force them to look for other ways to seek information like, the Internet and Social Media which would be rather harmful, dangerous and not to mention, not accurate.


Let’s talk about some facts – India is the country with the highest rate of population growth, in addition to also having one of the highest rate of problems like sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, etc. almost 31 per cent of the total population is infected with these diseases, which could be quickly controlled and brought down to a very good extent simply, by educating the people and creating awareness. According to a survey, sadly, nearly 50 per cent of girls and boys face sexual abuse in their early years of life only because they lack the knowledge to protect themselves against such assaults and in fact, a majority of these children wouldn’t even know if it was the wrong thing because they were never introduced to, or educated about these issues. In 2014, India’s Health Minister himself declared that he wanted to ‘ban’ sex education, and around the same time, teachers were threatened with violence if they were to conduct sex education.


However, in the later years, our government has encouraged schools and colleges, and the country as a whole to talk freely about this topic, and launched several campaigns to spread awareness regarding the same. But, we cannot deny the fact that sex is still considered a taboo in India, a ‘western influence’ that degrades the Indian culture, a topic to be only discussed secretively amongst the four walls of your home.


Surely, we are yet overdue many-many years before every citizen of our country is able to talk and aware about this, thanks to the cultural norms that are deeply carved against sex, we must not overlook the fact that India still is progressing, certainly at a slower rate, but yet taking important steps ahead to provide more inclusive sex education.

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