Sex, in the quintessential Indian society, has been treated like a taboo; something that encourages kids to take bad decisions rather than something that educates them. It is both timely and apt as the importance of sex education cannot be overemphasised. Talking about sex and sexuality should be a part of the country’s education system. Schools are the ideal places where students can get answers to basic questions on sex and sexuality. This is best healthy way for people to talk, learn or practice sexuality in a healthy environment. In Indian society, it is hidden and suppressed. Sex is a very sensitive subject and public discussion on sexual matters is considered as a taboo. The purpose of sex education should be to facilitate the best possible integration between the physical, emotional and mental aspects of a personality, and the best possible assimilation between the individuals and the groups. Adolescents should be scientifically educated about the facts and myths related to sexual activities that may lead to number of health related risks.
Porn or no porn should be decided by the common men and not by a bunch of bureaucrats. Adolescence goes downhill when there are too many restrictions. When obscenity becomes a commodity, it threatens to corrode the very bedrock of ethics on which a healthy society is founded. In such cases, sex education should be made compulsory for students before they reach puberty so that they understand sex and its functionality. Many schools focus exclusively on academics, paying little attention to effective counseling of adolescents.
Another effective way out is for parents to spend their free time interacting with their children instead of watching boring television soaps. The influence of cinema and television on our impressionable youth cannot be under estimated. There are so many other movies that have explicit scenes bordering on soft porn. We all know of scientifically proven bad effects of porn films. They tear families apart, objectify women and pollute children’s mind.
With teenage pregnancies and abortions on the rise, and an increase in the number of those affected by AIDS, sex education for children is a must need of time. Because of the conservative culture that exists in our society, children find it difficult to discuss sex with their parents or teachers. Due to lack of information and the cultural barrier, many of them become an easy prey to pedophiles. It is necessary to prevent children from learning from bad peers and obscene books about sex. A holistic approach should be adapted to sex education by making available standard textbooks on the Internet for the middleclass children also. There is also an urgent need to keep the young informed of the measures to protect themselves against sexual exploitation. Participatory sex education will provide the impetus for discussion and discourage prejudices. Academicians and policymakers should evolve a syllabus that is relevant to the changing times.
India has become the second largest hub of HIV/AIDS in the world. The proponents of sex education stressed the need for providing knowledge about HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies and information about sexual health. We need to accept the fact that we are living in a complex world leading complicated lives.
Open up sex education in schools and colleges. Make access to clear, correct information around these issues. There should be nothing to hide or suppress. If there are queries and curiosity, there is a safe environment in which to discuss. The hesitation to discuss sex in open classrooms can be overcome if women teachers teach girls and male teachers educate boys. Other schools in the city should make sex education part of the curriculum to avoid such misinformation and restrict child abuse. Sex education as a part of curriculum will create awareness and a healthier India.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)