“We cannot make it (sex education) a fundamental right,” a bench comprising Justice Ruma Pal and Justice A R Lakshmanan said while dealing with a Public Interest Litigation, which had suggested making sex education in schools compulsory.

The condemners of sex education in schools express their dismay by citing certain apprehensions. They fear that sex education, instead of being the proponent of a moral revolution and a healthy society, would lead to the moral demise of the future generation. One would find children having sex at every nook and corner, is what, within quotation marks, was said by one such ‘activist.’ Such education is also touted to be against Indian tradition, ethos and values.
However, they fail to acknowledge the over-cited counter-arguments that India has traditionally been a hub that appreciates sex as a healthy, natural act among two individuals, as proved by the Khajurahos and the Kama Sutra. For those afraid of children being pushed into sex by educating them about the same, a 1993 WHO report might help: it showed that sex education in schools did not encourage young people to have sex at an earlier age or more frequently. Rather importantly, the survey showed that early sex education delays the start of sexual activity, reduces sexual activity among young people and encourages those already sexually active to have safer sex.

With the kind of exposure available today, children are no longer unwilling to tap any and every resource they can that makes them better understand what they see and experience when changes start occurring in their bodies, and in the pursuit many times fall prey to misleading sources such as the porn industry, uninformed peers et al, that provide no credible information. Failure to provide sex education misses the opportunity of reducing the unwanted outcomes of unintended pregnancy and transmission of STDs and is therefore, in the disservice of the youth.

Sex education at an early age would only help inculcate respect towards the other gender, curb child abuse by making them aware of distinctions between affection and dubious motives, knowledge about the existence and rights of sexual minorities and the pros and cons of unsafe interaction with the other sex.

With India being hailed as the next superpower, it is about time we stopped having an ostrich like attitude towards concerns such as sex education that need to be addressed.

Abhimanyu Gahlaut