Sex in India, is a 4-letter word. The land of Kamasutra which used to treat it as an extension of love, is suddenly equating it with lust and shunning it to the confines to a dark closet. Sex is increasingly becoming a taboo in our country. And all this in the name of religion and our culture: the very culture which prides itself on the Ajanta and Ellora caves. The recent hullaballoo over sex education is a shining example of this sad fact. An essential thing has been shunted out with such an ease. This is a part of a growing mindset that equates sex education with something unethical.

India has witnessed a steady rise of AIDS cases since 1986, when the first case was reported in Mumbai (then Bombay). Teenage pregnancy is also a worrying factor. But parents still feel shy to discuss sex with their children. Any advertisement on TV dealing with the issue is carefully “dealt” with. Either the channel is changed or the child is simply asked to “bring a glass of water” as shown in an advert on TV. We believe in conveniently pushing the issue under the rug, not realizing that the dirt is ultimately getting accumulated in our own houses.

The fallouts of this are pretty severe. Primarily, children being unaware of their anatomy and sexual knowledge began to rely on misleading information from friends or the internet. Worse, they fall into the trap of child abusers whom they meet mostly on the internet. Child pornography and trafficking is a major issue today in the world and is severe in India. So much so that the US just recently prepared a report on this and presented India with facts. Innocent children are abused not only mentally but also sexually. And in most of these cases, a person close to family is involved. A child therefore needs to know the difference between genuine advances and those with bad intentions. And sex knowledge goes a long way in this. A child aware of his anatomy will be much more informative and alert.

Another major fallout of treating sex as a taboo is the rise in crimes against women. It is a proven fact that the more the sexual discussions are repressed in a society, the more disrespectful it becomes towards its women. No wonder, crimes such as rape, eve teasing etc are on the rise. Such people who commit these hideous acts often blame their state of mind on factors such as women wearing provocative dresses etc., but the basic facts can’t change.

If we deviate a little from crimes and come to love affairs; lovers in cities are often fighting the prying eyes of elders in their neighborhoods, police constables in parks who are out to exhort money in the name of “indecency”. But the thing to ponder upon is why our elders and policemen scoff at love? And why does an insignificant day like Valentine’s Day gain so much importance for everyone: for lovers, obvious reasons but for policemen and some politicians – a crusade to save our “culture”. But exactly what culture will they save? The one which gave the very concept of love? Or the one which has equated sex with union of two souls with god?

The more we shun sex into the dark closets of our lives and minds, the more we’ll move towards an immoral society. We need to understand that the world isn’t a perfect place where lack of sex education and knowledge will not cause harm to anyone, especially children. We have to make them aware of their lives and dangers of a sexually repressed society. In the end, we need to change our mindsets and hope that the next time, when any advert on AIDS or sex education airs on TV, no child is sent to “bring a glass of water”. Instead, he or she is given knowledge to make him or her able to make informed decisions.

Mayank Sharma

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