The Birds and the Bees

After the numerous anti-tobacco and anti-junk food campaigns on Delhi University Campus (as if the moral policing of students by our Health Minister, Dr Anubami Ramadoss was not enough), came the controversial comments of Dr M.S. Frank, Stephen’s pro tem administrator, published in the fortnightly college circulation, SOUL.

His view on co-ed hostels involved the implicit (and very vocal) assumption of the need for maternity wards. He is obviously in the dark about of the prevalence of contraceptives, awareness amongst the younger generation about STDs and the existence of non sexual friendships between ‘boys and girls’. I suppose that had he been more in sync with our generation, he would have refrained from passing uninformed comments. However, the matter should be dismissed after brief criticism.

Targeting someone for his or her comments, especially someone from an esteemed institute only serves the purpose of front page gossip. The focus should shift from deriding a man for expressing his view to the larger picture and the reasons that causes many people to hold such orthodox beliefs. It is often forgotten that such views, in jest or all seriousness are held by a large section of our society. And their children may get stuck in a phase of confusion and promiscuity, besides treating sex as a forbidden fruit and what not. So where does the blame eventually lie – in the raging hormones or lack of enough education and information?

So, while the Olympic venues have condom vending machines installed for the participants (though China has decided against it), and progressive countries talk about increasing sexual awareness amongst teens and pre-teens, India is still stuck in a rut. ‘Birds and Bees’ is still used as a euphemistic reference. Political parties ask for a ban on vibrating condoms, the ‘Land of the Kamasutra’ has already banned the sale of dildos other parties vehemently protest the inclusion of sex education in a school’s curriculum since it will ‘encourage sexual activity amongst kids’. How can we inculcate sexual maturity and responsibility in children if the topic of sex is pushed to the periphery and dealt with in tones discomfort and disgust? Besides, this education is also about promoting hygiene, awareness about STDs and to explicitly remove any queries from minds of students, they don’t have to read ‘myths and facts’ columns in papers behind closed doors. It also, fosters a healthy relationship between members of the opposite sex and serves the purpose of gender sensitization to a certain extent.

India is a country that is still new to the concept of premarital sex. Most kids grow up not knowing anything about sex, and when they do learn it, it is through friends, magazines and pornography. Such knowledge may often be incomplete and inadequate. Besides, the heavily morally instructed ones want to ‘save themselves for marriage’. Even opposite sex friendships are often viewed skeptically with mental bets on when they’ll take the ultimate plunge, thus proving the preachers right. Talk about our high tolerance levels to such people.

Thus it is but obvious that the concept of co-ed hostels will not go down well with many, but we can respect these views, as we can respect the fact that two individuals are not comfortable with sex before marriage or parents may not want their children residing with people of the opposite sex or students themselves might not be open to the concept. But that does not mean that the opposite is necessarily bad and should be looked down upon by you since you are a member of an orthodox society that has ingrained you with apparent moral values and ‘better sense’. God bless these protectors of culture and morals, since an imminent sexual revolution may just move their bearings out of place.

The moral of the story is to not preach to the younger generation about the do’s and don’ts of sex and life. Instead, one should educate them about safety, healthy relationships and friendships. They will take care of themselves, perhaps better than you could yourself.

Charulata Somal

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