In today’s world, sex education is not only needed for adults but also for children as young as five years old. Unfortunately, in India, sex education remains a hush-hush concept. As the myth around sex education is that it encourages kids or adults to indulge in sex rather than creating awareness.
Reproduction is the only portion included in most schools under sex education, which is generally neglected or teachers advise students to read and understand it on their own. While sex education should be given importance and taught to them like Mathematics and English, it is left to students to learn on their own, but this leads students to often giggling and laughing at these topics in their textbooks.
To date, sex education has been revolving around teenage pregnancy or HIV/AIDS, but it does not end there. Sex education also encompasses gender identities, sexual abuse, contraception, and consent.
Why is Sex Education still Taboo in India?
- In 2014, Harsh Vardhan, the current Minister of Health and Family Welfare, stated that he wanted to ban sex education because it was contrary to Indian values. Instead, he wanted yoga to be made mandatory in schools. This sparked outrage, prompting Harsh Vardhan to tweet, “Media got it wrong again. I am against “so-called” sex education, not sex education per se. Crudity, vulgarity out, values in.”
- The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti carried out attacks at the same time as Harsh Vardhan’s statements. Teachers were threatened with violence if they implemented sex education as part of the curriculum. As a result, a few states have outlawed sex education.
- As sex education is a taboo subject that is rarely discussed, youngsters are turning to the internet, specifically pornography, to satisfy their curiosity. Pornography is frequently deceiving and causes individuals to have unreasonable fantasies; not only does it involve activities, but it also portrays fascinating bodies that are fake.
- When youngsters are sexually unaware, it is difficult for them to assess when they are being harassed.
How can Parents Implement Sex Education?
- Understand what sex education is.
- Research on what level of sex education is appropriate for your child.
- Build a good parent-child relationship and make them comfortable with talking to you.
- Choose the right time for having “the talk”.
- Understand their psychosexual development
- Answer all their questions rather than shying away.
- Listen to them patiently.
- Respect their feelings.
- Make use of appropriate materials.
- Encourage your child to broaden their social circle and seek support when needed.
Despite the considerable efforts to remove the taboo that surrounds sex education, it remains the same. The most significant obstacle will likely be the deep-rooted Indian norms. However, India is taking small steps to eradicate the stigma around sex education.
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