SEX EDUCATION IN INDIA: A NECESSITY OR A TABOO?

Sex education, as the UNESCO defines it, “provides opportunities to build decision-making,
communication and risk reduction skills about many aspects of sexuality; encompasses the full range of
information, skills and values to enable young people to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights
and to make decisions about their health and sexuality”.
NEED OF SEX EDUCATION
India is a country with the highest number of the adolescent population. Apart from the population, it is
also ahead of other countries in terms of issues like-sexual abuse, teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions,
STIs including HIV. Often called a developing nation, India has almost every resource required to look into
different aspects of development. However, the process of development of a nation, to a large extent
depends on its citizens. A crucial requirement for the development of our country, which we lack as
citizens, is the open-mindedness to talk about sex popularly called, Sex education.
SHH, IT’S AGAINST OUR MORALS — IS IT REALLY?
On one hand, people believe that talking about sex is against their culture and consider it a taboo, on the
other hand, they cease to remember that India is a land of Kamasutra and the UNESCO declared World
Heritage Site, Khujarao Group of monuments which is a part of the Hindu culture, is famous for its erotic
architecture. India is a country where people have high morals for culture, ethics, religions, languages,
food, and lifestyles, but people find it a taboo to openly talk about sex. It is a topic which is preferred to
be talked inside the four walls of a bedroom. This mentality of people prevents society from giving
necessary education to their children to tackle modern-day problems associated with sexual harassment
and sexual abuse. The stigma associated with sex education creates a culture promoting silence and
shame around sex-related topics. This not only creates a state of dilemma for the early adolescents as to
whether they should talk about these issues or continue to remain silent but also, often puts them in
situations where they are unable to recognize sexual abuse and harassments.
INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY: A SOURCE OF “INCOMPLETE” INFORMATION
As the saying goes, “The more you try to suppress something, the more it will rise”. This mindset of the
society which tries to eradicate discussions of sexual nature, bounds the early adolescents to gather
information through books, youth counsellors, and the most easily available-pornography. These sources
do provide them with information but unfortunately, not “complete information”. Getting exposed to
such sexually implicit content on the television and internet at such an early age more likely initiates
early/premarital sex and leads to unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
IT’S WE WHO CREATE AND DESTROY OUR MORALS
Considering the importance of sex education, the Indian government in 2007, announced the launch of
the Adolescence Education Programme in schools, along with the NACO, NCERT and UN agencies. But this
initiative attracted strong objections and negative reaction from all areas of the society with a reason that
it corrupts the youth and offends “Indian values”, leading to irresponsible sexual behaviour. This brings
me to the conclusion that Sometimes, your morals become the reason for your downfall. Even though
the government takes initiative to work on this aspect of development-they do so by introducing various
schemes, but very less effort is made in trying to implement them. Few politicians don’t even act, believing
that any step towards this issue will offend the general public. This makes them prioritize their vote bank,
instead of the need of the hour- Sex education. Other than the government and the citizens, the media is
also responsible for the development of a nation as it acts as an interface between national/international
issues, problems of the society and the general public. It’s equally important for all the three elements of
our demography to make adolescents aware of issues like bad touch, sexual comments, inappropriate
way of looking and many others.
The society must change their views towards the necessity of sex education, accept the changes, and
make their child much safer than ever!
By:
SHUSHANK SRIHARSH AND SAUMYA PRIYADARSHINI

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