Not having sex education leads to a lot of ignorance
I remember how my colleagues reacted with utter disbelief when I told them the story of a 14-year-old I saw on a TV show who believed her friends when they told her she could get pregnant by kissing a guy. Obviously, they were messing with her. Naive as she was, she consulted the Internet and took some pills which damaged her uterus permanently. My colleagues said the story was exaggerated. How can a 14-year-old not know this basic fact about sex?
They were so wrong. Forget 14-year-olds, I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard my 22-year-old friend say, “Can one get pregnant if someone has sex with them over clothes?”
Hard to believe, right? Well, it’s not exaggerated. My friend repeated the same question when she visited a gynaecologist for a check-up, much to the horror and disgust of the doctor. How can a 22-year-old with a BTech degree not know anything about sex?
How can a 22-year-old with a BTech degree not know anything about sex?
I remember how in school she used to keep herself absolutely away from guys. She viewed couples in school with disgust and would consciously try to keep herself away from girls who were linked with boys in class or the ones who actually had boyfriends. Many of my friends used to call her “Sanskari naari” or “sadhu”. But none of us had the slightest idea that she was absolutely clueless and continued to be so even after she finished college. She never had a boyfriend and said she’d go for an arranged marriage. She was the quintessential “good girl” as per societal standards.
Could it have happened while she slept?
Two weeks ago, she began experiencing abdominal pain and lost her appetite. She’d feel dizzy and tired all the time. When the symptoms persisted, she Googled it and found, to her horror, that they matched the symptoms of pregnancy. She was taken aback, as she had never slept with a guy. But, she did recall the time she had a sleepover at a friend’s place where she spent the night with other friends around. The thing was she did not remember what happened during the time she was asleep. That’s when the seeds of doubt were sowed in her.
A visit to the doctor made her even more fearful, as the doctor said her symptoms matched with those of early pregnancy. She called her mother, told her everything about it and though she said she was not physically involved with anyone, she confessed she didn’t remember what happened at the sleepover once she slept. Her mother suspected the food or drinks were spiked there.
I got to know about this the day her reports came in. She had urinary tract infection and she was advised to drink plenty of water. I snapped at her when she told me she really did not know that sperms cannot be transferred to a female body except during intercourse. I was absolutely horrified. At that moment, I thought it better not to ask her if she knew anything about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or about the high chances of conceiving within 7 days after her periods. I was way too disgusted and assumed she was acting that way to prove her innocence. Anybody would!
Related reading: Can I have tips for my first night?
None of us had our parents tell us about sex education. I was told about it by my elder sister a few years earlier during a conversation about marriage and motherhood. I was also lucky to have attended a workshop in my college conducted by an NGO which spread awareness on sex education and safe contraceptives. Many of my friends were advised by their mothers to not attend “that kind of workshop”.
Many of my friends were advised by their mothers to not attend “that kind of workshop”.
Lots of people believe that sex education will instigate young people to experiment and indulge in pre-marital sex. That’s far from the truth. Pre-marital sex and casual hook-ups are the order of the day. And a little knowledge in such cases can be a dangerous thing!
Related reading: My boyfriend threatens me, wants sex all the time
Why are we shy about sex?
What scares me the most is the sheer number of such girls all over the country who are told to wait for marriage before they know anything about sex. Somebody you know might be at the risk of abuse if s/he has limited knowledge of sex.
I wonder, when did being “Sanskari” meant being unaware and putting yourself at risk of being abused?
When we can talk about malnutrition and mental health, why are we so shy to talk about sex? What kind of “Indian Culture” are we really talking about?
If there’s anything that is absolutely frowned upon in India, it is sex. The land of the Kamasutra considers sex and sexual acts unspeakable topics and expects children to understand it “on their own as time passes”. The strategy worked so well for the previous generation that they apply the same to this Internet-savvy generation too. Too bad it doesn’t work anymore. Lack of proper sex education, contrary to popular opinion, puts one more at risk for abuse.