Are Indians ignorant about their bodies and intimacy?

Sexologist, Dr Paras Shah, gives various examples of how deep the ignorance is in our country when it comes to sexual health and fertility issues

Raksha Bharadia | Posted on 05 Oct 2016
Are Indians Ignorant About Sexual Health & Fertility Issues? | Bonobology

Sex is not a new thing in India. Vatsyayana wrote the Kama Sutra here. Our rulers had sexual images carved on the temples they built, both as decoration and as education. After several invasions from less liberal cultures, with destruction of those temples and attacks on women, it became a safety issue that women should be covered up and that sex was dangerous to flaunt openly. Since then it is a taboo subject. We have no sex education in this country, at any stage. The resulting ignorance has profound consequences. 

An affluent couple from Mumbai were not able to consummate their marriage even after seven years. They consulted several doctors to no avail. When they came to me, I just asked what position they tried: the wife kept her legs straight while the husband kept his legs open. I simply told them that the wife must keep the legs open and the husband must come between her legs. They were able to consummate their marriage the same night.

Thirty per cent of marriages are non-consummated for the
first year. In 40% of them females are responsible, while in
another 40% males are responsible. In 10% of them it is
both the males and females’ responsibility and the rest 10%
is due to ignorance.

- Dr. Paras Shah, Chief Sexologist,Gujarat Research & Medical 
   Institute and Director, Sannidhya Institute & Research  Center  for Sex, Sexuality
   and Health.

One Muslim man came to me with his third wife. He had an entire file ready of his wife’s reports. He said that his previous two wives’ reports were also normal and this third wife’s reports were also normal. I told him that if he wanted to receive treatment from me, he needed to get himself evaluated. His results proved that he had zero sperm – the problem was with him and he had got married thrice for a child. Had the evaluation taken place much earlier, he would not have had to get married so many times.

In another case, a mother brought her son and his wife. They were not able to have children even after 3-4 years of marriage. She had already got the son’s reports and he had zero sperm. His wife’s reports were normal. I told them that they only had two options – either adoption or artificial insemination. The mother-in-law said that this has occurred before in her family: “My husband also had the same problem, but I have 7 kids. These things are taken care of if I tie ‘dhaaga-dora’.” I cannot say that she was sleeping around, but that is the only way it was possible for her to have 7 kids. I told her that medical science cannot do anything for you, if you wish you can tie  the ‘dhaaga-dora’ – which I cannot comprehend.

A man holding a high position in our municipal council was not able to have children even after 4-5 years, and had a few investigations done. It’s not that he can never have kids; he just had some complications and had a low sperm count. He had got a lot of treatments done, but nothing happened. Then someone suggested a tantric. The tantric told him that if his wife slept with her brother-in-law, she would have a child, otherwise she would not. He is ready for that. I told him that that is not a way out – I can give you medicines, but it will take some time, the sperm count cannot go up in a day. He never came back to me.

Men don’t even know that they have a problem; since they have an
erection and can ejaculate, they think it means they don’t have any
problem – they feel that all the problems lie with the females.

Many women also complain that the sperm comes out after they have sex. They are absolutely ignorant that it’s a normal thing. They feel that because the sperm comes out, they are not becoming pregnant. People lack even basic knowledge of sex in our country.

Many of us rely on faith leaders to tell us about sex. I find that strange. If I were to lecture you on politics, would you listen? I am not a politician, so I am not qualified to talk about politics. Similarly, if lifelong celibates such as faith leaders presume to teach us about sex, we should be sceptical. Approach a sexologist for best results.

(As told to Raksha Bharadia)

 

Raksha Bharadia

Raksha Bharadia is a writer and editor. She has authored three books published by Rupa & Co. She has put together 13 titles in the Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul series for Westland. She has also worked as a scriptwriter with Star Plus. She has been a columnist for Femina, Ahmedabad Mirror, and DNA, Ahmedabad. Raksha has taught creative writing for a Master’s Program at CEPT, Ahmedabad. Bonobology.com is Raksha’s first significant foray in the digital space.

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