Sex education in India has been neglected for ages. Although things seem to improve at present, we are still far away from how they should be. It is considered immoral, and children should be kept away from sexual content. Today we will look into the current state and why sex education is critical for a child’s development.
Sex Education – Current Scenario
We live in a nation where anything to do with sex automatically becomes taboo, and no one is supposed to talk about it. Sexual relationships should happen only after marriage, hence there is no need to educate children about sexual well-being. Our society could not be more hypocritical, as even adults cannot openly talk about their sex problems. Everyone is supposed to live a perfect life without any sexual issues. The idea of perfection is a white lie and needs to be changed.
Sex education is not provided in schools, and most education in higher standards is about anatomy or about reproduction in animals which will provide no value to children. The school boards are still not ready to include sex education in the curriculum. The topics included in the syllabus are general, and the use of the word ‘sex’ is found nowhere. A government program named the Adolescent education program (AEP) was introduced in 2007 but was heavily protested in various states. The program could not be implemented in schools properly. Teachers fail to answer questions or teach openly about sexual topics, and even basic education for children is not provided.
The children remain uninformed, and sex education is neither provided by kids nor by parents. Some surveys claimed that women didn’t know much about sexual intimacy before marriage. They claimed they were not taught anything about physical intimacy or contraception in adolescence or even at a marriageable age. It is a sad and dangerous state which needs attention.
The Importance of Sex Education in India
Sex education should be a part of the school curriculum as it will improve the quality of life for teenagers. It lays the foundation for understanding sexual health. Sex education is the aspect of education wherein children are taught about sexual anatomy, behavior, reproduction, sexual health, and sexual hygiene. It also encompasses teaching about emotional repercussions and sexually transmitted diseases.
Most children do not know anything about sexual relationships till puberty. They go through immense bodily changes during puberty which might confuse them. The teenagers start feeling differently about their bodies and with that their mental makeup takes a turn too. They rely on information via search engines and friends which is most inaccurate. It should not be an option but a necessity, as they need to know about their bodies before they make any stupid decisions. That is why sex education is important and needs the due attention.
To help children educate about sex education, it is equally important to make them adept at life skills. These skills will make their life easier as they know how to communicate, listen, react, or ask about sexual topics. We usually concentrate on academics but fail to instill skills that we would need in real life. It is critical for children to understand the concept of cultural influence on sexuality and be more sensitive toward these topics.
Education about the menstrual cycle should also be part of getting rid of the stigma associated with it. It should be taken as a norm as it is and neither boys nor girls should feel embarrassed about it. We live in the modern world where many girls do not even know about periods before it happens. They get utterly confused when they start bleeding out of nowhere. It gets to them and girls even get mocked when they stain their school dress in the classroom. This is a natural body phenomenon and children should be educated. They need to know the intricacies so they can have mutual respect and not point out that a girl is having a tough time.
Children should be taught about sexual activity and how they can contract infections. They also need to learn about the consequences of unprotected sexual contact. Knowing about safer sex practices can save them from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. They could thus make better and more informed decisions. Scientific statistics claim that children between 12 to 18 years are more prone to catch HIV infections, and knowing the risk and ways to protect themselves might help prevent most of the mishappenings. Unwanted pregnancies are another issue with younger adults when they get into sexual contact without realizing the outcome. Sex education in India can help prevent negative outcomes and help them make decisions knowing what they are getting into. In a similar way, contraceptives should be made easily available, so that even teenagers can use condoms in case they decide to be intimate with someone.
Contraception should be taught in detail when they are made aware of the choices available and the ways to get access to those. The correct use and the technique should be taught and the advantages need to be stated. When one is fully equipped with the right knowledge, it gets easier for them to make better decisions for themselves. None of the teenagers are looking for infections or pregnancies, they get into trouble because they did not know the ways to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Another terrifying aspect of sex education in India is to prevent sexual assault. The education here is not limited to teenagers, but kids who start speaking should be educated too. The children need to understand the difference between bad touch and good touch. You should tell them whom they can trust and where they can be touched. Ask your children to tell you if anyone touches them elsewhere, even if it is a friendly exchange. Sexual molestation is terrifying and can leave an impact on the child forever. One needs to be cautious of every possibility and treat the matter with care.
In the same way, we can protect against sexual assault in teenagers by educating them in advance. They are at a tender age when they may not be able to tell if someone is exploiting them. Knowing clear boundaries and consent might help them protect themselves. Along with educating them about sexual parts and reproduction, they need to know when is the right age to be physically intimate. Getting into sexual contact is sexual assault if you are underage, and they need to know that this clause is to save their honor. They should know what accounts for rape or sexual assault, how they can save themselves, and what they need to do in the worst-case scenarios. Children usually do not know what happened to them and may be cut off from society. They may avoid telling their parents anything out of fear. Parents should entertain a casual relationship with children to know what happens in their children’s lives so they can save them when required. If a problem cannot be solved by parents, they should consider talking to a sexologist in India.
Problems With Sex Education in India
The biggest problem is the lack of proper curriculums in school. Even in this modern era, there is only mention of reproductive organs in biology class without undertaking the details of the subject. The reliable sources of sexual awareness for teenagers are their peers or the internet. Both sources are loaded with misinformation, and will not give you the knowledge you need and might misguide you.
Apart from schools, parents also neglect their duty of educating their children and put the responsibility on schools. They avoid getting into awkward conversations and give no importance to sex education in India. Even when the government or schools try to put up sex education in schools, the idea is opposed by a few traditionalist political groups. It makes setting up the curriculum a difficult task. Moreover, India is still fighting illiteracy, where so many children do not have access to schools.
How Can We Promote Sex Education in India?
It requires conscious efforts at all ends to make India a better place for today’s teenagers. India has the largest adolescent-to-adult ratio which makes most of India young. It has become more important than ever to guide the young blood and make India a better place to live in.
It should begin by incorporating sex education in the syllabus and taking education classes. The personnel who take sex education classes need to be trained. They should conduct the class with confidence and should have the potential to answer all the queries. All the blocks should be addressed and children should be told about their choices and the impact of political and religious views on sexual intimacy. They should be made aware and have the confidence to make the right decisions for themselves.
Parents should take the pain and hold the matter in their own hands. They should initiate difficult conversations with the children according to their age and make sure they know about everything as they get older. They should be given reliable sources to study and obtain information from to help them understand the topics in detail.
Sex education in India is still lacking in various phases. We need to address the issue and do our part to provide education to young adults and help them live better lives. The change begins with you, and you should not wait for a nationwide campaign. Begin by educating people nearby including your friends and family.