Born and brought up in Surat, Ankita Jain was working at Radio Mirchi and Big…Read More →
The word sex is going to be used a lot in this article.
Thought I might forewarn you, should you wish to look around to see whether anyone else in your room is observing you or not. Why did such a thought arise in my mind? Simple. I’m an Indian too.
Now in India, we have this weird hypocritical nature.
We shy away from any discussion on sex, or even the mention of the word, yet we happen to be ‘ferrari-ing’ on our way to becoming the most populated country in the world!
And I don’t understand WHY we have to be like this? I mean WHY can’t we open up about something so deeply intrinsic to Nature, something as natural as…well digestion!! Perhaps the problems lie in our silence (read ignorance). That, and our sheer reluctance to talk to our children about it.
Did you know that an average child starts thinking about sex before the age of 10? Well, I didn’t before I started writing this article. Anyway, also by that age a child starts wondering where babies come from, only out of curiosity, not out of any desire to know about sexual activities. And then with the advent of adolescence (roughly by the age of 13) puberty starts.
Now the human brain is wired to satisfy its curiosity. A good thing too, don’t you think? Otherwise, you and I would perhaps be sitting in a cave somewhere marveling at the fire as it fed on a log of wood. Anyway, if as a parent you think that you can ‘save’ your child from encountering the ‘s-word’, or even delay it, then you are highly, ‘Mount-Everest-high’ly mistaken. Because that is the natural order of things. In fact instead of eschewing the subject, you should open up to it in a manner most matter-of-fact.
Go to your daughter and tell her that it’s okay to think about sex. Tell her what sex is about. And put it in a way such that she doesn’t attach any negativity to the subject.
Don’t wait for her to open up to you. She might never. Believe me, its a thousand times more difficult for her than it is for you. So it is YOUR job to bridge that communication gap. YOU must ensure that your daughter feels comfortable enough to come to you with her problems.
And it is not ONLY the mother’s job to talk to the daughter regarding pubertal issues. Giving sex education is a task that requires both parents to do their bit. While only the mother can guide her daughter regarding oestrogen-related issues, she must also know about testosterone-related issues. After all, girls and boys keep on interacting constantly, don’t they? Plus fatherly advice, especially during that stage, is very important because fathers see the picture from an angle that is completely different from the mothers’. Moreover, the father-daughter duo must also redeem their relationship by overcoming communication gaps and developing mutual trust and understanding.
And if you are a daughter, then understand this, your silence will lead to great displeasures. You can not, and should not expect your parents to know about the sort of problems you are facing. Unless of course, all of you are telepaths.
But if you’re a normal kid with no telepathic powers whatsoever, then the burden of speaking up falls on you. It is YOU who has to muster up the courage to tell your parents what’s bothering you. Your parents have already been in that labyrinthine maze of peer pressure, hormonal changes, dilemmas and mistakes. Surely they know the way out. Talk to your dad. Make him your confidant. Oh and let not your differences in opinion mar your relationship with him. After all, every relationship must have a healthy number of fights! Just never forget that your parents love you and will go to any lengths to save you from your troubles.
Mark however, that imparting sex education is not only the parents’ job. It is also a task of the education system. India has an appalling number of cases of teenage pregnancies and sexual violence by teenagers. This can be attributed to the failure of providing proper sex education at the right age.
The very fact that school textbooks have a touch-and-go attitude towards these subjects goes on to show how sex is still considered a taboo. The education ministry should reform both its thinking and its textbooks, and provide sex education in a more elaborate, adolescent-friendly manner. Teachers too need to be more sensitive to pubertal issues and should treat their students accordingly. It is their job to make their students believe that sex is neither wrong nor bad unless of course it has a violent (read criminal) connotation.
I would like to conclude with this very nice thought that I came across on the Internet – Sex is not a stigma, ignorance is.
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