First things first,
Sex education does not mean ‘teaching children how to perform sexual intercourse.'
Sex education is a program that aims to build a strong foundation for lifelong sexual health by acquiring information and attitudes, beliefs, and values about one's identity, relationships, and intimacy.
A study on child abuse in India, conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, reports that 53% of boys and 47% of girls surveyed faced some form of sexual abuse.
Kamasutra is an ancient Hindu book written by Vatsyanaya somewhere between the 1st and 6th centuries. This is the oldest book on the science of the Kama; The Sensual aspects of life.
Contrary to popular belief, The Kamasutra is not only a book about lovemaking and different sex positions. It covers other topics such as the art of living well, the nature of love, finding a life partner, and taking care of your love life.
Sex as a Taboo:
Adolescents and youth comprise 31 percent of the AIDS burden in India. As of 2022, Porn remains banned and the land of Kamasutra also lacks a comprehensive Sex Education framework. An Indian woman having multiple sexual partners is often called names whereas the same logic does not apply to men.
Sex is considered taboo and should not be mentioned in public. Sex education in schools has been met with tremendous opposition and fear from all sectors of society, including parents, teachers, and politicians, with its implementation prohibited in six states: Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka. Legislators contend that it corrupts the youth and offends 'Indian values,' leading to promiscuity, experimentation, and irresponsible sexual behavior.
In our country, most boys and girls are segregated at puberty. In some regions of India, pubescent girls are not even allowed to enter a house where a single young man is present. Some parents prefer enrolling their students in all-girls or all-boys schools while others are strictly against their children being in a relationship or falling in love. Double standards also exist when it comes to Masturbation. Masturbation is generally unacceptable among girls for boys however, it is considered a preparation for Mature sex life.
“In a post on his website, drharshvardhan.com, the ex-Health Minister wrote his polemical views under the head of Education vision for Delhi (school). Discussing the kind of curriculum development schools in Delhi should have, Vardhan said, "So-called “sex education" to be banned. Yoga to be made compulsory."
As the issue went viral on social media and the internet, Vardhan issued a clarification. On his Twitter handle, the minister said, "Media got it wrong again. I am against “so-called" sex education, not sex education per se. Crudity, Vulgarity out, values in.
Kissing in public is illegal under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code.
The Cops utilize the threat of jail time to extort money from youngsters, as well as harass and request sexual favors in some cases. The primary reason behind this is that Public discussion of topics of a sexual nature is widely considered taboo in Indian society, therefore acting as a barrier to the delivery of adequate and effective sexual education to Indian adolescents.
Role of Parents:
According to studies, the majority of parents refuse to accept responsibility for delivering sex education, with 88 percent of male and 58 percent of female students at Mumbai colleges reporting that their parents did not provide sex education. They were left to rely on books, publications, youth counselors, and pornography for knowledge.
A student at the most prestigious private school in an Indian metropolis could spend 12 years studying numerous courses but yet have little understanding of sex and the health hazards that unsafe sex poses.
One can often overhear boys discussing the information they gather from Magazines and YouTube talk about sex in school and college canteens. 'A higher body count' is associated with Men being Studs and Women being called Sluts. Studies also indicate that Sex education is an obvious answer to reducing the number of assault cases, and deaths resulting from unsafe sex.
Teenagers are vulnerable to experimentation and risky behavior including premarital sex and sexual abuse, exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy/abortion, and psychological problems.
Sex has been reduced to sexual intercourse only thus ignoring all the other important aspects related to sex. Having unsafe sex with multiple partners has become something teenagers brag to their friends about.
Adolescents are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain the knowledge they require due to their complex emotional state, taboo surrounding sexual problems in Indian society, and severe gender inequity.
Why Sex Education?
There is enough evidence to suggest that child sexual abuse, teen sex, and teen pregnancy continue to remain threats to adolescent health in India (Govt. of India 2007 Report: 53.22% on children who were reported to have faced sexual abuse), and it is expected that sex education will go a long way in solving such violence to a great deal. Nari Raksha Samiti a Nongovernmental organization (NGO), had submitted that sexuality education in school curriculum could play a role in addressing the rise of rape cases in India.
The International law on Sex Education and how it affects India: India being one of the signatories to the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), it is obliged to provide free and compulsory comprehensive sexuality education for adolescents and young people as part of commitments made under the ICPD agenda. According to the United Nations, Human Rights Council Report not providing sex education violates the human rights of Indian adolescents and young people as recognized under international law.
According to data, only 21% and 32% of adult women and men, respectively, had comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS and only 50% of women knew about safe sex practices.
Evidence suggests that early diagnosis and treatment of STIs/reproductive tract infections (RTIs), which include behaviour change through education among the target groups, has the potential to reduce considerably the transmission of STIs/RTIs.
This includes information about the spread of the disease, contraception, and sexual health screening tests. In this way, well-designed school sex education can help combat health hazards
Sex-ed resources online: