06 May, 2008

Why sex education is necessary

Recently, the whole saga of the government proposing to introduce sex education in schools, and the opposition protesting, and the idea put on hold, happened again in Maharashtra, after last year. All in the name of preserving our culture. Never mind that children are exposed to the ideas of sex, love and obscenity daily in movies, the news, and by false beliefs among classmates.

A committee has been set up, which will no doubt submit it's report in an year, and it will be implemented when the current students in the 9th and 11th classes become grandparents. It's all done in the name of preserving Indian culture, against 'western' values. It is impossible not to laugh at the people who make these decisions. Here are some tidbits, with some sarcasm of my own:

(Last year) the government banned sex education in schools after parents, teachers and political parties protested saying that the content was sexually graphic.

Oh my, they're teaching sex with pictures! In 9th and 11th classes, where the students are oh so innocent! This will corrupt them, no doubt.

Ramdas Kadam, Shiv Sena Leader: ''This is wrong. It goes against all the tradition of Hindus in Maharashtra.''

Wow. I guess Hindus in Maharashtra don't have sex either, because it's against their culture.

Nawab Mallik, MLA, NCP: ''Students are constantly complaining about sexual exploitation or harassment by teachers. If these sex gurus are appointed, then more girls will be exploited.''

"Sex gurus"? Excuse me? I thought sex education would make the students more knowledgeable about sex, and hence, more able to know when exploitation is happening, and thus safer.

Vinod Tawde, MLC, BJP: ''Instead of calling it sex education, it would be better if we referred to it as Adolescent.''

Hahahahaha... wait... *inhale*... hahahahaha!

Bashir Patil, MLA, NCP: ''We are proud of the fact that our women can walk alone on the roads. If sex education is implemented, it will increase the evils in the society and like colleges, schools will also fall prey to such evils.''

The same old argument, sex --> evils.

Why we need sex education

Frankly speaking, though, our kids need sex education. And 9th graders (well, even 6th graders) aren't wholly innocent about sex, and talk about "balls" (ie, breasts), "rods", and a whole barrage of such terminology; and most of the boys have easy access to porn. It's rather easy for kids to hide their "forbidden" activities from their parents.

There are many reasons why a child (well, a teenager) needs sex education. Two of the most important are awareness of STDs, and the recognition of and safety from abuse.

There are more reasons, one of which is that sex is elevated to a higher status than necessary by the taboo status it has, and thus teens think of it as more important than it is. There's reluctance to talk about sex in our society. Where can the kid talk about those sexual things which are bothering him? His peers are about as knowledgeable as him. Sex is a part of human life, and hence it must be a part of a complete curriculum. Sex education is education in the strictest sense: it is essential knowledge about life.

Finally, for those who think the students will become corrupt after sex ed, it's rather that they'll become well disciplined. Sex education makes us more aware of the need to respect our fellow students, be they boys or girls. It teaches us respect for women, and respect for other sexual orientations.

I may be faulted for believing that education can do anything. Maybe it can't. But the school is one place where everyone can receive the education most parents are afraid to give at home.

Here is another list of why students need sex ed.

Here is a general page about sex ed. You can of course google to find out more.

Comments and suggestions appreciated. :)


  1. Hmm.

    I agree. But I also feel that the most ideal situation would be parents talking to their children. I know they have inhibitions etc. but I've always thought that I became a lot more comfortable with the idea when my mom talked to me. Also, it is a very delicate topic in our society. Now supposing, a kid in school gets up and says 'so when is it ok to have sex? what age?'. This puts everyone in a quandary because every child comes from different families who be be conservative in different degrees. Its a very gray area.

    Now what is we have a scenario in which there is a person X who is 16
    Case I: No sex edu. X continues to think that it is something distant. Not to be dealt with. X gets married. Everything falls into place. Its normal.
    Case 2: X gets sex edu. Realises that if a condom is used its safe. So X sleeps around.

    Now think of this form a parents shoes. From people who are convinced that pre-marital sex is inappropriate. It's not wrong to think so, just a matter of opinion. Aren't they justified to a certain extent.

    In the end, I'm not saying sex edu isn't essential. I'm just saying that the opposite side aren't as wrong as we think them to be.

  2. Well, the experience I had during a sex education camp held in my school was an eye-opener. questions ranged from, "What if a 14 year old boy makes a 13 year old girl pregnant?" to "What are eunuchs?" Now seeing the state of awareness in most teenagers(forget teenagers, I've had people in my class asking me, "Does masturbation cause weakness?"), sex education is necessary. But it should not be limited to text books. Schools can have a visiting sex counsellor, because text books just cannot cover the sheer variety of sex related questions and problems teenagers can have. These cases can also be discussed in classrooms during the sex education lecture, so the teens can come up with their own thought out solutions. And for the political embarrassments mentioned in the quotes, I'd like to test their own sex awareness and embarrass them more.

  3. Sex ed is also necessary to counter the image that is projected in the media of what sex is about. Sex is not about beauty, weak girls languishing for strong men, machismo, powergames, being derogative to women and so on.
    On the whole, sex is not a method to control people with (either by having it or withholding them from having it), sex is not limited to beautiful successful people. Sex is a very pleasant thing to have. People should be made aware of that. All of them, reading the completely moronic comments from officials. But heck, by all means, start with teenagers.
    If respect can be taught, and I am hopeful of that, then respect for people's sexuality should be taught too, and that people are autonomous regarding their sexuality, and responsible and and.. and! !!
    Well, I agree with you.


    Seriously? Do you learn about how other species reproduce? Or is there a blanket ban on the whole topic?

    The urge to 'mate' is instinctual in, like, every secies that does it! Odds are some kids are going to do it anyway, so you might as well prepare them, give them options and information whether they choose to have sex or not. Besides, unless they live under a rock, they're going to find out about sex and because it was never discussed they'll be curious. Curious and hormone driven. Curious, hormone driven and stupid.
    My experience of sex ed was not only about biology (everyone already knew all that) it was about respecting yourself and your partner enough to be safe. And respecting yourself enough to not do anything you aren't emotionally ready to cope with. I also found that any awkward questions I didn't feel comfortable asking were answered as part of the curriculum.