SEX. Made you sit up and pay attention, didn’t I? There is genuinely so much curiosity around sex but so little talk about it. We’re a country with a population of 134.2 crores. So, there is a lot of sex happening for sure, but there’s zero sex education in our country. Forget sex education, you know how in English movies or TV shows they show how a teenage son or daughter gets ‘the talk’ from their parents? Cut to India, where we’re still uncomfortable watching condom ads with our parents, let alone an intimate scene on screen. How many of your parents have had ‘the talk’ with you? I come from a fairly liberal household and everything from periods to people are talked about, anything but sex or boyfriends.
When I say liberal household I mean nobody would restrict me from drinking or ask me not to wear that dress because it was too short. Great, right? Sure.
But in the parenting balancing act, my mum was always the bad cop and my dad the good one. While mum may sound like the villain in this story, she’s my superwoman and I know she meant well. Besides, she probably knew no different.
Most of my school years have been spent in all-girls classes, so, for some reason, my mother couldn’t understand why I would have guy friends beyond the girls I knew in my class. While I did have guy friends, they were more acquaintances than friends TBH.
In the very rare instances that I’ve talked to my guy friends on the phone or otherwise, my mum’s mind has immediately flown to a possible boyfriend in the making. And of course, there’s been confiscation of phones if I was talking to or texting my boyfriend too much (not that I ever told her I had one) but you get the picture. And this, like I said, is what a semi-liberal household looks like. I can only imagine what it must be like elsewhere.
But then, cut to many years later, you’re earning your own money, living your life and suddenly the scenario changes. Suddenly, relatives who called you back in 10th grade to ask you about your board exam results are back on the phone going ‘So I know this boy… and I think he’ll be perfect for your daughter’. Mind you, this is the same relative that will ‘tsk tsk’ the hell out of you if you’re seen walking out of a guy’s apartment in the wee hours of the morning.
This basically translates to, no sex or boyfriends until ‘the elders’ choose someone who you don’t know but are expected to have sex with and be happy with, for the rest of your life. That’s some great life planning. (Please read the sarcasm between my lines).
Why is it so? Why are sex and boyfriends so taboo in our society?
Because sex for us is unfortunately meant only and only for reproduction. It is merely another bodily function or rather it is expected to be just that. As long as you create a human, your sex life and your marriage are both fine. For a country that’s the origin place of Kamasutra, it’s quite sad that we follow the see no evil, talk no evil and hear no evil with sex and romantic relationships. This is exactly why you still see a slight smirk when aunties say ‘love marriage’.
At present, I’m sure if I were to tell my parents I had a boyfriend they’d be pretty cool… with terms and conditions that I’d have to get married to that guy.
Because, Boyfriend = sex before marriage = log kya kahenge = Isse ab kaun shaadi karega = Also what about babies?
If my parents aren’t thinking along these lines, society will definitely help them think this way.
But, I have this one question to all the parents out there, for a ‘good girl’ who has no exposure to sex, boyfriends or porn, how is she to react when she finally sees a man who is now her husband for life, naked? Is this why brides are put under a veil and are almost always shown as coy in old Hindi movies? So they don’t have to look? Or is it under the impression that the husband will know it all because of course, they have more experience?
Half of our apprehension about sex comes from the curiosity or uncertainty of what it exactly is. Now imagine if parents opened up this conversation to their kids. Sure, I’d be awkward. Hell! I still am if I hear my parents say the word sex. This is what needs to change, open up to your kids, talk to them about awkward things so they don’t have to go to inexperienced people for help. Talk to them about boyfriends, safe sex, protection, STDs. Trust me, after the initial awkwardness, you’ll feel more connected to your child.
As for me, I did get ‘my talk’ in the form of an email from my dad at the age of 20, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Better late than never, right? And my story did have a happy ending or several if I may add (an obvious pun intended) and like the ‘good girl’ that I am, my parents know nothing about it.