Why do Indian parents feel so shy talking about sex with their children?

Parents must talk it with their children like they'd talk about Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi.

 |  6-minute read |   12-12-2017
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Today's India is not the land of Kamasutra. It's the exact opposite of that. Once upon a time our ancestors literally invented creative sex and yet we are here in 2017, creative in a very different way. We, the Indian men, have invented our favourite position - one without consent. Such a shame.

I still remember the time when a friend and I found an x-rated magazine in the 1990s when we were just nine or 10 years old and how we went through it excitedly in the dark alleys of our colony. Or the time when I found this medical encyclopaedia on the female body which my dad, who's a doctor, used to keep in his chest of drawers among other medical books. I used to secretly go through the book at night getting strangely aroused looking at the nude female body. At that age, anything turned you on be it the areola or the anterior superior iliac spine. Oooooh.

My journey into the exploration of the human anatomy and the questions on what we do with our "secret' body parts started pretty early. I was fortunate enough to have parents who were sufficiently open-minded to clearly tell me how babies were made and how my sister and I came into this world. Even though I'd cringe at the very thought of it, they told me the truth about sex - "Dekho beta, a man puts his penis into a woman's vagina and that's how babies are made." That was good enough for me.

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Sex wasn't a taboo subject in my house but it didn't mean my parents were doing it in front of me and my sister. It just meant that we could talk to them about it openly and they never told us that it's a bad thing or something that should be done once we got married. It also meant that we could sit together in front of the television and not change the channel when a condom ad came on during Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. Alas, kids of this generation will never be able to experience that even if their parents were cool with it given how the government has banned condom ads from 6am to 10pm. Ugh.

I've even been caught watching porn because there was no incognito mode back in the day and oftentimes I'd forget to clear the history of the browser and my sister would casually say to me the next day "You forgot to clear the history yet again…"

And that was it. It wouldn't become this earth-shattering incident where I'd need an intervention but just a moment when I'd go 'Oops' in my head and decide to be more careful in the future. They all knew that even if they asked me to stop watching porn, I wouldn't. That's what kids do - what their parents tell them not to.

I'm not making this up but my mom once caught me playing with myself. I'd just come out of the shower and in the mood for some "me time" before I changed into my clothes. In all my excitement I'd forgotten to lock the door and in walked my mom - and out walked my mom - in less than a second.

I jumped out of my chair and quickly put my clothes on and started pacing in my room thinking how the hell I was going to face her now. My brain went blank and I just went out and told her "Ma… It'd be great if this remains between the two of us." and she simply said "Yeah, I think that's a good idea."

It's been over 15 years since this incident and we haven't spoken about it ever since.

These adventures were a part of my growing up and they weren't looked down upon. I mean, they weren't particularly encouraged but at least they didn't call a tantrik to heal me. Things happened and I learned from them. Simple enough.

I may have not been having sex back when I was a kid but I wasn't being repressed or made to think it was all evil either. I could pleasure myself at night in bed or in the bathroom before school if I felt like it without feeling guilty.

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And when I did have sex, my parents were among the first people who got to know about it. I actually went up to them with the most bizarre excuse - I told them that I'd wanted to get tested for HIV. They were a bit taken aback but were patient enough to hear me out. I told them that I had an active sex life and their first question was "Beta… Is it a boy?".

To be honest, they may have been a little disappointed if I'd responded in the affirmative but they would have accepted me with open arms. All in all, sex was cool. I could have it. My sister could have it. Heck, they were probably having it. So why would they ask us not to have it?

It's sad that not all parents are as open minded and what it's doing to the youth of today is beyond repair. Boys are growing up frustrated with raging libidos because they don't have an outlet. Boys and girls are both told that it's immoral to partake in any sexual activity before tying the knot. We all know how even kissing is such a "hawwwww" moment for us all. The youngsters can't buy condoms openly because the chemist knows their family. They don't know that it's normal for them to not be as well endowed as the actors from porn films. They don't even know that you need the other person's consent before any sexual activity… They probably don't even believe that their parents actually had sexual intercourse once.

Yes, they had sex. It's a fact. Better start believing it. And they need to let you have sex too. It could be with yourself or it could be with a boy or a girl you like. It doesn't matter as long as it's safe and consensual. But you'll never know because your parents never told you about it.

Vagina. Penis. Breasts. Condoms. Pubic hair. Testicles. Clitoris. Sexual intercourse. Oral sex. These are just some of the things that parents need to start talking about. Like they'd talk about Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi? They should be able to talk to you about masturbation and sex.

If you're a parent and you have a kid, encourage them to go explore their sexuality. Teach them before they learn something abusive from someone else and do something that could possibly destroy someone's life. You have the responsibility to bring about this change. Are you open enough to do it? Will you tell your children to go out and have consensual sex?

Also read: Gujarat Assembly elections: 10 major takeaways

Writer

Rachit Varma Rachit Varma @laughingjawan

The writer is an ex-animator.

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