Now I'm 19, and I hope I never join the ranks of repressed adults.
I had the usual Indian upbringing. My parents never told me about sex, all I had was my inquisitive friends and Hollywood movies - because Bollywood doesn’t think sex exists.
I found out about sex when I was 9. I was jumping on the bed (hah! how ironic), being a normal kid, until my friend suddenly ruined my life. Okay maybe that’s a bit dramatic. She ruined my 9 year old self’s life.
“Do you know that your parents had to ‘do it’ for you to be born?” I fell on the bed. I was pale, confused, and honestly kind of grossed out (who likes the image of their parents having sex - ew).
I went home that night and straight up asked them. They were embarrassed. But were completely honest with both my sister and me. Yeah, I was grossed out but atleast my parents didn’t come up with some bullshit ‘child being delivered home by a bird’ story. Their daughter had just grown up - they accepted that with pride, and a little unease.
The bold child that I was, I decided to go and tell all my friends at school. And boy, did I get in trouble. I was in the bus on my way home and blurted out to no one in particular - “Did you know that babies don’t come out from here” (pointing at my belly button), “They come out from…here” (pointing down there).
That’s where I should have stopped, but didn’t. I began my story telling about reproduction, pretending I was an expert in all things sex. Which resulted in some girlie tattle tailing, and then a complaint to my class teacher. But post this, the reaction I got was completely unexpected.
“Did you tell them about the ’S’ word?” asked my teacher (wtf is the problem with saying SEX).
Smart-ass 9 year old me replied, “Miss do you mean Shit?”
She gave me a look, and something told me that was not the word she was looking for.
That’s when she slapped me. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. Either my teacher was angry that I was being a smart ass or she was the most narrow minded human being I’d ever met. What the hell is wrong with the fact that I was educating my friends about something their parents should have already told them. Okay, maybe it wasn’t my place to tell them but they would find out sooner or later.
Suddenly everyone thought I was a creep, a bad influence. If anything, I was a good influence. Since the concept of Sex-Ed doesn’t exist in India (notice I write Sex Ed with capitals to give it the importance it deserves), they should have been grateful I was doing the job. No wonder our population is out of control.
Cut to 5 years later. ICSE had begun. Girls had grown up, significantly, and you expect them not to be shy about sex, right? Wrong. The few who chose to study Science instead of Commerce were lucky. Atleast they got to study the Science of reproduction.
The ‘Mighty Condom’ and his fans!
“Are we starting reproduction today?” asked my 15 year old friend, a little too excited.
“Ya! She told us we were!” said the girl sitting next to me.
Seriously? We needed a warning?
Then our Biology teacher walked in, something in her hands - it was the Mighty Condom. Suddenly the room was filled with giggles.
“Okay everyone open to the second page of reproduction. We will first learn about the…Penis.”
The girls started turning pages pretending to look for the chapter, even though each one of us had read it the second we got the book 8 months ago. The teacher began reading. It was hilarious. A 60 year old, stern-looking woman talking about how the penis gets erect in front of 40 laughing girls. Some had their head down awkwardly, and some, like me, knew all about it, so we were just watching everyone with amusement.
Finally it came down to the moment she showed us The Condom. Obviously all the girls came rushing to the table, some of them touched it and leaped back with disgust. But the priceless moment came when all the Commerce students, ran, I kid you not, ran from the outside to the back door of the classroom to see The Condom for themselves. The Condom was a celebrity everyone wanted a look at. A selfie would have made it even more priceless.
I was still wondering at the logic of it all - no sex education for people who don’t want to study Science?
Cut to 3 years later, and 2016. The government states that using the word Sex, in Sex Education will offend people. I rest my case.
S E X. Just say it, stop being afraid of something completely natural. Please, let’s talk about Sex baby.
We asked the youth of India to replace the word 'sex' from 'Sex Education'!
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Illustration by Eshna Goenka