By Rita Banerji: A few days ago as I sat down to my newspaper at breakfast, my eyes went straight to this small, boxed news on the front page. This was organized on the back of a national sex survey that the magazine had done that revealed that close to 20% of teenagers and a majority of college aged people in India were sexually active.
A 14-year-old school girl in Bangalore killed herself because the man she was in love with had forced her to have sex with him and then left her, saying he had done it only for with, on Facebook. There were two things I realized during the India Today online chat: 1) Even though a vast number of teenagers and youth in India are sexually active today, they are dangerously ignorant and misinformed about some of the very basic things they need to know about sex.
You can read some of the online chat questions and answers I did for India Today here. Culturally in India, this has been made a bigger issue for women than men. If you think it is wrong, then you will feel shame and guilt if you choose to have sex without marriage.Below I’ve summarized some of the issues and topics that came up in the chats repeatedly, with the hope that it will help more young people with doubts and question. Conversely, if in your head sex is a normal need; it is the right choice for you.I’ve also included relevant links that I urge you to follow if you need more information. Interestingly, this is a bigger issue in India today than it was in the past.Indian mythology is full of stories of women, like Shakuntala and Kunti who had pre-marital sex. Over and over again we hear stories like this, full of despair and self-destruction among teenagers and youth in India, who are confused and ashamed about issues of sex. And then how can they, when they themselves have a distorted and stigmatized view of sex?
In fact, India’s cultural and social set-up are just as guilty of this young girl’s death as the man who raped her.
Was there anyone who could tell her that she will be O. Most probably there was no one she felt she could trust or even talk to. The shame and taboo of what she had done was so great that she saw this as her only way out.
In fact because he is an adult and she is under-age in most countries this is statutory rape, even if she had consented. This was a much older man who had taken her to his room and forced himself on her. There was no one to comfort her and assure her that it was not the end of the world.
And more than 1500 years before the western feminists made this argument, the were arguing that women had the same sexual urges as men, and there is no reason why unmarried women shouldn’t learn about their sexuality and orgasms the same way that men do. When is the right time to begin to have sex in a relationship?
The only time that is right is when you want to have sex. If you and/or your partner does not want to have sex, then it is not the right time.
Girls/young women in particular should know that it is extremely important that they feel they not only have the physical urge to have sex, but also feel mentally and emotionally prepared.