'Sex Education a Must for Children'
A 19-year-old girl recently called the 104 helpline to clear doubts and apprehensions about having sex for the first time. Amira* was a soon-to-be- bride who had nightmares about her wedding night due to unfounded fears she had of sex. The poor girl had no clue about her first time, and she had nobody to help assuage her anxiety.
In this age of accessibility to free information, Amira’s fears may shock many, but experts say this isn’t an isolated case. Over 50% calls that the helpline gets are from adolescents who harbour such apprehensions. Psychologists term the condition as ‘obsessed by psycho-sexual myth’ and attribute it to the lack of health-related sex education in schools.
“Most adolescents are confused about the biological changes in their bodies. For instance, a teenage boy called the helpline and asked if premature ejaculation is normal. He developed a fear and anxiety about having sex for the first time. Because of this, he could not sleep peacefully,” says B Elayaraja, a cousellor at the 104 helpline.
As an adult, the boy is definitely at a risk of developing a psychological problem, as no parent or teacher talked to him about this. “Children (like this boy) depend on their peers and visit websites which give them wrong information. This makes them fall prey to bogus treatments as adults,” adds Elayaraja.
Experts say that sex education is as important as other subjects in school. “Why are parents and the government apprehensive about educating children on sex? If parents have apprehensions about this, it is the duty of the government and experts to clear them,” explains Prince Gajendra Babu, an educationist. “A child has the right to understand the hormonal changes in his/her body. They must be aware about their body parts and their functions. This will help them differentiate between what’s normal and abnormal. It will also ease their fear, and help them understand gender better.”
Sexologists, who have conducted a study at a few government and government-aided schools in the city, found that most children have misconceptions about sex. “They have very little information to begin with, and that too is scientifically incorrect. Lust, infatuation and attraction towards the opposite sex are biological factors. Every adolescent faces this. But they confuse everything with ‘love’,” says Dr Denzil Peacer, a sex educator and psychologist. Such confusions cause teenage pregnancies, early marriages, psychological distress, and destroy marriages. “Most adolescents turn to porn sites and want to imitate what they see in real life. But they don’t know it’s commercial and in real life, all they see is not possible. This has lead to many break-ups in marriages,” adds Denzil.