*Explicit but important content.
February in the US is observed as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Prevention is the key element of any abuse awareness.
In 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama declared the month of February as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The objective is to create awareness about verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and/or digital dating violence against teenagers. The drive focuses on the education needed to prevent dating abuse much before it starts.
In this context, let me bring up a highly taboo topic that needs serious attention from parents, teachers, and society alike.
This academic year all the 8th-grade teachers who teach Biology were saved from the awkwardness of the chapter “Sexual Reproduction” since students were mostly on Mute and Video off mode during online education.
I still remember my 8th-grade biology teacher’s shocked face when I asked “Teacher, can you please explain what exactly happens during mating in human beings?”
Remember, I am talking about an era when in India, we only had Doordarshan and All-India radio. Even on Doordarshan, we kids were allowed to watch only Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Mogli, Chithrahaar, and some science-based shows. In Chitrahaar, whenever a heroine came in skimpy clothes, or the hero would hug the heroine, we were asked to bring water from the kitchen! When actresses wore sleeveless blouses or showed their tummies my mom would say, they wore skin-colored innerwear and heroes don’t touch them actually. It’s all a camera trick!
We didn’t have mobile, nor access to Porn hub or any X-rated channels. Neither did we have any sex education other than from an equally inexperienced partner after marriage.
Well, I don’t think today’s teenagers and young adults are the same. In fact, they are overexposed to sexual and pornographic content than before.
Ideally, schools and parents must provide the right knowledge to Teens so that they don’t end up experimenting with what they see on those websites.
A few days ago, I read a news report about a 16 yr old boy who got a 15yr old girl pregnant after watching Porn sites together and performing those acts. This didn’t happen in some far-away foreign country but in Kerala, in a colony, while their coolie parents were on job during the daytime and had given their children mobile phones for online classes! The two children were neighbors and the acts were happening in the name of combined studies!
I am listing ten points here that can be useful for parents to initiate talks with their teens and young adults. Sex with consent for below 18 yrs is not legal and is punishable under POCSO Act. So, advise them on attempting sex only after 18. (You can share this article with your Teen and ask if he/ she would like to discuss any points).
1. Don’t curb your feelings of attraction
Feeling attracted to the opposite sex (or same-sex) is a natural phenomenon. You need not curb your feelings of butterflies in your stomach or beating hearts when you see each other. Enjoy it. It’s beautiful. But, before touching each other get consent. It’s the same for both boys and girls. But, before even consent for sex comes, nurture a good friendship, romance, and acceptance of each other. That’s important.
2. Indulge in Safe sex practices
Usage of condoms is mandatory if you are not married or you don’t plan to get pregnant. (Share YouTube videos on how to wear it ) or if it’s unprepared sex (happened by chance) do not allow intercourse. Dear Girls, you have the right to say No at any point. You need not oblige just because you undressed. Condoms not just prevent pregnancies but also prevents sexually transmitted diseases.
Do not think that you won’t get pregnant because you only did once without condoms. Well, chances of pregnancy still exist. So, why risk if you do not want to get pregnant – especially if you are a teenager? Another danger is when you don’t get pregnant even after one-time sex, you tend to think it’s OK and you try next time. This is even more dangerous.
3. Do not have sex when inebriated
Girls, Do not go to drug parties or if you think you can get drugged. Boys, do not think you can drug your girl, have sex, and escape. Both are crimes. Your life and future will be spoiled if a girl files a complaint. Also do not think you can have great sex after inebriation. Alcohol incites sexual feelings but animosity in some men. if you are drunk, you end up spoiling your experience!
4. Know that Porn videos are unrealistic
As a man, you cannot force sex or perform or insist on any sexual act that your partner is uncomfortable with. It’s equivalent to rape and can be an unpleasant experience for both ( mostly for women). Most of the porn videos that you see are unrealistic sex and please understand that most women do not open their legs out in the first 2 mins just as the porn videos show!
5. Do not fake
As a girl, you also have the right to good sex and if you do not enjoy the act, you can deny it. Do not fake just to please your partner. Most girls engage in sex just for the fear of losing the relationship or thinking that this is her duty to fulfill her boyfriend’s needs. This includes even married couples.
6. Do not objectify girls
Coming to Teen sex, well, in India we still have a taboo for boy-girl friendships which leads to perverted ideas even in their genuine/ normal boy-girl friendships. Rarely do we find open and free friendships between girls and boys. The reason is the peer influence of both boys and girls who treat each other as sexual objects. Young men have a lot of “Guy Talks” which objectify girls and also sexualize even their normal conversations. We cannot stop this completely but we can see if it crosses limits. Remember, Guy Talks can stop even if one guy says No.
7. Do not hide an unwanted pregnancy from your family
Now, despite all this, if you as a teenager or an unmarried young adult became pregnant out of a relationship – do not hide it from your family for long. It’s safer to abort within the first two months (in comparison to the time your tummy bulges out 5 months!) Remember abortion is not safe or a good option for a careless pregnancy but definitely a better option for an unwanted pregnancy or delivering a baby who may be abandoned later.
8. Avoid traveling distance with even your trusted friend without keeping family or friends informed
If your boyfriend convinces you to travel with him to a faraway place for sex ( enjoyment ), think many times. Inform some of your close friends and keep track of your whereabouts. We hear stories of even the best and most “loyal” boyfriends becoming beasts and bringing in their group of friends for enjoying together. This is what we call gangrape. Try to stay within your territory and do not allow these kinds of adventures unless you are 200% sure. Of course, your boyfriend may be upset with you for a few days. But if he is genuine and values your relationship, he will come back. Up to 80% of rapes happen by men whom the girl knows well. Rape is a traumatic experience that haunts the girl. For men- remember it’s a crime and in today’s world when girls are becoming empowered, there is a high chance that you may get legally prosecuted, unlike the olden days when everyone resorted to victim shaming. So, men rethink if you want to “rape” your girl. Rapes also can happen among men/ gay friends. Any rape is a crime. And dear parents, in case your child gets abused/ raped provide her support and help her overcome the trauma with proper medical help and also file a police case. The criminal should be punished and not the victim. And yes, marital rape is also rape. If your husband forces you / conducts violence during sex, you need not accept because you are married and he has “rights”. Even a husband has no rights if the wife denies it.
9. Immediately file a complaint if your personal videos or pictures are leaked
Another trend these days is taking videos of sexual acts. Well, again, girls, you have the right to say No. Cyber crimes of videos getting hacked even by mobile repair shop guys are quite common. Now, imagine if your boyfriend took your naked photos or videos and published them on the internet. Be calm and give a police complaint. Do not live in utter shame just because a guy you trusted, did this to you. It’s he who should feel ashamed.
10. Focus more on the quality of the bond you share
Lastly, Sex is a beautiful act done with utmost intimacy between two lovers. It’s a divine experience and a great relationship-building tool, only when you show mutual respect and admiration and the bodily attraction just adds to the relationship. And mind you, a relationship need not be just for sex. Having sex cannot alone determine the quality of a relationship. Our happiness in life depends on the quality of the relationship we have and not just on the number of orgasms you had in a week! This needs a lot of work – both partners need to be available for each other’s emotional, intellectual, and social needs apart from sexual needs.
Well, I just jotted some random points for parents to initiate discussions with their Teens and young adults about sex education. I am sure these things are not there in Biology textbooks! All they teach is dissecting the Hibiscus flower!
(Dr. CeeVee is the pen name of Dr. Chandra Vadhana R, Founder of Prayaana Labs and Managing Editor, SheSight)