No matter how old you are, if you are watching a movie with your parents and an intimate scene comes up, the parents tend to change the channel or things get really awkward. In India, parents do not talk with their kids about sex. They are not educated properly when children ask questions like ‘where do babies come from’. The topics of sex and reproduction are avoided like plague in Indian households. So of course, children are taught that sex before marriage is bad, especially for a woman.
The notion of premarital sex being bad may have come because there were not enough birth control facilities in the old times. That times, sex meant pregnancy and pregnancy before marriage could lead to problems. And it is deemed worse for girls than boys because it is the females who might get pregnant. However, even when the times have changed and there is enough effective contraception, the old taboo about premarital sex has not gone away. It stays as bad, and since our parents and their parents have been taught that sex before marriage is bad, they teach us also the same. It is scandalous and bad.
A new study conducted by the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare and suppressed by India’s health ministry has said, a quarter to a third of India’s young people indulge in premarital sex.
When adolescents reach puberty, they naturally begin to explore their sexuality and would want to indulge in sexual activities. However, in India, even a 30+-year-old unmarried woman is expected to keep her ‘chastity’ and not have any sexual desires. In India, the ‘purity’ of a girl is linked with her ‘virginity’ and every man want a virgin wife no matter how much sex he has had before marriage. But unmarried women having a lot of male friends or multiple relationships is slut shamed.
The sexual desires of females have always been ignored and deemed as not existing. And hence a girl who displays sexual desire is condemned as morally wrong and bad. In this state, a girl having sex before marriage will also be considered a sin. The honor and pride of a family still lie between the legs of a woman. This barbaric and regressive thought process is still so prevalent in our country.
Unmarried couples often find it difficult to find couple-friendly hotels in India. Even when premarital sex is not legally a crime in India, many hotels have a ‘no unmarried couples’ rule. A lot of people, including the police will come forward with moral policing for just something as simple as premarital sex. We can recall the scene from the 2015 movie ‘Masaan’ where the police come barging into the hotel room of an unmarried couple.
The reason for all these problems regarding premarital sex is the lack of proper sexual education. It should not just start in schools but also at home. Parents should be okay with talking about sex and reproduction with their adolescent kids. Teach them about the safety precautions that they need to ensure before having sex. And believe in them that they will ensure the safety precautions.
A change would not come in a day. It will still take years for Indians to accept premarital sex as a normal thing. But nothing will change without proper awareness and sexual education. We hope to see a future where the younger generation does not have to hide their sexual desires and do not need to fear their parents, the police and society when they try to explore them.