Indian households are full of laughter, bickering and tantrums. One of the biggest part of Indian culture is that children end up telling their parents every single thing – which begins to change as they tough their mid-teenage years, when hormones begin to rule the mind and body, and the rift between children and parents begin to crack its place slowly through the family.
And yet, one thing remains the same – watching TV together during dinner time. Sundays especially are special because there’s some new, or at least most favourite film of the family comes on a channel, as moms serve the meals, screaming at the kids for spilling any of the cola they are having. Everything seems great, until that one instance comes up – the hero and heroine getting close. One of the elders immediately scuttle around for the remote control and change the channel when a kissing or any intimate scene comes on TV.
It is frowed upon to mention subjects at home, that are a taboo in the society. Sex itself is a forbidden topic. Women are at times sensitive about these things and make an effort to educate their daughters about it. But the boys do not have much of a choice. They learn through the wozmhe most accessible and forbidden channel – porn. It is the kind of porn that sometimes borderlines abuse, does not really care about the woman’s needs, and there’s some unrealistic level of acrobatics the woman is made to do to please the man.
The boys discuss this amongst themselves. By the time the kids in their late teens, girls grow emotionally mature, while boys mostly end up expecting the kind of sex they have grown up watching – with not exactly the best kind of guidance required at an age that sensistive. There may be an older brother, an uncle, or some neighbor who would discuss this with the young boys, keen for knowledge. But they too may have learnt it through the same channels. And if by any luck the fathers have had a sensible talk about sex, it may have mostly been the knowledge passed on from generations – that focuses only and only on man’s needs, and that women need not be paid attention to.
HOME IS WHERE HEART IS
The lack of proper sex education has given rise to a new breed of men – involuntary celibates, also known as ‘incels’. Incels are members of an online subculture who define themselves as unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state they describe as inceldom.
Any child’s life is shaped with what he or she sees at home. The housewives of previous generation are rarely treated in the kind manner they deserve. Of course, the boys in the house will eventually absorb the traits of toxic masculinity, eventually projecting them on who they find as a partner later in life. We are not justifying the current male mentality, just highlighting the fact that it all begins at home. The attitude of inceldom can be nipped in the bud if both parents come together, and decide to treat sex as just another topic to be discusses with kids. Eventually, the children are going to know that a stork did not bring them home to their mothers, or they were not born out of a blooming flower (no pun intended here, but it doesn’t matter. Haha!)
Yes, it is uncomfortable. But would it not be better that a kid has someone reliable and trustworthy to go and talk to rather than go surf the internet, or perhaps talk to those with half knowledge giving them some fully cuckoo advise?
Parents openly discuss politics, news, economics, and current affairs. But they will immediately up their guard when a ‘taboo’ topic like sex comes up. We grow up, we fall in love, we have break ups, we have relationships, we are exploring our options, sexuality even. While we cannot expect parents to open up on topics like homosexuality so soon, the least that can be done is educate us on the right things because they have been through them.
When parents discuss sex as well as sexuality, it only helps children to find a solution, and also find a friend in their parents. It cannot be emphasised enough how important it is for parents to educate their children about sex, relationships, sexual orientation, and birth control measures.
Children become vulnerable to numerous problems like unplanned pregnancies, STDs, and sexual abuse and assault if parents do not educate them about these things. The most important lesson, of let us say gift that parents can give the current generation is the golden, golden lesson of consent, along with measures to have safe and avoid sexually-transmitted diseases. Sexual orientation is a different subject altogether, but parents really need to talk about it – and accept their child’s identity as they are, and be supportive. The entire set of generation will change dramatically, we believe, if even fifty per cent of parents in India end up doing this.
When parents decide to leave behind their own prejudices, inhibitions, awkwardness and the idea of sex being a taboo subject, imagine the number of sexual assaults, abuses and discord in relationships for Gen Y can be avoided – only due to the sheer awareness! Everyone needs someone to understand them, and with changing times, who better than parents can guide their child to face the world, and the television – without cringing when there’s an intimate scene on TV.