Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sex Education in Indian Schools

Recently there was a big controversy in the public on the introduction of sex education in schools from 6th Standard onwards as per the directions of National Council of Educational Research and Training which is in turn acting on the advise of National Aids Control Organisation and WHO. The public outcry was mainly on the ground that it teaches only how to have safe sexual intercourse using condoms to avoid AIDS for 11year old children just prior to the attainment of their puberty. The presumption that Indian children start having sexual intercourse immediately after they attain puberty and it is alright if they do so by using condoms was indeed shocking to majority Indians ! " It is just not in our culture", they said.

There is a lot of cases of child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, ignorance and myths on sex among Indian youth.Sex education on sexual hygiene,sexual diseases and healthy sexual practices including the structure and functions of sexual organs are needed although the particular topics and methodology now introduced may be objectionable. Hence, the Government decision now to stop entirely sex education in schools may be equally objectionable.

Sex education need to go little deeper as well in the interest of better perspective on human sex on scientific grounds. Sex is not a biological instinct in human beings as hunger and thirst are, the survival is not engendered by lack of sexual activity. In the lower animals sex is determined by glandular secretion controlled by autonomic nervous system and is governed by specific seasons as well where as in human beings sex is triggered by sensory stimulation governed by voluntary nervous system and have no seasonal variations. In other words sex is in our control, we are not driven by biological urges. However,just because sex is not a biological instinct in humans it does not mean that it is a less of a force in determining behaviour as many psychological needs, such as need for power,may have much greater force in driving behaviour than even biological need. Further, sex is not merely sexual intercourse but many other activities also. In fact for Sigmund Freud sex is all those activities in which two or more people come in close physical contact such as mother and child and friends, a sort of physical intimacy. Freud also points out that it is not sexual organ alone which is erotic but many erogenous zones on the body as well such as lips, breasts, anus and skin. Psychological needs not satisfied may have devastating effect on ones growth as John Bowlby found that 'maternal deprivation' in the early formative years of the child would result in delinquent and criminal behavior later on. Harlow's experiment on monkeys/chimpanzees showed that reared in by the surrogate mother made up of hard wires produced antisocial behavior as compared to those reared with surrogate "soft"(made up of wools) mother although all other biological needs are met adequately for both the groups. More over sex is not a blind force in human beings as it has been found that it is triggered by voluntary attention to sensory stimuli as well as the fact that when engrossed in a deeply meaningful professional or other activities the interest and frequency of sexual activity decreases drastically in humans.

Sex also has spiritual dimensions in human beings. Mutually and simultaneously derived sexual orgasms in the couples give raise to an altered state of consciousness which is akin to the fourth state of consciousness albeit a brief and laboured one ! that is associated with deep meditation. The deep relaxation and a pleasant yet intense alertness has the capacity to bring fresh insight on ourselves and on life contributing to the growth.

Further, the positive sides of social customs and mores must be reckoned with for a better bonding with people around which offer sustenance to our very existence.

Sex education should involve all of these :the Body(structure and functions of sexual organs, sexual inter course, sexual hygiene and diseases,processes and practices), the Mind( intimacy, warmth and care) the Soul(altered-fourth-state of consciousness) and the society; physiological,psychological, sociocultural and the spiritual dimension of sexual behaviour in human beings.

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