Anju Kish (Sex Educator and founder of untaboo.in), in association with Infinite Space (a venture by Parveen Tuli and Jyoti Kapoor), recently conducted an awareness seminar on sex education – Break the Wall of Silence – at Crossword, Nagpur.
It’s not about sex!
Addressing people present between 21 years to 80 years of age, Kish said, “It’s crazy that in a country with a population of more than 1.2 billion people, people hardly talk about sex education. It is one of the most misunderstood topic as people generally just focus on the word ‘sex’ when it comes to sex education.”
Don’t be shy
Parents, generally while talking to their kids about body parts often refrain from naming the genitals. Speaking about this, Kish said, “Parents tend to teach children about all the body parts except the names of their genitals. They keep nicknames like ‘nunu,’ which in later years becomes a problem for a kid. He may find embarrassing to express his genital-related problems to a doctor.”
Giving sex education
Stressing upon the importance of imparting sex education to kids, Anju Kish said, “Sex Education is not just related to sex but also introduces terms like good touch, bad touch and not-ok touch. It must be given to children according to their age.” But how do parents kick start the ‘awkward’ conversation? Kish said, “Keep finding opportunities to educate them. Never be a friend to your kid. They have friends in abundance. Be a friendly parent instead with whom they can share everything openly. Always be an ‘ask-able’ parent.”
Clearing the parents’ doubt about the stages of sex education, Kish mentioned different topics to be introduced to children at specific ages. The topics include:
My body is mine: 5-8 years
Puberty and Safety for girls: 9-12 years
Puberty and safety for boys: 10-12 years
Aware and responsible teens: 13-15 years
Sex, sexuality and safety: 16-18 years
Don’t scold them for watching porn!
Kish said that according to statistics the average age kids in India start watching porn is 11 years, whereas the average age when they experiment with sex is 14 years. These are the kids who are deprived of sex education. Talking about children watching porn, Kish said, “Don’t scold children if you catch then watching porn at an inappropriate age. Scolding them will make them feel guilty. Instead of scolding them, educate them more about it. Correct education never corrupts a child’s brain. It is the titillation in movies and social media that corrupts them.”
The effects of lack of sex education
The main question that arises in a parent’s mind pertaining to sex education is – ‘Wouldn’t it take away my child’s innocence?’ Kish answered this question by citing an example of a little girl living on the 17th floor in an apartment in Mumbai. In the absence of her dad, she’d always be accompanied by a watchman who’d take her till the ground floor. As her father accompanied her one day, he was devastated by the response of his daughter. As the doors of lift closed, the girl lifted her skirt, put her underwear down and asked for a chocolate! If the girl was given right information, the incident would not have taken place.
Anju Kish further said, “Sex education will not just reduce curiosity but would avoid peer pressure and help in controlling hormonal changes in a child. It will not just benefit them but also reduce the chances of dangerous practices like rape.”