#TalkSexuality is a campaign run by TARSHI with Youth Ki Awaaz.
There’s An Elephant In The Room
There comes a point in time during our growing up years, when curiosity gets the best of us. The icing on the cake: any conversation that has any remote connection to sexuality is usually evaded, be it in educational institutions or within our very own homes.
Such evasiveness leads many to engage with whatever information is available and accessible to them on the internet, through friends, in magazines or any other source one can get their hands on.
It’s Not Just About Sex!
Sex and sexuality are often understood to be synonymous, leading to many misconceptions. For example, sexuality education is often misunderstood as ‘sex education’ or ‘permitting experimentation among children’ based on the fear that more the information given, more likely that young people will experiment and engage in sexual behavior. However, studies like Sexuality Education and Young People’s Sexual Behaviour: A Review of Studies, commissioned in 1997 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Global Programme on AIDS have shown evidence to the contrary.
The key point is that sexuality is a lot more than just sex alone. Sexuality encompasses not only sex but also the construct of gender, body image, consent, intimacy, sexual activities, sexual abuse and harassment, sexual identities, pleasure and fantasy, relationships and emotions. Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) aims at treating sexuality as a part of life, not something to be feared and trivialized.
In our conversations with both young people and older people recalling their younger days, we found that common sources of information related to sex and sexuality were listed as friends, movies, magazines, newspapers, and advertisements and nowadays of course, the internet.
While these resources do give information and initiate conversations around sexuality, most people describe the information derived as confusing, conflicting and incomplete. Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is essential for young people to make informed choices and protect them from abuse, violence and infections.