Is premarital sex a taboo?
Most of us can all attest to switching channels when a sex scene popped up during the family movie hour while growing up, in order to prevent awkwardness. This often led to a sudden rush towards the kitchen to quench thirst at the mere hint of a kiss reflects our collective contrition at the simple mention of sex. In fact, so much is our hesitancy towards all things that spell SEX that we often tend to believe this notion that our elders are asexual and pretend that having babies does not require the union of the sexes, as they teach us in those Biology classes.
There is so much hesitancy surrounding all things sex that it’s no surprise, children do not go to their parents when they have questions about their sexuality or sex and most often, these queries go unanswered, because we are too ashamed to talk about it. This is where the need for Sex Education arises. It’s the unavailability of open platforms to discuss sex that has given birth to a generation that believes premarital sex as taboo.
Why is discussing sex only for the private sphere?
The idea here is not that people lead sexless lives, but that talking about it in the public, or even holding hands, is frowned upon. Matters of the bedroom are considered private and Indians, for one, believe in keeping it there, between the sheets. The system is especially rigid for women, because it is still believed that it's the husband's right to deflower the wife. Somehow, we have managed to squeeze the entire family’s dignity and reputation in a woman’s vagina so if she’s caught indulging in some action before marriage, she and subsequently the family, will lose their reputation and considered “characterless”.
Therefore, conversations around sex and reproduction are avoided in order to keep a woman from exploring her sexuality. It’s only during the wedding night that the couple is sent off to indulge in sex, and that too, without any knowledge about how to do sex. There should be a guidebook for first time sex! In fact, during this entire process, only one thing is made clear: that it’s a woman’s duty to satisfy her man. However, it’s important to understand that all those who have internalized the idea that sex before marriage is taboo, need to understand that marriage alone does not define the intricacies of sex.
Boys will be boys. What about girls?
We live in a country where women are blamed for sexual assaults against them, shamed for revenge porn and laughed at for choosing not to marry in the conventional fashion. Parents of daughters feel that it is their child who is on the losing end, since boys will always be boys. Therefore, they try to control every aspect of a woman’s life: who she meets, who she dates and even who she decides to marry. In this process, it’s always the woman’s mobility and sexuality that is taken for granted. It’s not like parents refuse to agree with the fact that their offspring has certain physical needs, but like the elephant in the room, nobody addresses this question.
While urban families are open to the idea of educating a girl child and even go as far to be tolerant towards her relationships with men, they never discuss intimate details of the same. It’s quite obvious to be embarrassed to discuss sexual details of your child’s life with them, but in this process, if you create a medium where he/ she does not feel comfortable to discuss the harsh repercussions of dating and keep the problems or the pain bottled inside them is simply wrong.
Is sex before marriage right or wrong?
It’s important to understand that when we talk about sex before marriage being right or wrong, we are asking a traditionally patriarchal society to open its doors towards including sex education in a comprehensive manner. What we are asking our society to understand is that sex is also a source of pleasure and not simply a reproductive process. And that being open about sex helps put important issues out in the open, like the question of contraceptives and protection, before it’s too late.
It’s also equally important to understand that in the age of the internet, refusing to talk about sex is not the solution anymore. And finally, it’s alright to be okay with the idea of sex before marriage, because sex is not simply a duty that one particular gender has to abide by. It’s about learning parts of yourself and discovering who you are as an individual. So, if you choose to have sex before marriage or after is completely on you!