From The Editor’s Desk…..
Aug 22, 2015, Times of India: A new survey, based on interviews of 15,000-odd teens between 13 and 19 from 20 cities, revealed that the average age of first sexual contact for boys was 13.72 years and 14.09 years for girls.
The study revealed that there are no proper communication channels to gain sexuality-related information. “6.2% adolescents gained information from teachers, another 6% from their mothers. For the majority, around 57%, media and the Internet was the main source of information. 4.2% spoke to doctors about it”, said Dr. Debraj Shome of MediAngels.com, a Mumbai-based e-healthcare company funded by the Union department of science and technology, which conducted the survey.
Experts say it’s time the youth received information from the right channels—parents, teachers and doctors—instead of online pornography. Dr. Rajan Bhonsale, head of the sexual medicine department of BMC-run KEM Hospital, Parel, said sex education must be “age appropriate, value based and culture specific”. Well-known sexologist Dr. M. Watsa added that there also is a need to educate parents who could get alarmed that their child is learning something at school that they were not exposed to.
Reading this over my morning coffee, I had no doubt in my mind that this issue of Family Mantra offers much needed help on a topic that majority of Indian parents are not equipped to handle. Most of us growing up in India did not get ‘the talk’ from our parents or caregivers. We were left to our own devices and while the effect is not damaging to all, it is confusing and scary to most.
In this issue, FM brings you experiences of parents who believe that family is the safest place where a child can learn about their body, sex and sexuality. It is with the people they trust the most that they must get answers to questions that their young curious minds are always seeking.
Glory George highlights how while you can cover sex-education in 1 hour, sexuality education is a life-long teaching process.
Paula Stolk in ‘My Body is OK’ shares how she realised she had to lay a foundation in her family of freedom to talk about anything, without fear or shame and to have no taboos.
In ‘The Birds and the Bees’, Sangeeta Chowdary talks about her childhood and learning the hard way that selfimage, self-esteem and sex are connected. “I wish someone had told me during my teens, instead of me reading and finding out about it now in my twenties! It would have explained so much”, she says.
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