What Sex Education Was Like Back Home

Bulb Metaphor 
This one time, when I was still an innocent looking but actually aggressive kid, I once asked my mom if I could have that animated panther that was on an TV add on a channel that must have been Nepal TV (purely because that was the only Nepali channel at that time). What I didn't know was that the panther advertisement I was referring to was that of a condom, and not some plastic toy I could fiddle around with (although I do remember boys in the neighborhood going full on plastic balloon fights during Holi). I am not sure how my mom's reaction was, but must have really been awkward as hell.

Well, it's no one's fault to be honest. Sex has always and remains to be a taboo subject to talk about in Nepal and a topic that still brings out blushes to both parents and children and their friends and relatives (and so on), if it ever does come up. Considering that even countries that we think are quite open about the sex discussion, as pointed out by John Oliver a few weeks back, struggle to provide proper education on the subject matter to the young, bubbling and hormonal-ly charged kids, one can only imagine the state back home.

And imagine I did. 

I think it was in grade six that our science teacher, Mr. D.P.Kayastha, after entering the class and opening the british textbook we were assigned to study, realized that it was the D-Day for learning about the human sex anatomy. While he had foreseen this day to come, he had never been prepared to teach what was in front of him; or so it looked. With a face that was reminiscent to that of a person just caught peeing in front of principal's office while smoking freshly baked hashish, he explained how sex organs function and how the process of intercourse leads to babies being born. A few of my classmates giggled their way through. The class ended quickly as he intended to, much to both student's and teacher's relief. For a topic that important, it was the longest one way discussion I can ever remember.

If you think about it, parents and the education system are both confused as to whom should take proper responsibility teaching their kids that. It almost feels like the two are passing the buck to each other at the "pass-the-buck-fair"

Nooo you take responsibility.
No you take it.
Ah, this is bullshit; just take it already.
No way, I need to go pee. you take it.

To be fair, the system did take that into consideration and incorporated a new subject termed as "Heath, Population and Environment" to tackle the growing need for environment, population and general health issues which also included topics on sex, sexual behavior, family planning methods, labor and so forth. While these textbooks did provide a window, the lack of properly trained teachers teaching them meant that there was a knowledge gap with what the book wanted to say and what the students ended up learning. The paper on Opportunities and challenges in school-based sex and sexual health education in Nepal, published in 2009 in Kathmandu University Medical Journal, nicely sums up the situation:
Teaching sexual education is often poor, which is directly associated with teacher's embarrassment, lack of knowledge and poor teaching techniques
Which on the same paragraph goes on to add:
Apparently, schools examine the more easily taught, less challenging, factual and biological issues where as the broader issues such as feelings and relationships are often being overlooked
So how are the young generation actually learning about the sex?
Well, welcome to the age of digital media.

I won't lie to anyone that I haven't watched porn. Nor say that I didn't watch it when was just at an age of 10. The first time I did venture around a sexually explicit site was simply called "porn.com" and then I remember the pure panic that set in once I realized I didn't know how to delete the god damn history. While it did provide a window on what went through this strangely intricate sex process and did make me feel funny inside, I don't think it was porn that really help me understand sex.

What reinforced my "learning" through porn was the interaction with fellow peers and cousins. Mainly cousins, who were all older, mature and hornier than me. Although, at times, they did cross the line on the actual practicality of teaching, it was probably the best way to understand how our bodies reacted to certain stimulus and learn how to curb those tendencies in a better, positive way.

The education though, is largely one sided. Even today, interaction with opposite sex is discouraged, frowned upon and is often prohibited even in co-education schools. My alma mater was no different and was especially harsh on students who tried to grow some balls and talk to the ladies. When even basic level of conversation between two sexes isn't there, one can only imagine that by the time these same kids have grown into adults, they will not have talked about sex, how their bodies react differently, what sort of feelings are aroused or how one should go about having it.

Can anyone blame them when they are sexually violent? I guess people who commit the crime themselves don't know if they ever are. Or the victim has no clue whether he/she should be feeling that way or not and is left with complete confusion. Which leads to more violence and confusion and the vicious circle continues.

It is difficult to state how one should go about learning about sex. Each individual is different, has different preferences and is bound react to stimuli in different ways, however, I still feel that both parents - teaching them about sexual sanitation- while schools-teaching about the act of sex, family planning and health- coupled with the interaction with the opposite sex will narrow down the gap between understanding and misunderstanding.   


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