Let's Talk About Sex
Reader's Digest India|September 2021
Why we need to rescue sexual health from taboo and misinformation
Dr Tanaya Narendra

What? We have a separate place to pee from! How am I learning this only now, at the age of 32!” comments GreenGurl1989 on one of my YouTube videos in which I explain the anatomy of a vulva. GreenGurl1989 is not alone. Sadly, a lot of women are grossly unaware of their own anatomy. But, how did we get here?

For the land of the Kama Sutra, India is astoundingly behind in sex education. For centuries, we have used art, literature, architecture, folklore to impart wisdom on the ins and outs of our bodies. Somewhere though, we turned sex and discussing it taboo. The result: We are raising generations of sexually ignorant adults.

An example of this ignorance, one that never fails to amuse and alarm me about the state of sex-ed in our country, is of a patient couple who came to my father, Dr Narendra Khoparzi, a fertility specialist. The couple had trouble conceiving for seven years. Despite a whole gamut of tests, no reason could be found. Following a long, intimate discussion with the husband, my father found (to his mirth and dismay) that the man had been penetrating his wife’s navel the whole time. I wish I was making this up! His logic: “Bacche toh pet se aate hain, na!” (Children come from the stomach, right?) A perfectly healthy couple could not conceive because they just didn’t know what to do.

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