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Is India's Perception towards Sex Changing?

Updated on October 3, 2016

India, the Land of the Kamasutra

Sixteen years into the 21st century, where every piece of information is transparent, things that were considered taboo once are being openly talked about and it is believed that India is becoming more open towards sexual issues as well. The question is, how much truth is there in that perception?

'Kamasutra' or 'Kamashastra', written by the author Vatsyayana, a Hindu philosopher from the Vedic times, believed to have lived around the 2nd century CE, is an ancient collection of text on human sexual behavior. Although it is more about the elements that trigger desire, how to sustain passion and the good and the bad of sex, about 20% of the work is solely focused on various sex positions. According to an article published in Daily Bhaskar, even so far back in history, the author claimed that technology would not be able to change the art of love making.

The Kamasutra was published once again by Indra Sinha in 1980, this time in English, and was even transformed into a movie in the 1990s, featuring a mainstream Bollywood actress, Rekha. However, the movie was not too well received by the decision makers in the country. Now the question that arises is that if such knowledge was accepted thousands of years ago and not in the 20th century, has India actually moved backwards?

The Other Side of the Story

Fast forward to 2015 and according to a survey organized by HT-MaRs, 61% of the Indian respendents revealed that they were completely okay with premarital sex. While this seems to take the country by a huge leap forward in terms of acceptance of sexuality, this actually isn’t the case. The survey also revealed that when it came to marriage, 63% wanted their partner to be a virgin!

The numbers are so contrasting that although 45% people in Chandigarh and 41% in Delhi accepted that they were cheating on their partners while in a relationship, divorce wasn't an option for 53% of the couples. And out of the 49% of the population that accepted that they were in a relationship, only 25% said that they loved their partner.

Gynecologists in cities like Bangalore believe that this is leading to more cases of unwanted pregnancies. Another survey revealed that just 43% of the youngster accept homosexuality. These numbers are a reflection that although we claim that we have come a long way in terms of sexual awareness, we are far from where we would expect to be.

What is the Impact?

These dual standards are leading to bigger problems in the country. According a study carried out by the World Health Organization, India accounted for the largest number of unwanted pregnancies globally. Out of the total women surveyed, 17.1 percent belonged to India.

Another important fact underlined by the body was that out of the 16.7 million unwanted pregnancies that occur every year worldwide, at least 15 million can be avoided by the use of proper contraceptive methods. Since youngsters are comfortable with the premarital intercourse but lack knowledge regarding safe sex and the consequences unprotected intercourse, it leads to many cases of abortion, according to best gynecologists in Bangalore.

Another survey conducted by Nielsen revealed the changing perception, especially in smaller cities. It showed that 42 percent women in small towns have sex at least two to three times in a week and a higher percentage in the metro cities have kissed between the ages of 12 and 21 years. Unfortunately, with a taboo on discussion issues related to sex, these youngsters do not have the knowledge to stay protected, leading to many problems, apart from unwanted pregnancies.

Yes, both men and women are opening up about physical pleasure but the change has been slow and needs to be supported by awareness programs to reduce the risk of any unfortunate consequences.


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