When was the first time you learned about sex? For many of us, it was before we turned 18, regardless of whether we had the correct information.
Bombay Begums came under fire for its depiction of minors (high-schoolers) engaging in sexual activities. It brought up the debate of how sexuality in media affects children and whether they should even consume such content. But if this is something we all knew in school and probably participated in during our teenage years, what’s the big deal? Why is it problematic, and why should we talk about it?
Sexual Development Begins Early
Sexual development, sexuality, and sex are often used interchangeably in our conversations.
Sexual development, like any other form of human development, begins right when we are born. Health studies show that it is normal for children, as young as 7, to be curious about their bodies and have questions about sex. The way our parents and our school respond to these questions forms our first lessons in sexuality.
So if our parents reacted negatively, in aggression, or disgust, or disapproval, it leads us to believe that anything related to sex, including our feelings and our bodies, is wrong.
In an Indian family, these conversations are almost non-existent. I cannot recall one incident, apart from talking about periods, where my parents spoke to me about sex. If I ever asked, they ignored me or lied to me.
This makes children see their parents as less credible sources and discourages them from opening up about uncomfortable, or even dangerous, situations that may come up later in their life. When parents actively disengage from these topics, that is when pre-teens or teens turn to media for answers.
Sex Is Everywhere (Well… Sexual Content)
I was 15 or 16 when my friends and I watched Fifty Shades of Grey. As an adult now, I am…