Thank God for PornHub.
I have a very close relationship with Catholicism.
I studied in Catholic schools all my life. I even ended up dating a devout catholic for a while before shit hit the fan.
We all know that the Catholic views on sex are abstinence based. Unless you are married, don’t think about it. Don’t do it. Sin, Sin, Sin!
So when I was in high school, we used to have these retreats once or twice a year where priests would touch our lives with their divine wisdom. Although I’m a full blown atheist now, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. There was music. It was peaceful.
One of the priests, a really old one, had a lot to say about education, religion, God and life in general. Some of them, really good things. But some? Not so much.
Sex, for example.
He told a room full of giggly uncomfortable adolescents a story about a boy who masturbated so much that when he grew up, he was ‘out of juice’ and couldn’t have children. He told us that whenever we jerk off, God is watching.
A moment of silence for all my schoolmates with exhibitionist tendencies who heard that and got a boner.
He told us making out is gross. About how important it is to hold on to our virginities until we get married. And about the fact that the only purpose of marriage and sex is procreation. He even told us the best time to conceive. It’s 4:30 AM, if you are wondering. He’d probably be dead by now and laughing in his grave, below a tombstone with a very evangelical epitaph.
Although I make fun of his attempt at sex education, that was actually the only sex ed I ever got. Not just me, a lot of people I know who grew up in a place like Kerala.
There’s no talk about the birds and the bees between most parents and children. If it weren’t for porn, I still wouldn’t know how straight people have sex. I mean, I did learn in school about the biological side of getting someone knocked up. But my imagination was too gay to even think about the actual physical process. Not that I needed to know, let’s be real. But it’s good to know where babies come from, right?
But I can’t really say my parents completely avoided giving me ‘the talk’. My mom used to subscribe to this weekly magazine for women. And of course, I used to read it because there’s this ‘ask the sexologist’ section in it, which was unbelievably hilarious and kind of hot.
Once they had this whole section dedicated to tips on how not to fuck up raising a teenager. It said that, one of the best ways to have ‘the talk’ with your teenager, if you are not bffs with them, is to buy a good sex ed book and just leave it somewhere in the house where they can find them. No awkward conversations. Win-win.
A few days later, I found this strange booklet on the coffee table that had the picture of a teenage boy and girl hugging Jesus and holding hands. Inside, I found the answers to all the questions burning in my hormone-filled puberty mind. It ranged from body grooming to masturbation to how to stop having feelings for your lovely classmate. And it repeated the same things the old priest told us during the retreat.
It’s interesting that my Hindu parents chose a very religious Christian booklet to give their son sex ed. It’s almost as if the Christians were the only ones who cared enough to talk about it. They were not doing it right, but they still did something!
There have been attempts at sex ed reforms in Kerala, to try to include it as a part of the curriculum and take religion out of it. But that irked the moral police so much that they called the whole attempt porn! The fact that the syllabus talked about sex as a human need and not a process for pumping out babies was too much for the Malayali folks. The nerve! The audacity!
My parents still wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of sex or anything related to it. Not even menstruation! Even for gay boys I think it’s important to know what one half of humanity goes through every month. Recently, my mom was trying to tell me that my aunt wouldn’t be joining us for a family get-together because she was “ill” and couldn’t travel. I kept asking what the illness was and she kept beating around the bushes, never actually saying what it was. My sister had had enough and jumped in and said ‘Oh c’mon. She’s not coming because she’s on her period!” The look on my mother’s face when she heard her 28 year old daughter telling her 24 year old son about the existence of menstruation was something I should have photographed but didn’t.
So if you don’t want your child to learn about sex from priests or PornHub, it would be wise to just talk about it.
Let’s talk about sex, baby!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com.
By Arjun Raj
Illustration by Eshna Goenka