Roti, Kapda, Makaan, Condom- Talking ‘sex’ with Dr.Deeksha Pandey
A KMC Professor is on a mission to spread awareness about reproductive health in Manipal, a topic that the student community in a university town of over 28,000 students, ironically, often shies away from.
In an effort to end the stigma associated with sex, we at The Manipal Journal sat down with Dr. Deeksha Pandey, Associate Professor, Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KMC, Manipal, and founder of Team 3D (Dreams, Desires Destiny), to discuss sex and how the next time you or anyone you know is faced with any reproductive issue, the best solution would be to come forward and take help.
How does sex education accommodate gender and does it tackle the situation differently when it comes to men and women?
We at Team 3D conduct workshops to spread awareness about reproductive health and safe sexual practices and the first thing to note here is that the workshops aren’t just for girls. Boys have to be held equally accountable. Frequent sexual activity isn’t a problem just for women; men suffer too. Gender doesn’t matter when it comes to education.
Is having frequent sex really a problem? Sex is often a subject of controversy and we are instructed to refrain from even talking about it. But, is it really all that bad?
First of all, there is a difference between ‘lots of sex’ and ‘lots of partners’. The latter is where the problem lies. Monogamous relationships, while impractical in this day and age, are the best. Polygamy is dangerous, regardless of the gender. The risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) doesn’t double with each additional sexual partner. Rather, it exponentially increases as each of your sexual partners could, in turn, have multiple sexual partners. Now, monogamy is, quite frankly speaking, improbable. So, the next best alternative is to use contraceptives. Roti, kapda, makaan, and condoms is the way to go.”
We cannot blame an 18-year-old for doing something that they were never told was wrong. If we have to blame someone, it has to be the society, the parents and to an extent, the teachers.
When should we begin sex education? With a sensitive topic such as this, precautions are necessary. Then, how exactly do we go about the process?
3D, as of now, starts sex education at 18 because we can directly approach students rather than obtaining consent from their guardians. Ideally speaking we would like to start at 13. It is no secret that teenagers start speaking about sex at a very young age. With no adult to talk to, they turn to the internet where misinformation is rampant. To prevent this, parents need to be the first educators. While it may be initially uncomfortable, it is necessary for parents to have an open dialogue with their children so as to destigmatize what is only natural. That way, events such as teenage pregnancies have fewer chances of occurring and when they do occur, they will know whom to turn to for help.
When it comes to formal education, sex education must be included as a part of the school curriculum. Knowing the parts of the reproductive system isn’t sex education and students must be made well aware, well in advance.Moreover, when we speak about sex education, we must not ignore the mental health aspect of it. An abortion, for example, has effects not only on a person’s physical health but also on their psychological well-being. Thus, sex education must include counseling and therapy for affected members while providing preventive counsel to the unaffected populace.
Despite its importance, sex is seldom taken as seriously as it should be. In Manipal, especially, we often see the topic being trivialized and joked about. Should students be encouraged to come forward to Kasturba Medical Hospital, to deal with the termination of pregnancies?
They need to come forward to KMC, rather than shady clinics. There is a marked difference in the way surgical procedures are carried out in an educational institution compared to other private institutions. Students should not resort to easier solutions for fear of judgment.
This “termination of pregnancy” or abortion, as discussed above, is a topic of frequent discussion in modern society. Is it ethically correct? What are the medical implications? Is it in line with our moral values? India is one of the very few countries with relatively liberal abortion laws where abortion is legal up to the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. Why, then, is the rate of illegal abortions so high?
There are certain criteria that must be fulfilled according to the MTP Act, (Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971). The power is with the doctor who also needs to fulfill certain criteria in order to be able to perform abortions. Knowing all these norms exist, people resort to illegal abortions.
Barring college students, adults need to be educated as well. The majority of the Indian adult population remains ignorant when it comes to the risks and repercussions of unsafe sex. Awareness works in a pyramid format. When we educate a 100 people, each of them must be in a position to educate a 100 more people.
With contributions from Prajwal Bhat.
Edited by: Shriya Ramakrishnan.
Featured Image courtesy: MTTN