Sex is not new for us. Though it is just as fascinating a topic, as it was in our teens. We as a generation have been kept away from the ‘talk’ (most of us). We got our un-baked knowledge, either through just as clueless friends or the media. The internet definitely gives us a very graphic and not necessarily the correct description about this natural process. Our next generation is going to be exposed to this much earlier and in a much dramatic and ‘Photo shopped’ way than we ever were. We feel it’s time to take sex out of the closet.
Initiatives taken by the media to address the sex talk –
Sex Chat with Pappu and Papa
Recently there has been a brilliant initiative from a YouTube channel ‘Y Films’, to spread awareness about the importance of having the sex talk with kids at a much younger age. The series, named ‘Sex Chat with Pappu and Papa‘ takes us through some serious conversations albeit in a very light hearted manner. They have covered topics like masturbation, homosexuality, periods as well as the basic sex explanation. The little Pappu played by Kabir Sajid, takes away the cake by his innocence with his questions and the trust in his father to explain the little nuances about this topic. The protagonist Papa, Anand Tiwari, explains things to him in a very direct way with examples which are much relevant to the current tech age. Like the similarity between a USB wire to transfer data in a hard drive, and the way how a sperm file is transferred to the egg.
The series has a conservative yet delightful Grandfather in Sachin Pilgaonkar who wants to keep his grandson away from these realities as long as possible. The grandfather adds a beautiful light hearted sparkle in the webisodes which strikes a much familiar chord.
The series did receive some flak for taking a child as young at 7 years old to expose him to these harsh realities. But the channel stands firmly by their intention.
In 2012, a Marathi film Balak Palak touched upon this topic of open communication between parents and kids in a beautiful way. If parents don’t make it into a taboo, the child will not go outside to unwanted influences looking for information.
Karan Johar and his blog
This topic was also touched upon, though lightly by Karan Johar in one of his blogs recently. He raises the question as to why don’t we celebrate our bodies and teach our children to do so. And why do we specially insist on passing on the shy, judgment oriented viewpoints to our children as well. Why hide it behind nicknames and innuendos and sniggers? He says, in his blog, it is time to call a penis, as penis.
What can we do about it?
The more the parents make it normal and biological for the child, the lesser his/her curiosity is going to be. Here are a few pointers on how to go about it –
Educational books about sex
There are a lot of good books available which cover this topic. Sit together and read these books with your kids. There are some good short films available too.
These are a few books that can be read with children.
- “Where did I come from” by Peter Mayle.
- “Amazing You! Getting Smart about your Private Parts”by Gail Saltz.
- “What’s the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys”by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown.
- “Menstrupedia Comic: The Friendly Guide to Periods For Girls” by Aditi Gupta, Tuhin Paul.
Normalize the human body
What these books do, and what should be done by all of us is normalize the human body. There is nudity and some amount of graphic explanation about sex. But it is as real as it can get. It is natural. Kids have to be taught that the airbrushed versions of human beings that they see on the media are not even close to the natural human body. Moreover, nudity is not disgusting to kids. It’s us who make it into a taboo topic. His/her private parts are as natural to him/her as a nose or eyes. Kids as young as 4 year old too, accept sex as a natural concept. A process that grownups do. That much of explanation and warning is enough to satisfy his curiosity.
Be open about sex with your kids
There was a beautiful blog by a mother ‘We don’t touch our Vulvas at the dining table’ and that blog resonated with me. The mother had such an open conversation with her daughter about body parts, how it is ok to feel the need to touch oneself, and how it is not good manners to do it in front of everybody but in the privacy of your bedroom. I just hoped that I could have such an open dialogue with my daughter at that age. Though, right now, we are at “We don’t scratch our bum in the living room” stage.
One thing is certain, our kids are going to be curious about all this much earlier than we were. They are going to attain puberty at a much earlier age. And the avenues to find out wrong information are also way too many. The best place for this information to come from is parents. And there is no wrong age for this communication to start. The more free and normal (or scientific) the parents are from the child’s young age, the more open this communication is going to be. They will definitely need their parents, to listen, understand and explain. That is when they will come to you with any of the real issues. It’s time to call the penis and vagina by their real names and be done with the ‘birds and the bees’ forever.