Dr Girija Wagh, Obstetrician, Gynecologist, IVF expertMD, FICOG, DIP ENDO, FICS
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Sex and Sexuality needs a relook in the current social context . With this also is the need for safety, race preservation, and health protection . this blog is an attempt to reach out to the young girls and boys, men and women, parents and teachers and all concerned to look at this very vital aspect of our being with a responsible and a new vision.
The social norms have changed phenomenally, especially so in the metros. Communication gateways have made interaction very easy and instant. Suddenly the society has become expressive and this need to express has also reached to sexual expression. Social networking and exposure to media content contribute to increasing interactions. Though Google restricts uploading of adult content, there are still such unrestricted videos in circulation which can arouse the feeling of sex. Access to Netflix and opening of global channels on the television has made it easy to connect to unnecessary censored contents through movies which may hold intimate scenes, many a time to attract good business. Many newspapers and paperbacks have advertisements and articles suggesting about intimacy, sexuality, and sex stimulating products. Sometimes these can cause unwarranted titillation especially for the young and the naïve.
There’s nothing wrong with having sex and expressing sexual needs and indulging in this very intense physical and emotional activity. But the scientific know-how for the same is essential. What’s important is, to know that there is a right time for such an indulgence and restraint is important. Your sexuality, need not be a ‘free for all‘ kind of an act. There has to be a thoughtful participation and this is important to differentiate humans from animals in making a conscious decision about a basic primitive emotion. Globalization has made us have mixed cultural and social norms which have changed our perception towards family values. Every society has its own culture and family norms and we have to make it our business to know “what our family value is ?”.
Social pressure, peer pressure, fear of being stigmatized or left out, can be the reasons of undue indulgence into sex and this definitely needs introspection. The pan India social structure today has widely accepted MARRIAGE as a proven and sacrosanct institution and we need to be aware of what it entails.
There are a few questions which we must ask ourselves and this can help guide make rational decisions and be safe
Many teenagers seem to be attracted to have physical intimacy and many a time without knowing the consequences that result. Adolescence is a phase where physical growth, sexual functionality, and emotional maturity are occurring simultaneously and at a gradual pace. Changing hormones are responsible for attraction towards the opposite sex. Affection, sharing, hanging together is fine but getting into physicality is not always fine as the young bodies are susceptible to infections, consequences of unwanted pregnancies and a huge emotional guilt. It’s better to accept the sexual urges to be as a result of changes in these hormones and accept them and practice restraint till one is capable of taking the responsibility for the consequences.
Every urge or craving, need not be indulged into. Energy levels can be directed towards activities such as sports, learning newer skills, physical fitness, cultivating hobbies, improving conversational skills, reading literature etc. Nature trails, treks, exploring the environment are wonderful ways of expressing physical urges and definitely better than sexual indulgences at the very young age.
Do not get carried away and learn to say no!! Peer pressure, wanting to be loved, trying to please others, low self-esteem, ignorance and lack of proper family guidance, acquired freedom due to living away from the family can make the youth indulge in sexual acts. Many young girls have confessed to indulging in sexual acts under the influence of alcohol or substance abuse. Some have been carried away and realized their mistake much later. It’s important to be alert and sensitive to safe touch and not so safe touch and boys, girls, women, and men need to identify these.
The sexual act is a natural expression of love and attachment which involves close physical contact and intimacy. Unfortunately, it may be expressed perforce violently as in a sexual assault or may be acquired by social pressure for material gains. Sometimes a lot of ignorance and myths prevail preventing the couple from the optimum experience. Expression outside the social framework and as a curiosity in the very young many times leads to guilt and many times unfortunate consequences. A simple rule for young ones is don’t do anything which you won’t be able to share with your mother or family. This is a simple self-rule to guide us in what is right and wrong.
It may not always be so. It’s important that both the partners are not suffering from any transferable diseases. It’s a good practice to be immunized against Hepatitis B for both woman and man. Women should be vaccinated against HPV infection which is acquired through sexual exposure and can lead to cancer of the cervix ( mouth of the womb ). Unwanted pregnancies and resulting abortions can be traumatizing and scar the delicate minds and the body permanently. It may also lead to some legal hassles. I have experienced many couples being ignorant about safe methods for preventing an unwanted pregnancy!
Every country has its legal framework called the “law of the land” . Some legal guidelines exist in our country which needs to be known especially so for the youth. Sexual intercourse with a minor girl ( less than 18 years ) is considered as sex without consent and equated to rape and is a punishable offense. Intimacy in public places, even kissing or hugging is an offense. Adultery ( i.e relationship outside the marriage ) is an offense, so are unnatural sexual practices.
Safety first is the principle to follow everywhere. Safety from physical, emotional and social trauma, protection from infections, unwanted pregnancy, and social stigmatization and legalities are vital to be understood within the context of the sexual expression. It also is necessary to prevent infections which can be mutually transmitted, leading to illnesses and challenges to the couple’s future fertility.
Abstinence can be the first step towards safe sex. Try to avoid situations where possibilities of unsafe sex may occur! Late night outings, driving into the wilderness all alone, clandestine associations can not only expose one to the possibility of unsafe sex but also to sexual assault from strangers and this needs to be envisaged and avoided. Be sure with whom we move around. Appearances can be deceitful and this needs to be remembered.
Just married? About to be married or already had it !! All these situations can be tackled by consulting a friendly doctor. Ask for the correct information about the act if not aware, measures to prevent infections and unwanted pregnancies, information about adult vaccinations, all can be asked to the doctor and learned about. If at all one did get carried away, consult a doctor to help you and improvise safety during sex.
Many infections are sexually transmitted. HIV, Hepatitis B, HPV, Chlamydial infections are all sexually transmitted and safety at sex is important. Many infections can be acquired due to poor hygienic practices during sex. Many unwanted pregnancies are needed to be terminated just because of unsafe sex and ignorance.
Consult your doctor for safety during sex and think before you act.
Dr. Girija Wagh, MD (Obstetrics & Gynaecology), FICOG, FICP, Diploma (Endoscopy, Infertility), Fellowship of Indian College of Ob-Gynec, Women health care specialist, Academician, Acclaimed Orator & Researcher, B. J. Medical 1990-1992, Topper University Of Pune 1992
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