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Sonakshi Sinha’s upcoming movie Khandaani Shafakhaana revolves around getting people to talk openly about sex. Hopefully, this succeeds not just in reel life, but also in real life!
I have been lucky enough to have a rare experience in India – open, honest and uncensored conversations about sex. I got the opportunity because I studied Psychology, and we had a chapter on Sexual Dysfuctions. Our teacher, Mrs Tatke, without beating about the bush, or shying away or treating it as just another chapter, took the opportunity to make it a true learning experience, by throwing open the class to questions and discussions.
It was also around the same time that the “Ask the Sexpert” series, started appearing in the newspaper, featuring questions like these:
“I’ve heard that a lizard’s tail grows back when cut. I was curious if the same holds true for my penis?”
“I have heard that any kind of acidic substance can prevent pregnancy. Can I pour some drops of lemon or orange juice in my girlfriend’s vagina after the intercourse? Will it harm her?”
“I have a small penis and I can’t seem to satisfy my girlfriend. My astrologer has advised me to pull it every day for 15 minutes while reciting a shloka. I have been doing this for a month but it hasn’t helped. What should I do?”
Dr Mahinder Watsa’s replies to these questions are as hilarious as the questions themselves. However, while we may laugh, the fact that these questions are being asked is proof that that the state of sex education in India is dismal. Taboos around sex mean that it just not spoken about –at least not in the way it should be spoken about.
Which is why the trailer of Sonakshi Sinha’s upcoming movie, Khandaani Shafakhaana is a breath of fresh air.
The trailer, which Sonakshi Sinha shared on Twitter with the hashtag #BaatTohKaro, features Sonakshi’s character, Baby Bedi, being bequeathed a sex clinic belonging to an uncle. And while selling the clinic is lucrative, there is just one hitch – she must actually run the clinic for a minimum of six months, as per her uncle’s will. There is the obvious concern that “ladki hoke wo waale clinic jaayegi? (will she attend THAT sort of a clinic being a woman?” but Baby sets out to do so nevertheless.
She soon realizes that is easier said than done. “Kyunki sexual disorder ho gaya hai gupt rog and sex ho gaya hai gupt gyaan, (because sexual disorders and sex have become secrets)” she muses while complaining that while we account for 17% of the world’s population, we behave as if 130 crore people were born by eating “blessed bananas” instead of via sex. She realizes that she must get people talking about sex if she is to encourage them to come to the clinic.
This is when rapper Baadshah, who plays the role of a popular singer in the movie appears. The movie seems to revolve around her efforts to get him and others talking about sex.
In the past, movies like Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Savdhan have successfully used the romcom format to get people talking about, and generate positive perceptions about sensitive issues like sperm donation and premature ejaculation. Hopefully, this movie too will live up to everything the trailer promises.
Sex is not a dirty secret. It is a natural and essential part of life – one that ideally is a beautiful, pleasurable partnership, between consenting adults. When it not; when something is lacking, there should be no shame in seeking help. It should be as simple as going to see the doctor for a fever, or a broken bone.
And it isn’t just a personal problem. Lack of sex education has important public health implications. A study reported in 2014, by the central government-run Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), noted a distressing increase in sexually transmitted diseases among children, due to increased child abuse and absence of sexual health programmes in school curriculum. As this article points out, sex education can also help tackle India’s rampant sexual violence problem. And in India, it is not just the children who need sex education. The adults need it too.
“Main sex ko sex hi kehti hoon,” (I call sex by its name) Baby retorts to someone who challenges her in the trailer. That’s exactly the kind of plain talking we need.
Image source: YouTube
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