Our Teens Need Better Sex Ed, Not A Ban On Buying Contraceptives!

Curiosity about sex and sexuality is natural and inevitable in teenagers, and banning sale of contraceptives will only make our kids secretive instead of safe.

We can assume that in a country with a population of over 140 crore human beings, there is a lot of sexual intercourse happening. In spite of this fact however, we as a nation are terribly squeamish of anything to do with sex. It is seen as something to be hidden away, something that must not be spoken about, specially before kids.

Some parents pretend as though sex doesn’t even exist and we are all born of immaculate conception! The recent news about the refusal to sell contraceptives to minors is actually a result of this attitude.

Banning sale of condoms and contraceptives to minors

The Bangalore Mirror has reported that the Karnataka state’s Drugs Control Department has issued a diktat to pharmacy outlets. According to the report, the department has issued a circular to drug retailers not to sell contraceptives to minors.

The reason for this is said to be the recent incident where a random checking of bags in schools had surprise results. They were looking for cell phones and found contraceptives, cigarettes and so on in the bags of students as young as grades VII, IX and X. Now while parents would understandably be shocked, this may not necessarily be a cause for worry.

Sexual curiosity is natural and yes, healthy

As the tweet above points out, banning contraceptives is unlikely to be effective. During adolescence, with all those raging hormones, sexual curiosity is only natural. If a child wants to explore those new-found sensations, this is natural too.

While a lot of parents are exceedingly uncomfortable with the thought of their children as sexual beings, maybe this is a discomfort they need to overcome. It is unfortunate that most kids get their ‘sex education’, such as it is, from peers, porn and hearsay. They don’t get it from reliable and safe sources such as a parent or teacher or other trusted adult.

Controlling female sexuality is an unhealthy preoccupation

What is unhealthy and unnatural is when kids bury their curiosity and burgeoning sexual awakening and hide it away as something to be ashamed of. It is unhealthy when sex is seen as something dirty; desire something to be ashamed of.

In particular, girls are made to feel a lot of shame and guilt around desire and sexual curiosity. It doesn’t help that so many families seem to repose family honour or ‘izzat’ in the chastity of their women.

Comprehensive sex education is important

Image source

Several studies, such as this American study have demonstrated the connection between lack of proper sex education and higher rates of teen pregnancy. Access to comprehensive sex education helps children satisfy their curiosity and encourages responsible behavior.

When parents don’t express revulsion or disapproval vis-à-vis sex, children are comfortable about approaching their own parents when they have a question about sex. This creates a safe space for kids and keeps the lines of communication open; all vital for a healthy attitude towards sex as well as a sense of self in children.



Banning is never a solution as we see repeatedly in the case of, say banned books or even alcohol prohibition. If people want to do something, they find ways to do it. Banning only serves to drive the activity underground; to be continued in unsafe and clandestine ways.

So, if the Karnataka drugs controller thinks that banning the sale of contraceptives will discourage teen sex, he is wrong. What he will end up doing is preventing safe teen sex.

Image source: a still from the film Gippi

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About the Author

Reena Daruwalla

A former lawyer, now freelance writer, fauji wife, mother, singer, knitter and lover of my own cooking, I have altogether too many opinions and too few convictions. The more I learn the more I am read more...

38 Posts | 27,040 Views

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