For as long as it’s known; sexual health has remained a taboo which is preferred to be kept hidden. Parents are petrified of talking to their children about it, and teachers too fail to educate their students about this issue!
A lot of focus is put on the physical and mental health of youngsters, but their sexual health is unfortunately ignored. Do you know why? Because of the general consensus that sexual health is something that is likely to corrupt young minds. Sadly, the truth is actually the opposite. It is the lack of awareness that is misleading.
The Nation’s Stand on Sexual Health
Due to the limited information regarding this controversial issue in our country, risky sexual behaviors have increased over the years. These include premarital sex, abortion, prostitution, increased sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), bisexual orientation and even the likeability of keeping multiple partners. Sexual health is seen to be entangled in misconceptions, societal stigmas and general fears throughout the minds of Pakistani citizens. Research shows that more than half the population has no clue about STDs, girls tend to perceive menstruation as the ability to give birth, taking a bath during menses is thought as being harmful for health, eating disorders are linked with damaging effects on men’s sexual abilities, and the list goes on. What does this lead to? Definitely a higher rate of sexual abuse and negative psychological effects on all those who lack information about their bodies.
Steps to Help Raise Awareness
Recognizing the rights of youngsters to gain access to adequate knowledge about their sexual health; several NGOs have come forward to address this issue through different methods. The most prominent among them is Rahnuma, a company that encourages people to talk about sexual matters through a toll-free helpline. This serves a savior for all those who feel that they don’t have any other source of guidance. The helpline connects you to a professional counselor who helps you tackle difficulties pertaining to your sexual health anonymously. Various issues like forced marriages, domestic violence, abortion, and reproductive health are addressed here. In addition, the NGO spreads awareness by conducting workshops in rural areas and universities, and also by arranging a comprehensive sexual education program to target the overall well-being of the people of Pakistan in an affordable and qualitative manner.
Diminish the Secrecy of Sexual Health
Have you ever wondered why we feel so ashamed of talking about matters pertaining to sexual health? What is the twisted logic behind parents, teachers and the education ministry to keep children away from gaining sex education at an appropriate age? Why don’t they realize that unawareness or misinformation of this cultural taboo can actually be dangerous and even affect a child’s self-esteem and confidence level negatively?
It’s high time to understand that emphasis on sexual health is not obscene. It does not teach one to engage in sexual activities at an early age. Instead, it keeps them well informed about the biological, physiological, and social aspects of leading a safer and healthier life. Sexual health does not only revolve around the knowledge regarding the physical act of sex, as many may assume. In fact, it encompasses many other important aspects, such as gender identity, awareness about sexual abuse, prevention of STDs, physical changes during puberty, birth control measures, etc.
Remember, your health and well-being are totally precious matters. Although the efforts and impact of media, to serve as a platform of facilitating introspection of this issue, on a national level cannot be denied; there is still a lot more that can be done for the complete wakefulness of the Pakistani society. We need to break through the religious and cultural stereotypes to achieve complete control of our sexual health rights. A shift in thinking is highly required in order to make this subject more open for discussions!