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Sex education literally refers to awareness about the various studies regarding human sexual behavior, reproduction, birth control and other sexual activities. It pertains to the knowledge of all those health issues and complications that may result from sexual practices. It also includes the information about a safe and healthy post-marital sex life. In the present times, the topic of sex education is one of the most pressing issues all over the world and specifically in Muslim countries such as Pakistan. Some people argue that sex education should be given in the educational institutions in order to inform the youth regarding the health concerns that come up due to the sexual enterprises. On the other hand, the critics of sex education are of the view that if sex education is promoted in educational institutions, it will imprint immoral and unhealthy images on the minds of young generation. Although sex education is greatly opposed for certain reasons but considering its possible returns and relevance to social and cultural context of Pakistan, it should be a part of the Pakistan’s educational system on university level so that the youth is fully aware of the ill consequences of sexual intercourses and consequently avoid such ventures to have sound life conditions.
It is a matter of common observation that the social and cultural traditions in Pakistan are far different from those of the western countries. Unlike western people, Pakistanis are of quite conservative concepts regarding adultery (immoral relations without having a marital relationship). At times, such sexual relations come up with different ways of social discontent. The regular study of newspapers depicts that murders in the name of honor killing are rampant in Pakistani society. In most of these cases, issues are of pre-marital pregnancies. The couples are killed when the pregnancy of girls is revealed. Likewise, many girls attempt suicide because of getting pregnant before marriage. The main reason behind this social unrest and suicides is unawareness. Most of the youngsters do not have sufficient knowledge about the complexities attached with sexual intercourses. These adults lose their lives in the way of fulfilling their sexual needs without having much understanding of the evil outgrowths of sexual exercises.
Furthermore, most of the men in Pakistan are not mentally prepared to accept those girls as their wives who have already lost their vaginal virginity. These men consider the loss of virginity solely due to sexual intercourse; they are unfamiliar to the fact that virginity can also be lost as a result of certain other factors such as physical accidents, cycling, swimming and playing other physical games. The results of various surveys assert that many women are divorced every year in Pakistan soon after their marriages as their husbands come to know that they are not virgin. “A survey carried by ‘Al-Bannat’, a Non Government Organization (NGO) reveals that 123 girls were divorced in years 2006 and 2007 alone in N.W.F.P because their husbands came to know that these girls have lost their virginity before getting married. But 87 out of these 123 girls were innocent and had lost their virginities for certain other reasons.” (Abbas, 7-9). The lives of such girls are ruined due to the ignorance on part of their husbands. Sex education becomes essential to save the lives of such individuals from being marred.
Additionally, sexual affairs may become a source of transmitting highly noxious diseases that can be fatal. For instance Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) AIDS which is a deathly disease can be transmitted through unsafe sexual practices. Similar other diseases such as Hepatitis, anal cancer and other Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) which will be discussed below in detail may be carried through sexual intimacies. After analyzing the importance of sex education in reference to health concerns of the individuals, it becomes extremely necessary to include sex education in the educational curriculum of Pakistan.
Similarly, sex education explains safe methods and precautions of copulation after marriage. Ignorance from proper methods of post-marital sex gives rise to several infectious diseases. For instance an infectious disease of vagina is caused by performing sex during menstruation (menses periods of women). In this disease, excessive bleeding takes place from the vagina of a woman. Other sexually transmitted diseases are also carried through inappropriate sex processes. “Many times, I receive cases in which the married patients even do not know about the basics of sexual intercourse, resulting in various complications. For example some couples are even unaware of the notion that they must avoid sex during menstruation.” (Fayyaz) Furthermore, ignorance of the proper sex techniques after marriage also creates certain social issues. For instance, sometimes a husband is uninformed about the suitable sexual methods that are required to fulfill the sexual needs of his wife; consequently he is unable to satisfy his wife’s sexual desires. This is also one of the factors of immoral relations of the women with men other than their husbands. Therefore, sex education must be provided in order to avoid the risk of such mishaps.
Likewise, gay sex prevails specifically in rural areas of Pakistan. Young people do not know about the injurious impacts of gay sex. These homosexual activists think that their homosexual relations do not come up with such troubles as sex with opposite gender bring. They depict their lifestyles to be healthy but actually the situation is quite opposite. These people need to be taught that this kind of sexual activities result in various diseases such as Syphilis. “Syphilis is a venereal disease that is caused due to gay sex which can spread throughout the body over time. This disease cause serious heart abnormalities, mental disorders, blindness, and can eventually lead to death.”(11-12)
Moreover, in order to fulfill the puberty desires, the practice of masturbation (manual sexual stimulation) is very common in the young breed of Pakistan. They are unfamiliar to harmful aftermaths of masturbation in the long run. Medical studies reveal that masturbation causes one to become impotent in later life. It can lead to loss of sight, mental illness and reduced sexual performance. Besides its adverse physical impacts, it also gives rise to some social problems. The young generation then devotes more time to such unhealthy activities rather than concentrating on their studies and giving time to healthy physical sports. They need to be made aware of this curse.
On the other hand, the critics of the sex education argue that if sex education is promoted in educational institutions, it will corrupt the minds of young people and ultimately they will tend to practice sexual exercises. While reservations of the critics hold valid in very limited and specific cases but their view cannot form the strong bases that sex education must not become a part of the educational system of Pakistan. Here the critics completely ignore the notion that humans are rational by nature. They analyze both sides of picture and consider the cost and benefit analysis for every issue. This notion is a firm base for the argument in favor of sex education. Because youth will be aware of the highly baleful outcomes of sexual plays, these woeful doings will be avoided to a large extent.
Similarly, opponents of sex education present the view that providing sex education in the educational institutions to both genders together will exploit the environment of these academies. This expected unfruitful result of sex education can be made void by providing sex education to males and females separately and by same gender instructors. If lectures regarding sex are arranged in separate classes for both males and females, there will be no such unfavorable outcomes and in turn gains from these lectures will help students to lead their lives more effectively.
Another major argument, which is put forward by the opponents of sex education, is that when individuals reach the age of puberty, their parents or other family members teach them about the sexual matters. And similarly newly married couples are given instructions by their elders about the proceedings of marital sex life, so then there exists no need for formal sex education in educational institutions. This argument of the opponent side does have some logic but here this point is note worthy that not every individual’s parents or elders are medical experts who can also provide them with the medical aspects of sexual matters. Most of the troubles are caused due to ignorance from the medical aspects of one’s sexual actions. Formal sex education covers almost every perspective of the sexual features; resultantly sex education becomes a necessity towards grooming of the youth.
                 To Conclude, the 21st century is marked by rapid growth and every day, new avenues of knowledge are explored for better understanding of human nature. We may or may not find cure for a number of diseases but through little attention and open mindness can at least prevent further damage caused by those diseases. A fact that can never be undermined is that ignorance leads to undesirable results in almost every domain of life. The time is ripe to take covers off from one of the sensitive issues of sex education and as much possible the terrible consequences caused by ignorance.

Written By: Muhammad Azhar Khan (LUMS)

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