Lifestyle/Leisure

Love Matters: Beyond sexual fantasies and myths, turning a new page for honest sex education

Written by PaperDabba
Written by Mansi Dua | Published: October 12, 2018 6:10:13 pm

sex education, me too, sexual health

Sex education that aims to provide an open, healthy and non-judgemental environment. (Source: Getty)

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“I grew up in an environment where we were told that people who talk about ‘these’ things are bad,” Vithika Yadav remembers her biology teacher skipping the chapter on human reproduction while teaching her class. “Sex has always been a subject of curiosity, but instead of coherent sex-education, we get to know about it only via pornography or taboo stories,” she says.

In 2011, Yadav took things into her hands and launched Love Matters, a web-portal that allows people to talk about sex in an open, honest and non-judgemental manner. “Young people want to know about sex from a reliable source, but do not wish to talk about it to their parents. Love Matters is the only space on the web where people can discuss their problems, ask questions, and read articles on sex and sexuality,” she says.

Love Matters is a research-driven platform that aims to provide unbiased information to people between the age of 18-30. While it is focussing on young adults, Aditi Gupta’s Menstrupedia Comics aims to provide sex education to a different audience.

“When I was young, I never had a healthy conversation about menstruation with anyone. This led me to make a comic book that explains it to growing girls and boys,” Gupta says. Menstrupedia Comics was created and launched in 2012 and is now used in more than 18 countries. “I want to make sure that no girl has unpleasant period memories,” she says.

Aditi Gupta also conducts workshops on menstruation across the country and says she has the most interesting sessions with boys. “They always ask the toughest questions and are so inquisitive. But once they start understanding, I have seen that it makes them sensitive towards girls.” Going by the positive response Menstrupedia Comics received, Gupta is working towards more such books.

“We are working to design a comic book on boys puberty that will explain nightfall, wet dreams, and masturbation to them. We believe it will help them have a healthy discussion about sex when they grow old.” Gupta is also looking forward to making a book on pregnancy and contraception. “Our aim is to remove the taboo that is linked to sex and make it fun, interesting and accessible,” she says.

Vithika Yadav is also in the middle of her project that aims to impart sex education to the teenagers. “We are in the researching process and trying to find out what kind of information they need and we will then build something around that.”  

A generation free of sexual taboos

Both Yadav and Gupta want to create an environment that is open, healthy and non-judgemental when it comes to sex. “We know social norms do not change overnight and there is still a long way to go, but we want to make people aware and get them talking,” Yadav says.

Gupta acknowledges menstruation has now become a ‘trendy’ topic of discussion and prides at the fact that Menstrupedia Comics was one the first websites that openly talked about menstruation. “Of course, the wave of feminism, Twinkle Khanna and Arunachalam Muruganantham play a huge role, and we are glad that we have come so far.”

“From pre-marital sex and masturbation to homosexuality and relationships, Love Matters talk about everything, and unlike what most people expected, we have never received any backlash. Although we encountered certain problems with Google and Facebook, due to their policies, that also got sorted out after we explained to them that it is educational and not vulgar,” Yadav says.

Asked how she feels about the success of Menstrupedia, Gupta says, “I feel proud when girls appreciate it. The most common feedback that I receive is ‘where was this when I was growing up?’ and it strengthens my belief that we can raise a generation that is free of menstrual taboos.”

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