I’m sure that in Kerala, there won’t be a single practising male gynecologist. The reason for that is of course the incredible reticence that people have about talking sex. Of course, that’s not a polite (ahem) inter-gender topic anywhere, but I’ve noticed this taboo extending to even simple and commonplace issues, the least of which is sex education. Ever noticed when girls around you don’t go to the temple? Everybody knows about the monthly “problem” that they have, but no girl I’ve known has admitted it. The first time I figured it out I was genuinely puzzled at their inability to say it outright. Nowadays I shrug it off. And oh, this isn’t about girls alone. I’ll be too embarassed to provide examples on my side of the gender (and oh, then there’s the other reason I talked about).
I’m sure too, that this attitude is dangerous. In Kerala, bad things don’t happen to us. All the bad things that we see on TV remain there – behind the pixellated screen. It’s all the fault of the Western Culture, all of us around here are sane, healthy people who are don’t do these ugly things. Sex? Sex is ‘something’ that married people do. But let’s glaze over that and come to babies. They are so much more presentable.
I remember the first time in school that a teacher tried speaking to us about sex. He was a pretty progressive priest (my school is run by Jesuits) and he started off by writing this on the blackboard: “Sex is Sacred”. And then, in the next thirty or so minutes, proceeded to totally embarass both himself and us. That’s the first time I distinctly remember that I saw this caginess in our culture, and I’ve found it many times since.
I’ve also noticed that it’s worse between parents and children and among older people. The least you can do if you’re a parent is to tell your children that sex isn’t bad, and then tell them where they can find good, correct information about it. That’s over at Scarleteen in case you didn’t know.