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SexEd2

Punjab is a predominantly patriarchal agrarian society . Men head the family and women playing a subordinate role . Sikhism and Hinduism are the major religions , with Muslims and Christians as Minorties .

What are Punjabis thoughts on Sex , Sexuality , Transgender and Homosexuality ? Punjabi people are deeply religious and religion dictates sexual attitudes . Kam / Lust is an enemy and has to be controlled . Marriage is the culturally accepted institution in which sex can be practised . Religious upbringing keeps Sex as primarily procreation activity and abhors the pleasure side of it .Premarital sex is not accepted by society , young punjabis are often humiliated for having premarital relationships and are blamed for bringing dishonour to the family . Transgenders are not accepted in mainstream society and have to live on the fringes reduced to beggars dancing and singing on weddings and birth ceremonies . Fate of homosexuals is not good either , Homosexuality is a taboo subject . In the mainstream media we read a lot about Child sexual abuse , Molestation , Kidnapping , Rape , Honour Killings , Lovers on the Run , Vulgarity , Eve Teasing , Acid attacks by dejected lovers .Rarely do we hear or read about good scientific sexual education being taught and respect to alternative sexuality . In our own day to day life how many homosexuals , transgender do we know or are friends with . Do we allow our young adults to practice their sexuality in a healthy manner ? According to the Indian penal code , Sexual intercourse below the age of 16 even with consent is considered rape . Is this law not creating unjustified fear ? Cant teenagers be taught to live healthy sexual attitudes from the the time of puberty ? Are teenagers above the age of 16 free to practice their sexuality in a comfortable manner ? Are they free to be in love and be loved ? Homosexuality is considered illegal when scientific research shows 1 in 20 individuals will have homosexual behaviour .

Sex and sexuality remain a taboo subject . Society continues to feel that there is something wrong in talking about Sex .Teenagers live misunderstood about their sexual feelings , which often leads to abnormal sexual behaviour . It has created a rather rebellious, violent and vulgar form of sexual culture in our society .

Human beings evolved from primates and grew in to societies and cultures . Our evolution is no longer merely physical but also cultural . Sex happens to be the most important but a very misunderstood activity . Sex from being a physical evolutionary reproductive force grew into a cultural evolutionary force with ability to enrich or destroy a society . In cultures where sexuality is respected in all forms , sense of harmony prevails . Individuals feel liberated , great energy is released in all domains of life , helping the nations/culture to be truly powerful and robust .

Science and spiritual aspects of Sex have been deeply explored in India which lead to growth of science of Kokashastra , Tantra and Kamasutra in India. Dasam Granth written by Guru Gobind Singh in Chaitropkahyan chapters , mentions of Kokashastras and the different sexual postures conducted to achieve high states of orgasmic pleasures . It also talks about consumption of opium , bhang and wine and achieving sexual bliss with them . These chapters gives us a very important historical and cultural understanding about Sexuality in Punjab . Spirituality was pursued with an open understanding of Sex and Sexuality and consumption of Opium , bhang and wine was a part of society . Such writings for most of the Punjabis in the 21 st century appear to be shocking with SGPC/Government avoiding any debate on it .

Modern Punjabi society seems to be in a crisis arising from misunderstanding towards Sex and Sexuality . First of all is the fixation for a male child which has lead to high rates of female foeticide in Punjab . for 893 females there are 1000 Men . These extra 107 men find difficult to find partners , are frustrated , prone to violent behaviours and drug abuse . Its also given rise to a new industry of buying wives from other states . Sex education is rather absent in schools . This further aggravates the situation as unhealthy sexual attitudes prevail in the society . Premartial sex is on the rise as the society is becoming increasingly westernised . Women are asserting themselves and are breaking patriarchal norms . More and more youth wish to have live in relationships , which is opposed to the traditional mindsets of society . While the law in India states that sex above the age of 16 is ok , culturally its hard to find openness to premarital sex . This is the grey zone where many myths are prevailing and where the drug epidemic and HIV/Hepatitis is being fuelled .

Its high time for society to open itself to sex and sex education . Our mind has to be trained for the beauty and sanctity of the human body and sexual urges . Respect for all forms of sexual behaviour has to be encouraged and youth have to be taught about Safe Sex , which prevents unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases . By practising healthy sexual life , individuals will feel mentally and spiritually well . Having stable sexual relationships of ones choice is important for the growth of the individuals .According to medical science half part of the brain is male and other half is female , that is the masculine and feminine side . There is a sexuality which is going beyond the physical sexual organs . A physical male can be feeling like a female at times and the vice versa . This is close to what is sometimes described as the Aradhnareshwara in Indian Philosophy . In the Guru Granth Sahib there is an excerpt reflecting on the same philosophy – Nar mein Purakh , Purakh Mein Naar , Jaane So Brahmgyani . A new culture of Love beyond the physical has to be created without denying the physical sexual wants and tendencies . True artistic /creative expression stems form the feeling of equality of the sexual energies within oneself beyond the physical sex of the body

Sexuality is a dynamic phenomenon and there are no fix interpretations to it . While heterosexuality is essential , Homosexuality also plays its own role in society. Homosexuality is not just about the act of anal penetration . Its about the whole aspect of an emotional bonding and relationships .Relationships are more about meaningful interactions , which bring an experience of being free . Society has to train itself to see meaningfulness of alternative sexuality and see divinity in all aspects of Sexual behaviour .

I would like you to reflect on a very gay poem by sage Kabir a 14 th century saint .

Lying beside you,
I’m waiting to be kissed.
But your face is turned
And you’re fast asleep.

Though a buzz saw on my neck
Would sound sweeter than your snoring,
I’ll put my arms around you
And whisper in your ear:

I have one husband: you.
You have one wife: me.
Who’s there to come between us?
Beware, says Kabir,

Of the man you love.
He can be a tricky customer.

Separate us?
Pierce a diamond first.

We’re lotus
And water,
Servant
And master.
My love for you
Is no secret.

I’m the grub
To your ichneumon fly,

The river
To your sea,

The borax
To your gold,

Heightening its effect.

Tell me, wise one,
How did I become
A woman from a man?

I never got married,
Was never pregnant,
But gave birth to sons.

I fucked young men,
Too numerous to count,
And stayed a virgin.

In a Brahmin’s house,
I become a Brahmin’s wife;
In a yogi’s, a lay yogini;

In a Turk’s, I read the kalma
And do as Turkish women do;
And yet I’m always alone

Without a place to call home.
Listen, saints, Kabir says,
This is my body.

I don’t let
My husband touch it
Or anyone else.

Excerpted from Songs of Kabir, translated from Hindi by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, NYRB/ Hachette India-Black Kite 2011 (bilingual Everyman Classics’ edition).

Dr Sunny Sandhu MBBS , AIIMS . Musician . Environmentalist

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