AIIMS sexual health seminar gets youths’ thumbs up

July 29th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Use your cell-phones to plot your menstrual chart, instructed doctor Kiran Singh of the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) to a bunch of wide-eyed women, mostly college students in their late teens and early twenties, at the hospital premises Tuesday. “Set your date, chart your cycle period and put a reminder for yourself on your cell phone so that you know when is the safe sex period. Make use of technology to take care of your sexual health,” the doctor said.

The occasion was a two-day seminar on Pre-marriage Training Course for Happy Married Life, the first-of-its-kind sex orientation and awareness programme for young men and women above 18 who plan to tie the knot soon.

The seminar threw up several misconceptions about sexual intercourse, hygiene, methods of contraception and fears that arose mostly from poor awareness and lack of communication between the two partners.

Instructors sought to alleviate these with witty repartee, practical and innovative advice and detailed lectures about the process of reproduction.

The open-house workshop July 29-30, inaugurated by AIIMS acting director T.D. Dogra Tuesday, aims to remove misconceptions about sex and teach youngsters from the Indian urban middle-class that healthy sexual practices and knowledge of the human reproductive system, along with effective communication, are the pillars of a happy married life.

Thirty youngsters - 26 men and four women - registered on Day 1. The workshop that began with a session on Pillars of Happy Life dwelt on topics like human and sexual anatomy, communication and sexual problems and their treatment, contraception, screening for genetic diseases before marriage and commonly transmitted sexual diseases.

According to Bir Singh, professor with the Health Promotion and Communication Unit of AIIMS who conducted the key sessions, the four major hindrances in lives of young couples are lack of understanding about the human body and sex, inability to give space to each other and not-so-close communication.

“These are influenced by the broad family and the socio-cultural milieu and the total taboo on talking about sex. The low status of women in a male-dominated society also affects sexual lives,” Singh told IANS.

While Indian girls had no role to play in matters of sexual choices and expectations and were more worried about the methods of contraception, boys were generally more worried about the size of their penis, sexual performance and intercourse time.

“We will host another two-day seminar in October because we have been besieged with enquiries from both India and countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on email,” he said.

“The workshop was a great help,” said Parul Agrawal, an M.Sc. student from Madhya Pradesh, after the first session. She is planning to marry in December.

“My fianc

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