Indians enjoy happy sex lives, but know little till 15

June 29th, 2008 - 12:38 pm ICT by IANS  

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt
New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) Indians lead fulfilling sex lives but get their first formal sex education at a little over 15 years of age as compared to the West where lessons on the birds and the bees start from 12, says a new global study Though Indians know how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, awareness on how to avoid pregnancy is very low.

These are the findings of the “Face of Global Sex 2008 - The path to sexual confidence” survey conducted among 26,000 people in 26 countries by condom manufacturer Durex to explore the effectiveness of sex education.

“India starts sex education for children a little after 15 years, though in Western countries it starts from 12 onwards,” the report said.

This could be one of the reasons why Indians had little knowledge of how to avoid pregnancy. Indians scored a mere 70 percent, even less than Japan at 70.9 percent. The highest was scored by South Africa (86.5 percent) and Spain (86 percent).

“These results highlight the need for good school-based education. Unfortunately, in many countries high quality school-based sexual education is lacking,” the report said.

The study also found that most Asian countries fell well behind Western countries when it came to being confident about protecting themselves against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS.

It pointed out that in Mexico, a child receives formal sex education at the age of 12 - perhaps the reason why its people scored one of the highest (81.6 percent) on overall confidence about sex.

“Comprehensive and inclusive sex education between the ages of 11 and 16 is vital for people to develop sexual confidence in later life. Also, those who have more confidence are better equipped to protect themselves against STIs and unwanted pregnancies,” it said.

In Asia, India and China are the two countries that start sex education in school when children are 15 years and above. Other countries in the region start education either a little before or a little after a child turns 14.

Indians, however, seemed to fare better as far as other Asian countries were concerned on knowing where to go for help and guidance on sex.

While India scored 68.8 percent, Malaysia stood at 67.6 percent and China scored 66.1 when it came to knowing where to go for help on sex. The other countries were Singapore (66.1 percent), Hong Kong (63.2 percent) and Thailand (61.7 percent).

The survey showed that Japan scored less in terms of most criteria - not only in Asia but globally too. Despite Japan starting sex education at 12 years, they are the least confident about sex (58.8 percent), have no idea whom to turn to for guidance (42.4 percent) and how to avoid pregnancy (70.9 percent).

No wonder people in Japan do not lead a happy and fulfilling sex life. They scored 54.3 percent - the lowest in the world - with the highest scored by Brazil (79.6 percent), Mexicans (78.4 percent) and Nigerians (78.2 percent) in this aspect.

India scored 72.4 percent as far as having a good sex life was concerned. As compared to other Asian countries, it scored a little less than Malaysia that got 73.5 percent.

In this aspect, India was also better off than Germany, France, Australia, Poland, Russia, Singapore and Thailand as far as having a fulfilling sex life is concerned, the report said.

The report found that although parents and guardians were the most successful confidence boosters, they were only listed as the eighth most likely source to be approached for sex education - falling well behind friends, the internet and TV.

There were also distinct gender differences in terms of where people go for information on sexual issues. Males were more likely to use the media - magazines, the internet, TV and radio - or institutional sources.

Females, on the other hand, preferred more interpersonal sources, such as parents, partners, family and doctors.

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