Sex Education in Bangladesh – Girls Edition

NIRAPOD SHARIRIK SHOMPORKHO!
EISHOBE HOU JODI SHOTORKO,
AIDS THEKE REHAYE TOBEEEEE!
BACHTE HOLEEY JANTE HOBE.

This used to be one of my favorite songs to sing as a kid. No story here, just a random 10 year old kid who heard a catchy tune on a BTV AD. This is back when the AIDS Awareness (Bachte Holey Jante Hobe) Campaigns started. They released stuff like these:

sex ed 3
What is a 10 year old supposed to make of that? For all I know, this could be a song out of a Dipjol movie. But of course, they are talking about you wearing a condom before getting things ON. Obviously. And Bengali parents are so uncomfortable with giving their children the ‘sex’ talk (to say the least, they will try to get hold of some of Hojor’s Panipora if their 10 year old asks them about ‘SAAX’), that my parents let me sing that in front of relatives who came over; and all this time I thought the weird looks I got were because I had a terrible voice. But hey, no harm done as long as the respective uncles/aunties heard my melodious voice in their heads the last time they went to the pharmacy and picked up a raja condom.

If you’re a guy, you could buy a raja condom or you could buy these but in the end, if your dick is small nothing will matter. Jokes. Size does not matter as long as you know how to please your girl. Or guy.

At least I was only singing songs to raise sexual awareness. Some other 10 year old girls were finding blood in their underwear for the first time, crying because they thought they were dying from some terrible affliction and that it was their fault somehow. When they finally went to their moms, the only thing they got was a Senora pad, and a tutorial on how to use it. That’s it. Just give me some adult Pampers to soak the blood, Mom. Don’t tell me why I am bleeding out of my vagina; I AM NOT AT ALL SCARED SHITLESS THAT THE WHITE SHEETS I SLEPT ON LOOK LIKE THE JAPANESE FLAG NOW! Then of course, when you try to slip into the bathroom with a Senora pad and your 5-year old sister asks, “why have you got a diaper in your hand?” You bark, “why do you think people need diapers?” And you let your sister think you have trouble controlling your pee. I mean, you can’t really tell your 5-year old sister how a vagina basically resembles Satan’s head and if you’re ‘lucky’ you’ll have to deal with Lucifer’s Waterfall once a month and use adult diapers, can you?

Coincidence? Think not.

While we’re on the subject of Lucifer’s Waterfall running free every month, the male population of our country seems to be hugely ignorant of its existence or they like to harass girls on purpose. Below is an example of the kinds of embarrassing situations we have to face because of said male population’s seeming ignorance of female biology- in this particular situation, this is what we hear when we have to refrain from fasting while on our period:

Friends: “OMG dost tui etto weak roja rakhte paros na?”
Distant family members: “Accha tumi na chotobela theke roja rakhta, ekhon ar roja rakho na keno?”
Colleagues: “Hehehe apu apni roja rakhen nai keno? Oshushtho?”
Random strangers: “Oi dekh oi meye roja na. Nastik blogger ekta.”

Anyway, of course our parents would not tell us that sex is a natural biological process, we would just have wait for our school to teach us about it, and surely they would. Hah. I choose to refer to this screenshot if anyone asks me whether they teach sex ED in Biology classes.

Sex ed2

Up until 8th grade, they expected us to believe that mitosis is the only type of cell division and that we reproduced in the same way as bacteria. But we had to know. The Hindi serials we watched with our buas had girls getting pregnant on every week’s Thursday episode and there was no earthquake the night before but the bed still shook twice. So we gathered up our best resources. An Oxford Dictionary, our elder sibling’s biology textbook or one of those ‘TELL ME HOW’ illustrated books, a pencil and paper and got down to business! When we got to know the truth in such excruciating detail, well let’s just say that the thought of our parents seeing each other naked in order to give bring us to this world got us like:

Now that we knew what our parents did in the bedroom, the probability of us having to do that sometime in the future began to sink in. We are expected to look forward to having sex with a complete stranger, who owns 5 ‘flat baris’, and has a phD in engineering but a job at a bank. It’s almost like sex is something that happens TO us, not WITH us. Talking about sex is a taboo here, and girls talking about it, is like seeing Bigfoot take a dump – something people find both hard to believe and disgusting but yet fascinating, in a way. If you want to categorize them, there are mainly two categories of girls who initially view sex as:

1. Something despicable that savage animals do; they get uncomfortable at the very thought of sex, and you hear a lot of “ew, do I really have to do that?”
2. Something that humans have to do so you might as well learn to accept it, and they work really hard at accepting this fate. “So I have to let a guy insert his pee-pee inside my pee-pee? Since it appears that adults are okay with it, I might learn to be okay with it when I’m older.”

These girls evolve, and their categories can be broken off into more brunches. The first one mentioned above eventually learns to accept it. However, you will never find them talking about or being anywhere near a discussion about it. If they accidentally stumble upon one, they will go out of their way to ignore what’s being said. Yeah, I might eventually have to do it but let’s ignore it until it’s knocking at the door of my bashor ghor.

The second category mentioned above can evolve into the following:
1. The crazy romantics, who think that sex is every bit as cute as the phrase ‘going at it like bunnies’, you hear a lot about scented candles, bubble baths and ‘The Notebook’ from them.
2. The BDSM loving Dominatrix kind, and they are not as rare as you’d think.
3. Something really, really fun because yay, clitoris!

Accepting the theory is one thing, it’s a different story altogether to see something with your own eyes. We all know boys masturbate. But we don’t expect to see it until the day we happen to look over where the boys are sitting in biology class in grade 9. Yeah, that one guy who talks weirdly and has no friends? His hands are in his pants and making weird movements in there while your teacher is finally teaching meiosis cell division. Yes, he is fapping away at diagrams of cell division. I don’t know what’s more disgusting: seeing that or a laughing colors meme. At some point we learn that girls too can masturbate and have dreams of the wet nature, but it is usually regarded with disgust or awe, depending on the category you belong to. You never hear about someone accepting it normally. So you let the hand shower linger in the BLEEPBLEEP-zone and it feels tingly and kind of good. But that’s as far as it gets because let’s face it, my vagina is not a part of my body. It’s something out of the world which only the pee-pee of a banker with a PhD in engineering will have access to in due time, never me. Masturbating is a sin which only boys can commit, like a lot of other sins.

We want to know what it actually is like, so we’ll be picking up mature rated fanfictions, smutty novels; some might also stumble upon a choti boi hidden between seats in the school bus. The really brave ones will try watching porn. Some won’t open their eyes and let the whole thing run, some will open their eyes but will be so overcome with laughter or disgust that they will forget to actually watch the thing. Some will watch some more, but never at the rate I’ve known guys to. Nilkhet dealers won’t be serving porn to us either. Once I was buying a shitload of movies from New market, and one DVD cover looked like it would be a nice mild romantic-comedy. The dokandaar wouldn’t sell it to me though. He was very adamant about it. “Eita apnar jonno na mama. Eta boroder cinema. Apni eigula dekhen” and he shoved another pile of movies into my 13-year old hands. I tried to argue, but he took the cd and put it up in a rack that out of my reach. And that’s the story of how I accidentally tried to buy porn and failed.

There are so many things going on in the female reproductive system and most girls don’t even know half of it, because glued out pages from Biology text books on human reproduction do only so much to educate them. Even though sex ED would change the way most girls view their bodies, and sex itself. How sex does NOT equal love and make it okay for a guy to do ’50 Shades of Grey’ –ish things to you when YOU do NOT want to. Even though it would have let 9 year old girls know the danger zones and how to avoid them, given the various recent incidents popping up in the news, this is pretty important.

But that would mean adults talking about sex to kids so that they can protect themselves and let’s face it – that’s just outrageous! And hey who needs sex ED – what with Dipjol singing songs about how much a sexy cleavage makes him want to fart (watch Poot Koira Dimu on YouTube for more), and Dhalliwood releasing songs like ‘amaye chushe chushe khaa’, and Bengali rappers going on in their futile attempts to find something to rhyme with ‘girl, you so hot, amar jhal lage!’

Let’s stick to letting them believe that pre-marital sex causes cancer and that masturbation (not puberty) causes severe acne, while everyone keeps objectifying women, including your grandmother, and go back to acting like the responsible citizens that we are.

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