World Sexual Health Day: ‘Sex still a hush-hush topic, youths need healthy space’, say expertshttps://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/world-sexual-health-day-sex-still-a-hush-hush-topic-youths-need-healthy-space-say-experts-5338341/

World Sexual Health Day: ‘Sex still a hush-hush topic, youths need healthy space’, say experts

According to the World Health Organisation, sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. The negative side of it can lead to a range of health concerns — anxiety, guilt, depression, additions, sexually transmitted diseases and so on.

World Sexual Health Day: ‘Sex still a hush-hush topic, youths need healthy space', say experts
On the occasion of World Sexual Health Day, observed on September 4, experts said the sexual health concerns of youth require sensitive, non-judgmental and pragmatic responses. (Representational Image)

Anything related to sex and sexuality still remain a ‘hush-hush’ topic and the youth today need open spaces where they will not be judged. These are the initial findings of an ongoing study of 900 unmarried youngsters to understand their sexual health needs.

On the occasion of World Sexual Health Day, observed on September 4, experts said the sexual health concerns of youth require sensitive, non-judgmental and pragmatic responses. “It is important to have spaces where young people can express themselves freely, not having to bother about judgements being passed,” said Dr Vinay Kulkarni. He is one of the founders of Prayas, an NGO set up in 1994 by a group of medical and engineering professions to apply their knowledge and skills to understand issues affecting society. Pun

Coordinating the study, Kulkarni said World Sexual Health Day is an awareness day managed by the World Association for Sexual Health — a global advocacy organisation committed to promote the best practices in sexual health. The first World Sexual Health Day was celebrated in 2010 with the slogan, ‘Let’s talk about it’.

According to Dr Ritu Parchure Senior Researcher, Prayas Health Group, any talk among youngsters pertaining to these issues is usually judgmental and insensitive. Also, in most situations, the person giving advice is not truly informed and carries the baggage accumulated from wrong resources. Rather than being helpful, they contribute to the challenges.

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Parchure along with Dr Shirish Dharak, who is coordinating the study, said among youth the norms about sexual relationships are becoming more liberal. In certain ways, these transitions are empowering. At the same time, it has some negative health implications too, he said.

According to the World Health Organisation, sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. The negative side of it can lead to a range of health concerns — anxiety, guilt, depression, additions, sexually transmitted diseases and so on. A timely help can prevent further health complications, Kulkarni said.

“While our study will recruit at least 1,500 unmarried youngsters in the age group of 20-30 years, our initial findings show that it is important to have space where young people can express themselves freely, not having to bother about judgements being passed; spaces which ensure safety and respect the rights of people and facilitate reflection within. It can help a person to identify the issues, bring about a positive change and seek care and support if needed,” Kulkarni added. The feedback we received from the young people, who participated in the research, evidently points to the nee of supportive spaces, he said.