For an average MBBS student in our country, the level of knowledge on sexual education is ‘as good as that of a lay person’, says well known sexual medicine expert Dr. Prakash Kothari. The doctor acknowledges that lack of proper knowledge on sexual health among doctors and public is so huge that it has spawned misinformation and ‘faith cures’ at the cost of the hapless patients.
“Misinformation about sexual health has given rise to a culture of ‘faith healing’ wherein desperate patients are thoroughly exploited by equally ignorant doctors and quacks. There is only one medical college in the country, KEM Hospital, Mumbai that has an exclusive department on sexual medicine. Isn’t it ridiculous?” he asks indignantly.
The doctor, who was in Hyderabad to participate in an obstetricians and gynaecologists conference, says that for an average MBBS student, sexual education means learning about male and female reproductive system, which is the same even for a school and college student.
The hesitation to talk about sexual education and health, especially among women, is deep rooted. “It’s not just in India, there is hesitation everywhere. Nobody wants to talk about safe contraceptive methods, sexual health, dysfunction and STDs. This encourages misinformation and myths,” he says.
The fact that roughly 50 per cent of women and 50 to 55 per cent of men in our country suffer from sexual dysfunction reflects the utter lack of awareness and unwillingness of people to talk about it. “Many suffer in silence, which impacts their marriages, social and domestic life. We can’t blame them, because, unlike in Western Countries, doctors here are ignorant and don’t know how to treat such disorders”.
“Sexual education is more about how an individual develops into a healthy and responsible adult capable of using innate sexual instincts to the fullest potential without being obsessed about it. It enables one to identify and be comfortable with one’s sexuality,” he signed off.