‘Sex education to reduce burden on economy’

Prakash Kothari  

The importance of sex education can never be over emphasised as it will lead to a reduction of economic burden in many ways, says internationally reputed sexologist Prakash Kothari.

Talking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the national annual conference of the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) here on Saturday, Dr. Kothari said a proper sex education programme would rid the country of the population burden and also the problem of sexually transmitted diseases, particularly HIV, which was becoming a huge drain on the exchequer.

Dr. Kothari received the Padma Shri award for his research into ancient Indian sexologist Vatsayana. Dr. Kothari brought into the limelight details about the place Vatsayana belonged to and several other biographical details that were unknown to the world.

Dr. Kothari was interviewed by the “Penthouse” magazine for challenging world authorities on sexology —Masters and Johnson. The Penthouse reporter found Dr. Kothari, then a young man, very interesting because he took on Masters and Johnson with regard to the language of western sex therapy. Dr. Kothari was instrumental in changing the lexicon of sexology and redefining the words used to describe sexual behaviour and the different feelings associated with it.

Role of govt. and TV

He said the government and television had a big role in sex education. Every home had a television and it was possible to deal with the topic without any awkwardness. “I have addressed gatherings that included four generations – grandfather to grandson—without any problem. There is a lot the government and television can do,” Dr. Kothari, who is himself 75, said.

He said such sex education was imparted openly under Hindu rulers in India for the welfare of society, but the situation changed under the foreign rulers. Sexology was sacred and adored even the most holy of places—the temples. There was nothing secretive or sinful about it.

“But over the years some myths and misconceptions crept in. The worse myth was about semen. I am a devout Hindu and I too grew up with such misconceptions. I discovered the truth only while doing medicine. I have treated over 55,000 patients and most of my patients suffered because of anxiety that were caused because of such myths and misconceptions,” Dr. Kothari explained.