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Dating, love affairs…and even pre-marital sex is no longer taboo


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Dating, love affairs…and even pre-marital sex is no longer taboo amongst today’s teenagers. Not even in conservative cities. True, one may not see many boys and girls openly holding hands on the main roads or kissing in parked cars but many affairs are conducted on the sly…without the knowledge of parents. Parental disapproval and society’s contempt often drives friendship and romance with the opposite sex underground! Boys and girls from even traditional families may be dating but secrecy is the name of the game.

Rohit, 18, is having a secret love affair. He comes from a conservative Gujarati family as does his 16-year old girlfriend. ‘No one knows,’ he confesses, ‘but we think that’s exciting.’ They usually seek out deserted move halls or unknown cafes while both their parents’ are under the impression that they are out in a group. A group which covers for them. Love letters are exchanged through common friends, and calls made from cells.

If there are any guilt pangs for this elaborate deceit, they are suppressed by the overwhelming needs of these youngsters, needs which are no longer considered immoral. ‘I slept with my husband before marriage,’ admits Neelima, ‘we couldn’t stop ourselves.’ She even admits that she had to have an abortion once. ‘It was an accident and I don’t think I did anything wrong. There is no point bringing an unwanted baby into this world.’ Neelima’s attitude towards pre-marital sex does not reflect her background, as she was brought up in an extremely conservative Marwari family with plenty of restrictions. This perhaps alienated her from her parents. ‘I was not close to either of them,’ she says.

This lack of closeness, of belonging and warmth, often pushes teenagers into the warmth of sexual relationships. Dr. S.K. Som, psychiatrist, says, ‘First of all, there is nothing wrong or abnormal in teenagers having love affairs or going steady. In fact love is natural, given the circumstances.’ However, less time is devoted to children than before and in nuclear families there are often no substitute parents either. Further, there is a lot about sex in the media today. All this tempts teens to experiment. Sometimes it can go very wrong. ‘It is only when romantic relationships lead to problems like unwanted pregnancies, early marriages, eloping or emotional disturbances, that it can become problematic. Mostly I have seen parents worry far more than necessary,’ he says. Dr. Som has counseled both boys and girls disturbed by broken love affairs.
In contrast, Dr. Jayant Kumar Chakravarty, a child specialist, advocates greater restriction on free mixing. ‘Teenagers want to experiment without thinking of the consequences,’ he says.

If parents are worried about their kids, then they should make sure that the lines of communication with their child is kept open. Take the case of Mahesh. Sixteen years old and desperately in love with a girl, he completely changed his attitude after a chat with his girl-friend’s mother. She called him over and explained to him the futility of his love and the fact that there was no future in the relationship. What she did not do however was ridicule his desires which she felt were quite normal for his age. After a long chat with the broadminded lady, Mahesh decided to stop pressurising the girl to commit herself to him and he left the house a much happier person. He admits that he could never have had a talk with his own parents.

As far as teenage ethics go (at least amongst middle and upper classes) dating and being in love are acceptable, even desirable behavior. Holding hands, kissing, petting are accepted too. In fact teenagers with boyfriends and girl-friends are the butt of envy.

If a teenager does not have either romance or sex in his or her life, there could be many reasons for it – but it is certainly not peer pressure. He or she may be introverted, afraid of being caught, lack opportunity or maybe busy with studies.

It is also a mistake for parents to think that sexual maturing has not taken place – that teenagers are not ready physically. In fact girls are conscious of their sexuality from the age of 12. They inspect themselves intently in mirrors, taken pains over their appearance, and observe boys with interest. Boy look at girl’s bodies and become conscious of their own. We have to remember that in ancient times children married early. While this is not desirable, possible or practical now, we cannot halt the sexual rebellion amongst the young. No matter how much parents rave and rant about the evils of western influences, and the decline of Indian culture, the facts are that the desire to interact and romance the opposite sex is natural and has always existed in India! By denying the existence of such natural feelings parents are alienating their children.

(Article published in The Telegraph, Calcutta.)

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October 27, 2007 - Posted by | Medical Articles, Parents care | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Very usefull infomaction. Thank you.
    Keep it up

    Comment by dating girls | November 22, 2009 | Reply


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