If I can’t get information about sex at home or at school, where do I get it from?
In my country, Indonesia, when it comes to the topic of sex, people are very closed off. Sex is something that’s still taboo. Parents mostly do not talk about sex with their children—only 20% of Indonesians aged 15 to 24 had comprehensive knowledge of HIV. I think this is because we are very bound to religion, the value of manners and culture.
Talking about sex with parents is considered inappropriate. I never even talk about sex with my parents, it seems like sex does not exist. Maybe many parents think that children do not need to be taught, they can do it and find out about it on their own.
The same is true at school; there’s no real focus on sex education. I was mostly only taught about the reproductive system, but I believe sex education is more than just about biology, and youth need to know more about sex and relationships.
So if I can’t get information about sex at home or at school, where do I get it from? The internet is the answer. Some youths really get a lot of positive information about sex and what are the positive and negative things about it, but some end up on porn sites and don’t necessarily get a representative view of real sex.
In Indonesia, religion has a big influence of sex life, as most people are Muslims. This means that most people are not supposed to have sex before marriage. This is something I believe in too. So the only thing that we know is that we only have this “limitation”.
However, even though sex before marriage is forbidden here, some youths are still doing it (of course discreetly), but because they don’t have access to adequate sex education at home or at school, they are unaware of how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and how to emotionally prepare themselves for sex.
And even if they are aware of how to protect themselves, many are embarrassed or afraid to buy condoms in stores so prefer to have sex without protection. So there’s lots of work to be done in the sex education arena in Indonesia.
What’s sex education like in your school?