By Suma Varughese December 2011 There is never a good reason to have casual sex, because sex is a powerful force, says Suma Varughese The family was sitting replete after a wonderful Sunday dinner. Mom had been watching Master chef Australia on TV and it had whetted her culinary ambitions. The family had just been served impeccably plated minute portions of vegetable mousse with an exotic sauce.Fortunately, she had also made a hearty veg biryani and cutlets which the children tore into after their foray into haute cuisine. Now they were sitting around, talking about their day, and discussing ideas that came into their minds. One of the Sunday papers had carried an article about youngsters losing their virginity at a younger and younger age. Ajoba was distressed about it. At first, the kids cringed at the idea of discussing sex with elders but were also secretly fascinated. What did the old fogeys have to say on the subject ? Ajoba was shaking his head sadly, “It is really sad to see these youngsters go the way of the West and mindlessly experiment with sex,” he rued. “Well, it’s hard to find an argument against it now that condoms, pills and other contraceptives have taken the fear of unwanted pregnancy or venereal diseases out of the picture,” said Dad, for the sake of argument. Mom and Aji bristled. “These are not the only reasons to remain celibate,” said Mom heatedly. She paused for a while and said, “Sex is a potent force. In the hands of the young, it can be completely explosive. It is not to be played around with.” She paused for a while with a look of pain in her face. “You remember Jyothi?” she asked Dad. Jyothi had been her best friend in college, a beautiful, spirited girl of whom much was expected. Sathe family fact file: The Sathe family lives in Mumbai and consists of Ashwin Sathe, a trainer and counsellor and Abha Sathe, a writer of children’s books. Ashwin’s parents, known as Aji and Ajoba, stay with them. Ajoba is a retired college professor turned Vedanta teacher. Ashwin and Abha have three children Avijit (20) an engineering student, Nisha (19) in her second year in college studying Eng Lit and Alka (16) in her class 10. The family meets every Sunday over dinner, where problems are thrashed out and solutions offered. Unfortunately, Jyothi had been raped by one of the boys she was seeing. The shock had simply destroyed her sense of self. She had felt defiled and abused. Turning against herself, she got into a self-destructive spin of promiscuity and had finally committed suicide at the tragic age of 25. Mom had never gotten over it. She still kept a picture of Jyothi in one corner of her bedroom. Dad, who had been in the same college as Mom, nodded somberly. “Yes, indeed,” he said. The kids had heard of Jyothi but had not known what exactly had happened to her. They pestered Mom to tell them. Mom looked at Dad who nodded. “Even Alka is old enough,” he said. After Mom finished relating the tragic tale, the girls were visibly shaken. “I have a friend,” said Nisha, hesitantly, “her boy friend is forcing her to have sex. She does not want to but she does not know how to say no.” “This is where a sense of self is so important,” said Dad sternly. “Girls need to know that no matter what, no one can force them to have sex. And if anyone does, he or she does not have their best interests at heart. She should break off with him right away.” “But most girls are so eager to be liked, Dad, that they dare not say no,” said Nisha. “Are you one of them?” asked Dad, trepidation on his face. “No, Dad,” she said. “I don’t want to have sex with just anyone. I would rather wait until I was older, preferably even married, before I got into all that.” “Thank God,” breathed Dad to Mom. “Okay, here is the thing,” said Dad. “Now that sex has come out of the closet, everyone feels they can experiment with it. But there are important reasons not to abuse it. And mind, I do not say sex is bad. But as Mom said, it is a powerful force. She has graphically pointed out that having sex with the wrong person can really destroy one’s self-esteem.’ Mom broke in here, “Girls,” she said, “Make no mistake. Having casual sex can really affect your sense of self. I have known too many women who have condemned themselves, and felt the less for it. Women are not programmed to have sex casually.” “There is an even more compelling reason why casual sex is avoidable,” said Dad. “Sex is really a beautiful experience. With the right person it can be a spiritual experience.” “That is true,” nodded Ajoba enthusiastically.“The scriptures often praise it as a path to self-realization.” “Yes, said Dad, “But this can happen only with a trusted partner whom you love and are intimate with. Only then can the potential of sex be fully realized. Otherwise you are throwing away one of life’s most precious gifts. Sex is just too sacred to be treated casually.” The children pondered over this new thought. For too long, they had been fed with the idea that sex was morally wrong and not to be thought about, let alone experienced. No wonder many of their friends were breaking these taboos and creating their own rules. But in the process, was it possible that they were short changing themselves? That they were losing out on something precious? Here was Dad, telling them that sex was a jewel to be treasured, not a gauntlet to be thrown. “Dad, that is really cool,” said Avijit, “I have never really known why not to have casual sex, even though I have felt in my heart that it was not the way I wanted to go. Thanks for telling us this.” “Thanks for listening to me, children,” said Dad, unusually serious. “I cannot even tell you how much it matters to all four of us that you take a mature and self-controlled attitude towards sex. It will affect your happiness in more ways than you can possibly know.” The kids nodded, but the irrepressible Avijit had to have the last word. “Well, Mom and Dad, I am going to have to take a lot more cold showers now, so please don’t grumble if you find the bathroom locked.” Everyone laughed and Dad gave him a playful smack on the back.
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