SEX THERAPY IN INDIA : WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO TABOOS ALIGN
By – Saumya
‘What is the minimum number of times a couple should indulge into love making in a week?’
‘I am into role-play, is this normal? How do I tell my partner?’
‘Me and my partner are experiencing an unusual distance between us in the bed without any concrete reason, how should we deal with it?’
These questions appear familiar, these are the questions we would find on a particular section of our regular newspapers and magazines. Sometimes when curiosity overpowers, we spend quite a few minutes reading it and other times we shift our glance to other things more important.
For many of Indians, this is the closest they can get to professional sex therapy. The perniciousness of inadequate professional sex councelling has done more damage to sexual health and relationships than the ‘immoral’ act of talking about sex openly would ever do.
SEX THERAPY IN INDIA
The shame around sex and everything related to it in our society has culminated into many unhealthy habits and assumptions that end up forming a set up where sex is merely for procreation and human curiosities and needs around it are ardently silenced. Sex Education, even in our best institutions, is limited to biological aspects of menstruation, adolescence and puberty in males and females or family planning, to the most progressive extent. In a society much wrecked by shame, segregation and rigid gender roles which champions masculinity and treats women merely as an entity solely devoted to reproduction, sex therapy is not a part of the mainstream sexual discourse. Our doubts and apprehensions find the nearest relatability in the magazine questions asked by unidentifiable folks living in cities far away and we mindlessly try to adapt the solutions to our own problems.
The same anonymity and tendency to reveal only what is extremely crucial hampers the other side as well, the side where doctors/ therapists belong. The lack of understanding around sexual health and sexual conversations create many obstructions in their business and practicing their profession both.Their clientele remains limited to a small number, their reach remains limited to a particular social strata and the ease of performing one’s job is restricted. Oftentimes, the clients are not able to describe their problems and anxieties, or more so, doubt the procedure involved in therapy.
SEX THERAPY: WHAT, WHEN AND WHY
Sex Therapy is psychotherapy intermingling biomedical science and psycho social components. As assumed by many, it is not a training for ‘How to indulge in sexual intercourse’, rather it is to remove all the anxieties and problems that are built around sex. It can be taken individually or together with your partner depending upon the problem.
Sexual Problems are rampant amongst adults but rarely discussed. These problems can occur at any stage, irrespective of age and gender. They are highly subjective and spawned through many sources such as hormonal imbalance, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses as well as interpersonal gaps between partners. It is not easy to identify and cure these problems without professional expertise. Moreover, neglecting these problems for a long time can escalate and impede your health and your relationship with your sexual partner.
Some of the procedures may involve consultation with other specialists such gynecologists and sexologists as well.
The prospects of specializing in sex therapy is still in it embryonic stage in India with no specific courses and institutions devoted to it. However, there are existing courses which related to the same which may certify you to practice couple therapy or sex therapy. One may even pursue such courses in institutions abroad if backed by adequate capital. This dire state of sex therapy is both a cause and consequence with inadequate Sex Education and taboos associated with sexual intercourse.
Sex, like people is filled of complexities, vulnerabilities and opacity. There is not one right way to do it, not certainly the movies like Fifty Shades of Grey would like to believe. It subordinates itself to human connection and needs, thus varying according to the people who are performing it. It, like any other human act, cannot be perfected at the first go and sometimes even the most perfect of us go through something somewhat rocky. Our relationships with people go through a challenging phase too, or even a drastic change. Our sexual desires grow with our consciousness, and sometimes two people who were happily sharing a bed together, divulge into two entirely diverse paths. Our biological self has a great role to play too. Our physical health cannot remain in its intact self, our abilities and disabilities change, changing our sexual capabilities too.
Our minds and bodies are quite unsuccessful when it comes to taking cognizance of behavioural and physical changes. We consider changes as human flaws and in-capabilities and often end up frustrating over ourselves or the other person. Sex Therapy, therefore exists to acknowledge and familiarise ourselves with our dynamic sexual lives and physical selves. It is, therefore, getting to oneself better, which is in every aspect better than silencing our needs which we fail to understand just because it is closed door conversation. Sex therapy remains an important part of sex education, and only comprehensive development of the latter can uplift the former. Individuals on the other hand, need to make the close-door-conversations a living room conversation, scraping off taboos associated with therapy and sex in general.