Sex by the numbers

Last November, India Today (with AC Neilsen and others) reported on their fourth ever national sex survey [Thanks reader sohwhat!]. This time round they focussed on India’s youth. Here are some highlights (from behind the subscription wall, although you can see a summary of their findings in this Reuters article):

  • “46% single 16-25-year-old males have had sex, 10% higher than the 2004 survey”
  • “37% single young men have had a homosexual experience, compared to 31% in 2004″
  • “The average age of first sexual encounter for men has come down from 23 in 2004 to 18.”

Some of these findings, by the way, don’t quite add up. For example, while only 46% of young males claimed to have had sex, “49% young men have had sex with sex workers. In Ludhiana, it as high as 63%.” That seems a bit bizarre. After all, if you’ve had sex with a sex worker, you’ve had sex.

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p>Also, the idea that close to 50% of all males have had sex with a sex worker, if true, is trouble from the perspective of the spread of HIV.

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p>As for the women, some admit to having sex, but not as many, and they’re starting later than the boys:

  • “In 2005… only 24 per cent single women between the ages of 18 and 30 … had had sex.”
  • “42 per cent [of single women] said they had their first sexual encounter between the ages of 19 and 21.”

Despite this busyness in the sack for both sexes, both men and women say women should stay virgins until they are married:

  • “63% single young men expect the woman they marry to be a virgin, 10% lower than in 2004″
  • “In the 2005 survey of single women, 66 per cent agreed, saying women should remain virgins till they are married.”

The most disturbing finding was one about the prevalence of incest, which implies that a large number of females are having forced sex with family members:

  • “14 per cent [of single males] claim to have had sex with family members.”

That number is horrifying enough, but when you consider that there was likely under-reporting, it’s even more disturbing.

All quotes from the India Today Sex Survey Cover Article, “Men in a Muddle

73 thoughts on “Sex by the numbers

  1. Bidi: I’d be totally cool if my parents gave me the talk you got. I went to Catholic school and got limited to no info on what a sex or a women’s cycle. I remember being absolutely terrified and ashamed when I got my first period. First, I thought I was literally dying. Second, I was afraid to have a conversation with my mom b/c we never had open dialogue. Sex talk – HA!!! There was nothing. This is what my mom said, “don’t get in trouble.” She never elaborated on what trouble was.

  2. If what you are saying is true (and I believe that it is) then all I can do is blame your parents. Pure and simple. They obviously failed in their responsability to educate you about the most important topics. That being said, most of my friends growing up got some version of this talk; so I have a hard time believing that it is still a problem among all Indian-Americans.

    I can see how most of your friends and you would be the real deal versus an entire generation of desis who would say otherwise would be wrong. Sometimes not looking beyond our own situation can cause that. A simple google search would garner you tons of articles/blogs/articles on exactly this issue. And the failure you so easily heap on the parents would include parents from a vast majority of the Indian subcontinent and most of Asia. So according to your logic either the parents are losers but you doubt it because you and your friends got sexual guidance from your parents. Yet according to your admission you choose to ignore it and were promiscuous so how exactly are you better off than those that aren’t getting any guidance and are indulging in the same behavior.

    In India on the other hand, I totally believe it, but they are dealing with a completely different cultural framework, one that still values chastity as the highest virtue for not only women but also men (Brahmacharya).

    but you also say:

    I’m not saying repression and avoiding the topic are the answer & I know that we are all human and we all have needs and desires that need fulfillment, and I’m not opposed to the idea as long as both sides know what is at stake.

    I’m not trying to be belligerent I’m simply following your line of logic and I don’t get it. Are you saying ‘having a talk with your kids’ is going to prevent them from having sex? Because really that is what I got out of it.

  3. OK so what would you like to teach young people who need an outlet? Abstinence till they are in their 30s? 40s? Since marriage doesn’t happen till then for a lot of people. Do you have other more realistic options?
    MASTURBATION.

    Camille!!! I am SHOCKED. SHOCKED I say!

    BTW -> i have always wondered if there’s a market for desi colored dildo’s. all those who’d buy a “suitable boi” (TM) (with realistic hair and a wiggly prepuce) say aye – I’ll begin negotiations with the manufacturers right away.

  4. there’s a market for desi colored dildo’s.

    it’s a shame. a shame i tell you that desi girls have to make do with a vegetable – although it is the ultimate recycling effort i guess. (Thanks for the tip S_)

  5. Folks-FYI. I include a whole unit on sexual practices, including mastubation over at Dead Prez High health class. Parents can opt out their child by signing a form. I’m very thorough.

  6. Bengali Girl -

    I remember being absolutely terrified and ashamed when I got my first period. First, I thought I was literally dying

    What about Judy Blume? I thought Are Your There God, It’s Me Margaret was mandatory reading for girls

    Of course the movie Carrie is probably the most extreme example of how not to approach the subject of menstruation and the most important lesson for all…never mess with a woman during that time of the month or at least don’t pour pig’s blood on a telekenetic.

    Camille I salute you (standing up, saluting, and applauding)

  7. Of course the movie Carrie is probably the most extreme example of how not to approach the subject of menstruation and the most important lesson for all…never mess with a woman during that time of the month or at least don’t pour pig’s blood on a telekenetic.

    It’s amazing how much women are taught to hate their bodies or bodily processes. Even the lack of discussion is harmful. I don’t know anyone who enjoys being on their period, just like I don’t know anyone who enjoys visiting the gyno. That said, I have to love Eve Ensler’s “I Have an Angry Vagina” from The Vagina Monologues. I love the idea of fur-lined stirrups, warmed “ducklips” and satin/velvet robes. It would be soooo great to have something equivalent once a month!

    Camille!!! I am SHOCKED. SHOCKED I say! Camille I salute you (standing up, saluting, and applauding)

    wink

  8. I Have an Angry Vagina” from The Vagina Monologues. I love the idea of fur-lined stirrups, warmed “ducklips” and satin/velvet robes. It would be soooo great to have something equivalent once a month!

    hai!!! hai!!!

    somebody! Talk to her. Get her out before it’s too late.

  9. Oh, hairy_d, Talk To Her is so much creepier! In that scene the attendant totally rapes the comatose girl!

  10. At #57:

    I don’t agee with everything you say – but I did hear of a few female relations of mine who were not told anything about sex by their parents before they were married (late 70s – early 80s) and were quite frightened on their first night (or whenever they did it for the first time). While having pre-marital sex (or not having it) is a personal choice, I find it quite weird that parents (especially when they know their daughter has never had sex) do not tell them about it before they get married. That said, my parents never broached the subject – but I guess it’s because they thought I knew enough anyway …

  11. what i don’t get is why this society thinks one is not responsible enough to drink but mature enough to have sex before 21? this society makes no sense to me on these issues.

  12. More sex, more risk of HIV. The youth of this country need to rethink their priorities. The current generation is equivalent to the Baby Boomers in being the critical driver of economic growth and India’s emergence rests on them. Frivolity would be an opportunity lost

  13. The average desi gets anywhere from NOTHING to “I’ll break your legs/disown you/you will go to hell/god will hate you/I will kill myself/you will die of AIDS etc etc” from the average desi parent.

    Well put, JoAT. Add a couple more “you will become impotent/not have children” etc as a consequence of sex before marriage and so on. I guess the ideal desi boy, according to the average Indian parent, is one who shows no signs of a penis or testicles ever, until he is married off to some girl of their choice and then miraculously sprouts those organs once in a while in order to manufacture more good desi boys.

    Pickle, guilt about sex is not restricted to girls. As a guy, I grew up like the avg desi, with no healthy information about sex whatsoever. Being a nerd compounded my sexual ignorance.

    It took me several years after coming the the US to get over my guilt about even wanting sex. And of course, then getting the hang of the whole dating mechanism and the incredible amount of prejudice that American women seem to have against virgin guys is a whole another story. But it was worth the effort, I do think it helped me grow up and become a more confident person.

    I would take these statistics on sex in India with huge grains of salt. Urban Indian people, both men and women, are notoriously hypocritical about sex (mostly from anecdotal experiences with friends/acquaintances). With women, I see the “It’s ok to have sex before marriage, but I won’t ever do it” attitude all the time. There is still an enormous conflict between tradition and modernity. Middle-class urban kids are always under pressure to present a “cool” image, but are held back by tradition.

  14. More sex, more risk of HIV. The youth of this country need to rethink their priorities. The current generation is equivalent to the Baby Boomers in being the critical driver of economic growth and India’s emergence rests on them. Frivolity would be an opportunity lost.

    Well Gorbag, the previous generations were very carefully unfrivolous. And look where that left India. ;)

  15. Assuming an active sex life span of 40 years, and an average of twice/week for the first 20 and once/week for the next 20, there are about 3000 copulations per life. And someone who remains virgin till 40 has missed out on roughly 2/3rds of these. A bit of a tragedy, not to say of lack of skill levels required for a rather engaging aerobic activity.

    Sex is not dangerous.. Driving is an order (or two) of magnitude or more dangerous, esp in places like India. And sex is one of the few highs that most of us are entitled to and are capable of experiencing without a university education. One of the peaks of human experience and a damn good sleep inducing agent. Masturbation is ok and porn is a necessary evil but sex is amazing and I say this with all humility. One of the great perks of marriage (or a safe partner) is condomless sex.. condoms suck. Also I wouldnt downplay the role of sex workers in educating significant chunks of the male population. they perform a valuable service and need to be gratefully acknowledged. And that many of them have skills that are like 3 standard deviations above the average woman.

  16. These surveys are a joke sometimes. What would be interesting is to know the no. of people who were surveyed. I remember india today bringing out a similar article in 2004. The no. of people they had interviewed then were 134 and they qouted %’s. :)

  17. I think survey was correct. I know my couple of my friends who had sex with their cousins. It’s shame but what we are going to do. Do not forget that survey might included our Muslim brothers and sisters.

  18. These surveys are a joke sometimes. What would be interesting is to know the no. of people who were surveyed. I remember india today bringing out a similar article in 2004. The no. of people they had interviewed then were 134 and they qouted %’s. :)

    If random, it’s large enough to be representative:

    The survey of more than 2,500 men aged between 16 and 25 conducted by India Today magazine [Link]
  19. hello, my name is johny.i want to make sex with near about 20 years girls.if there is any girl of ludhiana who is interested in me pls send me msgs on my e mail id superman393@gmail.com.i m waiting with my LUND.