sex ed faqS

IV. sex & sexual activities

What is sex? When should someone have sex?


What is sex? Originally, we were told that ‘sex’ is when a penis enters a vagina. However, that limits the experience of sex to heterosexuality. Actually speaking, ‘sex’ can be experienced by everyone. There are many types of sexual activities. 'Sex' is one type of sexual activity. Other sexual activities include kissing, fingering and caressing, and others. In this answer, we will focus on the sexual activity of ‘sex’. ‘Sex’ is a physical activity that people engage in, for multiple reasons. The following are the different ways of having ‘sex’:

  • Vaginal sex (when an object like sex toy or a body part like penis enters the vagina)
*Pregnancy occurs through penis-vagina sex, and not from any other form of sex/sexual activity
  • Oral sex (when someone uses their mouths to stimulate another person’s genitals)
  • Anal sex (when an object like sex toy or a body part like penis enters the anus )
When should someone have sex? The legal age in India to engage in sexual activity with someone is 18 and above because before that, our bodies have not matured completely and might not be ready for it. Apart from physical maturity, emotional and mental maturity is important too. It helps in informed decision-making for e.g.: selecting mature and trustful partners, knowing the consequences of sex (pregnancy, transmission of infections, etc). IMPT: Safer sex: It is important to ensure that the people involved in the sexual activity are consenting adults, that means that everyone has happily agreed to perform that sexual activity. It is also important to ensure that they’re well fully aware of what they’re engaging in and what can be the consequences of it. To practice protected sex (using condoms and/or other contraceptions) is a healthy habit and helps in preventing STIs and unwanted pregnanicies.




I'm a female and what if I don’t bleed the first time I have sex and he thinks that I’m not a virgin?


Let us put your mind at ease - do not worry if you do not bleed the first time you have sex. 'Women bleeding when she has sex for the first time' is a big myth! It is not necessary for a female to bleed the first time she has sex. There are many females who don't bleed during their first sex experience (while some do). And there are females who bleed even after having had sex many times. So, bleeding is not an indicator of virginity. Bleeding during sex can be caused by:

  • Rough vaginal sex; as the friction may cause some wounds to the vaginal walls.
  • An infection (like Herpes and Syphilis) in the sexual organs.
  • Not being ready for sex. Fear and nervousness can cause vaginal walls to contract which can cause wounds when an object, like a penis, is inserted in the vagina.
This myth exists because people believe that when have sex for the first time, their hymen breaks and hence the belief of 'bleeding'. Hymen is a very thin membrane which partially closes the opening of vagina. The myth believes that when a penis enters a vagina for the first time, the hymen breaks which causes the bleeding. But this is not true all the time. Hymen is a delicate membrane and even tasks like riding a bicycle can cause its tearing. Sometimes, when the hymen tears, there is no bleeding at all.




Is sex important for a relationship? Does having sex increase the love between 2 people?


Part 1: Is sex important? People may have different needs for entering in a relationship. Sex is just one of the needs in a relationship, while other needs include security, affection and a trusting relationship. It totally depends how partners would like to define their relationship and prioritise the various needs (sex being one of the needs). For some people sex is an important factor and for some it is not. Communication about this matter between people is important. Part 2: Does sex increase love? No, it is not definite that having sex will increase love between people. What increases love between people is trust and respect. Without trust and respect,having sex or other sexual activites may lead to feelings of guilt, shame and regret. One should engage in sexual activity ONLY when one is physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared for it. The legal age in India for having sex is 18.




If I am feeling sexually aroused but my girlfriend/ boyfriend/ partner says “No”, what should I do?


It is very common for this to happen in any relationship. If it does happen to you, it is okay to express (through respectful words) that you are aroused. But do not push your partner to do anything they don't want to because respecting your partner’s consent is important. If the partner doesn’t want to engage in sexual intercourse, then masturbation in privacy can be your answer. Providing self pleasure is healthy and normal. The situation can be reversed too. There could be a situation when you do not want to have sex but your partner wishes to, then letting them masturbate in their own time and space and not judging them for doing that is important too in the relationship.




Is having sex everyday ‘normal’ and healthy?


Yes, having sex everyday is normal and healthy, provided your partner/s also wants to do the same. One should take care of the following important things when engaging in any sexual activity,

  • The people involved have given their consent for the said sexual activity,
  • Protection, e.g. condom, is used in order to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies,
  • Bodies of the people involved are completely ready to engage in sexual intercourse (18yrs. and above, according to the Indian Constitution),
  • The people involved are mentally prepared and happy and enthusiastic to engage in sexual activity,
  • The people involved are emotionally prepared to engage in sexual activity. One should never say ‘yes’ to any sexual activity if under any pressure or emotional manipulation, for e.g. threat of break-up, etc.




What is porn? Is it okay to watch porn?


Porn is content made for sexual arousal of the viewer, it can be in the form of videos, photos and writing.
It is okay to watch porn. BUT few things that one should keep in mind are:

  1. The people in porn are actors and not real people engaging in the act. Just like how a lot of action movies are produced for our entertainment but we do not copy them in our lives because the stunts will be dangerous... similarly, porn is designed for entertainment. It is not okay to learn sexual behaviour from it and to expect the same from yourself and your partners. It could be harmful for the relationship.
What type of porn to NOT WATCH:
  1. Most porn content does not emphasize on sexual consent or does how show scenes of partners taking sexual consent from each other. This kind of porn is not okay.
  2. It is not okay to click or circulate pictures or videos of children (anyone below the age of 18) in which their private parts (area between the leg, bums and breasts) are visible. It is a punishable offense.
  3. Any naked or private image or video being circulated without the consent of people involved is also a punishable offense. A lot of porn websites will have content in which they have used hidden cameras of which the sexual partner(s) are not aware of, or in which one there is no consent taken from one of the sexual partners. Such a kind of porn should be avoided.




What is an orgasm?


Orgasm is a feeling of pleasure any person can experience when their private parts are touched or stimulated. Imagine, it is a like a 'sneeze of the private parts'. That is what it feels like. There is a slow build up, and the eventual release. A person can orgasm either alone or with someone else they are engaging in sexual activities with. It is important to maintain hygiene like washing hands and the genitalia (private parts), and being gentle with the touch, etc. When a male orgasms, a white cream-ish substance is released from the penis (called ejaculation). It can be messy, so it's important for males to clean up properly after orgasming. When a female orgasms, a white cream-ish substance may or may not be released from the vagina. A female should gently wash or clean the vaginal area (with mildly warm water) after orgasming.




What is masturbation? Is masturbation healthy?


Masturbation is a healthy and common sexual activity. It is an act of providing self-pleasure. During masturbation, one stimulates their genitals to experience sexual pleasure, which may or may result in an orgasm.

  • It is completely normal to masturbate and there is nothing wrong in it.
  • Children start exploring their bodies as young as 4 - 5 years old, and can experience masturbation as young as 9 years old. It is normal.
  • Adults also masturbate.
  • People of all sexes, genders and sexual orientations can experience masturbation.
Remembers these points when masturbating:
  1. It should be done privately and hygienically. Masturbating in public is a crime.
  2. Masturbating too frequently is not healthy. Masturbating should not affect your other activities like studies, work, and socializing.




If a person is sexually active, how can one prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?


Some sexually transmitted infections, aka STIs, are HIV/Aids, Herpes, Chlymadia, etc. STIs can spread through both sexual and non-sexual means. Sexual means: If one is sexually active, they should take care of the following things in order to avoid STI's:

  • Make sure you always use a latex condom whenever you have oral, vaginal or anal sex.
  • Get yourself and your partner/s tested for STIs before engaging in any sexual activity.
  • It is recommended to limit the number of sexual partners because the risk of contracting STIs increases as the number of sexual partners increase. But please do not judge anyone for having had multiple sexual partners.
  • Do not have sex with anyone who shows signs of STIs like boils or warts on genitals, or abnormal discharge from genitals.
  • Try to avoid risky sex practices where there is possibility of tearing skin, as the wound may carry germs that my pass from one body to the other.
  • Above all, having an open conversation about sexual health is important. If you feel your sexual partner(s) are hiding something, avoid engaging in sexual activities with them, and provide them space where they can openly share their health details.
Non-sexual ways of contracting STIs include:
  1. Infected needles during blood tests, tattoos or drug injections (always ask that a fresh new needle be used)
  2. From an infected pregnant person to the fetus in their womb (important for the infected pregnant person to inform the doctor)
  3. Infected blood during blood donation (always go to only established blood donation banks)
  4. Using unhygienic toilets
  5. and others..




Do gays & lesbians have sex?


Yes, same gender couple (gays & lesbians) have sex. Gays & lesbians are people who are sexually attracted to people of the same gender (guy attracted to guy; gal attracted to gal). It is a common misconception and highly promoted one that pino-vaginal sex, i.e., a penis entering a vagina, is the only definition of sex. There are other types of sex as well. A same gender couple (i.e. a gay or lesbian) can engage in the oral or penetrative (anal or vaginal) sexual acts. All kinds of sex needs to be practiced with consent, protection from STIs, and awareness. Even though same sex couples are not at risk of unwanted pregnancies, is required that same sex couples must practice safety from STIs (like HIV/Aids, herpes) as vaginal, oral,and anal sex can pose a risk of contracting STIs. It it also to be remembered that legal age of consensual sexual acts in India is 18.




I'm scared to have sex or do other sexual activities. What should I do?


It is okay to feel anxious and nervous before having sex or any other sexual activity, whether or not you had sex before. The minimum legal age in India to have sex is 18 years old. Few things to keep in mind are:

  1. It is important to discuss and communicate with your partner(s) about your anxiety and worries. Let them know and ask for their support whenever necessary.
  2. It will be a great idea to read or consult with professionals to know more about safer sex practices and knowing more about other people's experiences from reliable websites.
  3. You can experiment with getting intimate with your partner(s) while your learning more about yourself, but it is suggested that you go wth your gut feeling if something does not feel okay. I t is okay to say 'no' if your mind and body are not feel ready for sex or sexual activities. A caring and nurturing parnter will respect it, and not force you or guilt you to do anything.
  4. A lack of interest in sex or sexual acivities is absolutely okay to experience, you can check with yourself whether you are really interested in it or are being forced by societal expectations. You can also read about asexuality which refers to lack of sexual attraction. It is okay to be a person identifying asexual. Asexuality is different from celibacy.
  5. If you feel pressured to have sex it is good to speak to someone you trust, if the pressure is directly coming from your partner(s). It is okay to report it to the authorities if you feel violated or abused.
  6. Make sure your partner gets your consent before initiating any sexual act. If they do not take your consent or force you to do something sexual, then it can be considered as sexual assault.
Below are helplines you may contact in case you or someone you know are experiencing assault. Child Helpline: 1098 For women: 1091 For men: For trans-people:





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