With No Formal Sex-Ed, Pakistanis Turn to The Internet

Myths about puberty, masturbation, and sex continue to fester in the country’s youth as schools avoid — and sometimes discourage — talking about the elephant in the room.

800px-Girls in school in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan (7295675962)
(Wikimedia Commons)

Zuha Siddiqui


November 17, 2020

For the longest time, 27-year-old Aisha* thought sex was what Shah Rukh Khan did to Kajol in Bollywood film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) — that scene in the pouring rain, when Rahul and Anjali meet eight years later. Rahul’s wife is dead. Anjali is wearing a sheer, red sari. They gaze into each other’s eyes and dance. He holds her.

I looked at Aisha for affirmation. “You thought that was sex?” I asked her. “Yes,” she said.

When she was 15 years old, Aisha stumbled across the words “he was inside her” in an erotic novel she accidentally picked up at a bookstore, and for the longest time, she thought the protagonists’ bodies were dissolving into each other. “I thought their bodies had morphed together,” she told me, shrugging her shoulders.