In modern Indian society there’s nothing wrong with pre-marital sex: Condition applied, only if you know what you are doing.
Indian society is moving forward in leaps and bounds and what was taboo and unacceptable even a decade back is permissible today.
That is why in a landmark judgment passed recently, the Bombay High Court has ruled that pre-marital sex between couples is no longer shocking in India’s big cities.
According to The Times of India, the observations came earlier this year during the hearing of an anticipatory bail application filed by a Nasik resident, Rahul Patil, who was booked on charges of cheating and rape following a complaint filed by his former girlfriend Seema Deshmukh.
The Bombay High Court ruling at the time said every breach of promise to marry is not rape.
Seema, who claimed she was pregnant with Rahul’s child, said despite promising to marry her, he had married another girl. Rahul claimed the relationship was consensual, and they could not marry as they belonged to different communities. Rahul and Seema, both lawyers, knew each other since 1999 and had a physical relationship since 2006. In 2009, when he said he could not marry her, she had tried to commit suicide. They continued a physical relationship even after that.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar said, “Nowadays having a sexual relationship while having an affair or before marriage is not shocking as it was earlier. Today society is becoming more and more permissive. Though unlike in western countries, we are still hesitant to accept free sexual relationship between unmarried people or as a basic biological need for youngsters; the court cannot be oblivious to changing behavioral norms and patterns in man – woman relationships in our society.”
While Justice Bhatkar of Bombay High Court said that every such case needs to be treated differently and there is no straightjacket formula in handling these cases, Madras High Court in 2013 had ruled that if a couple of legal age chooses to “indulge in sexual gratification,” this act would confirm the relationship as a marriage.
The ruling came after a woman sued her live-in partner of five years for child support of their two children.
Although this ruling was ridiculed and criticized, many say that the ruling was also a giant step forward because it gave legitimacy to children born out of wedlock.
Kolkata-based sociologist, Dr Tumpa Mukherjee said, “Pre-marital sex in our society is now more the norm than exception. But one has to keep in mind consensual sex between two adults does not mean that it would lead to marriage. A woman has complete control over her own body and it is entirely her choice. But it’s sad when after indulging in consensual sex, many allege rape. Also I have seen, unlike popular perception, pre-marital sex is more on the rise in rural areas than in the big cities.”
Pre-marital Sex and the Surveys
- According to a survey conducted by Mumbai’s International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) among 55,000 men and women from about 1.7 lakh households in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, aged between 15 to 29 years, about 21 percent males and 4 percent females from rural areas admitted to having had pre-marital sex against an urban figure of 11 percent males and 2 percent females.
But the alarming aspect of the finding was the extremely low awareness about sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex. The awareness that pregnancy could happen in the first encounter was also very low.
- In a youth survey conducted by the Hindustan Times in 2014 among Indians aged between 18 and 25 years some very interesting facts came to the fore. While 61 percent said that pre-marital sex is no longer a big issue in India, 63 percent expected their husbands and wives to be virgins. Forty six percent said live-in relationships are acceptable.
The survey is indeed a clear indicator that young people are becoming open to consensual sexual relationships but there continues to be a dichotomy in the moral value system because despite this openness they want a virgin for a life partner.
However, since pre-marital sex is on the rise, awareness building is the next step to ensure a sexually healthy society that is responsible for the choices it is making.
Here are 10 must-know facts about pre-marital sex:
- It should always be a consenting sexual relationship between two adults and any kind of physical or mental pressure should not be exerted on an individual to force him or her into a sexual relationship.
- Being in a sexual relationship with someone does not mean marriage is inevitable.
- Allegations that a man promised marriage and that is why a woman got into a sexual relationship are unfair and should be avoided unless, of course, say the woman is uneducated and the man has suppressed a fact like he was already married.
- The Bombay High Court ruling categorically points out a couple in love after having a sexual relationship might realize they are not compatible, and sometimes love between the parties is lost and their relationship dries up gradually, then earlier physical contacts cannot be termed as rape or marriage cannot be imposed.
- One should be aware of the sexual history of a partner. If in doubt, there is no harm in getting medical tests done for STDs and HIV before getting into a sexual relationship.
- It is best to indulge in safe sex by using a condom and keep sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies at bay.
- While in a relationship it is best to avoid taking selfies in the nude or video record your own sexual act because sometimes it might be used to blackmail you later or uploaded in cyberspace.
- Since pre-marital sex is now more accepted in Indian society it does not mean that one can keep indulging in sexual encounters with multiple partners. This puts people at greater risk of contracting HIV or developing emotional issues.
- One should avoid a sexual encounter under the influence of alcohol because often in an inebriated state it is not possible to make the right choice.
- Because it is okay to have a sexual relationship before marriage does not mean that one has to indulge in one. Do it when you are ready and if you think you are not you are not missing out on anything.
A study made in 2002 on 40,000 Americans showed that 95 percent had pre-marital sex but five percent said they experienced it after marriage and were happy about their choice.