16 January, 2022

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We Don’t Do Sex

By Christopher Rezel

Christopher Rezel

The spread of HIV has grown significantly among Sri Lanka youth in the 15 – 24 age group within the past five years, the National STD/AIDS Control Programme says.

Director Dr. Rasanjali Hettiarachchi recently told the media an estimated 3,700 HIV cases have been diagnosed on the island.

She estimated only 60 percent of HIV patients are receiving medication, while the remaining 40 percent live in the community unaware they are infected.

She says unsafe intercourse is the main reason for the spread of HIV among the younger generation.

Doctor Hettiarachchi did not provide figures for gonorrhoea and syphilis, two other serious sexual diseases.

Time and patience are needed to obtain figures for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from the nearest annual report (2019) of the National AIDS/STDs Control Program. There, amid colourful photos of officials and graphs, rough quarterly figures are provided, rough because it’s not known how comprehensive the assessment are.

Besides STDs, there are also sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – the difference between the two being the words Disease and Infection.

STIs include hepatitis B, chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, pelvic inflammatory disease, pubic lice and others.

I am unaware if there is central monitoring and reporting for STIs in Sri Lankan.

However, in a report dated 2012, the World Bank tells us that “Every year estimates of detected STI cases in Sri Lanka vary from about 60,000 to 200,000, of which only 10-15 percent are reported by government clinics”. There is no revised and updated report.

Such figures should be worrying even though they relate to a 10-years-old estimate.

Doctor Hettiarachchi says sex education is imperative if Sri Lanka must lessen the spread of AIDs among the young.

Human body deemed vulgar

But learning about the human body and procreations is considered immoral and vulgar by powerful Sri Lanka politicians and religious heads.

Grade 7 textbook Hathe Ape Potha

As recently as December 2019, Venerable Medagoda Abhayatissa Thera told a press conference that efforts to introduce sex and reproductive health into the school curriculum with the Grade 7 textbook Hathe Ape Potha, was an attempt to sexually exploit young children.

The book was produced by the previous government’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education.

The Thera’s misbegotten outrage played out well in the media and brought about a parliamentary committee meeting and other high-powered gatherings.

Those who got together were the Maha Sangha, medical experts, university professors, academics, officers of the National Child Protection Authority, and officials of the Ministry of Education.

The outcome, if any, has not been made apparent.

Meanwhile the young who are going down with HIV, STDs and STIs are undoubtedly obtaining their sex education on computers or smart phones via the proliferation of phonography sites on such devices.

Indeed, if you were to type in appropriate phrases on your search engine, you’ll find thousands of photos and videos of attractive young Sri Lankans demonstrating a commendable mastery on lovemaking, giving fair competition to their international counterparts.

Gone are the days when schoolboys got sex education through secretly passed-around roneod sheets titled, Tales of a Travelling Salesman. Those provided exciting details about the seduction of wives, daughters and servant girls by the hyper-sexed young Sri Lankan salesman, renting out rooms in home after home.

Some schoolboys of my era were lucky to lay hands on prohibited magazines with nude black-and-white photos.

One sure method of decreasing sexual diseases in society is to regularise the sex industry and make it part of normal tax and commercial activity.

Once policing barriers are removed, social workers can more easily provide medical and counselling assistance to sexual workers.

Decriminalizing the industry will also ensure the health and safety of those participating in it.

Robed & secret hypocrites

But the suggestion may be abhorrent, particularly to those who project themselves as morally upright but engage in all forms of sexual deviations and perversions behind cloistered doors and high authority.

Consequently, we no longer hear of The Centre for Sex Workers Rights (CSWR) and its brave Co-Chairman B. Maheshwari who once fronted a press conference to urge that their profession be legally recognised if only to control the spread of sexual diseases, especially HIV.

But, “We Sri Lankans don’t do sex,” seems to be the attitude of the powers that be, particularly with such “uncorruptable” ministers like Wimal Weerawansa who once raised hell in parliament over the CSWR and over deliberations for granting legal rights to gays.

The country’s media too seems reluctant to discuss at length or consistently the important subject of sex and sexuality (shyness? laggai?).

This is almost 2022 and many decades ago as reporter on The Ceylon Daily News I interviewed a medical specialist on the increase in venereal diseases in the country. My carefully written report was spiked by a deputy editor who chastised me with, “We don’t publish such stories. We are a family newspaper.” The particular individual was installed by the then incumbent political party to ensure nothing adverse against the party got into the paper.

And yet, despite all such shenanigans, Sri Lanka wholeheartedly promotes the tourism industry, ignoring the fact that prostitution thrives parallel with tourism everywhere in the world.

Not a criminal offence

As it legally stands though, prostitution is not a criminal offence in Sri Lanka, but brothels are.

Making that clear was Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake when he acquitted a woman last February who was arrested in a brothel.

He said there were no prevailing laws in Sri Lanka against a woman who independently engages in prostitution as a means of earning a living, but that operating a brothel was an offence.

He said the Vagrants Ordinance and the Brothel Ordinance were the laws that govern prostitution in Sri Lanka.

The Vagrants Ordinance only deals with a prostitute when she is behaving in a riotous or disorderly manner in any public street or highway (Sections 2 and 9) while the Brothel Ordinance provides punishment against any person who keeps or manages or acts or assists in the management of a brothel (Section 2), the magistrate said.

Police personnel who habitually raid brothels and coldheartedly parade women before media cameras, with themselves importantly in the forefront, should be required to get acquainted with the law as it stands.

Attempting to use the police and law to control brothels and prostitution is mere farce.

Such raids and media feeds have been going on over the decades and done little to abolish prostitutes and brothels.

They have only given the raiding party some sought-after prominence.

It is accepted that young men in uniform worldwide are the most frequent customers at brothels, with brothels at the lower end of the scale proliferate near military camps and police stations.

It is also known that brothels operating at the higher end of the scale have little to fear about police raids.

They arrange meetings in private residences or star class hotels.

Additionally, many sophisticated prostitutes have moved online and now market themselves through secret personal websites.

Earning a living

Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake’s reference to “earning a living” is of relevance because that’s exactly what women are doing by working in a brothel.

It must also be recognised that not all men and women prostitutes are victims.

Many do so as a convenient and rewarding way of making a living.

There are also those for whom prostitution is the only prospect due to lack of education, job opportunity, or poverty.

Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, a former chairwoman of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, is on record as having said sex was the only way open to women widowed during the 37-year conflict who had to submit to the sexual demands of officials in order to get anything done, even routine paperwork.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    0

    Hiding what is natural is not the answer. No one or not any religious teaching can win against nature. Sexual feeling at a certain age is a natural occurrence. It’s the ignorance of the Thero to oppose teaching to students re: sex in schools. I am sure even he is not free of sexual feelings. People like Abayatissa Thera, as we have seen in the recent past, is a political slave and he is trying to spread his ignorance to the rest of the community. He got the platform to talk about sex education is only because he was batting for Rajapakses. However, he has now learnt as per his recent speech what foolishness was it to support Rajapakses. Similarly, I hope, he changes his views on sex education as well.

    • 5
      0

      “Sexual feeling at a certain age is a natural occurrence.”

      “Certain age?” ……… Tell that to Old-Codger! :))

      • 0
        0

        Nimal,
        A baby does not get sexual feelings!

        • 2
          0

          “A baby does not get sexual feelings!”

          How do you know? ………. Just kidding :))

          If there is such a thing ………. when does Oedipus complex come into play?

    • 3
      1

      Not just sex education, but any kind of education in our schools to universities are deficient in world standards Looking back I have the feeling that the teachers taught me were mal-qualified in their subjects.
      i THINK it is high time ,adolesent buddhist monks be given better education in order to save this society, else, more of Ghanasara s will be produced like mushrooming.
      I have no doubt, most of them do molest their child monks in their temples. Child protection authorities should wake up from their long hibernation.
      Lately, some of them begged me about offering them smart phones. Asked for what purpose they would demand such sophisticated gadgets, they started scratching their ears as nothing could come out them.
      Current educational system prevailing in the country is similar to wholesale poultry farming keeping each COCK in an individual cage system. They are not given chances to study out of their subjects guidlines set for the school education.
      I happened to meet a dozen of srilanken lecture-assistants that arrived in europe for their further post graduate studies. I was forced to notice all their shortcomings, because I did not get my degrees in Srilanka.
      Most of them were filled with – srilanken malice /curse/ uncivilized, though each of them were wearing a title of a BSC or BA degree awarded from a local university.

      tbc

      • 2
        1

        Continuing.
        I also heard from an Ethiopian female student, who arrived in Germany from former Chekoslavia, that a girl with 4-5 male students from SRILANKA were with them, but that girl was preyed by a rape carried out by the boys. This is a true story. This is how some srilankens are said to have abused their sexaul fantasies after the school education. Above all, these bastards sons of mlechcha families should have been taught to treat their own country men and women equally, specially during a foreign stay.
        Structural reforms in education in all levels are the need of the hour. I think PEACE-AND HARMONY and SEX EDUCATION should be introduced to secondary school syllubuses.
        :
        I am interested more about the numbers of CHILD and ADLOLESENT monks which are caught by HIV in recent years. Aggressive monk of all various kind of monks – noneotherthan – Galle born ” Ghaanasara” shoiuld long have been caught by any kind of STDs. His aggressions and hate that he constantly drops down in his public presences reveals a lot about his hidden/hypocrite life. Not few days ago, how he verbally attacked a most sobre monk in an audio tape spread like a wild fire on cyber. The message he sent out was ” just hatreds”.

        • 2
          0

          Leelage Malli
          You are someone with a gift.
          The gift of being a decent guy on the inside.

          People like you are very difficult to find these days.

          Keep up the Good work bro.

    • 2
      0

      Chris, apart from all of this, adults can talk freely and surely in a group of men and women on their concerns about their diabetes, arthritis and cardio issues and other such ailments. But if they attempt to talk about any dysfunction in their intimate love life like PE or ED they are imdtly labeled as perverts. “Cheeeeee what are you saying ah” That’s why men hold back on discussing their sexual concerns and develop low self esteem issues.

  • 3
    8

    Sex education in Sri Lanka is not practical. Most elementary school teachers in SL are females. When female teachers talk about sex education, it’s only going to aggravate the student masturbation.

    I remember when we were in class, when females teachers used to discuss this forbidden subject, we used to move to the back of the class and take matters into our own hands so to speak.

    Then we used to go to the Lavos (Lavatory). Ask Panini, he knows all about it being the headmaster of STC Guruthalawa.

    • 2
      0

      Correction, RSP;
      .
      I was never the Headmaster of STC, Gurutalawa. In 1989, Bala Gunsekeram wanted me there, and true it is that despite all the insults, I rescued the school (together with Jacques Huyghebaert) in 2007.
      .
      Even after that only insults have followed.
      .
      Yesterday, I provided the Bishop’s Secretary with 19 minutes of “entertainment” starting 10.43 am. The Bishop and I connected with each other at 6.36 pm for 15 minutes 28 seconds. But all the talking had to be done by me.
      .
      Neither had seen this article:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/church-of-ceylon-anglican-democracy-choosing-the-best-to-be-put-over-us/
      .
      Nor the earlier one. Incredible, but I think true!
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe
      , the “VishramikaGambadaIngirisiIskoleMahattaya” (RetiredVillageEnglishSchoolMaster)

      • 5
        1

        Panini,

        Thanks for the correction. But I am still convinced that you are an influential figure amongst the STC school circuit.

        I saw a picture of you with Warden Bilimoria. I must say I do not like the current Warden. He has a habit of asking money from overseas Thomians. And he also brings religion onto Sports. Nowadays, you would see the Thomian Rugby team praying and all that nonsense. I am not saying God cannot play Rugby. In fact, God is the most supreme player ever to walk the planet. In any case, I am not in favor of these medieval habits of praying before games etc.

        • 0
          0

          ReginaldShamalPerera.
          .
          It is correct to say that I’m known to the top administration of S. Thomas’, but they probably don’t like me at all. I can well imagine them telling one another that that “He’s a trouble-maker.” I don’t think that I am, but I know too much, and speak out.
          .
          I didn’t like your comments of some years back saying that you had raped lots of Tamils in the North: possibly fiction. Your comments had somewhat improved when you came back this year. I don’t mind your being frank, but a certain tone must be maintained on a site like this.
          .
          Marc and I have had our differences, but we get on fine. He was never any good at sports, and he may make thee occasional gaffe, but, overall, I approve of him. So, I’m unlikely to start attacking him. There has to be a limit to the number of people one tries to be at war with at any given time. That’s, not the basis for my tolerating all of his “eccentricities”.

    • 5
      2

      It is backward thinking of people like the above writer for whom women can only be sex objects and sex education raises visions of vaginas and penises and copulation. But sex education is more than that. It is instructions on life and reproduction, nothing else. All life reproduces – plants, animals, humans. If not, the world and all life would have swiftly died off. So I can’t see why a female teacher talking about such matters should make Mr Perera or anyone else “take matters into our own hands”, as he says. That’s perversion. It calls for serious counselling.

      • 4
        1

        Sarath,

        With all due respect, I must say that although you try to act intelligent you are from from it.

        The experience I wrote was based on my school years as a teenager or even a pre-teen. As an adult, I would never do such a thing.
        My point is that a teenager with a frequent erection at that age could care less about your supposedly scientific sexual mumbo jumbo and that is why it is impractical to teach at that age.

        Perhaps a better age would be during HSC or what is now called A Levels.

    • 4
      0

      So, you did not get a structured sex education. Whatever you were taught came too late in your upbringing. You were already in to masturbation!

    • 2
      1

      RSP,

      Long time no see, we though you might have been caught by COVID:
      :
      In my days in 70ties and 80ties, not a single teacher spoke about sex. Most of them felt it should be kept away from the pupils.

      I think our buddhist monks should be given a better education, so that the harm being done by them to the society could become much less. Automatically, going by the place given to them in the SOCIETY. Our people continue to be PASSIVE whatever high crime a buddhist monk might have committed…. considering the place given to them in the society. The myth – that we should RESPECT the SIVURU- Monk s constume should be removed from the PUBLIC use.
      :
      In Europe some terms in German, English or an yother langauges are removed annually going by its impact. The very same should be made in our langague use. Flithy sinhala loads of wors are in circulation today than no times in past.

  • 4
    1

    Christopher Rezel,
    .
    I takes courage to write openly on a subject like this.
    .
    I wish I could say that I digested every word that you have written. I felt it unnecessary. Fellows like me know the pros and cons of the arguments, but there certainly are some who absolutely refuse to face up to facts.
    .
    Buddhist1 comments regularly and always talks sense. We have given ourselves handles that makee us sound narrow-minded, I know, but I will claim that we are not!
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe

  • 5
    0

    In my opinion, the problem in Sri Lanka is the word “SEX” which has been presented to mean “Immoral” (culturally-based) by religious groups, social civil organizations, and even parents and elders. The word “Sex” is not presented to mean the “Biological” difference between a “Male” and a “Female”. In Sri Lankan society the moment the word “sex” is mentioned, the mind is tuned to think of “Sex Act” – to pair and engage in intercourse. This is a “FACT” and “REALITY”. This “Foundation” has to be shattered first.

    How do we do that? First is “Education” not based on “SEX” but well designed on “PHYSIOLOGY” from the early years of learning. In the good old days, there was a subject in the curriculum named “Physiology and Hygiene” but over the years that changed and slowly removed under various “Pandits” thinking. Recently, I found a book titled “Incredible Voyage – Exploring The Human Body” published by “National Geographic Society”. This book is written on six subjects starting from “Origins”, “Systems”, “Bodily Defenses”, “Brain”, “Aging” and “New Directions”. This could be a NEW approach for the introduction of “Physiology” to Sri Lanka education and forget “Sex” education.

    • 2
      0

      simon

      i propose that we change the word sex to huk in srilanka.

      • 4
        1

        Shankar,

        Sex/huk are both being used today right ?
        .
        I think a state who does not seem to know what to do in ” gas cylinder blast” issue , let alone how can they work on big issues ?
        .
        The country is now upside down. Anyone with some sanity would see, these issues or some reforms to prevailing systems would not take long, but a place where law and order is goine to the dogs, what more talks ?

    • 3
      1

      Sex is a natural instinct among all living organisms. It is not a learnt behavior. Another example of an instinct is mother’s instinc.

      Do we teach mothers to love their children.

      Human behavior is complex.

      Our parents and teachers may not be good learners and wrongly and poorly trained may damage the future generation irrevocably.

      . Better leave it to the instinct.

      • 1
        0

        Yes, they have left it to be by instinct and are complaining now. In a civilized and a structured society, one needs to understand the consequences of irresponsible instinctive behaviour. Uncontrolled anger and violence and intolerance to other person’s beliefs and customs, resulting in racism, are two other responses to ‘leaving it to instinct’. Religion controls some bad behaviour of people using fear of the unknown, which is essential to the state to keep some kind of law and order!

        There seems to be more Buddhists in the West, without the label, these days compared to them Sri Lanka. We have lost it. When one examines the behaviour of the contemporary Buddhist monks, all one could say is “Wetath Niyarath Goyam Ka Nam, Karta Kiyamida Eh Amaruwa”

  • 4
    0

    All life form animate or inanimate has one purpose; progeny, pass on the gene and die. Humans are no different. Natures’ purpose for us is reproduce and then die. Religions are based on human arrogance and fear of the unknown. The state and the being the gate keepers of hell or heaven, the clergy profit from all religions.
    There is an old adage in the West; ‘old enough to bleed, old enough to breed’ . Irrespective of how crude it is, it is true. Some faiths allow old men to get married to girls just out of puberty to satisfy their biological needs, and are willing to fight to death to safeguard their perverted pleasure. Even the animals do not do it. The males in animal kingdom has to fight to get sex.
    It is the Victorian values which got most of the world in monogamous bonding. SL never used to practice such before the arrival of the Portuguese.
    To keep a long story short, teach the subject of reproduction and sex to children, especially the girls who will be entering puberty. Teach responsibility and medical aspects to girls and boys at the same time. Sex is a pleasure and also a responsibility. Kids are smart. It is better to teach them early on instead of letting them find it out by trial and error.

  • 6
    1

    The two ideas that are the most anathema to Sinhala Buddhist governments are, 1) Devolution of Powers to the Tamils, and 2) Legalization of Sex Work.

    Authoritarianism, Corruption, Nepotism, Cronyism, Harassment of journalists and victims of state-sponsored violence, Destruction of the environment, Stealing of private lands, Ill-treating and even killing of prisoners, Obstruction and undermining of justice, and selling valuable national assets to foreign countries, are all perfectly acceptable.

  • 1
    0

    Teased, tickled and titillated must be what those committees studying the introduction of sex education among schoolchildren are experiencing. They may go on studying the subject until unable to stand up straight.

  • 2
    0

    ReginaldShamalPerera & others who are serious:
    .
    I’ve got mundane chores to attend to now, but there will be other significant facts that I will put on below this other article:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/saving-christianity-from-unethical-but-respected-christian-management-bodies/comment-page-1/#comment-2415893
    .
    It needs discipline, commitment, and a medium degree of intelligence, to find something approximating to the right course of action to follow in these matters.
    .
    Not worth listening to guys who think that they have all the answers.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe

    • 2
      0

      Dear SM,

      Are u sure RSP is being serious ?

      Going back to some posts being, added by the same gentleman on CT – about the increase of sexual abuses in public buses/school buses in our motherland. That sounded, it was alright any man to do so, becasue it s the nature of men.

      I think be them men or women, such sexual haarasements in public buses should be made highly punishable acts.

      They wear banner on SINHLAA BUDDHISTs but behaving like “dogs” … even some FAKE MONKS do the same. I have no doubt, Ghanasara may have broken all records sofar.

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