Have sex. Or don’t. Just don’t be a hypocrite.

I noticed last night a post floating through social media on how at an event in North South University, my alma mater, free condoms were distributed as an effort to raise awareness about AIDS. From the information that I could pick up, the event was organized in collaboration with or with support from UNICEF.

Of course, just the mere sight of condoms (free or not) has caused all hell to break loose. Social media is awash with posts from how everyone in NSU is a prostitute and how the university is a whore-house, to how that university has always been an immoral place. Worse, the university administration is now actively embracing those accolades and condoning the distribution of condoms to its students. As always, when a set of ill-informed individuals need to make judgemental opinions on social media, the whys, the hows, the whats and any context in general must be cleverly left out. So as a result, I’m struggling to understand what the big deal is. After all, isn’t AIDS a real thing, and isn’t it a good thing for people to be aware of how they can avoid getting AIDS? Aren’t these all full-grown adults (for a few this may be questionable), in the process of acquiring university degrees, who are presumably capable of consuming information and talking about grown-up topics like safe sex?

No, of course not. It’s far easier to stick our heads into the sand and pretend that talking about AIDS or safe sex is a ‘western’ thing, and those things just don’t happen ‘here’. Better yet, it’s more exciting to zero in on how much more sex NSU students will now be having, thanks to those free condoms.

Anyone who thinks that providing free condoms to NSU students is encouraging ‘immoral behaviour’ and pre-marital sex, do take your head out of that comfortable bubble of yours that you live in and take a look around. It’s not just NSU students that are possibly having sex; anyone who’s in university has probably considered it and has engaged in it when the opportunity presented itself. Young people in Bangladesh have been having sex – whether you know about it or not and whether you like it or not. In fact, young people in Bangladesh have been having sex long before NSU even came into existence. You think it’s just an urban thing, as a consequence of the decaying moral values of the urban society? Do yourselves a favor and pick up a bunch of old copies of JaiJaiDin’s ‘Bhaalobasha Shongkha’. People everywhere in Bangladesh are having sex – safe or not.

If just the idea of condoms gets you all uncomfortable and bothered, maybe you should be having sex. Don’t be that guy that spews outraged garbage on social media about how we’ve lost all our sense of morality, and goes home to his massive stash of secret porn or Bollywood raunchiness that he jacks off to every night. Or worse, don’t be that guy who gets sexual gratification from ‘accidentally’ rubbing up against women in crowded places or from making lewd comments about perfectly decently dressed female classmates at university.

Growing up in a conservative country, young people are already denied the opportunity to acquire sexual education through structured information dissemination. What we know are things we hear from our friends – save for that awkward Biology class where your teacher is trying to teach you facts without really talking about what it all means. The more you vilify the idea of talking about this openly, the more you encourage young people to learn about it from television and movies – often at the sake of being misinformed. As a result, sex is this evil, invisible thing that destroys morality. Lets start talking about it so it’s not just a debate about moral vs. immoral, but rather about how it is a normal biological phenomenon that will happen to everyone and most people will engage in it at some point or the other – even the moral ones.

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22 Comments Add yours

  1. You know who says:

    Reblogged this on You know who and commented:
    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    1. Faria- An NSUer says:

      I’m personally somebody who believes that pre-marital sex is an unforgivable sin and I will personally never engage in it (InshaAllah). However, HAVING SAID THAT, I found nothing wrong or immoral in the awareness campaisn and distribution of condoms at the campus the other day. If kids are having sex, if they’re doing drugs, etc. there’s no point is closing our eyes and pretending its not happening. People are preaching abstinence and that’s great. But since 70% uni kids still end up doing it, we have to start preaching awareness & safe-sex too. Loved your article. xx

    2. KitKat says:

      just because you think there’s nothing wrong about it doesn’t mean everything is right about it.

  2. Asifur Rahman says:

    Thank You for writing this piece. I just completely agree. If the level ignorance, of university going students have reached such heights, then i m just entirely disappointed at their upbringing and their shallow and closed mindset. this is a perfectly normal thing, wasn’t even shocked when we were given freebies which included condoms, key rings, pens etc at our orientation week in a university, i went to in London, merely 8 years back…yah! that’s how back dated we are, and we only prove ourselves to be bigger idiots by that sheer arrogance of not accepting anything which is just a slightly may appear to be a newer concept, which the world has adapted to, a decade back. I was a student of NSU too, at least it was a lot better back in the days… who to blame? everyone involved… from parents, to faculties, administration, students, and the outsiders who just can’t speak well just cause they cannot get laid as a fortunate NSU’er :p so whenever you come across a person from this irrational demeaning perspective, just ask a simple question… What is the sound of one hand clapping? enjoy the look on their face…can sugar coat it with a moderate tight slap! Good Day!

  3. Beautifully written 🙂 Keep up the good work. 🙂

  4. NK says:

    i agree. completely. amazing of you to write this 🙂

  5. abuneo says:

    in short….Islam followed in BD is not true Islam (corruption from dark periods have penetrated here & still thrives…)
    young ppl have been engaging in unlawful sex rite…but becoz of lack of mis-information or total lack of information on sexual freedom as prescribed in Ancient Islam as two types of sex is allowed in Islam: permanent and contractual…read here for more: http://www.al-islam.org/muta-temporary-marriage-in-islamic-law-sachiko-murata

  6. Syd Barret says:

    Premarital sex was very rare in past (even twenty years back) as sex is considered sacred among religions and ideologies. With the advent of secular idea brought and inherited by the colonialist, adultery started to grow and spread as it had become gradually accepted in the society. From there on many epidemic sex diseases emerged and social unrest began.

    If UNICEF sincerely wanted to stop AIDS they would have promoted “Safe Marriage” instead of distributing Condoms among unmarried youths. The real purpose of distributing condom is to normalize premarital sex among General unmarried youths.

    On the Other hand UNICEF denounces early marriage but allow early sex, is it not hypocrisy and irrational(!!!) They could have promoted Condoms to married couples for their (whatever) agenda of population control (though it is never a problem) that would have been understandable. But providing condoms to unmarried people is promoting fornication, and fornication is considered Alien to our society and it is against our Ideology and sovereignty.

    The best way to stop AIDS is Marriage. In Islam a person who have crossed Puberty(between 9-13) is consider adult i.e. a person is ADULT from early Teenage. There is nothing called adolescence in Islam. Sex is an Instinct just like food. In a healthy productive society (sometimes ‘early’) Marriage is the solution and protection against these alien uncouth norms.

  7. Conscious Students of North South University says:

    Beware Parents/Guardians of North South University Students!

    Your Children Just Got Free Condoms at NSU Campus by A NGO with The Help of NSU Authority!!!

    Respected parents of the students of NSU,

    We hope you are aware of the recent program held by an NGO in the university campus where allegedly 6000 condoms were given to the students free of cost. The news, surprisingly, hasn’t garnered much attention in the press, only to be covered by a handful of online media and social networking sites. A photo, with a T-shirt showing half of a UNIC*F logo and a few condoms on top of it, has been quite widely circulated over the social media in the last few days. The objective of the program was, apparently, to educate young adults about AIDS. Our question to you is, do you feel comfortable knowing that the very institution which you trust to educate your children is exposing them to a lifestyle that you may not approve of? Are you content with the fact that in the name of “sex education”, your children are being told that pre-marital sex is acceptable? Do you not feel that such actions by the university are part of a wider agenda to introduce your vulnerable children to a viewpoint on life which is contradictory to the norms and values you have been teaching them at home? We know you do not approve of the obscenity and lewdness that your children are exposed to via the media and popular culture and we also know that you feel helpless regarding all these…desperately trying to protect them from the overwhelming influence of what surrounds them. Given this abhorring reality, do you not feel that the very institution which you entrust to instill in your children the right values and is legitimizing a lifestyle which tells them it is acceptable to fulfil whatever desires and urges they may have, in whichever way they may want? Do you not think you have been cheated by the university since it is deliberately exposing them to views you want to protect them from?

    Respected parents,

    we know how concerned you are about the wellbeing of your children. This display was a slap to your face…a reminder to you that your children are to be shaped in whatever way the proponents of such a liberal way of life want and not in the way that you want. After 4 years of molding, your children will be unrecognizable to you, poked, prodded and violated by concepts alien to yours. It does not suit you to be silent in the face of such a reality. You are the people on whose hard earned money these institutions thrive. It is your duty to protect your children from such corrupt values and if you do not speak up against this obscenity, it will only pave the way for more of such actions in the future.

    1. Colourfade says:

      I am sorry, but accepting the conditions is the way far better than running away from problems. 🙂

  8. Muhammad S. Ahsan says:

    i totally disagreed with her. to those ultra modern girl like the author u might forgot who we are but don’t think people to be like you. however i did coincide with only one statement of her. yes sex education is a thing of western culture. when they start to face problems related to adultery they decide to give ppl education related to this problem and possible way to prevent those problem. however these are there problem don’t make these of our own.

  9. rr says:

    TK,

    Nice views. I respect your ideas. They are personal to you.

    However, please respect mine, when I say I slightly disagree with you.
    I think in our country it is best that we keep sex a thing of secret. A bad thing. Not to be mentioned not to be discussed openly.

    Trust me when I say, you will not like an Open Bangladeshi Society, if it ever came to be. I have seen it in other places and it is just too graphic !

    Those people who are saying things about NSU, will never understand NSU. They have to see to understand what is NSU. I totally agree with you on that, also support your frustration, for people making an unjust comment.

    But an open society like US in BD? that for me personally is a big no no !!

    I don’t know if its just me, but i like the old days. You respect the society, you feel sorry to yourself for a taboo. You don’t question the norms, you don’t raise your voice against the right. You definitely don’t bring condoms into our discussions. Their are many ways of raising awareness. But actually letting people to try on the ways, that to me not needed. Don’t think giving away these things is necessary or helping anyone.

    Coz…You can know the things that give you a heart attack without actually having a heart attack !

    Hope I could make my point.

    🙂

  10. Towsif Osman says:

    Absolutely brilliant. If you could manage the time, or manage someone…I’d suggest you try and get a translation of it printed in our bangla newspapers.

  11. Seraphim says:

    You said it.

  12. arif says:

    It’s a bold move in a still little conservative country. The “energetic” youths should discuss their campaigns with elders before acting. After all they have more wisdom than us .

  13. It is a well written piece, I will agree to that. I agree that Bangladesh, like the whole world, is becoming more and more sexually active. Some may not accept it but it is a reality. Being said that, the attempt to awareness which was taken by distributing condoms is way off mark. No matter how globalized we have become, these issues are still very sensitive and there they have completely missed the mark in addressing it. There are lots of factors which is needed to be taken into account while social marketing and, lets face it, in this campaign many of those factors were disregarded. So if you are angry on people for calling names on NSU, don’t be. It is the job of people to be irrational. IN every country, every society, every race, every time you will have irrational group saying all sorts of things. But the idea is not to feed their appetite.

  14. Arafat says:

    1)
    আমি ফেসবুকে পড়ছি যে নর্থ সাউথ য়ুনিভার্সিটিতে নাকি ফ্রিলি কনডম বিতরণ করা হয়েছে। আমরা একটা জিনিস জাতিগত ভাবে ভুলে থাকার চেষ্টা করি যে সেক্স কোনও মানসিক সমস্যা না, এটা মৌলিকভাবে শারীরিক ব্যাপার। ছেলে মেয়েরা পূর্ণবয়স্ক হয়ে যাবার পর থেকে ক্ষুধা তৃষ্ণার মতোই এই চাহিদা বোধ করতে থাকে। আপনি এভাবে চিন্তা করুন যে কখনও যদি আপনাকে বলা হয় যে এখন থেকে খাওয়াদাওয়া বন্ধ রাখতে এবং একটা নির্দিষ্ট বয়সের পর থেকে খাওয়াদাওয়া করতে তাহলে আপনার যে অবস্থা হবে, আমাদের দেশে বিয়ের বয়স পিছিয়ে দিয়ে প্রায় অনুরূপ সঙ্কট তৈরি করা হয়েছে। পাশ্চাত্যের দেশগুলোতে সেক্সের সাথে বিয়ের কোনও কোররিলেশান নেই বললেই চলে, সেক্স করার জন্য একটি ছেলে বা মেয়েকে বিয়ে করতে হবে এমন কোনও কথা আর সামাজিক ভাবে বেশিরভাগ মানুষই চিন্তা করে না। এটার বিপরীত অবস্থান ইসলামে। ইসলামে সেক্স হচ্ছে একটি ম্যারিটাল রেস্পন্সিবিলিটি, এ কারণে সমাধান হোলো যৌনক্ষমতা এবং আকাঙ্ক্ষা তৈরি হবার পরপরই যত তাড়াতাড়ি সম্ভব বিয়ের ব্যবস্থা করা। আমাদের দেশ পড়েছে কঠিন চিপায়। এখানে সামাজিক ভাবে বিয়ের ব্যবস্থাকে নিয়ে যাওয়া হয়েছে যতটা পারা যায় বেশি বয়সে। আর এদিকে শারিরীক যে চাহিদা সেটাও বিয়ের বাইরে মেটানোর ব্যাপারটা আছে ট্যাবু হয়ে। এর চেয়ে বড় ডিস্যাস্টার রেসিপি আর কিছু হতে পারে না। এটা ইকুইলিব্রিয়ামের বাইরের অবস্থা যেখানে সমাজ বেশিদিন চলতে পারে না। হয় সে সেক্যুলার সল্যুশান নেবে যেটা হোলো সেক্স আর বিয়ের কোররিলেশান ছুটিয়ে দেয়া, নয়তো সে ইসলামিক সল্যুশান নেয়ার চেষ্টা করবে। সেক্যুলারিস্টরা আর যাই হোক দ্বিতীয়টার কথা ভাববে না, সুতরাং তাই হচ্ছে যা আপনি নর্থ সাউথে দেখছেন। এটা তামাশার ব্যাপার না, ভীষণ বিপদের কথা।

    2)
    Faham ভাই (আমার সবচেয়ে প্রিয় মানুষদের একজন), তার একটি রিসেন্ট স্ট্যাটাসে বলেছেন যে ফ্রি কনডম সেক্সুয়াল প্রমিসকিওয়াটি বাড়িয়ে দেবে এটা একটা বোকার মতো ধারণা। আমি ফাহাম ভাইয়ের সাথে এই ব্যাপারে একমত। কনডম এমন দুর্লভ বা দামী কোনও জিনিসও নয় যা-র জন্য পোলাপান নর্থ সাউথের ডিরেকশানের জন্য বসে ছিলো (পান ইন্টেন্ডেড)।
    আমাদের কনসার্নটা অন্য জায়গায়। ফ্রি কনডম বিতরণের কনসেপ্টটাই সিম্বোলিক। সমাজ কীভাবে যৌন ধারণা করছে তার সিম্বল। কনডম ফ্রিলি দেয়াটা অনেকটা ওভার-ইটিঙের সমাধান হিসেবে ফ্রিলি অ্যান্টি ফ্যাটেনিং পিল দেয়ার মতো। অ্যান্টি ফ্যাটেনিং পিল খাওয়া হয়তো আরও বাড়াবে না কারণ যে এমনিতেই ওভার-ইটিঙ করে তার পক্ষে আর বেশি খাওয়া সম্ভব না। আর যে বেশি খায় না হেলথ কনসার্নের জন্য সেও এটা পেলে বেশি খাবে এমন ভাবার কারণ নাই। কিন্তু অ্যান্টি ফ্যাটেনিং পিল ওভার-ইটারদের উৎসাহিত রাখবে, লাইফ লাইন দেবে। সমস্যাটাকে কেমোফ্লাজ করে রাখবে।
    সন্দেহ নাই যে দেশে ইদানিং অ্যাবোরশনের যে হিড়িক পড়েছে এবং ডাস্টবিনে যে আজকাল “অবৈধ” শিশুকে পরিত্যক্ত পড়ে থাকতে দেখা যাচ্ছে তার একটা স্টপ-গ্যাপ মেজার হিসেবে কনডম বিতরণ দরকারী জিনিস। এসটিডি-র জন্যও তাই। কিন্তু এই স্টপ গ্যাপ মেজার একটি সামাজিক মূল্যবোধের অবক্ষয়ের সিম্বোল হয়ে দাঁড়াচ্ছে এবং সেখান থেকে উঠে আসার দরকারটাকে নাই করে দিচ্ছে। আমি এবং আমার মতো যারা ইসলামিকালি কনসার্ন্ড তাদের এখানেই আপত্তি।
    বহুদিন আগে বাংলাদেশী এক ফিল্ম অ্যাক্ট্রেসের সাক্ষাৎকার পড়ছিলাম। তাকে জিজ্ঞেস করা হয়েছে: “আপনি একটি ছবিতে এত অল্প কাপড় পড়ে শট দিয়েছেন কেন?” মহিলার উত্তর: “ওটা তো বাথরুমের শট ছিলো, বাথরুমে মানুষ আর কী পড়বে?”
    কথা তো ১০০% সত্যি। কিন্তু কথা তো ঐটা না।

    collected from facebook status of Asif Shibgat Bhuiyan

  15. Reema Islam says:

    Aaaahhh wat a releif to read such an wide eyed piece and that too, so articulately written 🙂 Thanks for this we really need to wake up and smell the coffee. More than half the people condoning such “illicit” behaviour are as u so poignantly pointed out, returning home to their possibly voyeuristic habits and stash of indecent magazines! Hyprocrisy and narrow mindedness… the biggest evils that cud stop Bangladesh from moving ahead!

  16. sBox says:

    I never want to see that day when people fornicates like donkeys (or dogs) on the streets….It seems that those who justify this “safe-sex promotion” has actually forgotten one of the principal differences between mankind and animals, i.e., Marriage. Now, some might say that this has something to do with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution OR that men/women are SOCIAL ANIMALS…But I say, if that’s really true then the BELIEVERS OF SAFE SEX should not hesitate to promote INCEST too, as far as the issue of Safe-Sex is concerned. IF NOT, then those “phallic” bastards (NSU Admin/supporters) can shoot themselves. And I’ll be glad.

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