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Live-in Relationship & Premarital Sex Are Legal

In another blow to the religious right the Supreme Court of India ruled that live-in relationship and pre-marital sex cannot be construed as an offence.  The Supreme Court made these observations in a case involving Indian actress Khusboo who few years ago made statements endorsing pre-marital sex and the use of contraceptives in a magazine interview.

It is interesting that we in India are still debating these issues in the 21st century.  Most of the world has moved on.  But I am glad that the Supreme Court took up this case and clarified where the courts stand on this sensitive issue.  This now puts pressure on the Indian Government to formulate laws that will govern such relationships and also clarify how custody and other issues will be handled when it comes to children resulting from such relationships.

The Indian economy is not the only thing that is growing.  There is a sexual revolution going on beneath the surface in India (I have read many reports that indicate that this is true for China as well).  The younger generation is dating more and early, the number of people who are living together is increasing and the number of individuals who break-up and move on to other relationships is also increasing.  Bollywood and Indian sports (particularly Cricket) are full of celebrities who lead a more liberal lifestyle than the celebrities of the past.  Bollywood is a leading indicator and not typical example of where Indian society is today but is a good indicator as to where it is headed.

But the frustrating part is that hard data about what is going on is not available.  Is pre-marital sex and live-in relationship a growing trend in the cities alone?  Is it limited to a certain strata of society or to a certain geographical area?  Hard data is important because educational institutions, social groups and the government can be more specific in providing support.

Why do they need support?  Except in a few states like Kerala sex education is completely absent from the Indian educational system.  Unfortunately most parents do not talk to their kids about matters relating to sex either.  It is up to the kids to figure things out and educate themselves which is not the proper way to do it (you do not want your 14 year old kid to learn about sex, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and safe sex practices from his/her 14 year old friend).

The sexual revolution in America took place in the fifties and the sixties after American soldiers returned from World War II.  Since then the American government and other agencies have tried many different approaches and programs to make sure that young adults make well informed decisions.  Some programs are very successful while others are failures.

Knowing the Indian society I am afraid that some of the steps that we will take would be similar to the failed American programs.  These programs focus on “abstinence only approach” as the best and safest method.  According to a study by “Family Planning Perspectives” only about 34% of American schools still conduct abstinence only programs (many of these school districts are in conservative areas of the country).  66% of the schools provide students information about contraceptives and other safe sex practices.  Studies also show that students who are in the “abstinence only” programs are sexually active which defeats the purpose.

The debate about religion and cultural values should not overshadow the fact that this is a debate about health care and education as well.  India already has a major HIV/AIDs problem in its hands.  Let us educate and let us move forward.

Related posts:

  1. Immorality & Live-In Relationship
  2. All Indian Children are not Equal
  3. Sexual Content Filtering Begins in India
  4. Indians Morally Superior to Westerners?
  5. Muslim Board to Dissuade Divorces Among Indian Muslims

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Category: Culture & Religion

Comments (16)

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  1. Bikram says:

    Pre marital sex is quiet common now, majority of the girls and boys do it these days .. esepcially hostelers , you hear about so many stories ..

    I would really be very worried when marriage comes to actually know where the girl has been.. Casue if i am not wrong 1 in 3 girls have had pre marital sex and not just with one but a FEW.

    • Hari says:

      I know there is a double-standard and the girls are perceived to be at a disadvantage. Maybe over a period of time Indian men might not care.

  2. Live -in -relationships and pre-marital sex have been there for quite some time now. Many of my classmates more than 15 years ago were in a live-in-relationship.

    Our country has a habit of ignoring facts even if they stare them right in their faces.

    • Hari says:

      Welcome. You are absolutely correct. There is a “vocal” majority which is very ill informed about India’s history and heritage.

  3. S.R.Ayyangar says:

    The common notion about live in relationship is for pre-marital sex even though there may be a very thin line to differentiate between the two.Even without staying together, one can understand the other in due course.
    Please also go thorough my article on this subject posted recently on my blog.

    • Hari says:

      I think this debate is very similar to the arranged marriage vs the love marriage debate. There are plus and minuses on both sides. I will definitely check out your blog post.

  4. Hitesh says:

    i remember that statement by khushboo….saying “ppl shouldn’t expect their spouses to be a virgin…” i too agree with that…..this country is full of hypocrites……

    i was in this kind of discussion recently with one of my colleague….who wants to do it….many a times…but his wife to be a virgin….and i was like “man wtf??”

    i like it cause society is getting more liberal….may be i liked cause i’m part of this new generation……..and i know older generation may not accept it…..but they can atleast pretend to be…..accepting things…..

    • Hari says:

      Hitest … I am a few years older to you …. and I think that there have been very liberal people in India. Now liberal people have a means to express their opinions through blogs. The media also has become slightly more liberal because it has a lot more freedom and judicial support than they had before. By liberalism in India is only in certain areas. In politics and when it comes to religion India is a lot more conservative that what it was during my generation.

  5. All over India, Premarital and extramarital relationships are a common thing…it is common but nobody talks about it…in Andhra Pradesh, ‘the second house”the second wife’are a thing that people are used to…I think here the question of the rights of the 1st wife is what needs to be looked into.
    so as i have said…it is common not only in the urban youth but also in towns and villages…but just not talked about…if the topic arises, its the woman who is the bad one…called names behind the back for luring the man!!!

    • Hari says:

      I used to live in Tamil Nadu for a while. In TN it is called “Chinna Veedu”. A movie by the same name was a big hit.

  6. I have blogged about this too. Totally agree.

    “There is a “vocal” majority which is very ill informed about India’s history and heritage.” True. Sad.

    • Hari says:

      No question about the ill informed majority part. We need a frank and honest discussion about our history in our education system. Today there is too much type and very little factual information conveyed to our younger generation.

  7. Arvind Singh says:

    We are not westerners and live-in relationship will eventually lead to a lot of mental turmoil and practical complications like child custody. No one can guarantee that in such relationships children will not be born. Who will look after the women involved when they pass their prime and no one wants to ‘live in’ with them? I read some on http://www.lawisgreek.com/live-in-relationships-supreme-court-verdict/

    • Hari says:

      Welcome Arvind,

      I do not see this as a West vs. East issue. We are all human beings and we feel pain in all sorts of relationships whether we are from the West or East. During a divorce or during separation child support, visitation and division of property are common issues that are dealt with societies all around the world. Just because it is complicated or painful does not mean that it should not be allowed. People who get into these types of relationships should be fully aware of the plus and minuses.

      Love and compassion is not dependent on the status of a persons past relationships. Who will look after a woman who is past her prime when her husband passes away? Is the answer any different if instead of the husband it was the boyfriend, fiance or long term live-in partner?

  8. shawn says:

    i guess all of u who r writing in support of the fact that premarital or extra-marital sex is fullon so y we should hide it etc etc.. Well i would advice you to first consider your own family ie your own parents: mom & dad & imagine if they were not virgins before marriage would u consider their love to be true? Oh c’mon this is child’s play, a toy or something that u forget it when it breaks. it is damn love which is pure & all ur pre & extra are making it venomous.how can u say u loved someone else 2 years ago, then another 3 months ago, now u seem 2 hav found ur correct match only 2 lose it again. how can such a person maintain a married life??he / she is bound 2 be distracted by the opposite sex again after sometime, polluting their own family realtionship.i feel for the life of their children. such people & ppl like u eho support all these pres & extras are a bane for indian society.

    • Hari says:

      Shawn,

      You contradict yourself. You give a lecture on love and then call people like me who disagree with you as “bane of Indian society”. This shows hatred. Whether we agree or not, live-in relationship and pre-marital sex is on the increase in India. So the government has the responsibility to make sure that the laws governing these relationships are clearly spelt out.

      We should stop talking about “puppy love” and discuss about what really goes on in human society. Love and falling in love are great. But we should acknowledge that falling out of love is equally common. Falling out of love is one of the reasons for breakups, divorces and affairs, all of which are very common in human societies since time immemorial.

      My love for my parents is unconditional. It is based on the sacrifices they made for me to make me the person that I am today and the love and affection they have towards me. Their “past” or “present” relationship status has zero impact on how I perceive them or love them.

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