This article is part of our ‘Taboo Series’ whereby we write articles on topics that Malaysians would find very ‘taboo’.
Sex Education Malaysia
Let’s Talk about Sex, baby (but not making one)
Depending on your background, your upbringing and your morals & beliefs, you’ll have a different reaction to that word.
Sex in Malaysia is such a paradoxical subject. On one hand, it’s a dirty word that only adults can say it. God forbid you actually uttered it as a child or even just as a teenager, can you imagine all the spankings or chili rubbed onto your mouth if you did? Because taboo.
And remember “only married couples can act out the meaning of it (which you probably sneakily sought the description out in the family’s shared dictionary). I highly doubt any pair of Asian parents actually sat younger version of you down to explain the birds & the bees. Because taboo.
(However if that happened to you, more props to your parents. Do they need a new daughter? Just asking for a friend, of course)
Unless you didn’t grow up in an uber-conservative household that didn’t denounce anything premarital as a sin. But of course you did, all of us Malaysians did.
Then, on the other hand, you’ll still get sniggering & snickering reactions from fully-grown adults when sex is brought up in conversations, casually or otherwise. Akin to a juvenile group of children learning about human reproduction in school.
But wait, those school children are already coming of age into adulthood since Malaysia’s education system only acknowledges human reproduction in high school, in Form 4 (16 year old) and even then just a brief touch on it. Lest the students go crazy and start breeding like rabbits around the school grounds.
No surprise then why some grown Malaysians still blush and giggle awkwardly at any mere mentions of sex.
Again, why? Because taboo.
I could go on & on about how stuck Malaysia is in the Dark ages but 1. I’d look like a crazed sex addict (Don’t get me started on locals’ views on women & sex, that’s an article for another day) and 2. I respect that sex might or might not be a taboo subject because of religion.
The rise of teen pregnancy in Malaysia
However, with the average of teenage girls in Malaysia getting pregnant each year reaching up to 18,000(!!), it shows that despite these countless efforts of hindering our youths from committing the ultimate sin that is sex, the majority of teenagers are just gonna do it anyway. These statistics come from a 2015 research done by the Health Ministry so you know it’s serious & legit.
Although the latest 2018 statistics have not been released experts at UM Specialist Centre (UMSC) believe the rise of teen pregnancy is growing.
In the same survey, 35% of Malaysian female youth believed that having sex for the first time doesn’t lead to pregnancy! This is why we need sex education is a need in Malaysia.
So rather than sweeping it under the carpet and allowing the issue to grow along with these young girls’ bellies, let’s just equip our local youths with the knowledge of sex and how to do it safely.
Note: The author & The Cool Bears do not condone underage sex but what we DO support is safe sex for ALL.
We’ve made a simple list with a few safe sex methods for our Malaysian readers to get that good ol’ sex education without much confusion.
5 Ways to Prevent Pregnancy & STDs
“Safe sex is great sex, better wear a latex ‘cause you don’t want that late text, that “I think I’m late” text”
Yes, we’re actually using a Lil’ Wayne verse to start this list off but you can’t deny the catchiness & wittiness of his line so begone hater! And allow our rap guilty pleasures to seep through our professional work.
Moving along, do as the great philosopher (yes we said it, we told you begone, hater) said and put on a condom before doing the dirty! The same 2015 survey stated 25% of Malaysians believed a condom or any form of protection is not needed between partners, just mutual trust.
Aww, that’s sweet and all what with mutual trust & respect being a great foundation for any relationship but that ain’t gonna stop a baby from popping out of your/your girl’s vagina OR
But wait before I reveal the second most important usage of condoms, I’m going to include a personal account of mine or shall I say, a friend of mine (hah, isn’t that what they all say?) who frequented prostitutes.
Now, I’m not stating any specific stance on sex work & prostitution (in this article anyway) but if you do have anything to say about it, DM me on Instagram and let’s have a (hopefully) respectful conversation there, yes? And no, I’m not collecting social media clout points here, I really am interested in others’ views on this topic. Don’t follow, just DM. My IG is just a sinkhole of shitposts at this point.
Anyway, this friend of mine frequented prostitutes and yes, they always wore a condom while receiving any of their services so yay good on them! Until one time, they decided to take it off for some reason relating to horniness (curse the hormones that be). Was I outraged upon hearing that?
You’re damn right I was! And rightly so because condoms aren’t just for avoiding pregnancies, condoms also help:
AVOID THE SPREAD OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS & DISEASES (a.k.a. STIs or STDs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes or hepatitis.
I know, I know, I’m using big words now but basically these diseases are gonna cause your private parts much pain & suffering. However, with some of these diseases, the symptoms don’t even show and by the time you’ve had sex with the half of the world, you’ve also infected half of the world.
Most of them are treatable but some of the more severe ones like HIV & AIDS are not.
Although if you are interested in knowing more about the diseases you can contract during unprotected sex, do peruse this easily readable & accessible article.
Condoms are readily available in 24-hour convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Family Mart, MyNews, supermarkets and pharmacies so no excuses here! For less than RM10, you can get 3 pieces of condoms which is a cheap investment in the long run compared to taking care of a child. Serious eerie music plays. Plus as long as you store somewhere with moderate temperature, condoms have a shelf life of 5 years.
So wrap it up so you & your partner don’t have to wrap the relationship up for good due to the pressures of babies or diseases.
2. Contraceptive & Bill Control Pills
In a long term relationship and you’re 100% sure your partner & you have been tested as clean and free from any sort of STDs? Then birth control pills will be a cheaper alternative for both of you!
Sold over the counter at pharmacies like Watsons, Guardian or your nearby neighbourhood one, it’s easy to start on a pill right away. Regardless, there are so many brands to choose from, all containing different side effects.
As the saying goes, “your body is a temple” so I highly recommend visiting a government clinic and seeing a professional who can suggest the best one for you.
Read more about starting the pill here.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that one must be strict in their routine on taking the pill consistently at the same time everyday.
To miss it even for a day means the whole cycle reverts back to zero and you have to start the whole routine again.
Some experts suggest in being extra cautious (especially for the forgetful ones) and still practice the usage of a condom during sex even if you’re on the pill because:
1. Hello, we want ZERO chances of babies and
2. Pills don’t protect against STDs.
Prices differ but according to Free Malaysia Today, a pack will cost you between RM10-RM55 in any pharmacy while government clinics will charge you nothing or just RM1.
3. Birth Control Shot/Injection
A hormonal injection that works similarly to contraceptive pills. It also inserts a preventive hormone inside your body but instead of having to take a jab a day, just one injection will allow its effects last for up to 3 months!
Priced around RM18-36 in private clinics but free or RM1 in government clinics.
Just by reading the word ‘implant’, I guaranteed you’re already scrolling down to the next method but don’t you worry, it’s not a permanent birth control method.
If you’re also worried a contraption will be bulging out from your body, the birth control implant is super tiny (the size of a matchstick) and will be inserted under your skin near your armpit, making it highly invisible to everyone around you.
It’s actually perfect for the ones who can’t keep up with the strict routine of contraceptive pills or are afraid of needles as it is also a hormonal birth control method too.
With a lifespan of 3 years, once the implant is well, implanted into you, you don’t ever have to worry about getting pregnant again (Don’t worry if within the 3 years you want to remove it, you can. Don’t have to wait 3 years)!
Again, just like its other hormonal birth control counterparts, the prices vary. But since it last longer, its prices can very from RM500 to RM1000!
That just might be private clinic pricing but here’s how a local blogger worked around the steep price range.
5. Morning After Pills
Not really a preventive contraception BUT if you’re ever in a situation where you think pregnancy is highly probable (basically if cum/semen/sperm enters your vagina), this method will be a saving grace for you.
Many of us think washing our vagina out with boiling water (please don’t do that) or soap will help “kill” the sperm, I’m sorry to tell you but that’s going to be no use. But you will have a squeaky clean & burnt vagina so there’s that!
So if you’re ever in that situation, don’t worry, The morning pill has got your back! Available in any pharmacy, just ask over the counter and you’ll be greeted with the sight of a variety of morning-after pills.
If you’re unsure, you can always ask the pharmacist for recommendations.
However, if you just want to get the whole interaction over with, personally, I prefer Escapelle. It has never done me wrong, so far.
Talking to my other female friends, there are some brands in which 2 pills are supplied which you’re expected to take each pill two days in a row.
Uhm, in my anxiety-ridden state, I just wanna take a pill THAT day itself and completely forget this whole pregnancy scare ordeal, not have to worry about taking another one the next day!
So yes, ask the pharmacist for this brand or search up on single tablet morning-after pills (And no, just because it’s 2 pills instead of 1 doesn’t increase its effectiveness).
And if you’re doing the dirty late at night when pharmacies are all closed, pop on over to a clinic (if you’re really worried)
OR you could just wait until the next day.
YES, I’m actually telling you to wait until the next day because there’s a 5 day grace period to take it so no rush!
BUT note that its effectiveness decreases the longer you wait to take it. Average figures say 95% of expected pregnancies will be prevented if taken within the first 24 hours then declining to 58% if taken between 48 hours to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
The price ranges from RM5-RM23, depending on the brand (Escapelle is RM15-17, slightly pricier).
But please don’t think just because the morning after pill exists, you’re free to have unprotected sex all the time. It can seriously mess up your hormonal system & your body if taken too frequently so be wary of that please! The morning after pill is for emergency situations only.
Curbing Unwanted Pregnancy & Transmission of STDs in Malaysia
We strongly believe that with these methods in mind, one can have sex safely & freely without any unnecessary worries!
Sex should not be a taboo subject any longer especially in this internet driven era where SEX SELLS and is literally everywhere we look on our phones.
It’s normal for children and teenagers to be curious about their bodies so instead of babying them (which is seriously bad for their mental growth), why not take the steps necessary to ensure they know what they’re doing once they decide to well, do it?
Keeping sex as an elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge is the main reason why teen pregnancy occurs or why rates of STDs are at all-time high.
This is why sex education is needed in Malaysia so we can curb these issues and THEN focus on the bigger issues at hand (hello climate change).
This article is a part of The Cool Bears Taboo series where we discuss & examine the many taboo subjects & topics of Malaysia. You can check out a previous one about seeking mental health help in Malaysia and also one about Malaysia’s LGBT community.