"We don't even acknowledge each other now, we're both so embarrassed," says Isha. "But I used to cry all the time and stayed in my room so much that my mother took me to a counsellor. Now I'm working out my problems, but of course, my parents don't have a clue what set it all off. I could never tell them."
While every parent wishes it were just a myth, every child psychiatrist knows this from clinical experience; and teenagers like Isha and Varun are standing proof of it—teenage sexual activity in India is on the rise. It isn't a purely Indian phenomenon either: with greater opportunities to study and work away from home, increased exposure to global media, easier access to spending money and a change in youth culture, more adolescents are engaging in premarital sex worldwide. What makes this treacherous terrain in India, though, is the fact that sexuality, even more so adolescent sexuality, is shrouded in secrecy.