Growing Up Sexually





More: Abor, Lingayats, Bengali, Punjabi; Rājpūts, Brahmans, Nagas, Chamars, Todas, Purum, Santals, Garos, Muria Gonds, Baiga, Nimar Bahalis, Lepcha, Lodha, Uttar Pradesh, Nicorbarese



Radcliffe-Brown (1922 [1964:p94])[1]: “According to the account given to me by one informant I gathered that the girl’s first menstrual discharge is supposed to be due to sexual intercourse. The man’s breath goes into her nose and this produces the dicharge”. The pre-1900 Andamanese practiced bethrothal in infancy and marriage after “maturity”; the children are separated during childhood and after an initial get-together the girl returns home or is adopted by one of her father’s friends (Man, 1883a:p81/1983b:p136; cf. Paige and Paige, 1981:p86-7)[2]. Brown: “Promiscuous intercourse between the sexes is the rule before marriage and no harm is though of it. The love affairs of the boys and girls are carried on in secret, but the older members of the camp are generally fully aware of all that goes on. What generally happens is that after a time a youth forms an attachment with some girl and a marriage between them results from the love affair” (p70)[3].

Man (p135-6) quotes Peschel in applying the general rule to the observed: “A great many races of mankind are quite indifferent to juvenile unchastity, and only impose strict conduct on their women after marriage”. “Notwithstanding”, Man continues, “the girls are strikingly modest and childlike in their demeanour […]” and kinship regulations are norm-providing. Cipriani (1961)[4]offers some unclear communications: “The sexual tendencies that prevail in Little Andaman are a strong criticism of Freud’s theories on sexual life, but I will not discuss this here” (p493). And then: “Once more I affirm that the evidence of Onge sexual behaviour positively denies Freudian theories with regard to the sexual life of children. Furthermore, young anthropoids and primitive people behave identically in this respect” (p498).












Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology, Berlin

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. (1922) The Andaman Islanders. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press. 1964 Free Press reprint

[2] Man, E. H. (1883a) On the Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands. (PartI.), J Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 12:69-116. Man, E. H. (1883b) On the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Andaman Islands (Part II), J Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 12:117-75; Paige, K. E. & Paige, J. M. (1981) The Politics of Reproductive Ritual. Berkeley [etc.]: University of California Press

[3] Also quoted in Crul, Th. W. (1942) Het Huwelijk bij de “Ethnologische Oervolken. Dissertation. Leiden [Holland]: A. W. Sijthoff, p30

[4] Cipriani, L. (1961) Hygiene and medical practices among the Onge (Little Andaman), Anthropos 56:481-500