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Kamenetzky[1] on sex education:


“Currently there are no sexual education programs at the primary school level. It is left to the teachers to give some information as part of the classes on biology. In the few cases in which a teacher decides to do so, it is no more than a description of the reproductive organs in plants and animals, and some references to the role of ovaries and testes in human reproduction, with no explicit mention or even less showing of pictures of the genitals”.


On masturbation:


“In Argentine society, despite official Catholic negative views of sex outside the marital union, it is usually seen as normal for preteenage boys to play exploratory games with other boys, and girls with other girls. These games are seen by most parents as part of the process of growing up. It allows the child to reassure him/herself of the normality of his/her body by comparing it with the body of a friend, relative, or schoolmate, although sometimes instead of being a reassurance it could generate anxieties as when girls compare the size of their breasts and boys the size of their penises. It is also a source of anxiety when a boy feels sexually excited by another boy and fears he is becoming gay. Freedom for these kinds of exploratory games was greater in bygone days when Argentine society had less violence, and drugs were not as common. In the past, boys would gather in parks and compete to see who threw their semen further while masturbating. Parks were also a place where couples would meet for sexual encounters and teenagers would peep on their activities without disturbing the partners”.


With regard to first sexual experiences, it became clear that in Buenos Aires 18-24 year olds’ sexual activities


“[…] are initiated at increasingly earlier ages. Most of the interviewed youth defined their first experiences as disappointing. Asked why, they always responded that it was so because of a lack of romance. Most boys had been initiated in whorehouses, under the pressure of the fathers who would arrange the visit, and this happened without a previous intimate talk that could soothe the anxiety of the teenager by discussing what he may expect to happen and how to protect himself from diseases, mainly AIDS, about which the teenager had already heard at school. Such experiences, they said, left bitter memories, which for some disappeared when they fell in love and discovered the ingredient they were longing for: romance. The boys all agreed that the experience at the whorehouse was felt as an obligation to fulfill in order to affirm their virility.

Among girls, the memories of their being deflowered were somewhat different from the boys. Some did not bother to get prior information about the meaning and the possible consequences of their first sexual encounter. They perceived their first intercourse as the fulfillment of a strongly felt desire that at the same time would transgress a social taboo. Hence they reached the situation with many expectations, and as much anxiety as boys said they did. For other, more entrepreneurial-type female students, it was a calculated action to get rid of their virginity, which they perceived as an obstacle to enter into a more mature and fulfilling sexual life. These girls sought information from doctors in private gynecological practice and acquired the necessary contraceptive technology to protect themselves”.


In one 1997 study, [2] on female adolescents 15 to 18 years old attending the gynaecological service of the adolescents’ department of a public hospital, the mean age at first sexual intercourse was calculated at 15.3 with a modal value of age 15. Almost 1/4 were initiated before age 14. According to a recent study, mean age at coital initiation of late adolescent schoolboys near Buenos Aires was established at 14.9 (SD 1.5 years)[3]. Boys would typically start off with prostitutes (41.6%).


Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna Lynch’s sexarche at age 14 was, according to Che’s biographer Jon Lee Anderson[4], typical:


“For sex, boys of Ernesto’s social milieu either visited brothels or looked for conquest among girls of the lower class [...] for many, the first sexual experience was with the family “mucama”, or servant girl, usually an Indian or poor mestiza from one of Argentina’s Northern provinces. It was Calica Ferrer who had provided Ernesto with his first introduction to sex [...] in a liaison with his family mucama, a woman called “La Negra” Cabrera” ”.



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Additional refs.:


·         Ben, P. (Spring) Child Queer Prostitution, Buenos Aires 1870-1916. Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop, Center for Gender Studies, University of Chicago

·         CRLP (1997) Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Latin America and the Caribbean, p15-33. Also Progress Report, 2000, p9-16;

·         Ben, P. (2003) Child Queer Prostitution, Buenos Aires 1870-1916. University of Chicago, Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop, Spring 2003 []

·         Necchi, S. & Schufer, M. (1999) Adolescente varón: iniciación sexual y anticoncepción, Arch Argent Pediatr 97,2:101-8

·         Chejter, S. (Oct., 2001) La Niñez Prostituida: Estudio sobre Explotación Sexual Comercial Infantil en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: UNICEF Argentina [ Ninez-prostituida.pdf]

·         Lucchini, R. (1994) The Street Girl: prostitution, family and drug. Fribourg, Institute for Economic and Social Sciences


·         Rosa, M. D. (1999) O discurso e o laço social dos meninos de rua [Street boys discourse and social ties], Psicol. USP 10,2:205-17 []




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

Last revised: Jan 2005


[1] Kamenetzky, S. (1997) Argentina, in Francoeur, R. T. (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. New York: Continuum, Vol. 1. Quoted from the online edition

[2] Geldstein, R. N. & Pantelides, E. A. (2001) I Didn't Want to But... Sexual Initiation under Coercion in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area. Paper for the XXIVth General Population Conference in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, August 18-24 []

[3] Necchi, S. & Schufer, M. (1999) Adolescente varón: iniciación sexual y anticoncepción, Arch Argent Pediatr 97,2:101-8

[4] Anderson, J. L. (1997) Che Guevara. A Revolutionary Life. New York: Grove Press