Growing Up Sexually






ARITAMA (Northern Colombia)


IndexAmericasSouth AmericaColombiaAritama



More: Cubeo, Embera, Alkatcho, Zorcas, Tucano, Kagaba, Kogi




Reichel-Dolmatoff and Reichel-Dolmatoff (1961:p87, 96)[1]: “The genitals of babies are frequently touched and rubbed in a playful manner by adults and children, not only when nursing but on any other occasion. Male children especially are handled in such a fashion, and often a mother can be seen kissing her infant’s penis of fondling it to quiet his crying. Adults make joking remarks about the future virility of the baby, about the size of his penis, and about his reactions to such caresses”. Further (p96):


“As children are able to observe the sex life of adults, they soon try to imitate it, and at about four or five years boys and girls imitate coitus in the presence of adults. Such behavior is not punished, as people believe it is quite natural in children. Masturbation is common at about three years and is always severely punished by slaps and threats of castration, accompanied by the showing of knives and scissors to scare the child. All adults and older children are obliged to denounce masturbatory practices of younger children immediately to the parents. All this in spite of the fact that mothers quite often masturbate their children when putting them to sleep. A certain tendency to exhibitionism is observed in boys between two and five years. During these ages “urinating contests”- in which the boys vie to see who can come nearest a target with his stream of urine- are common. Or, in the presence of parents and other people, the boys will try to urinate into a bottle, or will persecute a girl by trying to urinate on her dress. These “show-offs” are laughed at by the adults, and rather encouraged, but at five years of age the sexes are separated at play, both boys and girls tending to form their own play-groups, without mixing”.








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

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. & Reichel-Dolmatoff, A. (1961) The People of Aritama. Chicago:

University of Chicago Press