Growing Up Sexually




IndexAmericasSouth AmericaBrazilBahia





Bahia’s medical and religious history points to an emphasis on premarital virginity, as in other areas of Brazil. Others might argue that in practice, “girls in Bahia are unlikely to retain their virginity into their teens, nor are they likely to live with a partner in legally sanctioned marriages”. In any case, it is observed that “[l]ittle or no information is directly passed between father and sons or mother and daughters concerning sexual matters. Each generation is left to find out for itself” (Hutchinson, 1957:p140)[1]. “In the past fathers would take their sons to brothels for their first sexual experiences, but this is now unnecessary. Jorge [a black community leader] explained: “They already have more than their fill here in the local neighbourhood. Hmmmm! Here girls by the time they are seven or eight are already namorando(cuddling, kissing, making love). The boys are already all over them, grabbing them! In the old days there was that difficulty, and on top of that one paid the companheira(female companion, here in the sense of prostitute) well to teach a thorough lesson. Nowadays they just do it for its own sake - gossiping here, gossiping there - so the problem just gets worse” (McCallum, 1999:p281)[2].






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] Hutchinson, H. W. (1957) Village and Plantation Life in Northeastern Brazil. Seattle: University of Washington Press

[2] McCallum, C. (1999) Restraining Women: Gender, Sexuality and Modernity in Salvador da Bahia, Bull  Latin Am Res 18,3:275-93