BAUZI (Irian Jaya, Indonesia)


IndexIndonesia → Bauzi



Briley (1991:p118-9, 121/1998)[1]:


“To the Bauzi, it is of utmost importance that a girl be married by the time fer first menses occurs. The reason is that if a girl has her period out of wedlock, she is considered to have been promiscuous, since menses are believed to result from first sexual intercourse. The punishment for such immorality is that she will not be given to the man thought responsible for the act, but instead to someone totally unrelated to the situation. If a girl happens to have lived too long in her parents’ care and experiences her first menses while still a virgin, she is quite puzzled why this is happening when she has no husband and has never had sexual relations. For until then, she had always associated going to the menstruation house with women who have husbands or girls who have been promiscuous. The practice of taking as wives very young girls whose breasts are just beginning to form tends to eliminate questions of promiscuity. […] Because a girl is typically married when very young and has not yet had her first menses, her mother has usually not yet instructed her in any way about the matter. Neither does she teach her what is expected of her sexually in her marriage relationships. These are the husband’s responsibilities. As a result, the young girl is often very fearful of staying with her husband unaccompanied. However, a husband is expected to be patient and gentle in teaching her and in the early months may just masturbate using the girl’s thighs rather than actually engage in actual intercourse with her. There have been instances in which the young wife has been so afraid that she has run off into the rain forest. The husband then had to search for her and sometimes forcefully reclaim her. Their wrists may even be tied together to allow time to realize that her husband does not have any intentions of being rough with her. If she continues to refuse her husband sexual rights, she may even be beaten  by her mother with a vine with exhortations to comply with her husband’s wishes. […] A woman typically preadolescent at marriage, learn about sex from her husband. The man himself learns either from his father or his peers. […] It is […] not considered good taste for children to see their parents performing the sexual act. When children are with them in the rain forest or garden areas, they are instructed to play in a specified area until the parents return from a spot further away”.








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

Last revised: Oct. 2004


[1] Briley, J. (1991) Controls of red and white in the Bauzi cycle of reproduction, Irian 19:117-35 []. Reprinted in Gregerson, Marilyn & Sterner, Joyce (Eds., 1998) Symbolism and Ritual in Irian Jaya. Jayapura & Dallas: CenderawasihUniversity and the Summer Institute of Linguistics [i], p1-28 (SIL and International Museum of Cultures, Publications; v. 33)