Growing Up Sexually


BELU (Indonesia)








According to Padoch (1982:p92-3)[1]:


“The exact age of Iban at first sexual union is a topic difficult to explore, partially because of the usual reticence of women to discuss the subject, but mostly because of the impossibility of determining precise chronological ages. It is probable that among women in the Engkari region, courtship commences at about sixteen or seventeen years of age, while among men a somewhat later age, of eighteen or nineteen, is indicated. I have found no reason to assume that ages at which courtship begins in Bintulu are different. Whether there has been any change over time in the ages at which young Iban begin to court is uncertain. Several older women assured me that the age at first courting has declined, but there is no possible way of verifying this allegation”.


Among the Central Timor Belu, premenarchal intercourse is considered a shame (Vroklage, 1952, I:p217)[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]Padoch, Ch. (1982) Migration and its Alternatives among the Iban of Sarawak, The Hague [Holland]: M. Nijhoff

[2] Vroklage, B. A. G. (1952) Ethnographie der Belu in Zentral-Timor. Leiden: Brill. Vol. 1