Growing Up Sexually



BLOOD INDIANS (Blackfoot; Alberta, Canada)


More: Arapaho, Assiniboine, Athabascans, Cherokee, Chipewyans, Apache Chiricahua, Comanches, Crow, Dakota, Flathead, Gros Ventre, Hopi, Huron, Ingalik, Copper Inuit, Iñupiat, Iroquois, Kaska, Kiowa-Apache, Klamath, Kwakiutl, Lakota, Mohave, Mantagnais / Naskapi, Navajo, Nootka, Ojibwa, Omaha, Pawnee, Paiute, Point Barrow, Pomo, Powhatans, Qipi, Quineault, San Ildefonso, Seminole, Shoshone, Shuswap, Sioux, Tinglit, Ute, Yokuts, Yurok, Zuñi

See also: North-America Non-Natives




McClintock (1910:p184-5)[1][74] revealed that, chastity being held “of supreme importance”, Blackfoot girls were proposed for marriage by their parents generally when aged 14, “and sometimes as young as eight”.


Goldfrank (1951:p73-5)[2][75] commented on the precocious knowledge of these Indians. Also, “[s]ex play between brothers and sisters is strongly tabooed, but in the young years it is not uncommon”. Enuresis is said to derive from this practice. An informant reports coital imitation at age 6 without penetration. “It was not uncommon for a girl of eight to initiate a boy of five or six into the mysteries of sex, or for a group of teen-age boys to have relations with one or more girls of ten or twelve in the bushes during such times as the sun dance”. Goldfrank (1966:p20)[3][76]: “In the children’s play camp […] age-grades were frequently forgotten and boys and girls imitated the life of adults. Some chose to be husband and wife, others mother and child. Pointed Plume says, Usually we had partners, but my older sister almost always played with me. I was her son. She thought it safest if she took care of me, because I was a minipoka. No such supervision was given a Ned Sloane. He frankly tells of his sex play with a little girl of five”.


A native account reveals[4][77]:


“My grandmothers didn't usually learn about childbirth until they were ready to have their first children. I was raised this way, too, and it is one of the things about our customs that I have never understood. As a young girl I used to ask my mother about having children. Either she would ignore me or she would say: “When the time comes, you’ll find out about it”. She was raised the same way, and so was her mother. My girl friends and I sometimes traded gossip and rumors about the subject, but we never really knew much about it. Some of the things we heard were good, and some were horrifying. […] If it was a first pregnancy then the mother-to-be was given advice by an older woman with more experience, often a sister-in-law. or the mother-in-law. Some tribes had elaborate ceremonies for girls reaching puberty, but ours did not. Even today a lot of girls in our tribe are really in the dark about having children. With the modern lack of discipline, this has created many problems”.


Parental control was rigid:


“Little kids used to be left to play together, and in the summer they often went naked. But as soon as they got old enough to know the difference between boys and girls, they were separated. From then on the girls were watched carefully by their mothers and aunts, and no boys were allowed near them. If they did anything that might bring a bad name to the family they were punished quite severely—mostly by their own brothers” (p199-200).


Fraternal control was also harsh:


“Brothers and sisters were taught to respect each other from an early age. Girls were never allowed to dress improperly in front of their brothers. Some of these customs have gone on to the present time, I can tell you. I was the only girl in my family, and I had six brothers who watched over me. These customs sure caused me and some of my friends a lot of tears and heartaches—like when we had boy friends of whom our brothers didn't approve, or when we wanted to be in style and wear shorter skirts”.













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][74] McClintock, W. (1910) The Old North Trail. London: Macmillan & Co.

[2][75] Goldfrank, E. S. (1951) Observations on sexuality among the blood Indians of Aberta, Canada, Psychoanal & Soc Sci 3:71-98

[3][76] Goldfrank, E. S. (1966) Changing Configurations in the Social Organization of a Blackfoot Tribe During the Reserve Period (the Blood of Alberta, Canada). Seattle; London: University of Washington Press

[4][77] Hungry Wolf, B. (1980) The Ways of my Grandmothers. New York: Morrow