Also: Khmers



Aymonier (1883:p193)[1] stated that intercourse before menstruation was forbidden. Steinberg (1959:p82)[2] found that “young children are not permitted much knowledge of sex. The feeling among parents is that too much knowledge can lead to desire and eventual trouble. Bits and pieces of information on sex are picked up from peers in the play group, but parents discourage curiosity and usually give inaccurate or fragmentary answers to direct questions”. Girls are instructed on the last day of the wedding feast by the bride’s parents and a pagoda wise man.

According to Richner, “[u]ntil 1991, Cambodia was more or less a closed society. It had always been the custom for a young man to have his first sexual experience in a brothel. It was considered good form”[3].




Additional refs:


§         Fordham (2003)[4]

§         Niron, Viriya & Gray/World Vision Cambodia/World Vision International (September 2001) Children's Work, Adult's Play:  Child Sex Tourism – The Problem in Cambodia []

§         Scully et al. (1995)[5]

§         Child Welfare Group (May 2003) A Preliminary Study into the Accessibility of Pornography by Minors in Cambodia. Briefing Paper []

§         A Safe World for Children (2001) by Melanie Gow of World Vision contains a situation analysis of child sexual exploitation in Cambodia by Laurence Gray, p28-36 []





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

Last revised: Dec 2004


[1] Aymonier, É. (1883) Note sur les coutumes et croyances superstitieuses des Cambodgiens, Cochinchine Française 9 :[193]

[2] Steinberg, D. J. (1959) Cambodja: Its People, Its Scoiety, Its Culture. New Haven: HRAF Press [A 1957 edition states (p264) that young children are not permitted to “refer too loosely to sex”.]

[3] Dr. Beat Richner, Kantha Bopha Children`s Hospitals, Phnom Penh / Siemreap Angkor. The Human Rights Day, 10.12.99. To The President of the International Court of Justice and Human Rights.; Richner, B. (Sept. 1998) The Passive Genocide of Cambodia’s Children.

[4] Fordham, G. (January, 2003) Adolescent Reproductive Health in Cambodia: Status, Issues, Policies, and Programs. []

[5] Scully, M., Kuoch, Th. & Miller, R. A. (1995) Cambodians and sexual child abuse, in Fontes, L. A. (Ed.) Sexual Abuse in Nine North American Cultures: Treatment and Prevention. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc; Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc., p97-127