Growing Up Sexually


CASHINAHUA(Eastern Peru, Brazil)


IndexAmericasSouth AmericaPeruCashinahua

Also featured: Sharanahua, Machiguenga, Shipibo, Amahuaca; ®Aymara


Kesinger (1995:p79-80)[1] states that children learn from direct observation and via the gossip of adults. Coitus is observed frequently, “a fact that is amply demonstrated in their play, much to the amusement of the watching adults”. Children are taken by their mothers to their [mothers’] erotic adventures.


“Prepubescent boys frequently gave me explicit descriptions of sexual activity they observed while play hunting in the areas frequented by lovers. Both boys and girls are enjoined from having sex before they have completed the month-long initiation rites, which are held at roughly five-year intervals, when the initiates are between nine and thirteen years old. My data indicate that they behave as expected. Most girls marry shortly after initiation and begin having sexual intercourse well before their first menses. Boys frequently are taught the techniques of seduction and sexual intercourse by older women of the kin class xanu, including older brother’s wife, father’s father’s brother’s wife, and father’s mother. They become sexually active as soon as their hunting skills permit them to compete for lovers with adult male hunters, but they are frequently warned to limit their sexual activity until they are older lest it inhibit both their physical growth and the development of their skills as hunters. I never witnessed any masturbatory or other sexual play as described by Jacques Lizot (1985)[[2]] for the Yanomami. Although the Cashinahua have terms (actually descriptive phrases) for male and female masturbation, terms they say they borrowed from the neighbouring Marinahua, they insist that such practices are unnecessary because sexual partners are readily available”.









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] Kesinger, K. M. (1995) How Real People Ought to Life. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press

[2] Op.cit.