Growing Up Sexually




IndexAmericasCaribbean, Middle / Central AmericaBelizeGarifuna

Munroe (1964:p68-9)[1]:


"Little modesty training or sex training is imposed upon the pre-school Carib child. Both boys and girls up to three years are commonly seen wearing shirts only or no clothes at all. Between three and five, children are generally seen fully clothed except in their own houses or yards, but little insistence is placed upon this. Carib children freely use the Carib words for the genitalia, intercourse, and excrement. They are not punished for masturbation, nor for sexual play (to our knowledge). Carib children do not appear to engage widely in either of these activities, but are almost certainly not curbed."


"Adolescent girls are kept busy near the house, but do form friendships with age-mates. With these friends, the girls may attend dances or an occasional movie, but they more usually meet and talk on the main street in the early evenings while shopping and walking about. The boys, at this age, are seen wandering about, bathing in the sea, attending movies, or standing on a corner talking to each other and to the passing girls. Their freedom is nearly complete by the time they have completed school; little or no control is exercised over them. Although these adolescent boys spend a great deal of time together, we have strong evidence against any homosexuality being present[2]".


Taylor (1951:p93-4)[3]:


"Adults and children alike employ euphemisms when referring to their natural functions, thus: asisiha, "to shake the rattle (sísira)," for áraga, "to urinate"; abaha, "to fetch or help oneself to fire," for ámuragua, "to evacuate the bowels"; and akuliruha, "to wiggle the buttocks" (cf. Spanish culear), for aliagua, "to copulate." However, there is no prudishness with regard to masculine nudity. Boys up to the age of puberty and beyond will take off their clothes and run about naked (surusu) on the beach, while even grown men rarely hesitate to remove their clothing in women's presence when and where this suits their convenience. Girls and women are more bashful. [...] Both boys and girls may be beaten by their parents for various offences; perhaps because their fathers are so much away from home, the former are indulged and left to their own devices much more than the latter. It is rare to see boys and girls playing together, even before the age of puberty; but it is not particularly uncommon to come across a couple of lads of thirteen or fourteen lying under a coconut tree on the beach in full daylight, and masturbating one another with apparent unconcern for the passers-by. Only on one occasion did a man, noticing that this spectacle was being observed, take a stick and start after the culprits. The boys jumped up and ran off laughing, their pants in their hands. Perhaps more significant is the fact that in Puerto Barrios, in the course of an hour's walk between five and six in the evening, one couple and further on a group of three grown men were observed engaged in the same pursuit. There are a great many more Carib men than Carib women in Barrios. It is only assumed that these men were Caribs; but all informants were agreed that the young Carib female is as a rule much less accessible than either her Creole or her Ladino sisters of like economic class."





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

Last revised: May 2005


[1] Munroe, Robert L. / Ethnographic setting: the major socio-cultural forms of the Black Carib of Punta Gorda, British Honduras, in Couvade practices of the Black Carib: a psychological study. [Cambridge, Mass.]: [HarvardUniversity], [April, 1964]. 22-83 [eHRAF 2005]

[2]Taylor (1951:94) reports that adolescent boys in Hopkins were observed in the act of mutual masturbation. This was strongly denied as occurring in Punta Gorda, although we received fairly full accounts of other sexual behaviors. In addition, adult homosexuality is also absent, according to our data. [orig. footnote]

[3] Taylor, D. M. (1951) The Black Carib of British Honduras. New York: Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. [eHRAF 2005]