GUAYAKI / ACHE (Eastern Paraguay)


IndexAmericasSouth AmericaParaguay Guaraní/Cayua→ Guayaki


A subtribe of the Guaraní/Cayua. As cited in Konner (in press:p54)[1], Hill and Hurtado (1996)[2] observed that


“When a girl has her first menstruation, at an average age of 15.3 years, she experiences an initiation and purification ritual, along with “all men who have had sex with her. […]Every woman we interviewed who had reached menarche before contact reported that she had engaged in sexual intercourse with at least one adult man prior to menarche. […] 85% of the women […] had also been married before menarche” (pp. 224–225). Still, the teen years are a time of playfulness, especially for boys: Both boys and girls begin experimenting with sex around twelve years of age […] in a manner very similar to that described for the !Kung (Shostak 1981). Boys […] spend most of their teen years visiting other camps and trying to form friendships and alliances with their same-sex age mates and older men. It is quite common to see these boys intimately joking, tickling, and touching each other or the adult men who have chosen to befriend them. (p. 224) As in many higher primates, including most human hunter-gatherers, such “play” forms coalitions vital to survival and reproduction. As for girls, “despite their precocious sexual activity […] girls are generally reluctant and sexually reserved with most males most of the time. Indeed the best description of their behavior would be aggressively flirtatious but sexually coy to the point of causing frustration.” Boys accuse girls of being “stingy with their genitals,” and “the major activity of girls at this time is walking around in small groups laughing and giggling and carrying on in any manner that will attract attention. They frequently spend much of the day visiting from hearth to hearth and are fed abundantly wherever they go” (p. 225)”.






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

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Konner, M. (in press) Hunter-Gatherer Infancy and Childhood, The !Kung and Others, in Hewlett, B. & Lamb, M. (Eds.) Culture and Ecology of Hunter–Gatherer Childhood. Aldine, New York, p19-63

[2] Hill, K. R. & Hurtado A. M. (1996) Ache Life History. NY: Aldine de Gruyter