Growing Up Sexually

The Sexual Curriculum (Oct., 2002)

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Janssen, D. F. (Oct., 2002). Growing Up Sexually. Volume II: The Sexual Curriculum: The Manufacture and Performance of Pre-Adult Sexualities. Interim Report. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

10 [previous chapter] [next chapter]

"Primal Knowledge". Physiology and Traumatology



"In the Morning in front of the elders, the parrot

Starts mimicking the sounds

Of last night's love-play.

Embarrassed, she claps her hands,

"Dance! Dance!" she orders the children

The chatter of the parrot is lost in the jingle of her bangles"[1]



Abstract: This chapter explores the generational stratification of sexological technology. This is demonstrated for (parental) coitus as a narrative and as an image. Within the concept of performed sexualites, the prevention of knowledge acquisition thought to operationalise (make practicable, render operational) by proxy given, or any, sexual behaviour categories is identified as a fundamental principle. This information gradient establishes the age stratification it is thought to be necessitated by, in terms of motivational development. Apart from a poststructuralist approach (sex-knowledge is the currency of Western sexual discourses, and its transmission takes place within power domains) a number of alternative theoretical ramifications are briefly listed.


Contents [up]


"Primal Knowledge". 50


10.0 Introduction.. 50

10.1 Primality in Euro-American Child Sexology: A Curricularisation Issue. 50

10.2 Anthropological Perspectives. 50

10.2.1 Watching Parents: Intercourse. 50

10.2.2 The Primal Bed, Room, Home, Village: Compartimentalisation and Curricularisation of Sex 50

10.2.3 Watching Parents and Being Watched: Curricularisation of the "Visual Experience" Order 50

10.2.4 Watching Animals. 50

10.2.5 Watching TV: Managing Changing Screens. 50

10.2.6 And Where Does the Stork Come From: The Primal Talk. 50

10.3 Discussion: The Currricular Stratification of Information and Technology. 50


Notes. 50



10.0 Introduction [up] [Contents]


Some education departments have issued that sexual education is needed to enable children "to reclaim the innocence of their childhood" since


"Early sexual activity interferes with the normal growth and healthy development of children. In addition, it leads to psychological problems, which could include the loss of interest in a life. Moreover, early sexual activity is generally non-consensual sex or, even when there is purported consent on the part of the child, he or she is too young to give informed consent and to come to terms with her/his sexuality" [2].


Modernist constructions of childhood stem from the opposition of innocence and corruption, a corruption that is synonymous with knowledge[3] or not far from it. This lack of knowledge is subjectified, and used to mobilise a protection-centred (Scott, Jackson et al.)[4], reactionist (rather than agonistic) paedagogism, engineering age stratifying knowledge wars[5]; this, in spite of disappointingly few insights to the subjective autobiographical decursus of innocence[6]. Over the course of two decades, the whole matter has taken on a rather problematic character: the increasing need for truths and their institutional production and management, against the background of the bankruptcy of its very essences.


Neuman (1975)[7] states that middle-class attitudes and anxieties about childhood masturbation in the United States and Europe from 1700 to 1914 arose out of the concept of the child as "innocent and weak though easily corrupted". According to Foucaultian perspectives, the distribution of knowledge-power originates in the Greek-Western confession of a true (yet obscure and base) "truth" of sex, a scientia, "unfolding within a power relationship", and opposing the transmission of pleasure-as-truth as dictated by an ars erotica. Innocence would be a distinctly "Western" concept (Schérer)[8], but this is an obsolete idea. Rather than immobilising children by concepts of erotic (erotological) amorphy, cultures most universally dramatise sexual transitions organised around knowledge / identity themes (cf. chapter 5):


"Adolescents are marginal in the Parkian sense as they straddle childhood and adulthood, and sexuality accentuates this marginality. Western European traditions have shaped mainstream US social perceptions with the result that children have become simultaneously "innocent" and, as teenagers, sexually "uncontrollable"[9].


Van Manen observes how "knowledge of and access to the cultural secrets of adult life--such as mature erotic knowledge and sexual practices [etc.] become main criteria by which childhood is defined"[10]. Authors[11] have argued that "innocence" is "manufactured", which, as Reynolds notes, may be part of a disempowering objectification agenda (which hints at the dire implications of "cuteness" curricula[12]).


As will be argued in this chapter, the hierarchical distribution of sex-as-science is represented through the compartimentalisation and curricularisation of sex, processes, as Foucault observes, readily infused by nosological ramifications. As will be implied below, Freud localised natural categories and normal structures of the family/society in what would be man's psychic structure, an inevitable functional structure guiding clinical truths (truths as clinical), or academic categorialism (categories as academic). The application of this reappraisal can hardly avoid such things as inevitable trauma, inevitable knowledge and inevitable "sexuality", so intimately joined in psychodynamic legacy. Today we see feverish categorialist effort regarding all these truths, still intimately joined; and there's an economic truth in it. The triplet is institutionally interbred, the result increasingly measured in terms of naturalised chronologies, and nurtured to be self-sustaining, surviving partial "backlashes" of most kinds. A thorough localisation of the Western sexology/psychiatry institute, as selective legitimisation rather than neutralisation, is not intended here; instead, this limited collage of references does no more than arguing than the triad in question (knowledge, trauma and eroticism) is represented in historically essentialised thought projects ("the primal scene", "the birds and bees"), a cultural datum which may continue to halt deconstructive efforts. We see here the fruits of some three centuries of secular distribution of moral problems: the sexual behaviour trajectory, universally problematised, is arbitrarily contained by academically legitimised classifications, and appropriated for ethnicist and class (e.g., § signification.



10.1 "Primality" in Euro-American Child Sexology: A Curricularisation Issue [up] [Contents]


Sigmund Freud was dedicated to the traumatology of the Uhrzene from the very beginning of his psychoanalytic thought (Esman, 1978:p50-3)[13]. The matter was taken up by psychoanalysts as well as a large number of parental advisories covering sexual issues, and was merged within discussions of domestic nudity, parent-child and sibling co-sleeping and co-bathing, where it became as a classic theme in sex education for parents throughout the century. Significantly, these issues in practice hardly ever raise legal questions.

It is known that a first retrospective prevalence study was conducted as late as 1976 (Hoyt)[14], and longitudinal data were first available as late as 1998 (Okami et al.)[15]. The lag of academic falsification is stunning, and reveals much of the absolute reign of case material in psychoanalytical thought. Further, it should be noted that the idea itself is a concept of traumatology specific and typical of the culture that seems to appreciate an institutionalised sexology, and then omits the obvious patterns of investigation suiting its hypotheses. It had to be taken up by "outsiders" to disprove its somehow seducing claims.


The studies never demonstrated much harm. Primal scene avoidance operates on a discursive level of innate cultural traumatology, and effects an age/phase (rather than kin) stratifying and stratified avoidance regarding matters construed sexual. What has ethnology to offer?


10.2 Anthropological Perspectives [up] [Contents]


It appears that cultures may have their typical primal scenes. Stekel[16] argued that "[e]ine außerordentliche Rolle im Sexualleben des Kindes spielt das Klosett. Für das Kind ist das Klosett keine Bedürfnisanhalt, sondern eine Quelle der erotischen Anregung". The curricular compartimentalisation of human excretion has probably contributed to Freud's identification of the "anal phase" as such[17]. Children's attraction to toilets is probably an exponent of the exotification (Bem) / proto-eroticisation[18] of nudity, with a carry-over effect to the places were a display of the "scene" is expected.


To limit the discussion to coitus, Devereux (1951)[19] extensively discussed the Mohave primal scene, stressing its educational qualities, and its contribution to "a rapid and continuous behavioural, characterological and social maturation, rather than a stunting and premature frustration of the instincts, and of Mohave character structure". The Euro-American primal scene, many "experiences" alike, is destined to be incidental, the child walking in on the parents who are caught in flagrante. The extent of ethnographic communications of what might be called the category of "imitated sexuality" points to the assumption that the primal (but perhaps not solely parental) scene would be a universal experience; however, the trauma, outside the boundaries of speculation, is explored cross-culturally only sporadically. For some reason, witnessing parental coitus is a routine item in American anthropological coverage of the "life cycle", some authors feeling compelled to discuss possibilities and probabilities even in the negative.



10.2.1 Watching Parents: Intercourse [up] [Contents]


According to ethnographers' explicit issuing of the matter[20], parental intercourse is observed all over the world[21], the timing of discontinuation being variable and unfortunately rarely addressed. Stephens (1971:p406; 1972:p2-3)[22] found that 35 of 91 primitive cultures are known to practice parent-"child" co-sleeping, of which 16 were known to "allow" cross-generational coital observation[23] (in three[24] of these, this claim was compromised by informants' denial). In six, possibly eight, children's observation of "sex orgies and occasions of quasi-public intercourse" could be documented. In sixteen, adults are known to discuss and joke about sex openly before children; in 8, this was denied by informants. In a final six, children would be exposed to ritualised or culturally approved parental "obscenity".



10.2.2 The Primal Bed, Room, Home, Village: Compartimentalisation and Curricularisation of Scenes [up] [Contents]


Primal scene experiencing was not coded for the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. SCCS codes are available on the person(s) infants and children sleep with, where adolescents sleep, sex segregation in sleeping areas of children, and sex segregation in sleeping areas of adolescents and teens[25] (variables 23, 751, 933, 1710-1713). Whiting et al. ([1958])[26] found that in a sample of 56 societies, 24 practised biparental-"infant"[27] co-sleeping (the same bed); in only five the infant slept away from the co-sleeping parents' bed. However, an indefinite number of these might adhere to the post-partum taboo. We see that for infant-parental co-sleeping patterns in 186 societies (Barry III & Paxson, 1971, column 1)[28] it was not once observed that both parents do not sleep with the infant in the same room. PSEs in infancy are technically a possibility in societies with rating 5 (both parents sleep in the same room as the infant, #=59) and 9 (both parents sleep in the same bed as the infant, #=23), and provisionally for ratings 4 and 7. A further SCCS measure was provided by Broude and Greene (1983, column 13)[29].

We might consider the discontinuation of co-sleeping, either for bed or room, as an exponent of curriculurisation. The discontinuation of sibling cross-sex co-sleeping is a recognised transition in some societies[30]. Rosenfeld studied (incidental) cross-generational co-sleeping (1982)[31] and cross-generational co-bathing (1987)[32] in the U.S.A., studies being informed by an "abuse" paradigm. Parent-child co-sleeping discontinuation is marked explicitly in a number of African cultures[33] as well as outside[34], and in a majority of these cases the child actually moves out of the home, typically to grandparents. The timing of co-sleeping discontinuation varies, but is invariably prepubertal[35]. Stephens (1962:p79; 1972:p3) found that the boy's moving out was noted in more than half of the sample (in 36 they did, in 27 they did not), but was careless for the age at which this occurred ("the 7 to 15 age range"). In some cases this transition is rationalised. "The Nyakyusa believe that the sexual fluids are extremely dangerous to children, hence (they say) the restrictions on the parents of a young child sleeping together [sic]" (Wilson). The Bemba considered sexually mature people "hot" and as such dangerous for infants and young children altogether.


According to professionals, the age at which behaviours related to nudity and co-sleeping were said to become inappropriate was lower for different-gender parents than for same-gender parents[36]. The opposite was found for kissing. Co-sleeping together with co-bathing until adolescence in Japan and China could be regarded as "incestuous" (DeMause) because of its duration; this accounts for an accusatory, hybrid use of the standard lexicon of psychodynamic theories, and sentiments against the chronocentric department of "abuse". There have been no specific studies disentangling kinship from age avoidance narratives.



10.2.3 Watching Parents and Being Watched: Curricularisation of the "Visual Experience" Order [up] [Contents]


There is little ethnographic consideration for noncoitally explicit "scences" enacted by the parental dyad or the parental generation (e.g., nudity, breastfeeding) experienced by children. It is suggested that in most societies visual shielding occurs over a gradient of activities, including hugging, modest kissing and embraces on the one end, and coitus or other genital practices on the other. This may also be noted for the entire arsenal of censorship devices to shield children from exposure to images portraying sexual techniques, including television warnings operable in many countries announcing "explicit" scenes: it might affect their "sexual IQs"[37].

Whether young children shield their obscenity, nudity, and sexual activity from the still younger ones has received no attention. A cursory inventory (§6.2.7) suggests that children actively shape the compartimentalised coital/intimacy order, and shield their own coitus from parental (and peer) interests. Of course, the child at some time comes to include himself in the curricularisation hierarchy, assuming the restrictions (s)he observes applied to his/her own person and to those in the same and other age groups. This perspective would most likely contradict the classical ethnographic (and psychodynamic) image that this hierarchy is invariably and merely composed of a two-layer (or generational) organisation.



10.2.4 Watching Animals [up] [Contents]


Among the Serbs, Pavlovic found that "[s]ome peasants do not know what sights female children should not witness. I once saw a peasant holding a mare and forcing his daughter-in-law and his daughter to drive the stallion to service it". Watching animals is seen as an important means of the acquisition of coital technology in rural areas[38]. Particularly in Africa, the cattle is the prime mate of the child, and the boy spends the whole day with the flog. Parents have generally been noted to regard the knowledge of animal matings as operationalised knowledge, and as such a theme for socalisation. The Cuna (Panama) actually forbid animal scenes to be watched (Nordenskiöld, Marshall). In some societies, it appears as if the domestic animal is sex-trained too. On Inis Beag, Ireland, "[e]ven the dog caught licking its genitals inside the home is whipped and banished from the house" (cited by Yates).


A meaningful lateralium, compartimentalised and curricularised children are to reconstruct the human case from the animal case.


10.2.5 Watching TV: Managing Changing Screens [up] [Contents]


Specific technological proceedings have possibly revolutionised the experience of growing up sexually. Vieira[39] has sought "to address the ways in which three distinct domains – the Internet, childhood and sexuality – are located in a discursive nexus that is irreconcilable with normative notions of what it means to be a child". Television and internet have immensely enhanced the distribution of adolescent cultures, values and issues that shape the needs and demands of the young consumer[40]. Internet, particularly, increases the degree of "mobility", communication, and anonymity that children seek to enhance sexological expertise. The curriculum that follows this line of development is one controlled only by a technological superiority that ensures the selective restriction, limitation or delay of children's access to the online world. A number of issues have entered the realm of digital parenthood, posing threats to the "unsuspecting" juvenile consumer: pornography[41] and paraphilic attentions[42], mainly. Some legal efforts aim to "protect" children from explicit communications via electronic ways[43].


One hypothesis suggests that curricularisation of exposure is related to curricular need or demand. Abelman (1980)[44], discussing sex in soap operas: "Many of the sex acts were not explicitly portrayed; they were discussed, alluded to, or implied. Given the theory that children will come to value and model the behaviors seen on television, the findings suggest that those acts most explicitly portrayed, specifically petting, would be modeled more frequently than other intimate acts".


Technological proceedings pose immediate problems and require innovative solutions to the curricularisation and curricular distribution of sexual knowledge. These solutions in part are provided by technology. Both television and internet access opportunities are protected selectively by parental option for channel, site or day schedule. Television programs are introduced by icons warning the child or parent for oncoming explicitness, and provide age recommendations. Programs are scheduled when children are in school or late night. These strategies elaborate upon age requirements for the purchase of explicit material, and access limitation to "explicit" environments.



10.2.6 And Where Does the Stork Come From: The Primal Talk [up] [Contents]


Another classical Freudian theme is that of "infantile" sexual theories. Where primal scenes are reasonably effectively blocked from view, narrative becomes the central "primal" factor, allowing a degree of freedom, a buffer, for curricular control and stability. The facts of life are diverse, and good parents, if they know these facts themselves, choose elements of this "whole truth" to speak "nothing but the truth".

Purposeful misleading arguments on the ontogenetic question are noted in many societies. Taking the work of the Newsons (1968:p375-84) and the "cross-cultural" work by the Goldmans (1982:p216-37) as a baseline, it appears that providing the truth has been an enormous problem, paralleled by a wide diversity of ideations within moral, religious and physiological paradigms[45]. Newson and Newson found that up to 66% of lowest-class "wives-of" provided spurious explanations to their four-year-olds: the stork[46], Santa Claus, Woolworth's, under the goosegog bush, the back garden, the cabbage patch, the hospital (cf. Ribal, 1973:p22-3)[47]. Some parents screened their television for "farming programmes and that". Naiveté was preserved through a program ranging from neutralisation (professional-class) to suppression (unskilled-manual class).

An intriguing use of the knowledge of reproduction occurs in some North-American tribes that frighten children out of sex with the argument that they are fertile prepubertally[48]. In most societies, however, intelligence on at least human reproduction is subject to rigorous curricular control, and deliberate mythmaking is a polycultural phenomenon[49]. Native rationales for this universal policy are rarely explored, and if so, tend to be discussed in matter-of-fact terms. The issue was not coded for the SCCS.


Kirkman et al. (2001)[50] suggest that fathers experience difficulties in communicating about sexuality with their children as they were positioned in mutually incompatible discourses of both traditional masculinity and involved fatherhood. This can be juxtaposed versus many African cases where instruction is strictly gender segregated. Whereas in the American intrafamilial phenomenon sex discussions take on different styles[51] (an ethnographic aspect poorly understood), African education appears to have been either as colloquial (e.g., Wanguru) or more dogmatic, yet gendered and formalised through the use of specific (secluded) locations, elaborate (at times "secret") phrase curricula, and nonparental ceremonial masters. The input and output are proscribed rather than prescribed, as are the dramatis personae. The re-construction of the self within the performance of being educated (and educating), therefore, is not to be mistaken, a social truth, a pathway to be followed rather to be ventured. It represents a case of assimilation rather than individuation, a case of recruitment and inauguration rather than development and revolution. It is also interesting to see that Afro-American mothers "used stories from their own experiences to accomplish socialization / enculturation and to discourage their daughters from making the same mistakes that they reportedly made (such as becoming pregnant during the teenage years)" [52]. These stories "served as cultural artefacts that describe the cultural pathways" of those involved.


10.3 Discussion: The Curricular Stratification of Information and Technology [up] [Contents]


"In western industrialized countries children grow up amidst strong cultural investment in sexualized narratives. From advertising to films and videos, from multiple TV offerings of soaps, chat-shows, cable options of 24 hour romance, violence or erotica, internet information and dialogue... to popular magazines and daily newspapers: everywhere sex sells and buys, titillates well-trodden paths of curious voyeurism and projections, moulded and selectively extracted bodies, edited scripts and conventions of the palaver of intimacy. The stories and images percolate into individuals' sense of themselves, sense of others, dreams, hopes and fantasies. This wider cultural proliferation of images and suggestions about "sex" and desire goes alongside many years in school and in home / family contexts, where other conventions prevail. Here the sexualized body is more often suspect and censored, contained within traditions of embarrassment or humour or rules"[53].


A number of models have been or can be applied to coital stratification according to life phase. Their implications for cross-cultural diversity are discussed below. The most frequently offered interpretations for cross-cultural difference is the element of economic compromise: coitus would have been shielded (more effectively) had it not been for one-room accommodations. In these cases, where having sex weighs heavily against shielding sex, PS avoidance would be a function of SES rather than cultural attitudes. A number of theoretical entries need to be addressed.



-- Ethology. Schiefenhövel[54] assumes that coital privacy, regardless of the identity of spectators, is universal in man, and nonexistent in animals. Coital privacy lessens the threat posed by dominant males to the pairbonding stability of the copulating dyad (cf. Money & Ehrhardt, 1973/1996:p201). The avoidance of coital exposure need would develop early, in "latency"; in fact, it had better replace the concept of latency (ibid.). This model is less clear in its explaining the intrafamilial-intergenerational setting. The inexistence of zoological equivalents of "privacy" in either setting has not been demonstrated, but seems unlikely at least in the latter case.


-- Structural-Functionism. The shielding away of coitus within the familial setting might appeal to a spectrum of psychodynamic explanations[55], providing relief of Oedipal tensions. This, however, remains untested. The model requires that PSEs jeopardise tensional equilibria that define the Oedipal triangle (and the whole of psychosexual status), thus compromising the delicate process of its resolution. It requires that PSEs appeal to an innate biological mechanism inevitably transforming the experience into a psychological conflict.


-- Conflict Theory. In most societies the child is confined to the level, cohort or stratum of information it is assigned to, and in most cases can be conceptualised as a "technology", a knowledge of doing things. The sexual curriculum is defined by the age width, kinship requirements, and gender rigidity associated with the "information cohort" over time. Cultures are typified by the passive and active delay legitimising, identifying or capacitating ("operationalising") knowledge (coital technology to coitus, masturbatory technology to orgasm) as well as the "operationalising experiences" that might result from them (masturbation to allosexuality, allosexual incidents to allosexual patterns, orgasm to masturbatory patterning), etc. In this view the merest concept of sex is the first prerequisite in a motivational sequence that eventually leads up to its initial practice. It may be suggested that the delay of this first step is a most radical though near universal choice operationalising sex as an age-graded and –grading privilege. Or rather, children's sexology roots in the currisularised failure of this age-based power segmentation of society, situational relaxation of its implementation, or in the promotion that is granted with age. This model requires the conceptualising of coital technology as an economic value unevenly distributed over the age gradient, such distribution effected by the exercise of power, and such exercise benefiting the powerful in controlling power gradients.

In its strictest form, this model requires the (at least potential) equivalence of coitus to both parties in terms of meaning (e.g., pleasure) and, ethically, entitlement. It is this requirement that is generally met with opposition.


-- Symbolic Interactionism, Social Constructionism. Parents choose to delay the transmission of coitus as a concept by modifying exposure to the concept. The gradient is preserved by such techniques as active and passive nonlabelling and mislabelling (Gagnon)[56], and from "neutralisation" to "suppression" (Newson & Newson). Coital development (chapter 6) is thus left to a curriculum in which (1) coitus does not take place because of its lack of meaning, or its nonrepresentation in operational scripts; and (2) coitus takes place within a gradual shift of meaning, its representation in scripts being updated on the basis of some curricular agenda. Cross-cultural differences would have to be explained, if not from economic perspectives, from curricular agendas to provide or withhold (operationalised) meanings to behavioural categories, or to curricularise diverse potential meanings.




Notes [up] [Contents]

[last updated]


[1] The Parrot, dedicated to Amaru, celebrated erotic poet, date unknown. Cited by Lal, P. (1967) Sanskrit Love Lyrics, Transition 32:32-3, p33.

[2] Asmal, K. (Aug., 2001) Protecting the Right to Innocence: The Importance of Sexuality Education. Report of the Protecting the Right to Innocence: Conference on Sexuality Education, 19-21. Department of Education, Pretoria, p4, 15 []

[3] Thormann, J. (1996) The unconscious and the construction of the child, Lit & Psychol 42,4:16-36

[4] Scott, S., Jackson, S. & Backett-Milburn, K. (1998) Swings and Roundabouts: Risk Anxiety and the Everyday Worlds of Children, Sociology 32,4:689-705. Cf. Scott, S., Jackson, S., Backett-Milburn, K. & Harden, J. (1998) Risk Anxiety and the Social Construction of Childhood. Paper for the International Sociological Association; Jackson, S. & Scott, S. (1999) Risk anxiety and the social construction of childhood, in Lupton, D. (Ed.) Risk and Sociocultural Theory: New Directions and Perspectives. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, p86-107

[5] See for instance Heins, M. (2001) Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Cencorship, and the Innocence of Youth. Hill & Wang

[6] See for instance Devrome, M. A. (1997) Sexuality in Adolescence: Recounting Lived Experience. PhD Dissertation, University of Calgary. [DAI (1997) 57(10-A):4257]

[7] Neuman, R. P. (1975) Masturbation, madness, and the modern concepts of childhood and adolescence, J Soc Hist 8,3:1-27

[8] Schérer, R. (1974) Émile Perverti. Paris: Laffont; Hocquenghem, G. & Schérer, R. (1976) Co-ire; Album Systématique de l'Enfance. Paris: Recherches; Schérer, R. (1978) Une Érotique Puérile. Paris: Éditions Galilée; Scherer, R. (1995) Un nouvel ordre sexuel mondial, Quel Corps?, p47-9, 261-74

[9] Melese-d'Hospital, I. (1994) "Innocent Child" or "Horny Teenager?": Adolescents' Sexuality, Marginality, and HIV Policy. Paper for the American Sociological Association

[10] 1994 research outline, Cf. Manen, M. van & Levering, B. (1996) Childhood's Secrets: Intimacy, Privacy, and the Self Reconsidered. New York, NY: Teachers College Press

[11] Corteen, K. & Scraton, P. (1997) 'Prolonging 'Childhood'': Manufacturing 'Innocence' and Regulating Sexuality' in Scraton, P. (Ed.) Childhood in Crisis. London: UCL Press

[12] Harris, D. (1993) The cute and the anti-cute, Harper's Mag 287:26. Further: Holt, J. C. (1974) Escape from Childhood. New York: E. P. Dutton, ch. 12

[13] Esman, A. (1978) The primal scene: a review and a reconstruction, Psychoanal Study Child 28:49-81

[14] Hoyt, M. F. (1976) The Primal Scene: A Study of Fantasy and Perception Regarding Parental Sexuality. Unpubl. Doct. Diss.

[15] Okami, P., Olmstead, R., Abramson, P. & Pendleton, L. (1998) Early childhood exposure to parental nudity and scenes of parental sexuality ("primal scenes"): an 18-year longitudinal study of outcome, Arch Sex Behav 27,4:361-84

[16] Psychosexueller Infantilismus, p45

[17] See also Schuhrke, B. (1998) Die offene Toilettentür. Sexualität, Scham und Neugier in der Familie, Pro Familia Mag 26,3/4:18-20

[18] Preparatory article, Proto-Erotiek: Agogische Exotiek tussen Leererotische en Psychodynamische Realiteit.

[19] Devereux, G. (1951a) The Primal Scene and Juvenile Heterosexuality in Mohave Society, in Wilbur, G. & Muensterberger, W. (Eds.) Psychoanalysis and Culture. New York: International Universities Press, p90-107

[20] The mere coverage of the issue may be biased by a psychodynamic orientation, interest, or expertise. Rarely the matter is addressed in full, and even more sporadically, it seems, it is numerically studied as for American society.

[21] For explicit statements (and completed with Stephens' data) see for Africa: Tanala, Sudan, Senegal, Ghana, Nuer, Amhara, Umbundu, Xhosa, Gusii, !Kung; Asia: Central Thai, Burma, Taiwan, Burakumin (Japan), Garos (debated: Goswami vs Sinha), Santal, Akha, Alorese, Samoa, Ulithi, Ilocos; Trobriands; Puerto Rico, Copper Eskimo, Mohave, Ojibwa, Hopi, Kamano, Apache, Navajo, Yanoama, Mapuche, Cashinahua, Tenetehara, Hare, Mangaia, Marquesans; Aranda and other Australian aborigines; Truk, Ulithi, Valle Caña, Deoli, Baiga, Easter Islanders

[22] Stephens, W. N. (1971) A cross-cultural study of modesty and obscenity, in Technical Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. Washington, US : Government Printing Office. Vol. 9, p405-51; Stephens, W. N. (1972) A cross-cultural study of modesty, Behav Sci Notes 7,1:1-28

[23] Alorese, Baiga, Copper Eskimo, Deoli, East Bay, Goulbourn Island (Australia), Hopi, Kamano, Marquesas, Mohave, Ojibwa, Samoa, Trobriands, Truk, Ulithi, Valle Caña

[24] Manus, Modjokuto, Tepoztlan

[25] Divale, W., Abrams, N., Barzola, J., Harris, E. & Henry, F. (1998) Sleeping Arrangements of Children and Adolescents: SCCS Sample Codes, World Cultures 9,2:3-12

[26] Whiting, J. W. M., Kluckhohn, R. & Anthony, A. (1958) The function of male initiation ceremonies at puberty, in Maccoby, E. E., Newcomb, T. M. & Hartley, E. L. (Eds.) Readings in Social Psychology. Rev. ed. New York: H. Holt, p359-70

[27] No exact delineation of the concept was offered.

[28] Barry, H. III & Paxson, L. M. (1971) Infancy and early childhood: cross-cultural codes 2, Ethnology 10:466-508

[29] Broude, G. J. & Greene, S. J. (1983) Cross-Cultural Codes on Husband-Wife Relationships, Ethnology 22,3:263-80

[30] E.g., Qemant. Among the Yakut, it happens at age 10-12 (Sieroszewski, p887)

[31] Rosenfeld, A. (1982) Sleeping patterns in upper-middle-class families when the child awakens ill or frightened, Arch Gen Psychia 39:943-7

[32] Rosenfeld, A. et al. (1987) Family bathing patterns: implications for cases of alleged molestation and for pediatric practice, Pediatrics 79,2:224-9

[33] Maragoli, Nuer, Majangir, Bemba, Shona, Thonga, Meru, Azande, Baushi, Karugu, Bena, Gusii

[34] Thai

[35] "Above the age of weaning" (Bemba), five (Bangladesh), eight or nine (Shona), seven (Gusii), seven or eight (Thonga), five to seven (Meru), nine or ten (Zande, Bena, Kaguru), before "late childhood" (Batak), ten or twelve (rural Thai), "even before initiation" (Kaguru) or "à partir du moment où il osera se tenir éveillé au moment où Vénus couvre ses parent de son étreinte" (Baushi); only in some cases it is "soon after puberty" (Ovimbundu).

[36] Disimone-Weiss, R. (2000) Defining sexual boundaries between children and adults: A potential new approach to child sexual abuse prevention, DAI-B 60(8-B):4216. Professionals who were younger, did not have a psychodynamic orientation, or were from the western states generally responded that the investigated behaviours become inappropriate at later ages than those who do not have these characteristics. In addition, although psychologists and psychiatrists were not found to significantly differ in their responses, paediatricians generally responded with a significantly older age cut-off than did either of the other two professions.

[37] Stodghill II, R. (2001) Where'd You Learn That? in: Davidson, J. K. & Moore, N. B. (Eds.) Speaking of Sexuality: Interdisciplinary Readings, Los Angeles: Roxbury, p372-7

[38] To name some of the societies for which this is explicitly documented: Amhara, Toucouleur (Senegal), Xhosa, Tebu, Gusii, Tanala, Shona, Tibet, rural Japan, Taiwan Hokkien, Akha, rural France, Highland Scots, Inis Beag [Ireland], Denmark, Bonerate, Zuni, Western Apache, Hopi, Siuai, Easter Island, Aitutaki, Paraguay, Yahgan, Puerto Rico, Yanoama, Selk'nam (Fireland Island)

[39] Vieira C. G. (Sept., 2001) alt.cyberkids: Rituals of Resistance. Unpublished PhD Diss. University of Wales, College of Cardiff. Partially available at:

[40] See Himmelweit, H. & Bell, N. (1980) Television as a sphere of influence on the child's learning about sexuality, in Roberts, E. J. (Ed.) Childhood Sexual Learning: The Unwritten Curriculum. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, p113-37; Sprafkin, J. N., Silverman, Th. & Rubinstein, E. A. (1980) Reactions to Sex on Television: An Exploratory Study, Public Opinion Quart 44,3:303-15; Kelley, P. et al. (1999) Talking dirty: children, sexual knowledge, and television, Childhood 6,2:221-42; Kunkel, D. et al. (1996) Sex, Kids and the Family Hour: A Three-Part Study of Sexual Content on Television. Kaiser Family Foundation, Oakland; Roberts, E. J.(1982) Children's Sexual Learning: An Examination of the Influence of Parents, Television, and Community Service Providers. Harvard University; Ward, L. M. (1995) Talking about sex: common themes about sexuality in the prime time television programs children and adolescents view most, J Youth & Adol 24,5:595-616

[41] Zillmann, D. (2000) Influence of unrestrained access to erotica on adolescents' and young adults' dispositions toward sexuality, J Adolesc Health 27,2 Suppl.:41-4

[42] Quayle, E. & Taylor, M. (2001) Child seduction and self-representation on the Internet, Cyberpsychol & Behav 4,5:597-608; Freeman-Longo, R. E. (2000) Children, teens, and sex on the Internet, Sexual Addict & Compuls 7,1-2:75-90

[43] Kennedy, M. A. (1996-7) Information Superhighway: Parental Regulation-The Best Alternative, Univ Louisville J Fam Law 35,3:575-93

[44] Abelman, R. (1980) Afternoon Delight: Sex in the Soaps. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (66th, New York, November 13-16)

[45] Cf. Morrison et al. (1980:p32-60)

[46] See also Simon, M. (1989) Der Storch als Kinderbringer, Rheinisch-Westfälische Zeitschr f Volksk 34-5:25-39

[47] Ribal, J. E. (1973) Learning Sex Roles: American and Scandinavian Contrasts. San Francisco, Calif.: Canfield

[48] Ingalik, Hopi, Blood Indians

[49] Untruths and halftruths were collected for the U.S., Cuna, Xhosa, Okinawans, Chaga, Wahehe, Burma, Akha, French, Ghanese, Scots, Lebanese, Wogeo, New Ireland Darabi, Hopi, Tinglit, Ojibwa, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Bulgaria

[50] Kirkman, M., Rosenthal, D. A., Feldman, S. S. (2001) Freeing up the subject: tension between traditional masculinity and involved fatherhood through communication about sexuality with adolescents, Culture Health & Sexuality 3,4:391-411

[51] E.g., Lefkowitz, E. S., Kahlbaugh, P. E. & Sigman, M. D. (1996) Turn-Taking in Mother-Adolescent Conversations about Sexuality and Conflict, J Youth & Adolesc 25,3:307-21

[52] Nwoga, I. A. (2000) African American mothers use stories for family sexuality education, MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs 25,1: 31-6

[53] Lewis, J., Visualizing desire: HIV prevention dilemmas for women's sexual safety in Europe. Versions of the article appeared in: A Women's Place. Women, Domesticity and Private Life, Ed. Annabelle Despard, Agder College, Research Series No. 12, 1998; and in NORA Nordic Journal of Women's Studies, No. 2, Vol. 6, 1998

[54] Schiefenhövel, W. (1982) Kindliche Sexualität, Tabu und Schamgefühl bei "primitiven" Völkern, in Hellbrügge, Th. (Ed.) Die Entwicklung der Kindlichen Sexualität. München: Urban & Schwarzenberg, p145-63, at p159; Schiefenhövel-Barthel, S. & Schiefenhövel, W. (1999) Sexualität und Schwangerschaft, in Brockhaus (Ed.) Brockhaus Mensch, Natur, Technik. Phänomen Mensch. Leipzig & Mannheim: R. A. Brockhaus, p24-39, at p27-8; Schiefenhövel, W. (2001) Sexualverhalten in Melanesien. Ethnologische und humanethologische Aspekte, in Sütterlin, Ch. & Salter, F. K. (Eds.) Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt: Zu Person und Werk. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, p274-88, at p280

[55] Although some have gone to far ends of traumatic interpretation, the (initial) mechanisms are summarised as (1) erotic "charging" without adequate discharge opportunities; (2) sadomasochistic misinterpretation; and (3) intensification of Oedipal dynamics resulting in an increase of castration awareness (free from Okami, 1995, 1998).

[56] Gagnon, J. G. (1977) Human Sexualities. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman & Co., p88-90