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

12 [previous chapter] [next chapter]

Bodies, Functions and Culture I. Operationalising Organs, Transitions and Erotics


"Easy, easy, many women will weep if you err"



Summary: The first of a duet, this chapter explores sociological and cultural determinants in the socialisation directed to organs, providing social meanings and, closely related, grounds for culture-specific experiences of their development. It was argued that the sexual body is gradually and progressively "assimilated" through the curricular assignment of pragmatic identities. Tracking down the assimilated body, instances are encountered where this assignment is delayed, does not occur unambiguously, or does not adequately seem to be assimilated by intergenerational interventions. In any case, the body unfolds within the larger political discourses that recruit, complement and identify its potential. In traditional societies, for instance, the female body is variably dealt with according its "meaning" within the political scene of bride transferral. A central issue is the dissociation between reproductive and otherwise productive operationalisations of bodies. The operationalisation is demonstrated to be closely related to affective responses to bodies and bodily changes.



Contents [up]


Bodies, Functions and Culture I. 1


12.0 Introduction: Culture and Sexual/Reproductive Bodies. 2

12.1 The Assimilation of the Sexual Body. 2

12.1.1 Construed Bodies. 2

12.1.2 Organ Socialisation: The Anthropology of the Genitals, with a Reference to "Modesty" 3

12.1.3 Cultural Bodies and Social Milestones. 4

12.2 Girl Bodies. 4

12.2.1 The Menarchal Body: Socio- / Nosographic Spectrum.. 4

12.2.2 Thelarche: The Cultural Blossoming Bosom.. 6

12.2.3 Organ Curricularisation: The Cultural Clitoris. 7

12.2.4 "Keeping Them Legs Crossed": Differential Ethological Shaping of the Sexual Genital 8

12.3 Boy Bodies. 8

12.3.1 Spermarche: Socio- and Nosographic Spectrum.. 8

12.3.2 Potency: The Cultural Erection.. 9

12.4 Pleasure Bodies. 9

12.4.1 Orgasmarche and the Cultural Orgasm: Obscured Pleasure Milestone. 9

12.4.2 Erogeneity and Erotics: Biocultural Implications. 10

12.5 The Manufactured Body: The Making of Puberty. 10

12.6 Concluding Remarks. 11

12.x Perspectives. 11


Notes. 11



12.0 Introduction: Culture and Sexual/Reproductive Bodies [up] [Contents]


According to Albin[1], "Because the corporeal is situated at the point of intersection where expressions of sexuality and cultural boundaries meet, the body has become a central concern both in academia and the wider culture, providing one of the few points of direct contact between these often divorced spheres". Developmental bodies, as do bodies in general[2], provide excellent objects for sociological study. Kincaid (1992:p104-33)[3] provides an engaging discussion of Victorian anatomy and physiology of the child's budding body. The developmental sexual (gendered, erotic) body has recently begun to be investigated from within sociological models. Thorne (1993:p136-47)[4], for instance, provides an account of the school experience of physical development. These attempts may inform empathic calls for distinguishing body "control" from body "care"[5].


At the cross-cultural front, however, few materials are available. The most detailed accounts are provided for the developmental reproductive body. Schlegel (1995)[6] implies in Western countries, due to curricular dissociation of the socialisation of two social functions, a dissociation exists between reproductive and productive bodies, and a subordination of the former to the latter in terms of preparation. In traditional societies, this does not occur. According to Paige and Paige (1981[7]; cf. Ginsburg and Rapp, 1991, 1995)[8] the meaning of the awakening body lies in the political and economic environment in which it awakens, defining the organisation, distribution, and value of its reproductive capacity (P&P, 1981:p79-121), predominantly by subjecting the body to social discontinuity. The implications for complex societies (p273-4) were discussed only in terms of personal appraisal and attitude. Thus, there seem to exist large differences between pre-industrial and industrial "sexually" developing bodies, the interest of the immediate environment varying between an emphasis on its reproduction economy (fertility, attracting claims of exclusive and unambiguous paternity rights, fraternal interests), and on personalised social "body trajectories", whether explained materially (birth control, marital stability, parenthood) or in psychological terms ("psychosexual development", "erotic lifestyle", "sexual health"). That is, the dissociation between social and personal bodies, and body curricula, is an indictor of economic status: economy leads to polity leads to bodies (ritualisation, social operationalisation, personal operationalisation).



12.1 The Assimilation of the Sexual Body [up] [Contents]


One hypothesis explored in the present chapter holds that culture determines whether bodily changes pertain to "reproductive" [9], "sexual" or "gender" transition discourses. The construction of bodies, as an assimilation of gendered, sexualised and "reproductive" parts, thus, has to be acknowledged within these confluent discourses.



12.1.1 Construed Bodies [up] [Contents]


As Nielsen and Rudberg (1993)[10] have argued,


"[…] the body plays a central role in the development of both gendered subjectivity and gender identity. In fact, the body fulfils a double task within psychological development; it represents the integrity which is the basis for experiencing ourselves as someone, a separate self distinguished from others. At the same time, the body is the source of our passions and it is only through the body that we can integrate sexuality with gender. In other words, the body is significant for drawing the boundaries which are necessary for establishing any gendered subjectivity whatsoever. On the other hand, the body is significant in determining the way that reproductive processes and sexuality are integrated with our identity as man or woman".


The material body, it can be argued, not only is shaped by social relations, but also "enters into their very construction and transgression, as both resource and constraint, limit and opportunity"[11]. The body is an instrument for the execution of a social contract, a symbol and a generator of symbols[12]. Studies[13] indicate that girls are "learning, through fashion, to desire and create a normalized image of the perfect woman", fashion being "a heuristic as they constructed the meaning of their bodies". According to constuctionists, children do not operate from the basis of their gender, they "come to know themselves as gendered selves (or subjects) in ways that are both internally divisive and correspond to divisions within culture"[14] and within technological spaces[15]. Themes of embodiment, physicality, and performance play a part in the ways in which informal groups of students "actively ascribe meanings to issues of sex and gender"[16]. Anthropologists have begun to analyse how pubertal events evoke cultural meanings about gender and "gendered" bodies that adolescents (as might preschoolers[17]) then use to construct personal meaning and sexual subjectivity[18]. A definition of "gendering" might be provided in bodies being explored through


"[…] relational territories […], which are culturally accessible within boundaries and according to dynamics that are socially negotiated and regulated, and which reflect power hierarchies and differentials"[19].


In this perspective, authors identify multiple bodies (e.g., the problematic body, the controlled body, the commodified body, and the social body)[20], all related both to "gender" and to the portrayal of bodies in mass media.



12.1.2 Organ Socialisation: The Anthropology of the Genitals, with a Reference to "Modesty" [up] [Contents]


Each society and culture imposes different restrictions on individuals' use of their bodies, sexuality, and body image[21]. Within a pedagogical paradigm, "sexual" socialisation can tentatively be divided[22] in the socialisation of gender (sexuality proper), and that of genitalia (genitality). "Genital socialisation" proper pertains to areas of "child training" usually identified with the elements of modesty, sexual [genital] behaviour, and the communication regarding the broader social relevance of such transactions. The level at which genitalia externa are subject to public or semi-public discourse varies over age and the ethnographic spectrum (cf. chapter 13). In this environment, the genitalia acquire their (anticipated) functional status, their identity, their "image". For some reason, children's genitalia are avoided in Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, New York[23]. It is hypothesised that this "image" contributes substantially to the motivation, the experience, and the meaning of behaviour involving genitalia in some perspective or another. It presumably defines, for instance, its situational or longitudinal "functions": observation, experiment, orgasm attainment, thrill seeking, authority opposition, manipulation, distraction, exchange, role enactment, substitution, and so on.


The cultural/biological functions of shame is an interesting part of human sexuality. Morris[24] suggests that clothing was developed to facilitate a nonsexual approach among organisms in an upright position; clothing, except in young children in their "obvious presexual phase", it reduces sexual signaling in a public context and sexualises nonpublic uncovering (On the other hand, it reduces the signaling of pubic hair). Schiefenhövel (1982:p161, 162)[25] assumed that the timing of shame is based on some inborn principle so that it would develop "apparently after some time of growth in the prepubertal child".


Particularly illustrative is the extensive description of Kogi modesty training. This includes themes of phallophagia, vagina dentata, and phallic penetration, and creating a "defensive" attitude to the genitalia:

"Hide your penis because an animal will eat it up!" is said to male children, and "Cover yourself, because a snake will get into you!" is said to the girls. It is daily repeated to boys that it is the toad that will eat or bite this organ, and little girls are told that the aggressive animal is the snake or the "worm". When one mentions the word "toad" or "snake" in front of children about two years old, they always react with a rapid movement of the hands toward the genital region".


"In general, little girls are cautioned: "Do not look at men, because they have penes". The tendency of this teaching is explained by the adults with the words: ". . . in order that they may be afraid of men". From the age of three or four, boys are taught identically: "Women have there (in the vagina) a knife, and they are going to cut off your penis!" "If you go out of the house a wild animal (toad) will come and eat up your penis". The taboo of the ceremonial house is explained to girls in the same way: "There inside is a big snake which will get into your vagina". "There an animal with claws would tear open your belly". "There a fierce dog would bite you!" Little girls, when they pass near the ceremonial house, manifestly cover the genital region and avoid looking at the door" (p220-1).


"It is frequently observed that children around the age of three, when faced with a new and thus "dangerous" situation, touch their genital organs. Adults interpret this gesture as a defensive one, and they say that the children are trying to cover themselves against a possible attack. It seems to us, however, that this is rather a means of self-assurance, without the gesture's being connected with the idea of defense of the specific organ. That the adults interpret the gesture incorrectly as defensive reflects another association of ideas. Throughout the childhood of the individual, the parents repeat daily threats of castration, indicating to the child with gestures and words that his sexual organs are exposed to the danger of being bitten, cut off, or injured in some other way. In the first place, they are thus trying to inculcate in children the idea of modesty. "Hide your penis because a toad will eat it up!" "Cover yourself because a snake will get into your vagina!" These two sentences and variations of them are already heard during the first year, when the child is not yet walking. Once he is walking, the threat is made more specific and refers to the ceremonial house and to society. To girls it is said: "Do not enter the ceremonial house. There is an animal there with claws that will tear open your belly!" To boys it is said: "Be careful with women! They have a knife there and they will cut off your penis!" To girls it is said: "Be careful with men! They have there a worm which will bite you in the vagina!" At the same time the theme of the toad and the snake (worm) is elaborated, and the boys begin to associate the toad with female sexuality, the snake with the male. When the corresponding words are mentioned, the children now react with the gestures of defense. According to what the parents themselves say, the object of these threats is to form the first pattern for the future separation of the sexes and to inculcate in the children fear of the opposite sex and of all sexual activity in general. The result is evident at an early age. A child, when he sits on the ground or lies down, will try to pull his clothing between his legs, forming a defense in the genital region. This custom persists later, especially among men, throughout life. Every once in a while they arrange their garments in this region of the body. When they sit down, they take the shirt with both hands, press it against these organs, and then sit on the folds. Always, when an individual sits or squats, he immediately forms a sort of protective covering" (p283-4).



12.1.3 Cultural Bodies and Social Milestones [up] [Contents]


Cultures apply different meanings to adolescent bodies (e.g., Irvine, 1994:p21-2)[26], the experience of bodily change (rather than growth) being subject to cultural "framing" (cf. Valsiner, 2000:p273-6)[27]. This framing takes on a dramatic character within the scenario of initiations. Commonly, the social body here undergoes fundamental interpretational shifts sociologically, being lifted from the asexual unproductive, indefinite state to, variably, a carrier of economic, tribal, sexual, and reproductive significance. The Western body, by contrast, knows no such drama, no such immediate significance, and, ideally, follows an atraumatic existence, with some gradual change, and some gradual inauguration, but rarely officially so. Here, body "significance" would be the outcome of a battle between "normative" assault (media "commodification", parental signalling, "peer pressures", "patriarchy") and "traumatic" assault ("sexualised" attention, nosocomial abuse, "sexual" harassment), a division originally elaborated by Freud.


Using the SCCS, Schlegel and Barry III (1979)[28] found that 69% of girl initiations were organised around menarche, in a high percentage (87) at an individual (single) basis. For boys, who are less frequently initiated (36 vs 46% of SCCS societies), this is more diverse, actual ejacularche [though this definition of "genital maturation" may not be rigidly enforced] accounted for a maximum of 10% of the schedules[29], and initiations involve large groups in 43%. This is a rather clear cross-cultural picture, the transition timing of boys being far more loosely associated with "puberty" (pubescence) than girls for whom menarche is of paramount importance (only 7% of female initiations would take place postmenarchally, whereas 40% would in the case of boys). Also, female fertility was centralised in the ceremonial totality more often than male fertility (41 vs 16%); this also holds true for the superior relative salience of "sexuality", though less obviously (21 vs 11%). The first "signs" of puberty (pubarche and thelarche) would dictate transitional ceremonies in 29% (boys) and 13% (females) of societies, while 10% of boys and 36% of girls were initiated before this had occurred. This adds up to 39% of initiated boys and 49% of initiated girls becoming "adolescent" before their fertile period proper.


From these and other data, it appears that the attribution of maturity labels or the application of discontinuity messages is only variably linked to factual maturation.



12.2 Girl Bodies [up] [Contents]


The following sections establish the cultural shaping of menarchal and thelarchal body, and the social shaping of clitoris and visual pudenda. Additional references to the shaping of girl bodies are collected in chapters 9 and 13.



12.2.1 The Menarchal Body: Socio- / Nosographic Spectrum [up] [Contents]


How physical functions are translated into sexological concepts, or phrased within positive or negative set of mind is subject to wide variations worldwide. This may be so for the first experience of menstruation (e.g., Britton, 1996)[30] [see bibliography]. There has been substantial agreement in the literature that cultural attitudes and frameworking influence females' reaction to menarche[31]. Menarche is represented by discursive practices shaping girls' subjectivity[32]. Britton interprets the English case:


"British young women do not have a simple, clear framework of shared women's beliefs (a framework of meaning) to make sense of this change [menarche]. They encounter and are shaped by a mixture of discourses: "recipes" from medical/biological discourses, as well as lay discourses in the form of mother's advice with respect to expectations and dangers in their reproductive roles. Further, in some ways modern cultural constructions aim to extend childhood" (p650).


In an Italian sample of 15 to 18-year-olds, males' awareness of pubertal changes was poor, whereas the "discovery" of puberty in females was a "very significant" moment[33]. In order to understand the psychological meaning of menarche it is necessary to examine cultural beliefs, socialisation, anticipation[34], and actual experience[35]. Cultural factors are likely to play a major role in children's anticipation and integration of the pubertal experience. Exploratory studies showed three interconnected themes emerging from the narratives: shame and embarrassment, "sexualisation", and issues of power[36]. The process of "sexualisation" (Lee and Sasser-Coen, 1996a:p91-4; Lee and Sasser-Coen, 1996b:p85-110) would entail "the social construction of "woman" through the politics surrounding the female body. Given that female bodies are construed as objects of attention and desire, menarche marks the simultaneous entry into adult womanhood and adult female sexualization". In their Blood Stories Lee and Sasser-Coen focus on menarche as "a central aspect of body politics in contemporary society". Using a social constructivist /post-structuralist view of the subject, the book emphasises that it is in part through the body that women are "integrated into the social and sexual order", and it is in part through the discourses and disciplinary practices of menstruation, framed as "feminine" normative practices, that "heterosexuality is constructed and reconstructed in everyday live".


The subjective anticipation of menarche is rarely explored[37]. Memories of the first menstruation in Finnish and Russian women were predominantly negative, and commonly associated with feelings of dirtiness, sin, and self-blame[38]. Discussion about menstruation was discouraged, and most women felt that their mothers were not supportive; the use of sanitary napkins and tampons was liberating. It is concluded that the first menstruation for these women was a time of silence and confusion in which religious, cultural, and social forms of knowledge intersected.


European menarche and thelarche, in contrast to, for instance, its traditional African pendant, initially represented a secret[39] shared among same-sex peers and also between mother and daughter. Even when reasoning on the basis of a recent study, it could be argued that "[t]he biology and meaning of menstruation remains culturally taboo in Western society"[40]. So much so, perhaps, that this has impeded academic understanding of the matter[41].

The anticipation of menarchal bleeding is withheld from preadolescents on a wide scale[42], leading to an initial traumatic misinterpretation of the event[43] (cf. Rierdan et al., 1986:p37)[44], not entirely unlike primal scene misinterpretation. [For the horror of American menarche, consider Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye[45]]. In these cases, apparently, girls may be conditioned to associate sexual maturity with health impairment.


In a study by Moore (1995)[46] themes in story completion tasks linked periods with incapacity or illness. In another study[47], narratives showed that "the body of a menstruating woman has cultural meaning inscribed that function to ensure the embodied experience of a menstruating woman is unfavourably different from the embodied experience of a non-menstruating woman". Yet another study suggested many girls are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with their bodies and some think of menstruation as a chronic illness[48].


This contrasts with cases where menstruation acquires a central symbolic meaning, its first occurrence safeguarded by therapeutic means if necessitated:


Castañeda, García and Langer (1996:p135-6)[49] note how rural Mexican women's sexuality is directly linked to reproduction and blood is the supremely feminine substance. Great importance is consistently attributed to menstruation about which well-defined concepts exist in the community, where as pre-menarche changes are perceived as a state of "bio-psychosocial maturity". Menarche beyond 14 years of age is considered abnormal and is attributed to an "excess of cold" in the body, therapy is usually administered by traditional birth attendants.


A historical analysis[50] suggests menarche was consequently understood within a religious (ancient Europe), medical (modern history) and, contemporarily, in a commercial framework. However positive these cultural identifications, advertisements might function "to heighten insecurities [and] to perpetuate and maintain the silence and shame which surrounds menstruation in our [American] society"[51]. This is understandable in the light that American "[c]hildren are socialized away from body contact with self as well as with others"[52]. Authors have argued that in "our [American] culture tends to ignore the affective importance of menarche and instead conveys the view that it is a hygienic crisis"[53]. Brumberg (1997)[54], as cited by Frankel (2002)[55], notes how the commercial (cf. Vostral[56]), medical, and hygienic aspects of menarche and menstruation allow mothers a host of discussion topics that "have nothing to do with sexual pleasure". In that sense, constructs of menarche may tend to "desexualise" the event that, of course, has no other biological background than the reproductive. The curricularisation effects of "sex education" are considerably dependent on what actually is educated. Pubertal transitions can be anticipated without any reference to allosexual behaviour or its consequences[57]. It is therefore hypothesised that a neglect (non-operationalisation) of menarche occurs when (a) its ritualisation is not issued by some economic, social, or political value (Paige and Paige), and (b) when it is believed that anticipation or ad hoc explanation of its essence operationalises coitus. Menarche also acquires a more direct sexological relevance when coital patterning is manifest before its occurrence; in America, this does not normally occur. It also acquires such relevance when early (immediate) pregnancy is valued positively, as a first unambiguous sign of fertility, or instead, valued negatively[58]. Associated with pregnancy values is the delay of menarchal announcement together with a "premenarchal taboo" (Ghana, acc. Vervoorn), the scheduling of initiations (Ghana) or marriages (Ethiopia) close to menarche to prevent preinstitutional pregnancy, the (threat of) non-initiation of pre-initiation pregnant girls (Makonde), and the curricular use of anti- and proconceptive agents[59]. The commercial availability of oral or barrier contraceptives theoretically greatly relieves this system, theoretically relocating family politics within the medical, rather than moral, sphere.


Ergo, the attitude toward menarche reflects the control culturally legitimised by its occurrence, which in turn reflects the control on sexuality (whether or not in the sense of curricular virginity and/or pregnancy)[60]. The approach of menarche in many cases can be traced to specific historical-sociological contexts[61], which can even make its attitudes seem to be at odds with general cultural priorities.


Thuren (1994)[62] analysed that "[w]hile celebration of the first menstruation may seem especially logical in societies that emphasize motherhood, as does Spain, a girl's first menstruation there is, paradoxically, a shameful matter. The explanation of this paradox lies in the supposition that what arrives with the first menstruation is not potential motherhood, but potential sexual activity, and also womanhood (as opposed to manhood), both of which are construed as negative or ambivalent. This, however, suggests a new paradox in the present Spanish context. After two decades of mostly positive change, the concept of change has become synonymous with improvement; and sexuality, always culturally emphasized in the Mediterranean area, has taken on the role of a key symbol of change".


Their efforts to avoid and prevent this embarrassment while meeting their communication needs have led them to develop creative linguistic strategies such as slang terms, circumlocutions, pronouns, and euphemistic deixis[63]. Fertalised Bodies [up] [Contents]


Fertility becomes a cult within the perspective of bride transfers. As such, it becomes a manufactured and celebrated attribute of the cultural body, as suggested by its centrality in ritualism (SCCS 559, 560). Medicines or charms may be used[64], and elaborate rituals may be indicated[65].

Fertility as a developmental attribute of the body is subject to cultural definitions. Paiela adolescents by definition neither copulate nor sexually reproduce. They are considered chaste and sterile, in fact not really male or female, until they are married and become parents (Biersack, 1982:p242)[66]. Knauft (1993:p101) on New Guinea South Coast tribes, describes that the young girl is "subjected at about age eight to ten to serial sexual intercourse by adult men [...] to procure sexual fluids for rubbing on the girl's groom-to-be, to help him grow". The custom was said to be "willingly submitted to [...] in the belief that it was necessary to enhance their personal fertility as well as that of the Marind cosmos" (p96). Fertility enters the operationalisation of "adulthood". In a Portuguese coastal community, for instance, girls were considered "adult" when fertile (menstruation occurred around 16 or 17), boys when married (Cole, 1991:p84-5)[67]. Sexual activity may be said to enhance fertility (Polynesia); Bantu people encouraged dolls and playing marriage as "fecundity-generating" activities. Transfers of Reproductive Bodies: Contrasting African and Islamic Menarche [up] [Contents]


In Africa, sexual instructions to girls offered "at the occasion of menarche" are integrated in initiation curricula[68]. In these cases, one might suspect some informal precurricular anticipation of the vital details, including fertility; this, however, is not generally documented explicitly. Menarche takes a central place in traditional African coming of age. The record demonstrates that girls' sexuality was acknowledged, and was to be celebrated, trained and appropriated. In most cases, an ad hoc approach is normative, and explicit taboos on anticipating approaches exist[69] to ensure a climactic concept of nascent sexuality ("heat") to be ritually subdued. The erotic potency of the girl was acknowledged through its demonstrative socialisation, its preparation through submission, and its dramatic, ictal transfer. The operationalising principle is the economic value of the girl, traditionally being governed via complementary constructs, critical values (sexual prowess) actively (mostly ad hoc) cultivated and emphasised via dramatic identification strategies.


The political meaning of the menarchal body in the Middle East[70], and its status within Islamic teachings renders its need for operationalisation equally pressing. The girl may be veiled (though this may be anticipated), parental supervision is increased (it having been severe in anticipation), sex instruction is formulated in a set of prohibitions, and negative advises, also an anticipated quest; menarche is not usually anticipated (e.g., Naamane-Guessous) and neutralised in a shame curriculum. A positive operationalisation is ensured by traditional perimenarchal marriage[71]. Among both Turkish and Arab girls, pubescent marriage becomes inevitable for as she reaches puberty fathers and brothers are faced with their daughter's or sister's sexuality, a state they cannot "control". This departs from the principle that female sexuality is always to be controlled, with the transfer from parental to conjugal control becoming a central social (rather than economic) crisis, though an adequately anticipated and, hence, orchestrated crisis. Again, the matter is truly one of complementation, but its chronology explained though the identification of the body as harbouring a dilemma to a socialising (controlling) environment.


The meaning and concept of the female changing body, thus, lies in the need, organisation and interpretation (complementation, identification) of its being transferred from the parental to the marital institution. In the African case, globally, the transfer is one of a carefully invested and upgraded value object for which the return cause is a central agenda. Conversely, within Islamic rule, the transfer is one of a body that represents a nascent danger to social structure, one that needs to be institutionalised (transferred) before it causes such transfer to be jeopardised.


12.2.2 Thelarche: The Cultural Blossoming Bosom [up] [Contents]


The socialisation of the mammae is to be considered a critical entry for explaining both cultural and gender differences in erotic citizenship. The social significance of breasts evolution has seen a distinct historical devaluation. In his detailed defence of a medieval concept of adolescence, Schultz (1991)[72] observed that only two signs were mentioned in the description of physical maturity: breasts and beards (p527). As cited, the narrator of Rennewart stated that


"[w]hen a maiden is about to come of age and her small breasts begin to form, she is overcome by a nascent desire that slips into her heart and that, on account of the pain of the desire, upsets her spirits and teaches her the ways of her mother".


Thelarche may be one step in the path toward adulthood (e.g., Frayser)[73] by the fact that, rather than menarche, breasts provide a hardly disguisable signal in a visual economy, a marketplace of gazes, as well as a world of "candidates". In some cases[74], thelarche signifies nuptial status or justifies initiation or sexarche. In other cases, the bosom may less formally be taken as a curricular sign[75]. This use of thelarche as a fertility guarantee, taboo anchor and stratification tool is near absent in Western societies. These uses explain why the growth of breasts may be subject to maternally or personally initiated artificial promotion (§13.1.1). It also underscores the significance in cultural rationalisations of sexual intercourse as being primarily or secondarily thelopoetic[76], contrasting those cases in which an antagonistic relation is presumed between the status of breasts and sexual experience[77].

In sum, thelarche ("managed" through thelopoesis) are operationalised as conveying important (diagnostic or prognostic) clues to the sexological identity of the girl, provide occasions for the control or rationalisation of sexual curricula (prethelarchic disqualification of sexarche, initiation, marriage; antithelopoetic or antithelarchic effect of sexual behaviour), for instance by manipulating the advent of this status. In short, social order "creates" breasts and breasts "create" social order. This ultimately shapes the erotic appraisal of breasts. In some cases, even the prethelarchic breast is integrated ("operationalised") in early love play[78].


As a consequence of its, if anything, rudimentary sexological operationalisation[79], the Western nascent breast lacks the unambiguous personal and social significance suggested in the previous observations. Brooks-Gunn et al. (1994)[80] found that few girls 6th-8th grade girls reported intensely negative feelings to either change in breast and pubic hair growth. However, Kelly and Menking (1979)[81] found that breast development and the degree of satisfaction in young adulthood affect both same-sex and cross-sex relations. Breast growth (but not pubic hair growth) was found to be associated with a positive body image, positive peer relationships, and superior adjustment[82]. In the individual and subcultural setting, thelarche seems to gradually acquire a positive (erotogenetic) interpretation, but only after a period of marked ambivalence typical of all marginally operationalised and anticipated pubertal 'stigmata'.


The critical curricular intervention of covering deserves a closer examination than is available through the literature. The bra, and an assortment of pre-bra coverings are widely considered a pivotal event in the recognition of girls' physical curriculum, which may precede thelarche proper (e.g., Best). The (maternally initiated) purchase of a girl's first has been identified as "a highly symbolic cultural ritual in this country" [U.S.] (Benedek et al., 1979:p542)[83]. In a lot of Western and non-western societies the prethelarchic (Tanner M1) breast is covered in public and semi-public spaces while the (equiform) pectus is not. In others, the mammae are never covered, and thus its covering not curricularised. The timing of this, as opposed to genital covering, has not been studied for the SCCS.

The best studies to support claims on the cultural significance of breast socialisation are that of premature and retarded thelarche.



12.2.3 Organ Curricularisation: The Cultural Clitoris [up] [Contents]


Sexual lexicon development in children has been demonstrated to be gender biased (Gartrell and Mosbacher, 1984)[84] in retrospective survey. Names were found to be derivative, euphemistic and pejorative. Whereas male subjects acquired a "complete" vocabulary for male genitalia by a mean age of 11.5 years, female subjects did not complete their anatomical vocabulary for female genitalia until a mean age of 15.6 years. American parents have occasionally been uncovered to practice this form of curricularisation[85], but the allegation that this is an American curiosum remains to be disproved. Further studies[86] suggest that organs are operationalised by curricular labeling, using curricular terms and curricular functional definitions[87].


Feminist understandings of the "cultural clitoris" appears to be discussed primarily in the context of genital "mutilations". These discussions have contributed to the identification of the social functions of these institutions: the curricular enforcement that defines he organ's function, and mere existence, symbolising the acclaimed female's sexual service. Operationally, the cultural spectrum in socialising the clitoris ranges from artificial organomegaly[88] (cf. §13.1.2) to extirpation.

Feminist claims of the clitoris have sporadically addressed the social determinants of this not so much anatomical reality but indeed social construct[89]. Koedt's (1968)[90] understanding of the clitoris could later be celebrated as "a breakthrough for feminist sexual theories and American sexual thought"[91]. Harris (1979)[92] argued that linguistic usage pertaining to female sexuality is "the product of a patriarchal value structure and, as such, reflects patriarchal prejudices about female sexuality". Harris suggests that the apparent inability of many women to achieve coital orgasms was related to "centuries-old cultural attitudes" and that "linguistic usages, particularly dichotomies, tend to perpetuate the prejudices that underlie many cultural attitudes". Blau (1943)[93] had argued for the same view: "In contradistinction to the wealth of names other than "scientific" given to the male sex organ, study of a dozen languages discloses no comparable lay designations of the clitoris. This suggests that there is a strong influence acting to keep it obscured, secret, and hidden. Hence, language deficiencies would seem to highlight the extreme cultural suppression of female sexuality". Meanwhile, the archaic psychoanalytic debate surrounding organ primacy transferral is compromised by the absence of adequate data.



12.2.4 "Keeping Them Legs Crossed": Differential Ethological Shaping of the Sexual Genital [up] [Contents]


Wex (1979)[94] argued that the ethological female is shaped by the patriarchal structure, thereby symbolising it, predominantly by her postural attitudes in public spaces. While these claims appear far-fetched and do not explore the import of female anatomy, it indeed appears to be so that the female body is subject to a stricter curricular control (shaping) than males in most societies for which a sexual difference is noted. "Keeping the legs together" is taught to girls in pre-industrial[95] as well as industrial societies[96]. Among the New Guinea Paeila, genitals are considered so obscene, that one does not look at or touch one self's; sexual intercourse is equated with seeing the genitalia (Biersack).



12.3 Boy Bodies [up] [Contents]


The following sections are to establish the cultural shaping of ejacularche and penile tumescence. Additional references to the shaping of boy bodies are collected in chapters 9 and 13.



12.3.1 Spermarche: Socio- and Nosographic Spectrum [up] [Contents]


Mantegazza regarded pubertal sexual dreams (the "Angels of the Night") as a sublime sex educator, and recommends young readers to subside with their content. He remembered a farmer's boy, who with a rare fortune had reached the marriageable age, without having been informed of the good and the bad. When it finally comes to passions in a dark stable, and to emission, the "powerful boy" ran back to his mother to confess all, in dread that he might be maimed forever.


Although a physiological equivalent, seminarche does not appear to have the cultural meanings that menarche has in contemporary American society[97] (neither might thelarche[98]). Classic attitudinal studies on seminarche[99] were not interested in the psychological appraisal of the orgasmic component; nevertheless, the routine analogy with menarche is suspect phenomenologically[100].


Unanticipated, or in some cases even anticipated (China), spermarche is met with nosological interpretation; in selected contexts, apparently, the level of anticipation may not be associated with negativism (Nigeria). Moreover, a predominantly positive attitude (measured retrospectively, of course) can be found in conjunction with the indication that ejacularche is not generally discussed before or after (U.S.)[101], and were its occurrence may even be designated "taboo" (Frankel). But studies divert on their results. Western adolescents have routinely been found to be plagued by nocturnal emissions, due to insufficient preparation (e.g., Paonesa and Paonessa, 1971; Hockenberry et al., 1996)[102]. Adolescents may confuse emissions or first ejaculate with urine (Sugar, 1974)[103], or blood (Hite, 1981 [1982:p508-9; cf. 809n19])[104], or be otherwise concerned over their occurrence (Raymond et al, 1968)[105]. Stein and Reiser (1994:p377)[106] reported a 31% initial confusion of first semen with urine.


This stands in sharp contradistinction to the aboriginal Australian case. Here, genitalia and sexual maturity were important organising factors in everyday life; menarche, thelarche, pubarche, and ejacularche were commonly referred to by children as indicating age or age difference. In selected tribes ejacularche may represent a transitional phase in parental control of sexual interactions (Kanuri, Zulu); of course, this is an issue when coital patterning is known to anticipate puberty. Evans-Pritchard's[107] account of Azande ejacularche implies that a boy's age was reckoned by the appearance of his ejaculate [also note the knowledge of pre-ejaculatory orgasm, as further reported for the Mohave]:


"A boy of about 12-14 years of age is said to have orgasms without emissions; from about 14 to 16 his emissions are 'merely like urine' and contain no mbisimo gude ["soul of the child", reproductive capacity]; at about 17 years of age they contain mbisimo gude[108]. A man considers himself capable of procreating children so long as he is able to ejaculate sperm" (1932).


After Tonga boy's polluarche, he is said to "have become an adult. Medicines may be administered to the boy that will prevent him from being overcome by them (the Custom of the Erotic Dream, Tilorela)". For a Nyasaland (Malawi) boy's coming of age, Young (1933:p16) observes, "[t]he decisive sign is the erotic dream", which has to be reported and is followed by a small ceremony.

Spermarchal timing of instructions for boys may be less universal than in the case of menarche[109], and sometimes boys do not receive any, while their sisters do (e.g., !Ko). In most tribes, however, it is not explicitly documented that "puberty" rites are synchronised with this event. Ejaculation may be the subject of modifying practices[110].


Thus, while menarche is a central theme in patriarchal society, the factual Mannbarkeit (facultas generandi) of the boy, as an event, may be of lesser publicly acknowledged significance, while as a theme, its entry in a boy's subculture seems determined by informal intergenerational and peer communications.



12.3.2 Potency: The Cultural Erection [up] [Contents]


Underwood and Honigmann (1947:p568)[111] stated that on traditional Haiti, masturbation is prohibited and not observed; training would be so effective that even erections are not observed [sic]. The American record proves that people even sought to modify unintentional physical symptoms[112], though its curricular use was not clarified. In surveying childhood coitus, Stekel[113] recommends that "5. Die Knaben müssen öfters in der Nacht auf Erection untersucht werden"; it was not established for what reason.


In former days, boys could be punished for their morning erection by parents "incorrectly judging it to be sexual"[114]. This contrasts sharply with idealists such as Calderone[115] some decades later. Indeed, what "messages" does tumescence carry? Western sexology typically cares to debate the "sexual nature" of early erections (e.g., Löwenfeld), and remarkable misconceptions (e.g., "erectio praecox")[116] have been recorded for this case. A notable exception to this ramification is sexologist Thore Langfeldt addressing impotence and lubrication dysfunctions in 12-year-olds, together with juvenile secondary anorgasm, etc.


African erections may be required for marriageability[117], and marriage might have to be annulled on account of the impotence of the husband (e.g., Wolof). Thus, "[t]his causes a good deal of anxiety among mothers on account of their boys, and it often happens that they will want to see that their little boys are capable of having an erection" (Faladé). African developmental potency may be focus of explicit parental[118] or peer concerns, taboos[119], tests [120] and medicines, as therapeutica[121] or preventiva[122]. Early sexual activities may be welcomed as a signal of potency (Bakongo, Tutsi, Burundi). The elements of potency (e.g., Senegal, Zaire [Bakwa-Luntu, Bakongo], Tanzania, Martinique) and virility (e.g., Puerto Rico, Turkey, Aritama) often seem to be genuine anticipating concerns, explaining mothers' actively (tactically[123], verbally[124]) paying reference to the phenomenon in infancy (chapter 9).


Among the Toucouleur (Senegal), for instance, mothers are "obsessed with the virile potency of her infant", and eager to watch his erection. Enuresis is thought to be associated with impotence. 19.6% of men and none of females would have learned about impotence between ages five to ten, generally from age mates. The Puerto Rican case of machismo cultivation is well described. Casanova (1951)[125] add to this: "If they had an erection, they were praised and the parents would celebrate it by telling them they had joined the masculine race". By contrast, a Kwoma boy must not have an erection in public, particularly in the presence of his sisters, who will beat his penis with a stick if they observe it (Whiting and Reed).


The European case suggests a poor social definition of erections, at least as a developmental concept. However, in the Classical period, a boy's pubescence gave rise to a celebration of his body; when married, the father disproved his impotence with a certificate (Rousselle). In Mesopotamia, sexual potency was obviously important and self or mutual masturbation was a technique utilised to provide potency[126]. The socialisation of erections in Western studies is rarely addressed, a significant finding. In the Deehan and Fitzpatrick study (Ireland), parents reported "having discussed erections" with 11 percent of (mostly prepubertal) sons and 5 percent of daughters.



12.4 Pleasure Bodies [up] [Contents]


The following sections explore the cultural boundaries of pleasure bodies. "Pleasure", it could be argued, is a "largely unspoken and dangerous territory"[127] even in such legitimate arenas as sport. Most constructionists would argue against "pleasure" being an essentialist attribute of "the body" as a territory of consumption, the access to which is "blocked" by cultural interference. Feminist approaches nevertheless point to "constructions [that] are frequently negative or contradictory and deprive women of the pleasure and gratification they are fully capable of realizing in their sexual lives"[128] (ital. add.). Children's pleasures, likewise, would be "erased"[129] by negativist body discourses.

"Cryptobiologist" ideas about pleasure have been forwarded by psychoanalysts, mainly, the exact ramifications being multiple, and often paradoxical[130]. To limit this interesting discussion to the sexological concepts of arousal and orgasm, it appears that there does not appear to be an everyday discourse about their development. This ontological vacuum of erotic pleasure is symptomatic of a cultural tendency to decentralise the ontogenetic legitimacy of discursively eccentric issues as such. Bad things do not develop; they exist and they should not.



12.4.1 Orgasmarche and the Cultural Orgasm: Obscured Pleasure Milestone [up] [Contents]


The important matter of "orgasmic development" being discussed in full elsewhere[131], I here wish to elaborate the concept of the curricular control of orgasm by the organised delay of its first occurrence. This ideology, based on the premise that orgasm is possible at some time perinatally[132], is anticipated by Meyer (1996:p100)[133] in conceptualising orgasm as a behavioural tool mastered, in contrast to the child, by the adult and utilised in defining sexual reality of the child by means of this "superior orgasmic technology". Psychological and anthropological studies seem to have born out the conclusions of Desmond Morris (1967)[134] that primitive female sexuality is aimed only at procreation, and that in human females, orgasm is a "cultural acquisition"[135].


Orgasm is rarely communicated to prepubescent children as an immediate possibility, even in "progressive" texts[136]. Orgasm is not a topic commonly discussed in books on sex education prepared for parents of children in U.S. society[137]. Stereotypically, this might lead to initial traumatic / nosological interpretation[138]. The average age of orgasm knowlegibility has been researched only scantly[139]. A full review of orgasmarche studies (see Addendum) suggests that "orgasm" tends to be attained on average in the 12th year of life according to Western samples, while the literature is full of references to ages far below this.


Langfeldt and Borneman[140] collected their share of evidence for Scandinavia and Europe, it seems, before attitudes made this knowledge suspect, to say the least. The ethnographic record does not solve the issue of orgasmarchic timing due to the paucity of data[141]; mean orgasmarche ages are found for Iraqi women, Israeli women, Columbians, Russians, East Germans, and North Americans (see Table).


The curricular dissociation of "orgasmic identity" and orgasmic potential, thus, may be tentatively regarded as normative in the industrial West. Apart from the fact that virtually all verbal and practical socialisation is absent, at least before orgasmarche, it could be assumed that parents fear infant and childhood orgasm for its presumed negative properties, probably the habituation of masturbation proper[142]. Yates (1978:p67-8; see also various papers on "eroticisation")[143], for instance, explains the cultural orgasm through socialisation knowlegibility has been researched only scantly[139]. A full review of orgasmarche studies (see Addendum) suggests that "orgasm" tends to be attained on average in the 12th year of life according to Western samples, while the literature is full of references to ages far below this.


Langfeldt and Borneman[140] collected their share of evidence for Scandinavia and Europe, it seems, before attitudes made this knowledge suspect, to say the least. The ethnographic record does not solve the issue of orgasmarchic timing due to the paucity of data[141]; mean orgasmarche ages are found for Iraqi women, Israeli women, Columbians, Russians, East Germans, and North Americans (see Table).


The curricular dissociation of "orgasmic identity" and orgasmic potential, thus, may be tentatively regarded as normative in the industrial West. Apart from the fact that virtually all verbal and practical socialisation is absent, at least before orgasmarche, it could be assumed that parents fear infant and childhood orgasm for its presumed negative properties, probably the habituation of masturbation proper[142]. Yates (1978:p67-8; see also various papers on "eroticisation")[143], for instance, explains the cultural orgasm through socialisation[144]. The impact of orgasm for sexual behaviour patterning and motivation is not adequately explored and needs to be clarified to put the meaning of orgasm delay in perspective. In the mean time, Gagnon (1977:p83-5)[145] verbalised the following speculation (arguing for the term "orgasm script"):


"It is possible to imagine a social order that does make orgasm an early and constant activity on the part of the child, an activity as important as eating, running, jumping, getting good grades, learning to read and to smile. It could even be made gender-specific […]. In such a society it is likely that orgasm and orgasm seeking would be characteristic of most children; however, it would be so not because of the innate desire to have orgasm, but because the activity was socially highly valued".


These arguments were rarely heard before or after the 1970s, but they seem to be rather significant. If physical pleasure is one of the most pronounced social arguments for genital behaviour, the obvious pursuit of delaying this pleasure is a central political event. On the whole, orgasmarche is an avoided and even rejected concept by contemporary sexologists (e.g., Dutch prize-winner Jany Rademakers), and those having centralised it are (however rightly) subject to personalised criticism (American celebrated pioneer Alfred Kinsey, and, remarkably, few others).



12.4.2 Erogeneity and Erotics: Biocultural Implications [up] [Contents]


Until the Age of Orgasm, states Hall[146], the genitalia provide "a sea of knismogenic (knismos=tickling) sensations" which later become "extremely gelogenic (gelos=laughter)"; the cultural impact on these "sensations" may be pervasive. Children invent words for those sensations lacking vocabulary. Examples include "weiner tickle" (M., 1973:p28), "jeebies"[147], or some other qualification of "tickling, tingling, itching or stinging"[148]. This appears to be the degree of specificity that education books may consider appropriate[149] allowing, for instance, a blurring of pleasant and orgasmic experiences. In the absence of adequate identification, sensations are dedicated to urinary causes: "Wild and confused dreams made me feel funny--just as if I had to urinate" (Martinson). Urgency leads to genital clutching, and parents in response stimulate the association by suggesting toilet visiting on the occasion of any genital touching. Even in the light of the failure of science to explore these issues as biological facts, these observations suggest that cultures may delay the understanding and inherent utilisation of biological principles, the main techniques employed probably being non-operationalisation (non-identification) and re-operationalisation (reclassification).


The ethnographic record does not seem to provide much clues for proving the hypothesis that socialisation shapes the extent of contemporary or subsequent erotic experience (arousal). The collective of previous findings, however, suggest this impact may be significant. Laboratory data lack prospective developmental significance, ethical approval, and funding.



12.5 The Manufactured Body: The Making of Puberty [up] [Contents]


As detailed elsewhere[150], the traditional African and also Oceanic body used to be conceptualised as a tool for providing pleasure and offspring, a tool shaped by paternalistic (frequently, maternalistic) intent and, alternatively, by self-directed preparation curricula. The pivotal concerns are cosmetic and functional improvements and accelerations of what might otherwise have been considered an unalterable process. The prosexual (procoital) explanation of circumcision allows such interventions to effect a control on sexual (coital) curricula. Preparations allow the effector to take possession of the apparatus, claim or grant its utilisation, and to control the social curriculum that apparently is attached to its evolution. Preparations are commonly procoital, pro-potency, pro-erotic, pro-amatory, or pro-conceptive. A distinction between "being prepared" and "preparing yourself" is often spurious, since autopreparation may be instigated or taught by adults; in any case both principles are hardly ever applied in industrial countries.

The application of such intents, particularly in groups, signals a concern for future purposes, and establishes a sense of identification. Further, the intents may still be legitimised on the basis of complementation arguments. As such, it solidifies this cultural duet of wanting and being wanted[151]. Such solidification is not systematically acquired via the body in Western society; this body, thus, is a largely hypothetical instrument socialised through hypothetical encounters. This renders sexarche the stressful "test-case" of not only sexual identity but also of the integration of physical reality and bodiless body scenarios.



12.6 Concluding Remarks [up] [Contents]


(a) The sexual body acquires its meaning by the functions it is made to perform by environmental claims of it. In Western European societies these claims are few and the functions left to a curriculum that is entirely optional, and only so to a curricularised degree. Conversely, in some non-Western examples, social age is not measured except by specific pubertal features. This type of cultural operationalisation of organs and organ functions (whose reality is not necessary for initial survival) is very specific for the sexual apparatus and functions.

(b) The consequences for the experience of bodies and body changes as such largely depend on cultural operationalisation efforts.

(c) The operationalisation of bodies occurs along a gradient of complementation to identification principles. These are often intimately interconnected, but surface within the context of specific subjective positionings (agendas).

(d) The operationalisation of bodies occurs along a gradient of social to individual authorisation schemas. The record suggest that both specific organic functions that are not biologically curricularised and those that are, together with the entire apparatus by which these functions operate provide service under the instrumentalisation of a social order claiming these functions at a given time and/or having to accommodate their potential implications for the individual. In Western society, the organ curriculum, largely based on nonintervention principles, comes to represent a gradual claim of it by the individual on the basis of his occasion for extracurricular operationalisation, be it by chance, by nature, by seduction or off-record education.


Data suggest that menarche provides a valuable entry for understanding the periodisation of female gender curricula, as well as an array of sociological concepts under the flag of "phase identified female sexualities". Data invite the hypothesis that cultures may try to curricularise girls differently than boys, and try to socialise the male body differently than the female body.



12.x Perspectives [up] [Contents]


To put above conclusions to cross-cultural tests, detailed analysis is required of the specific techniques employed to provide meaning and status to organs and organ functions. Observations, questionnaires and autobiographical material all seem suitable. (a) what functions are being socialised; (b) what mode of socialisation is employed; (c) which reasons are forwarded to legitimise a given mode of socialisation.





Notes [up] [Contents]


[last updated 011102]


[1] Albin, D. D. (2001) Making the Body (W)hole: A Qualitative Study of Body Modifications and Culture. PhD Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin [DAI-B 62/08, p. 3790, Feb 2002]

[2] E.g., Weyns, W. (1993) Het lichaam in de sociologische theorie. Enkele krachtlijnen, Tijdschr Sociale Wetensch [Dutch] 38,4:359-94

[3] Kincaid, J. (1992) Child-Loving: The Erotic Child and Victorian Culture. New York: Routledge

[4] Thorne, B. (1993) Gender Play: Girls and Boys in School. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press

[5] Leavitt, R. L. & Power, M. B. (1997) Civilizing bodies: Children in day care, in Tobin, J. J. (Ed). (1997) Making a Place for Pleasure in Early Childhood Education. New Haven: Yale University Press, p39-75

[6] Schlegel, A. (1995) A cross-cultural approach to adolescence, Ethos 23,1:15-32. See also Schlegel, A. & Barry, H. III (1991) Adolescence: An Anthropological Inquiry. New York: The Free Press; Fuchs, E. (1975) Cross-cultural perspectives on adolescence, J Am Acad Psychoanal 3,1:91-104; Castelnuovo, A. (1990) La adolescencia como fenomeno cultural, Rev Psicoanal 47,4:661-72; Correal-Sanin, G. (1976) [Adolescence in tribal cultures], Rev Colomb Psiquia 5,1:76-84; Caldwell, J. C. et al. (1998) The Construction of Adolescence in a Changing World: Implications for Sexuality, Reproduction, and Marriage, Stud Fam Plann 29,2:137-53

[7] Paige, K. E. & Paige, J. M. (1981) The Politics of Reproductive Ritual. Berkeley [etc.]: University of California Press

[8] Ginsburg, F. D. & Rapp, R. (1991) The Politics of Reproduction, Ann Rev Anthropol 20:311-43; Ginsburg, F. D., & Rapp, R. (Eds., 1995) Conceiving the New World Order - The Global Politics of Reproduction. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press

[9] Graber, J. A. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1996) Reproductive transitions: The experience of mothers and daughters, in Ryff, C. D. & Seltzer, M. M. (Eds.) The Parental Experience in Midlife. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p255-99

[10] Nielsen, H. B. & Rudberg, M. (1993) Gender, body and beauty in adolescence- three psychological portraits, Young 1,2

[11] Williams, S. J. & Bendelow, G. A. (2000) "Recalcitrant Bodies"? Children, Cancer and the Transgression of Corporeal Boundaries, Health 4,1:51-71

[12] Nizzoli, U. & Cavicchioni, V. (1983) Il corpo e nel simbolo, il simbolo e nel corpo, Riv Sperimentale Freniatria & Med Legale Alienazioni Ment 107,1, Suppl.:345-51

[13] Oliver, K. L. (1999) Adolescent girls' body narratives: Learning to desire and create a "fashionable" image, Teachers College Record 101,2:220-46

[14] Debold, E. (1997) Knowing bodies: Gender identity, cognitive development and embodiment in early childhood and early adolescence, DAI-B 57(7-B): 4742. Cf. Weigel, A. G. (2001) Adolescent girls in their own words: Sociocultural influences on body image, DAI-B 61(11-B):6154

[15] Fujimura, M. (1998) [Media Environment and Children's and Adolescents' Bodies: Background, Discourse and Senses], Kyoiku-shakaigaku Kenkyu [J Educ Sociol] 63:39-57

[16] Kehily, M. (2001) Bodies in school: Young men, embodiment, and heterosexual masculinities, Men & Masculinities 4,2:173-85

[17] Martin, K. A. (1998) Becoming a Gendered Body: Practices of Preschools, Am Sociol Rev 63,4:494-511

[18] Martin, K. A. (1995) Puberty, sexuality, and the self: Gender differences at adolescence, DAI-A 55(9-A):3006. See Martin, K. A. (1996) Puberty, Sexuality, and the Self: Boys and Girls at Adolescence. Florence, KY: Taylor & Francis/Routledge

[19] Trasforini, M. A. (1999) Il corpo accessibile. Una riflessione su corpi di genere, violenza e spazio, Polis 13,2:191-212

[20] Bengs, C. (2000) Looking Good: A Study of Gendered Body Ideals among Young People. Dept Sociology, Umea University, Sweden

[21] Costa e Silva, J. A. (1985) Ethnopsychomotricité et identité: le rôle de la place du corps de l'enfant et de la mêre, Ann Med Psychol 143,10:985-90

[22] Gagnon (1977:p95) concludes that American "sexual" behaviour is "linked primarily to gender roles".

[23] Balk, S. J. et al. (1982) Examination of genitalia in children: "the remaining taboo", Pediatrics 70,5:751-3

[24] Morris, D. (1985) Bodywatching. London: Cape. 1986 Dutch ed. Amsterdam/Brussel: Elsevier, p209; Morris, D. (1967) The Naked Ape. 1986 ill. Dutch ed. Utrecht/Aartselaar: Bruna & Zn., p83-4

[25] 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

[26] Irvine, J. M. (1994) Cultural differences and adolescent sexualities, in Irvine, J. M. (Ed.) Sexual Cultures and the Construction of Adolescent Identities. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, p3-28

[27] Valsiner, J. (2000) Culture and Human Development: An Introduction. London [etc.]: Sage

[28] Schlegel, A. & Barry III, H. (1979) Adolescent initiation ceremonies: a cross-cultural code, Ethnology 18,2:199-210

[29] Hadza, Massa, Orokaiva, Kimam, Kwoma, Nambicuara

[30] Britton, C. J. (1996) Learning about "the curse": An Anthropological Perspective on Experiences of Menstruation, Women's Stud Int Forum 19,6, 12:645-53. Cf. Brown, J. K. (1963) A cross-cultural study of female initiation rites, Am Anthropol 65:837-53; Delaney, J., Lupton, M. J. & Toth, E. (1976/1988) The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation. 1st & rev. ed. Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, p24-32. See also p64-71, 93-7, 142-54

[31] Scott, C. S., Arthur, D., Owen, R. & Panizo, M. I. (1989) Black adolescents' emotional response to menarche, J Natl Med Assoc 81,3:285-90. Cf. Hawthorne, D. J. (2000) Living through private times: African-American females at menarche, DAI-B 60(9-B):4520

[32] Lovering, K. M. (1995) The bleeding body: Adolescents talk about menstruation, in Wilkinson, S. & Kitzinger, C. (Eds.) Feminism and Discourse: Psychological Perspectives. London: Sage, p10-31

[33] Zani, B. (1991) Male and female patterns in the discovery of sexuality during adolescence, J Adolesc 14,2:163-78

[34] Frank, D. & Tamberlyn, W. (1999) Attitudes about menstruation among fifth-, sixth-, and seventh- grade pre- and post-menarcheal girls, J School Nursing 15,4:25-31

[35] Brooks-Gunn, J. & Ruble, D. N. (March, 1979) The Social and Psychological Meaning of Menarche. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, San Francisco, CA; Ruble, D. N. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1982) The Experience of Menarche, Child Developm 53,6:1557-66; Brooks-Gunn, J. & Ruble, D. N. (1982) The Development of Menstrual-Related Beliefs and Behaviors during Early Adolescence, Child Developm 53,6:1567-77; Brooks-Gunn, J. & Petersen. A. C. (1983) The Experience of Menarche from a Developmental Perspective, in Brooks-Gunn J. & Petersen, A. C. (Eds.) Girls at Puberty. New York: Plenum Press, p155-77. For a cross-cultural essay, see Beyene, Y. (1989) From Menarche to Menopause: Reproductive Lives of Peasant Women in Two Cultures. Albany, NY: SUNY Albany Press [comparing menstrual life in Greek and Mayan villages]

[36] Sasser-Coen, J. (1996) The Point of Confluence: A Qualitative Study of the Life-Span Developmental Importance of Menarche in the Bodily Histories of Older Women. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Oregon State University; Sasser-Coen, J. R. (1997) The Point of Confluence: A Qualitative Study of the Life-Span Developmental Importance of Menarche in the Bodily Histories of Older Women, DAI-A 57, 10-A:4493; Lee, J. & Sasser-Coen, J. R. (1996a) Memories of Menarche: Older Women Remember Their First Period, J Aging Stud 10,2:83-101; Lee, J. & Sasser-Coen, J. (1996b) Blood Stories: Menarche and the Politics of the Female Body in Contemporary US Society. New York: Routledge

[37] E.g., Dashiff, C. J. (1992) Self-care capabilities in Black girls in anticipation of menarche, Health Care for Women Int 13,1:67-76

[38] Simonen, L. & Liborakina, M. (1996) The First Menstruation-Bodily Memories of Finnish and Russian Women, in Rotkirch, A. & Haavio-Mannila, E. (Eds.) Women's Voices in Russia Today. Aldershot, England: Dartmouth, p88-106

[39] Zulliger, H. (1955) Das "Geheimnis" pubertierender Mädchen, Psyche 9:498-512. See also Hite ([1994:p114-24]) on the American experience of the menarchal secret.

[40] Beausang, C. C. & Razor, A. G. (2000) Young Western women's experiences of menarche and menstruation, Health Care for Women Int 21,6:517-28

[41] Doan, H. McK. & Morse, J. M. (1985) The Last Taboo: Roadblocks to Researching Menarche, Health Care for Women Int 6,5-6:277-83

[42] Former statements on this point were collected for the Serbs, Rungus, Morocco, Kwakiutl, Chippewa, Inuit, St. Lucia (West Indies), Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Korea, Chicanos

[43] Xhosa, Tanzania, Kgatla ("bleeding to death"; Suggs, p108), Tanzania Kwere (Denis), Karugu ("[…] menstruation was rarely explained to Karugu girls before it happened, so its onset often shocked and upset many girls"), Paraguay, Maya, Tarahumara ("[Girls] are apparently not even warned of the onset of menstruation, for it is said that girls then become terrified"). "I remember waking up in the morning with blood on my thighs and bedcovers and vomiting on the floor when I saw the mess. I was so frightened I couldn't even call to my sister. […] Mom did her best to clean me up quickly, but hardly said a word when I asked what was wrong with me. She only gave me detailed instruction about how to dispose of the soiled Kotex, then left me in bed to ponder the mystery of my "wound" " (Ribal, 1973:p228).

[44] Rierdan, J., Koff, E. & Flaherty, J. (1985/6) Conceptions and misconceptions of menstruation, Women & Health 10,4:33-45

[45] Morrison, T. (1970) The Bluest Eye: A Novel. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. As discussed by Rosenberg, R. (1987) Seeds in Hard Ground: Black Girlhood in The Bluest Eye, Black Am Lit Forum 21,4:435-45, esp. p436-7

[46] Moore, S. M. (1995) Girls' understanding and social constructions of menarche, J Adolesc 18,1:87-104

[47] Koutroulis, G. (2001) Soiled identity: Memory-work narratives of menstruation, Health 5,2:187-205

[48] Fingerson, L. (2001) Social Construction, Power, and Agency in Adolescent Menstrual Talk, DAI-A 62,2:781-A

[49] Castañeda, X., García, C. & Langer, A. (1996) Ethnography of fertility and menstruation in rural Mexico, Soc Sci Med 42,1:133-40

[50] Hufnagel, G. (1999) A cultural analysis of the evolution of menarche and menstruation: Implications for education, DAI-A 60(6-A):2256. Cf. Brumberg, J. J. (1993) 'Something happens to girls': menarche and the emergence of the American hygienic imperative, J Hist Sex 4:99-127. See also Brookes, B. & Tennant, M. (1998) Making Girls Modern: Pakeha Girls and Menstruation in New Zealand 1930 – 70, Women's Hist Rev 7,4:565-82. Cf. Diorio, J. A. & Munro, J. A. (2000) Doing Harm in the Name of Protection: Menstruation as a Topic for Sex Education, Gender & Educ 12,3:347-65

[51] Simes, M. R. & Berg, D. H. (2001) Surreptitious learning: Menarche and menstrual product advertisements, Health Care for Women Int 22,5:455-69

[52] Martinson, F. M. (1994) Children and sexuality, Part II: Childhood sexuality, in Bullough & Bullough (Eds.) Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. New York [etc.]: Garland, p11-6

[53] Whisnant, L. & Zegans, L. (1975) A study of attitudes toward menarche in White middle-class American adolescent girls, Am J Psychia 132,8:809-14

[54] Brumberg, J. J. (1997) The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls. New York: Random House

[55] Frankel, L. (Jan., 2002) "I've Never Thought about It": Contradictions and Taboos Surrounding American Males' Experiences of First Ejaculation (Semenarche). Paper, Human Development Department, MVR Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca. Draft received from the author.

[56] Vostral, Sh. (2001) From Girl to Young Woman: Media, Material Culture, and Menstruation in Post-War United States. Proposal for paper to be given at the Conference Designing Modern Childhoods: Landscapes, Buildings, and Material Culture, University of California, Berkeley, USA, May 2-3. "At stake was appropriating adolescent bodies to cultivate lifelong consumers. The unspoken anxiety that [post-War Amican] society expressed concerning girls' sexual development manifested itself in attention to menstrual hygiene — in the advertisements, mother/daughter advice columns, and menstrual education materials".

[57] Among the Argentine Araucanians, for instance, a girl may be "prepared" for menarche (though this is debated), but not explained its purpose. Copper Inuit girls were merely told that "[…] it meant they were growing up" (Condon citing Milan). As reverse is seen in lower-caste Indians: girls may be told about pregnancy but not menses (Luschinsky).

[58] For Africa, examples include Kamba, Kikuyu, Dinka, Ghana (Akan, Ewe), Pedi, Sebei, Bemba, Nandi, Swasi, Wahehe, Berg Damara

[59] Among the Amwimbe, "[c]onsiderable, if not complete, sexual licence" is allowed after circumcision and labiectomy (Browne). Before the operation a charm protected girls from pregnancy, which after the ceremony is replaced by a fertility charm.

[60] In Ahafo, Ghana, girls must not get pregnant before menarche is formally announced, a practice that may be delayed for years after its actual manifestation (Vervoorn). Also, "[y]oung girls are usually married and become pregnant within a month or two of their first menstruation […]" (Field). In precolonial Ghana, Akan and Ewe girls were not to become sexually active and get pregnant before the celebration of puberty rites, which were held soon after menarche so as to reduce the possibility of an unsanctioned birth (Smock). In Ethiopia, likewise, the marriage age for females is 12-15, to prevent pre-marital pregnancy (Beddada). Among the Amwimbe, "[c]onsiderable, if not complete, sexual licence" is allowed after circumcision and labiectomy. Before the operation a charm protected girls from pregnancy, which after the ceremony is replaced by a fertility charm (Browne).

[61] E.g., Baumann, M. (1999) Thinking the young woman's bleeding: early discursive investigation of menarche, Lundahl, L. & Popkewitz, T. (Eds.) Education, Research, and Society: Critical Perspectives from American and Swedish Graduate Students. Monographs on Teacher Education and Research, Vol 3. Umeå University, p151-65

[62] Thuren, B.M. (1994) Opening Doors and Getting Rid of Shame: Experiences of First Menstruation in Valencia, Spain, Women's Stud Int Forum 17,2-3:217-28

[63] Kissling, E. A. (1996) "That's just a basic teen-age rule": Girls' linguistic strategies for managing the menstrual communication taboo, J Appl Communication Res 24,4:292-309

[64] E.g., Mbuti, Amwimbe, Baushi, vaRemba

[65] Schegel discussed the part the Hopi "aunts" play in promoting fertility. "At the naming ceremony after birth, these women rub the newborn infant of either sex on their bare thighs, thus assuring the child's fertility when an adult". The gift of the kachina doll to the daughter was also interpreted as significant for her nascent "precious fertility". The Hopi practiced trial marriage, with wedding preparations begun with pregnancy (Brandt).

[66] Biersack, A. (1982) Ginger Gardens for the Ginger Woman: Rites and Passages in a Melanesian Society, Man, New Series 17,2:239-58

[67] Cole, S. (1991) Women of the Praia. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press

[68] E.g., Kamba, Chewa, !Ko, Mambwe, Bwela, Hambukushu, Makonde, Hehe, Namyans, Igbo, Swahili, Bena, Subiya, Ngulu, Maka, Berg Damara

[69] At menarche, Karugu girls are said to be "cooled" (imhosa), subdued and controlled their new sexuality. Although breasts are frequently used for a girl's growing up, secondary hair growth and menstruation are conversational taboos; menstruation is indicated only in euphemism, and "[s]everal women informants protested their total ignorance of menstruation before it occurred, and their terror they had done something wicked. They all stated "Mwiko kabisa kumwambia kigoli!" (Sw.)- it is absolutely taboo to tell a pre-puberty girl".

[70] In central Arabia around the 7th and 8th century A.D. ejarcularche (13, 14y) and menarche (13) primarily signified legal, political and social cesure, the minimal ages would have been nine and twelve (ten), respectively (Motzki). Among the traditional Kuwaitis, "[…] the legal and customary age of marriage was defined by the onset of menarche, despite some evidence that some girls were married before puberty" (Hill).

[71] "[…] many [Yemeni mothers] claim that sexual activity hastens the onset of menstruation, although several say they themselves did not begin to menstruate until several years after marriage. A few months after her daughter's marriage, a woman announced proudly to me, "Arwa has gotten to be all right!" When I asked what she meant, she explained, "She has gotten her period [...]. It usually comes quickly once a girl gets married" (Dorsky).

[72] Schultz, J. A. (1991) Medieval Adolescence: The Claims of History and the Silence of German Narrative, Speculum 66,3:519-39

[73] Frayser, S. G. (1985) Varieties of Sexual Experience: An Anthropological Perspective on Human Sexuality. New Haven: HRAF Press, p136

[74] Among the Bala (Congo), boys are ready for marriage when he stops "fooling around" like a youngster, when pimples start breaking out on his forehead ("someone with pimples can't be trusted around women"), and when his axillary hair, pubes and beard (least important) begin to grow. For girls, it would be thelarche, and not menarche [age 12]; girls are ready earlier because "girls mature faster than boys". Among the Bemba, girl's pubertal stages are intimately linked to social status; a distinction is made between pre- and postpubertals, and for prepubertals, between pre- and neothelarchics. Evans-Pritchard (1971) marks that the Azande reckon the girl's age by the development of her breasts. Baganda "[g]irls matured at about twelve, though they never remembered their age; they were described as having breasts, and when the breasts began to hang down, they were spoken of as full grown women" (Roscoe). The Tonga have a female but no male initiation, the anatomical indicators being thelarche or menarche. Adolescent boys may have thelarchic girls as lovers but adult sex with prepubertals in either configuration is said to cause a disease (cinsiluwe) in both parties. Although girls did not marry until puberty in Tanzania, menarche was not the main indicator for nuptiality: the appearance of breasts and the competence in household duties were. Kapauku marriageability is measured by "physical appearance" (thelarche), rather than menarche (Steinberg, 1959; Pospisil, 1958, 1963). The same is said about the Rungus of Sabah, where "[…] menarche does nor constitute a labeled stage in a girl's development" (Appell, 1988, [1991]). For the Saramaka, Price notes that "[…] the development of a girl's breasts provides the traditional mark of readiness for the rites of womanhood. People say that ideally a girl should be passed from adolescent aprons to adult skirts as soon as her breasts begin to "fall to the heart" ". Among the Luguru, breasts are frequently used as indicators for a girl's growing up, while secondary hair growth and menstruation are conversational taboos. For the Berg Damara the development of breasts of girls was the sign for the first physical preparation for marriage (Vedder). To asses a nubile Akan girl's moral integrity "no factor is taken into account more than the condition of her breasts: loose dropping breasts are, rightly or wrongly, taken as symptomatic of pre-nubility sexual intercourse". Wolof girls should not have intercourse with their betrothed before thelarche (Ames). The first great event in the life of an Ibibio girl is her entrance into the "Fatting-house", on the occasion of Mbobi--i.e. "The Coming of Small Breasts" (Talbot, 1915:p76, 82-3). In Central Australia, Róheim notes that the future husband of a betrothed girl will "[f]rom time to time […] visit his bride and grease her, this being regarded as a sign of his love, as a sort of caressing and as a magical proceeding to make her breasts grow". This event marks marriageability.

[75] Among the G/wi, coitus does not begin until the girl is 11 or 12, "when her breasts begin to develop", i.e., prior to menarche. Ammar (p184-92) relates that Egyptian adolescent girls are progressively restrained in their mobility, partly "because their breasts have grown".

[76] Tanzania Parakuyo, Masai, Trukese, Tiwi, and Bororo; Karugu

[77] An Orri (Nigeria) girl joins her finacée freely although "too early intercourse" is thought to "cause her breasts to dry up and may render her sterile". Mead (1948)[77] noted that the Arapesh seem not to fear sex play, but do believe that (pubertal) growth and sexual activity are mutually exclusive. Particularly, the breasts would remain "small, erect and inhospitable", opposing the female ideal of pendulent mammae.

[78] The conventional petting among the Nuba included squeezing the breasts, even when undeveloped, of the girl.

[79] Few studies provide insights to the socialisation of breasts in Western society. The material suggests a variable appraisal (cf. Martinson, 1973:p81, 130; Yates, 1978:p214, 219-20).

[80] Brooks-Gunn, J., Newman, D. L., Holderness, C. C. & Warren, M. P. (1994) The experience of breast development and girls' stories about the purchase of a bra, J Youth & Adol 23,5:539-65. See also Brooks-Gunn, J. (1984) The psychological significance of different pubertal events to young girls, J Early Adol 4,4: 315-27

[81] Kelly, H. & Menking, S. (1979) Recalled breast development experiences and young adult breast satisfaction and breast display behavior, Psychology 16,1:17-24

[82] Brooks-Gunn, J. & Warren, M. P. (1988) The psychological significance of secondary sexual characteristics in nine- to eleven-year-old girls, Child Developm 59,4:1061-9

[83] Benedek, E. P., Poznanski, E. & Mason, S. (1979) A note on the female adolescent's psychological reactions to breast development, J Am Acad Child Psychia 18,3:537-45

[84] Gartrell, N. & Mosbacher, D. (1984) Sex differences in the naming of children's genitalia, Sex Roles 10,11/12:869-76

[85] Yates (1978:p164), op.cit.; Leroy, M. (1993) Pleasure: The Truth about Female Sexuality. London: HarperCollins, p32-6; Lerner, H. E. (1976) Parental mislabelling of female genitals as a determinant of penis envy and learning inhibitions in women, J Am Psychoanal Assoc 24,5, Suppl.:269-83; Ash (1980) The misnamed female sexual organ, in Samson, J. (Ed.) Childhood & Sexuality: Proceedings of the International Symposium. Montreal: Éditions Etudes Vivantes, p386-91; Schor, D. & Sivan, S. (1989) Interpreting children's labels for sex-related body-parts of anatomically explicit dolls, Child Abuse & Negl 13:523-31; De Marneffe, D. E. (1993) Genital Recognition and Gender Labelling: An Empirical Study of Toddlers. University of California, Berkeley; De Marneffe, D. (1997) Bodies and words: A study of young children's genital and gender knowledge, Gender & Psychoanal 2,1:3-33; Jaffe, J. J. (1985) "Down There": The Relationship Between Childhood Home Environment, Childhood Genital Labels, and Adult Sexuality in a Middle-Class Female Sample. University of Southern California; Kreitler, H. & Kreitler, S. (1966) Children's concept of sexuality and birth, Child Developm 37,2:363-78; Fraley, M. C. et al. (1991) Early genital naming, Developm & Behav Pediatr 12:301-4; Wurtele, S. et al. (1992) Preschoolers knowledge of and ability to learn genital terminology, J Sex Educ & Ther18:115-22; Wurtele, S. (1993) Enhancing children's sexual development through sexual abuse prevention programs, J Sex Educ & Ther 19,1:37-46; Cheung, M. (1999) Children's language of sexuality in child sexual abuse investigations, J Child Sexual Abuse 8,3:65-84. Dutch data are found in Van den Ende-de Monchy, C. (1980) Exploratief Onderzoek naar de Lichaamsbeleving bij Kinderen van Vier tot Zes Jaar. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

[86] In the study by Fraley et al. (1991) on 117 U.S. mothers with 1- to 4-year-old children neither boys nor girls were likely to be given a standard anatomical genital term, although many children received colourful colloquial expressions. In the study of Schor and Sivan (1987) on 144 children aged 3 through 8 years it was found that responses for breast, buttock, and penis were more precise than for other body parts. More than half of the respondents did not have labels for anus and scrotum. In the study by De Marneffe (1997, based on a 1994 dissertation) boys in the sample (46 children, ages 15 to 36 months) had more often been provided with names for their genitals than had girls. Girls tended to have been given more words for both sexes' genitals, whereas boys had more often been taught words only for male genitals. Wurtele (1991) found that being taught correct genital terminology appeared to be positively correlated with children's attitudes towards their own sexuality. Parents who did (#=47) and did not (#=18) teach correct terminology were compared and found to differ on income and in their attitudes toward children's genital exploration.

[87] At times the childhood name for the sex organ appears idiosyncratic, such as "marie-Jeanne" (husband-Jeanne). The misnaming of children genitalia may be a function of adult use of euphemism. Of 133 pet names (Cornog, 1981, 1986), most fell into 1 of 5 categories: (1) variation of owner's name; (2) other human name; (3) descriptive word or phrase; (4) joke or humorous metaphorical allusion; and (5) variation of another word for that body part. Cornog, M. (1981) Tom, Dick and Hairy: Notes on Genital Pet Names Maledicta 5,1-2:31-40; Cornog, M. (1986) Naming sexual body parts: Preliminary patterns and implications, J Sex Res 22,3:393-8

[88] The Ponapé islanders "pulled and tugged at the labia of the little girls to lengthen them, while men pulled on the clitoris, rubbing it and licking it with their tongues and stimulating it by the sting of a big ant [...]". This oral manipulation of the labia and clitoris extends to many of the other Pacific islands. This preparation was "widespread among the women in Mberengwa, though the vaRemba women put more weight on its importance. During this early period some women said that they "milk" the clitoris of the little girl. This "milking" is necessary to prevent the girl as an adult woman from wanting excessive sex or becoming hyper active […]". Batetela girls, and possibly other Bantu, of five or six go to the forest and pull the labia majora and the clitoris "afin de les faire grandir et d'attirer ainsi les garçons". Rather similar to the Mangaia (Marshall), the Ra'Ivavae girl's clitoris is massaged, moulded, balmed, and orally stimulated by the mother (Marshall). The length of the organ is regularly measured by priests within sacred grounds, to provide additional advise. The aim may be the increase of fertility thought to result from satisfactory sexual contacts.

[89] In a study of 373 male and female college students, Ogletree and Ginsburg (2000) found that they were overwhelmingly taught that vaginas were the female counterpart to penises. The authors suggest that because the clitoris has no reproductive function, "[…] it can easily be neglected in a society seen as teaching women to be sexy but not sexual". The bias for penis vs clitoris found in textbooks was found earlier by Yates (1982) and Willinsky (1987). Studying 12 medical and 16 English language dictionaries, Braun and Kitzinger (2001) found that both "vagina" and clitoris" were overwhelmingly defined by their location, whereas the penis was defined in terms of function. Description of sex/sexuality was frequently omitted from both vaginal and clitoral definitions, and female genitalia continued to be defined in relation to an implicit penile norm. Three assumptions informed these definitions: female genitalia were "absent", "passive", and "heterosexual" objects, assumptions, the authors claim, that were "sexist" and "heterosexist".

[90] Koedt, A. (1968) The myth of vaginal orgasm, in Notes from the First Year. New York: New York Radical Women

[91] Gerhard, J. (2000) Revisiting "The myth of vaginal orgasm": the female orgasm in American sexual thought and second wave feminism, Feminist Stud 26,2:449-76

[92] Harris, H. (1979) Some lnguistic considerations related to the issue of female orgasm, Psychoanal Rev 66,2:187-200

[93] Blau, A. (1943) A philological note on a defect in sex organ nomenclature, Psychoanal Quart 12:481-5. Kanner, while, agreeing in the main with Blau's conslusions, demonstrated that there were definitely a considerable numder of such terms. See Kanner, L. (1945) A philological note on sex organ nomenclature, Psychoanal Quart 14:228-33

[94] Wex, M. (1979) "Let's Get our Space Back". Berlin: Frauenliteraturverlag Hermine Fees

[95] Specific information for, among others, Hausa, Lebanon, Bahrain, Puerto Rico, Okinawan, Tarahumara, Korea, Western Apache, Hopi, Tolai

[96] Hite (1994 [1994:p130-1])

[97] Frankel, L. (2000) The Cultural and Developmental Significance of American Males' Experiences of First Ejaculation (Semenarche). Paper for the American Sociological Association [draft received from the auhtor]. Cf. Martinson, F. M. (1974) The Quality of Adolescent Sexual Experiences. St. Peter, MN: The Book Mark, p3-5

[98] Lee, J. (1997) Never Innocent: Breasted Experiences in Women's Bodily Narratives of Puberty, Feminism & Psychol 7, 4:453-74

[99] Levin, R. J. (1976) Thorarche- a seasonal influence but no secular trend, J Sex Res 12,3:173-9; Gaddis, A. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (1985) The male experience of pubertal change, J Youth & Adolesc 14,1:61-9; Adegoke, A. A. (1993) The experience of spermarche (the age of onset of sperm emission) among selected adolescent boys in Nigeria, J Youth & Adolesc 22,2:201-9. Cf. Adegoke, A. A. (1992) Relationship between parental socio-economic status, sex and initial pubertal problems among school-going adolescents in Nigeria, J Adolesc 15,3:323-6; Stein, J. H. & Reiser, L. Wh. (1994) A study of White middle-class adolescent boys' responses to "semenarche" (the first ejaculation), J Youth & Adolesc 23,3:373-84. See also Leite, R. M. & Buoncompagno, E. M. (1995) Psychosexual characteristics of male university students in Brazil, Adolescence 30(118):363-80, and Brongersma, E. (1986) Loving Boys, Volume 1. Elmhurst: Global Academic Publishers, p147-55

[100] More on the experience of ejacularche in "Versunken in Mysterischer Betrachtung": Proto-Orgasms and Other Choppers to Chop Off Your Head. Unpublished review by the author. [see here]

[101] Cf. Frankel, L. (Jan., 2002) "I've Never Thought about It": Contradictions and Taboos Surrounding American Males' Experiences of First Ejaculation (Semenarche). Paper, Human Development Department, MVR Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, Table 2, for an overview.

[102] Paonesa, J. J. & Paonessa, M. W. (1971) The Preparation of Boys for Puberty, Social Casework 52,1:39-44; Hockenberry, Ea. et al. (1996) Mother and adolescent knowledge of sexual development: The effects of gender, age, and sexual experience, Adolescence 31(121):35-47

[103] Sugar, M. (1974) Adolescent confusion of nocturnal emissions as enuresis, Adolesc Psychia 3:168-85

[104] Hite, Sh. (1976) The Hite Report. New York: Macmillan; Hite, Sh. (1981) The Hite Report on Male Sexuality. N.Y.: Knopf. 1982 Dutch transl.

[105] Raymond, J. et al. (1968) Simulation behavior symptomatic of mental illness in an adolescent, Ann Med Psychol 1,1:139-40

[106] Op.cit.

[107] Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1932) Heredity and gestation, as the Azande see them, in . Leipzig: C. L. Hirschfeld, p400-14, p401. Also in Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1932) Essays in Social Anthropology. London: Faber. Cf. Evans-Pritchard, E. E. (1974) Man and Woman among the Azande. London: Faber & Faber, p19

[108] The Zande does not speak of people as of so many years of age. The ages given above are my estimates for actual persons designated as examples by my informants [orig. footnote]

[109] Bena (polluarche)

[110] Samburu herdboys perform subincision on themselves around age seven to ten, according to five informants, partly "to make ejaculation faster" (Margetts). Masaai circumcision was said to prevent ejaculatio praecox (Merker).

[111] Underwood, F. W. & Honigmann, I. (1947) A comparison of socialization and personality in two simple societies, Am Anthropol 49:557-77. Reprinted in Haring, D. G. (Ed., 1956) Personal Character and Cultural Milieu. Syracuse

[112] Mountjoy (1974) Some early attempts to modify penile erection in horses and human: an historical analysis, Psychol Record 24:291-308. It does not become clear for exactly what ages the devices were intended.

[113] Stekel, W. (1895) Über Coitus im Kindesalter; eine hygienische Studie, Wien Med Blätt 18,16 (April 18th):247-9

[114] Grünewald, E. (1954) Kastrationsdrohung und Bettnässen, Jb f Psychol & Psychother 2:364-7. Another case was provided by Martinson (1973:p57).

[115] Calderone, M. (1983) Fetal erection and its message to us, SIECUS Rep 11,5-6:9-10

[116] Stier (1910) Über sexuelle Hyperhedonien im frühen Kindesalter, Charité-Annalen 34:319-56. Fürbringer believed that erections started at 15, while masturbation could be observed under age 5. See Fürbringer, P. W. (1895) Die Störungen der Geschlechtsfunktionen des Mannes. Vienna: Alfred Hölder

[117] E.g., Kagoro / Moroa

[118] Bakongo boy infants' potency is greatly valued by his mother (Enry).

[119] Among the Acholi (Gulu district, Uganda), "[i]mpotence is attributed to violation of a taboo which forbids mothers to touch a baby's penis within the first three days of its life (Standing and Kisekka). Childhood "impotence" is thought to be caused by the spilling of milk on the boy's penis among the Serer (Senegal), Fulani (), and Tetela (Zaire). Among the Tetela, genital automanipulation is said to cause the same. While a certain amount of sexual education is given to the girl by her mother and certain women of the village (sexual hygiene, coital techniques), the boy is merely told to be potent, and to satisfy the girl. Rājpūt (India) young boys wear a black cord around their waist, according to some mothers to "to make the vein in the penis grow straight" lest a contrary condition caused impotence (Minturn and Hitchcock).

[120] A Lake Nyasa boy having an emission in the night will take his soiled cloth to the headman of the village. He says, if the stain be black, that the boy must not marry as he will be impotent" (Stannus). Among Shona boys, the mumveva (Kigelia pinnata) fruit was regarded as signifying masculinity. "When the fruit was regarded in season, boys would bore a hole in the young fruit, into which they would insert their penises. They would then wait to see whether the fruit matured or died. If the fruit died or became deformed, this signified a threat to their sexual potency. If it grew into maturity, this was seen to result in sexual competence and an enlarged penis" (Shire). A boy's urine and semen was examined to assess his potency, and to asses the necessity of special foods (Gelfand).

[121] As in the Senegalese, and Tanzania Bantu (Wembah-Rashid) among the Baushi of Zaire, infant erections are provoked, and medicines are used to combat assumed impotence when the penis remains flaccid (Kokonge and Erny). At puberty, boys use numerous plants to prepare genitals to insure glandular function, provocation of spermarche, penile enlargement, and erectile potency. Among the Uganda Nkole, "[m]others are very anxious to observe penile erections of their sons to assure themselves that the little ones are potent. Should erections be absent on several mornings, not only the mother but also the father will begin to search for a remedy" (Mushanga).

[122] At puberty, the Wahehe boy "is given medicine to prevent his being impotent".

[123] Gitano "mothers love making their male babies' penises become erect […]" (Blasco). A Gimi or Bimin-Kukusmin mother "[…] kisses the penis, pulls at it with her fingers and takes it into her mouth to induce an erection" (Gillison; Poole).

[125] Casanova, A. A. (1951) Estudio General de Diez Núcleos Familiares del Barrio "Chicamba" de Ponce. Unpublished term paper, University of Puerto Rico School of Social Work. Quoted by Stycos (1955:p43)

[126] Bullough, V. L. (1971) Attitudes Toward Deviant Sex in Ancient Mesopotamia, J Sex Res 7,3:184-203

[127] Gard, M. & Meyenn, R. (2000) Boys, Bodies, Pleasure and Pain: Interrogating Contact Sports in Schools, Sport, Educ & Soc 5,1:19-34

[128] Daniluk, J. C. (1998) Women's Sexuality Across the Life Span: Challenging Myths, Creating Meanings. New York: Guildford

[129] Johnson, R. (1997) The "no touch" policy, in Tobin, J. J. (Ed). (1997) Making a Place for Pleasure in Early Childhood Education. New Haven: Yale University Press, p101-18

[130] E.g., Lincke, H. (1954) Über Angstlust und Infantile Sexualität, Psyche 8:427-49

[132] Ibid.

[133] Meyer, J. (1996) Sexuality and power: perspectives for the less powerful, Theory & Psychol 6,1:93-119

[134] The Naked Ape.

[135] Andrade, V. M. (1982) Maternidade, orgasmo e instinto de morte: uma contribuicao a psicologia da mulher, Rev Brasil Psicanal 16,2:223-39

[136] Some books explicitly deny prepubertal age orgasm (Stoppard, 1997) in answer to a specific "relevance question" [p34]. The possibility, however, is infrequently suggested to parents (e.g., Van der Doef, 1994:p57). A Dutch instructional guide to masturbation (Lammers, 1992), intended for 11 years and above, dry orgasm is described as possible, although perhaps "different" and less intense (p48); dry (p65, 66) and preschool (p71) orgasm are mentioned in personal retrospective accounts of adults. Two other Dutch children's booklets on ejaculation and masturbation, the issue of dry orgasm is not mentioned (Delfos, 1997, 1999; "research" by M. Gottmer).

[137] Martinson, F. M. (Nov., 1992) Child Sexual Development and Experience: What the Experts Are Telling Parents. Paper presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex Annual Meeting; Martinson, F. M. (1994) The Sexual Life of the Child. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey

[138] E.g., Hite (1976 [1978:p60])

[139] The average age of first knowledge in an online sample of male balloon fetishists was 12.05. See Gates, K. L. (2000) Deviant Desires. Juno Books. Sarnoff and Sarnoff (1979:p112-4) related that "true awareness of the orgasmic experience" is possible first in early childhood, while earlier orgasms may be forgotten.

[140] Borneman had to refrain from videotaping the children because of parental objections

[141] To the Polynesian, "[…] sex is life itself: the entire cycle of birth, love-making, death- and then eternal life through one's seed. It is all-embracing, like the weather or the sea, and it is talked about as freely. According to Marshall (1962:p241), Ra'ivavae children have an understanding of orgasm, but, possibly not of their own ability: "Even the small children on Ra'ivavae know that navenave means to experience the orgasm, and they understand that both men and women are capable of it". Suggs (1966:p45) writes: "Young [Marquesan] boys from the age of six or seven upward gather surreptitiously in the bush for masturbation contests. The object of these contests is too see who can experience orgasm and/or ejaculate (manini, haka te'a), first. Naturally, the younger members of these groups are physiologically incapable of ejaculation, and their participation evidently is based on their desire for sexual stimulation divided both from the actual manipulation of the genitals and from observing the behaviors of others". Devereux (1951 [1967:p98]) observed that the Mohave believed in dry orgasm in small children. He can also be quoted in assuming that "because of cultural conditioning and the absence of a latency period, the Mohave child has a somewhat greater orgastic capacity than has the occidental child, although there can be no doubt that this capacity is still considerably inferior to that of the adults, and does not suffice therefore to release in a massive and climactic manner all tensions generated by the witnessing of the primal scene" [ orig.]. Interviewing the children with permission of their legal guardians, Devereux (1950b) observed that masturbation is begun at age 6, and that dry orgasm is attained by age 6. Edwardes and Masters (1961:p81) commented on Oriental children that "orgasm is achieved easily and rapidly at each contact, because the mind and senses of the child are not disciplined like those of the adult". Pangkahila and Pangkahila (1997) note on Indonesia: "Although some parents report that they watch their children pleasuring themselves to orgasm, many parents are afraid when they discover their children self-pleasuring because they believe this to be an abnormal act" (ital.add.).

[142] Biosophical pathologising of masturbation throughout the centuries has focussed on the presumed neurological consequences of, and this is not often made explicit, orgasm. Another problem in the masturbation literature is that ages were not always regarded as crucial factors, and were omitted or vague in the discussion of the orgasmogenic pathology of the nervous system.

[143] Yates, A. (1978) Sex Without Shame. New York: William Morrow

[144] "What happens to children when they are allowed sexual freedom? In some Oceanic and African societies, toddlers explore each other's bodies, sometimes begin intercourse by age four, and are soothed by rubbing the genitals. Children never need to be told about sex, as they have ample opportunity to observe adults. Sexual growth is a smooth continuum depending for the most part on size, aggressiveness, and glandular function. Liberal cultures, such as Polynesian Mangaia, lend perspective to our own child-rearing techniques. In Mangaia, virtually one hundred percent of women achieve orgasm. In stark contrast, on the small Irish island of Inis Beag, the female climax is unknown or thought to be abnormal".

[145] Gagnon, J. H. (1977) Human Sexualities. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman

[146] Hall, S. ([1924]) Adolescence. New York: D. Appleton. Vol II., p95

[147] Frenkel, Rh. S. (1994) Problems in female development: Comments of the analysis of an early latency-aged girl, Psychoanal Study Child 48:171-92

[148] Conn, J. H. (1939) Factors influencing development of sexual attitudes and sexual awareness in children, Am J Dis Child 58:744

[149] Berges E. T. et al. (1983) Children & Sex: The Parents Speak. N.Y.: Facts on File, p128

[150] See chapter 13 and preparatory data collections.

[151] So much a part of identification process, Meru girls participated in Ngaitana, self-circumcision groups in response of the patriarchal banning of clitoridectomy (Thomas).