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

5 [previous chapter] [next chapter]

Puberty. Manufacturing, Operationalising and Regulating Chronology and Discontinuity



Summary: This chapter explores cultural operationalisations of puberty, particularly within a sexological context. It was hypothesised that two major identifiers of sexual cultures (chronology and discontinuity) are related to social structure as regarding its curricular organisation of reproductive affiliations. This was approached via three interrelated levels: the manufacturing, operationalisation, and regulation of puberty. It was further demonstrated how discontinuity was effected through nosological and magical operationalisation. On the basis of SCCS data, a rough preliminary baseline was created for cultural sexologies of puberty.




Contents [up]


Puberty. Manufacturing, Operationalising and Regulating Chronology and Discontinuity 1

5.1 Introducing Puberty: Elementary Problems 2

5.1.1 The Nature and Nurture of Sexarche 2

5.1.2 Puberty Discourses: Cultered Hormones and Libidinal Agency 3

5.1.3 Two Problems of Sexual Behaviour Discontinuity: Necessity and Chronology 3

5.2 Manufacturing Puberty 4

5.2.1 Manufacturing Sexual Periods 4

5.2.2 Causing and Sculpting Puberty 4

5.2.3 Initiations 5

5.3 Operationalising Puberty 5

5.3.1 "Sexual Behaviour Maturity": Cultural Operationalisations 5

5.3.2 Puberty and Parental Operationalisation 6 The Anticipation and Celebration of Puberty: The Bemba Case 6 The Fear of Puberty in the Light of Technologising Dyscurricular Puberty 7

5.3.3 The Experience of Puberty: Sexological Operationalisation 7

5.4 Regulating Puberty 7

5.4.1 The Political Meaning of Pre-Initiation /Pre-Puberty Rules: Regulating and Operationalising Violations 7

5.4.2 Infantile/Juvenile, or "Reverse" Pseudolicence: Meaning and Transitions 8

5.4.3 "Adolescence", Initiation and Sexual Restraint: Selected SCCS Data 8

5.4.4 Power, Age Stratification and Sexual Privilege 10 Case: Initiation and Sexual Opportunity in an Age-Set Society 10

5.4.5 Changing Patterns. 10

5.5 Summarising Notes 10


5.x Appendix: Suggestions for Future Application of the Cross-Cultural Method 12

Notes 12



Tables[1] [up] [Contents]


Table 1 Sexual Restraint (SR) Patterns over T2 acc. SCCS Ratings (reduced sample Ia,b) 8

Table 2 Gender/Phase SR Patterns T2 acc. SCCS Ratings (reduced sample II) 8

Table 3"Sexologically Significant" Initiation Ceremony vs SR T2 acc. SCCS Ratings. 9

Table 4 "Adolescent" Initiation Ceremony vs SR T2 acc. SCCS Ratings (full sample minus 5 societies) 9


Author's note: The structure of this article facilitates a constructionist approach of "pubertal" sexuality. First, puberty is identified as a sociological explanandum rather than an endocrinological explanans. Secondly it was argued that pubertal bodies, as well as pubertal identities, are recognised, labelled and dealt with within ontological, deontological and teleological frameworks, thereby creating (rather than managing) bodily revolutions. Subsequently (3), it was explored how puberty is translated to sexual activity as a possibility and curricular probability. Lastly (4), this identification as operable ("operationalisation") may be interpreted within the (native) concept of regulation.



5.1 Introducing Puberty: Elementary Problems [up] [Contents]


Authors have observed that "adolescent girls resist, experiment, and practice gender in a trying-on process; gender, race, and class structures in the communities mutually [reinforcing] particular kinds of femininities"[2]. Thus, children "[try] out ways of inhabiting and performing their gender"[3]. This being the case for gender, this is less well mapped for identities related to genital behaviours. Puberty, of course, represents a complex maze of discourses, addressing and readdressing themes of gender, sexual behaviour and gender-based orientations/identities, and requiring a more or less continuous working or reworking of these variables.

This chapter is mainly occupied in identifying the cultural production of erotic puberties. An important hypothetical anchor here seems to be what is generally identified as the erotological Othering of prepubescence as well as pubescence. According to Rogers and Rogers[4], "child concern disciplines covertly provide a mandate which continues to allow the adult world to treat the young as alien subjects--a state in which they remain disenfranchized and dehumanised"[5], and effect exclusion[6] from social arenas. Modern childhood as a social construction is linked to the Enlightenment, serving the purpose of "maintaining social order by separating the child from the adult"[7]. "The (re)construction of childhood that began in the early modern period in the West had as its primary movement a reformulation of the adult-child relation as one between very different beings"[8]. One hypothetical specification is that many of such "concern disciplines" may experience their origin in a modern history of life phase categorisation, in itself based on, more than anything else, biological bias [9]. This has produced the concept of "erotogenetic puberty" according to which "puberty" is thought to de novo factualise both erotic stamina and agenda, as predominantly operationalised as gender-normative erotic orientation. Considering the problematic notion of biological puberty and the erotic experience, it seems that both issues are generally identified by (1) an oversimplification in terms of chronology and phenomenology, and (2) a reductionism on highly arbitrary grounds. This applies to ethnography as to the whole of Western academic tradition. The issue of pubertal "erotarche" has been reconsidered only partially and, understandably, not substantiated by prospective study. Endocrinological essays using reductionist operationalisations).



5.1.1 The Nature and Nurture of Sexarche [up] [Contents]


A twin study on coitarche age (Dunne, Martin et al., 1997)[10] marked a significant generational change both in the overall importance of genetic and environmental sources of variance in the onset of genital intercourse and in the relative influence of these factors in males and females. Here, as in a multitude of previous clinical efforts, there is a neglect of the difference between adrenal and gonadal puberty. As reviewed elsewhere[11], Udry et al. (1986)[12] found adrenal hormones predictive of sociosexual behaviours and ideation in female adolescents. A theory proposed by McClintock and Herdt (1996, 1998; 2000)[13] argues that that sexual attraction is linked to adrenarche[14], starting at around age 6 and ending around 10, rather than gonadarche[15] (cf. here):


"Although cross-cultural differences in the meanings of sexual arousal and attraction are impressive, the evidence for a deeper structure of adrenal hormonal development that influences the sequence and timing of sexual attraction before adolescence is profound. This is not to say that cultures may of course thwart the emergence of developmental subjectivities of sexual attraction in late childhood, through the use of beliefs, taboos, rituals, and social gender roles. […] We should not ignore the context of political power in the social regulation of childhood and adolescent sexuality" (2000:p602, 603).


The possible connection of adrenergic-noradrenergic substitution in habitual childhood masturbation, as well as a neurological basis, was proposed by Cocchi (1977) and Cocchi et al. (1977)[16]. This raises the question of historical trends, anthropological and zoological comparisons, and the influence of adrenal dysfunction in childhood. I have found no studies reporting either sexual behaviour or psychosexual alterations or abnormalities associated with childhood adrenocortical disease (note that a number of psychological difficulties are found to be associated with the condition). Some "normative" data were collected in chapter 16, which seem to argue against any simplistic notion of erotarche. One alternative hypothesis reads that adrenal metabolism is associated with a rather atypical complex of psychobiological potentials, including that of the proto-erotic curriculum. This needs clarification is future studies.




5.1.2 Puberty Discourses: Cultered Hormones and Libidinal Agency [up] [Contents]


Is it, as Gadpaille (1976, 1978, 1981)[17] suggests, that the control of [Western] pre-adolescent sexual expression results in the child arriving at puberty "without the ego readiness to cope with the pubertal surge of sexual awakening and, more specifically, with the heterosexual implications of puberty"?[18] Judging from a literature study[19], European authors even surprisingly recently could argue with concepts such as endocrinological revolutions to justify a general noncoverage of prepubertal sexuality, a void historically filled by pathological frameworks. The main problem with the ethnohistory of "pubertal libidarche" or "erotarche" centralises around the distinction between observation and interpretation, and the degrees of ethnocentrism in both processes. Cultural differences are noted. For instance, the social construct of hormones as an "intoxicating and distracting force" was common among U.S. teachers, while Japanese teachers did not link puberty with hormones or "disruptive behaviour with sexual energy"[20]. A quick scanning through the literature suggests that only some early ethnographers wished to challenge or confront their own native beliefs regarding such items as the "timing" of heterosexual interests, or to address their lack of possibilities for observation. Anyhow, either the onset or the process of puberty universally stands out as an individual and/or intergenerational crisis, a problem, somehow caused and somehow managed by the immediate environment.


Body/mind dichotomies are part of major, perhaps central discourses in which man establishes and institutionalises a concept of agency. Discourses justify (create) given power-based hierarchies, and recruit the fuels for this process: sexual "identity", "orientation" and behaviour.


Kinsman et al. (2000)[21] provided an interview based study of Baganda adolescent sexual socialisation. In rural Masaka, parental coitus is observed by children due to the narrow living confinements. Weddings, commonly identified as sexarchic events, provide another opportunity; apart from hide-and-seek and "mother and father", weddings games are played where the children "smooch or fondle each other". A boy:


"If you look at it critically, this thing is in the blood. God created it in us. For example you might watch a young kid that only crawls touching funny areas and covering them shyly. That thing is in the blood".




"[c]hildren are equipped with a complete phallic knowledge by Cando Bo[?]nga (Supreme Deity). It is ordained by him as to whether a man will have progeny or not; so we find some men are denied children, although they mate like others", said an old Santal to us. They want children; they like children. Overpopulation, a dismal apprehension to the educated middle-class, does not act as a nightmare to their primitive minds" (Mukherjea, p392-3).


Leaving important biocultural perspectives aside[22], the following presentation aims to explore the cultural spectrum of dealing with puberty as an argument for sexual behaviour curricularisation. This tentative exploration follows to some extent the major institutions that seem to qualify or disqualify the participant as an actor of functions within culturally defined sexologies. Of two factors, curriculum and efficacy of enforcing the curriculum, the emphasis is on the former.



5.1.3 Two Problems of Sexual Behaviour Discontinuity: Necessity and Chronology [up] [Contents]


Drawing a parallel between cockerels and pullets growing faster and ultimately making "better birds" when separated until puberty, Aston (1909:p167)[23] considered the existence of puberty rites as "the formal removal" of the taboo[24] on prepubertal sex. The assumption that initiation and childhood restraint are universally co-occurring has been proved invalid (vide infra). Moreover, both the "erotagogic" nature and timing of initiation rites labelled as "pubertal" or "sexual" are variable in ethnographic and historiographic perspective, rendering these labels obsolete when arguing from a cross-cultural perspective. Nevertheless, many authors come to a generalised association (e.g., DeMeo, 1989)[25]. Equally addressing cultural anxieties, Brain (1977:p193-4)[26] stated that


"some form of rite of passage between the asexual [anerotic?] world of childhood and the sexual world of adulthood is extremely common. This transition is usually seen as dramatic and dangerous in nature, largely because of a human need to establish order and to categorize. […] The transition from childhood to adulthood is perceived as being especially important because of human fears about death and sexuality and anxiety about the human prohibition on incest, which is the foundation of all human societies".


Brain does not address the legitimisation of the at times blatant emphasis on disrupted continuity. It could be argued that policies fostering discontinuous sexual behaviour curricula are borne out of a general tendency to dichotomise the life span at pubescence, which appears to be absent in at least some societies[27]. This was established by 1984 SCCS data, for both sexes. Less unambiguously, it was argued that initiations "[help] to ameliorate biological discontinuity" (Barry III & Schlegel, 1980)[28].


Lee (1976)[29] observed that major differences started with puberty in that Americans hold the sexual double standard, Arabs enforce female seclusion in order to prevent premarital sex and thereby ensure receipt of the bride price, and African tribes are less anxious about human sexuality and only few insist on virginity of unmarried women. However, double standards are instituted at adolescence only in a minority of cases; more societies institute a double standard in late childhood, or resign a previous double standard at adolescence[30]. Official seclusion is often anticipated by some degree of social segregation. The choice for puberty, thus, equally appears to be debatable. In some cases, the temporal relation between a sexologically relevant initiation and puberty is very loose or indefinite[31]. Some authors[32] observe that young people conceptualise sexarche as a self-devised rite de passage.

Schlegel (1995)[33] presented a cross-cultural view of adolescence to argue that the social function of adolescence is to prepare children for adult reproductive careers and that this role is modified in industrial societies to preparation for occupational careers where training beyond childhood is necessary. This goes along with a dissociation between reproductive and productive age, and a subordination of the former to the latter in terms of preparation (cf. Bridenthal, 1976)[34]. In traditional societies, this does not occur. Paige and Paige (1981)[35] suggested that menarche presents a dilemma, or potential crisis, for preindustrial societies, for which a direct political or legal solution is often not possible. The prospects for resolving this dilemma without recourse to ritual depend on the political and economic resources of a society (economy leads to polity leads to ritual). The authors do not address the encountered variability of anticipating such need for ritualised (discontinued) curricula.


The public recognition[36] and announcement of the daughter's sexual capacity makes her a reckoned candidate for marriage, which benefits paternal and fraternal interests. Traditionally, African initiatory ritualism is markedly characterised by its being a preparation for marriage, including such elements as the cultivation of coital expertise, fattening, artificial defloration, etc. The pro- or contrasexual implications of the rite would depend on the organisation of the immediate subsequent period, thus whether it is a pre-courtship, or pre-marital institution.



5.2 Manufacturing Puberty [up] [Contents]


Anthropologists have invested considerable effort in establishing cross-cultural or cultural functions and causes of "initiation rites". The classic interpretation by Whiting et al.[37] was later tested with variable success[38]. The present interpretation departs from the position that such initiations manufacture, (sexologically) operationalise, and (thus) "regulate" sexual behaviour during, puberty.



5.2.1 Manufacturing Sexual Periods [up] [Contents]


All human societies recognise a division of their members into categories according to age and sex. The number and definition of the categories, and the behaviour expected of members of each category, show considerable variation from one society to another (Linton, 1942)[39]. Many societies recognise no periods that correspond to "early childhood"[40]. The concept of adolescence is socially constructed in each local setting, and the concept of "late adolescence", for instance, may be totally absent in some communities[41]. The timing, the essential character, and even the existence of a "developmental" period may be strongly influenced by cultural factors (Segall et al., 1990)[42].

It may be obvious that societies centralise phases in their sexology, while eccentralising or marginalising others. The centralised phase is usually the "adolescent" phase, semantically following the phase which literally translates to the period "before one is becoming an adult" (pre-adolescence). This is to say, the global content of sexology is characterised primarily on the power struggle that is implied in the transition from the parental home to economic independence contemporary to marriage.



5.2.2 Causing and Sculpting Puberty [up] [Contents]


There appears to be a dichotomy of cultural positions in conceptualising coitarche as a magical sine qua non or accelerator, or as a necessary antecedent of pubertal development (§11.1.1). As demonstrated in chapter 12, the experience of puberty is further construed as a social or personal milestone, or is marginalised into taboo curricula. In traditional societies, the pubertal body is actively sculpted (cf. §12.5) as an instrument.

The following paragraph explores the sexological concomitants of social uses of discontinuity reactive to biological milestones.



5.2.3 Initiations [up] [Contents]


Overt sexological meanings of initiation rites are marked by the use of proscribed sexual expressions, the signification or enhancement of fertility and practical knowledge, and, usually, a marked change in sexual behaviour regulations[43]. This predominantly takes the form of an official relaxation[44], in males commonly symbolised by means of removal of the preputial stigma. Other cases are more ambiguously ritualised, and best defined as premenarchal taboos (e.g., Mbuti). Cultures apply different scales for defining readiness. Among the Bangwa of Western Cameroon, a strong taboo is placed on pre-nubile, or pre-adult, sexual intercourse, with both boys and girls. The criterion for this lies in the concepts of "social" instead of "sexual" puberty, so that a youth of twenty may be regarded as a "child", id est, unfit for sexual intercourse. This timing is a function of age-graded or –stratified sexual hierargies.

Schlegel and Barry III (1979)[45] studied the sexological and timing implications of "initiation" ceremonies. To put the expression "pubertal initiation" in perspective, 21% of boy and 9% of girl cases were scheduled "before genital maturation". In 13 of 63 SCCS societies (»1/5) practising these ceremonies for boys, it is "intended for or clearly results in the initiation of [hetero]sexual relations"; this is the case for 28 of 84 societies (1/3) practising such ceremonies for girls. Of these boy cases, ceremonies are variably held before till later than "genital maturation"; for girls, it is more typically "at" genital maturation in a majority of cases. The author's positive formulation, though not tested for all cases, should variably be interpreted in the negative: the initiation forms the end of a restrictive era proper; also, the authors apparently do not explicitly acknowledge initiations to be enforcing a more restrictive curriculum. In 10 of 62 (11%) boy initiation cases "sexuality" (referring to "sexual capacity or attractiveness") was the "principle focus" of the ceremony; this would be so in 18 of 84 (21%) girl initiation cases. Fertility, in contrast, would be the principal focus in 10 boy cases, and 34 girl cases. Taken together, sexuality/fertility accounts for the focal agenda in about 1/3 of exclusively boy cases (N=17), 1/2 of exclusively girl cases (N=39), and up to 71% for girls where there are ceremonies for both sexes (N=45).

Using HRAF sources, Rogoff et al. (1975)[46] examined 27[47] variables that would signify "cognitive or social changes which might occur with age in childhood or be attributed to children in a particular age, and which would be noticeable to an ethnographer visiting a culture". While modesty and sex differences revealed a mode at age 4-6 and 5-7, respectively, sexual attraction had a mode of 13 and "considered sexual", along with some other variables, seemed to be assigned across a broad age range[48], 11 before age thirteen and 11 at or after this age[49]. This suggests at least a rather loose chronological relation with pubescence.



5.3 Operationalising Puberty [up] [Contents]



5.3.1 "Sexual Behaviour Maturity": Cultural Operationalisations [up] [Contents]


Frayser (1985:p124-69)[50] provided an overview of sociocultural dimensions attached to puberty/adolescence. Hotvedt (1990)[51] also offered a delineation of institutions related to sexual control in adolescence. Using Becker's classification[52], sexual maturity can be operationalised or regulated through negative and positive terms. In "sex negative" societies, critical boundaries seem to be such lateral concepts as criminal culpability[53], hypothetical paraphilic onset[54], and consent requirement[55]. The culture is bound to be occupied with defining maturity ages as legislative, moral and social barriers. What are labelled "positive" interferences ("education") are actually de-operationalising communications, stressing lateral, negative and medicalised subjects (disease prevention, birth control, harassment).

In sex-positive societies, or in those that come to stress sex positive arguments, it is a function of variables such as potency, general physical fitness, genital maturity, and libido. These are actively cultivated and maturity depends on active intervention, functional shaping of the sexual apparatus, augmentation of biological resources and training in techniques (see chs. 12 and 7). The culture is bound to be occupied with promoting expertise, addressing virtues, capacities and orientations. The child, for instance, is not educated along some sexual principle, he is educated along definite, articulated heterosexual principles. The anticipation of future roles is specific on subjects of sexual obligations, status and conformity.

In "ambivalent" (perhaps "transitory") cultures, a tendency to rely on both categories would be expected. In Western settings, maturation is seen as an idiosyncratic, biological process indirectly to be shaped by noninterference, rather than having it fit into a productive framework, and used for productive purposes.

Some examples will illustrate these principles.


Examples of a detailed accounts includes that of Gorer (1967) who gives an account of Lepcha (-2,2-,2,2,2-,2-) sexological operationalisation of puberty[56] which deals with the distinction between "real" and "play" sex. In other societies critical issues seem to be addressed by the nullification of prepuberal sex. While fully recognising and promoting prepubertal sexuality, the Muria (uncoded) argue that "[r]eal happiness only comes when you are both mature" (Elwin). Similarly, a premenarchal Kanuri (uncoded) girl "[…] knows nothing, she copulates yes, but takes no interest in such things, there is no pleasure in it for her. When she bleeds, then she is kamu kura (a mature woman) and she knows everything and will take pleasure from sexual intercourse" (Cohen). In many African societies maturity is synonymous with sexual behaviour maturity. Likewise Pakistan villagers were convinced that puberty was synonymous with maturity and a mature girl had to have her sex urge satisfied. It was "folly to ignore this'. Likewise, "[a]part from modern legal ideas concerning the attainment of adulthood, the Burmese view is one is adult when physiologically mature. Upon reaching pubescence boys as well as girls are referred to by a term meaning "virgin". The connotation is that the individual has now entered a period of life in which the dangers of temptation are especially great and in which corresponding precautions are necessary". Such phenomena as eruption of the skin or sexually delinquent behaviour preceding the first menstrual period are regarded as evidence that the "blood is trying to flow".


In other societies puberty is a central issue in customary law issues[57]. As becomes apparent from the Dogon case[58], societies may try to control sexual maturity be means of redefining its essence via the means by which it is cultivated (and regulated): language. The Dogon sexual curriculum is a linguistic curriculum, and sexual maturity equals linguistic maturity[59]. In contrast, American puberty is traditionally operationalised predominantly by a biomedical framework, which today is translated into a commercial curriculum[60].



5.3.2 Puberty and Parental Operationalisation [up] [Contents]


Cross-culturally, puberty variably requires a role transition of parents and adolescents. In many premodern societies, puberty used to be a serious parental concern:


"Parents of such [Ashanti] girls look for signs of maturity in them, assess their age, watch the development of their breasts, and may even submit them to occasional genital inspection to be sure they are not hiding the fact that they have reached puberty. Such parents, as indeed many other Ashanti parents, are so concerned for their daughters to remain chaste that they insist on absolute abstention from pre-nubile love games [[61]]. They see to it that their daughters go to bed early, and severely warn, scold and at times beat them, if these girls associate too frequently with boys. When it is known that the girls have had their first menses, they are carefully watched to see if their periods are thereafter regular" (Sarpong).


It is suggested that initiations either introduce sex-promoting and/or sex-inhibiting definitions of sexuality, but do not fail to apply a definite regulatory principle (Becker). The custom of Kyiribra[62], the nonperformance of puberty rites on a girl who is already pregnant, is a traditional means of negative, but definite social control in some communities of West Africa. Kyiribra is indicative not merely of a crime but also a sacrilege[63]. In this sense, Western puberty was conceptualised as a cultural paradox in that it manifests significant biosocial changes, but is "not accorded much importance by our society"[64]. According to Becker (1984) this neglect of puberty could signify a (hazardous) indifference to sex, and would actually be surprising in an "ambivalent" society as America; however, it would help explain social contraction, and individualism.

The factual operationalisation of sex at puberty takes many variations, but represents a complete course in postpubertal life. According to Swantz (1965:p45-6)[65] this information included statements such as


"with maturity comes sex, never refuse your husband; use three pieces of cloth to wipe him after intercourse and keep them washed; do not commit adultery; when you menstruate dig the blood into the ground and never climb into the loft for food at that time- send somebody else; only mature women can attend mkole [ceremonial inauguration]; mothers must not teach their daughters; don't be stubborn, especially with your husband, stubborn ones die of snakes; do not pass a cross-roads directly". The Anticipation and Celebration of Puberty: The Bemba Case [up] [Contents]


Traditional African patterns are characterised by a distinct, definite concern for anticipating marital, reproductive and sexual success. The SCCS code for the Northern Zambia Bemba (-,-,-,-,2,2, no sexologically relevant initiations, pinpointed 1897, principle author Richards) is rather surprising, given the data on coital play of children, female initiations to married life, and prepubertally consummated marriage. "Ukuwila Icisungu, to have one's first menstruation, was celebrated as a wondrous event when the young woman received the gift of her sexuality from the Transcendent. The word Chisungu is derived from the verb ukusunguka, to be overwhelmed, to be startled and is associated with the noun chisungusho, a wondrous event" (Hinfelaar). "At their first menstruation the initiates, sometimes called Cisofu "the big elephants", run into the forest […]. Their unbridled sexual fertility will be rescued from chaotic animal needs and brought under social control" (Maxwell). 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. Bemba girls speak earnestly of their duty to prepare themselves in this way for matrimony, watch anxiously to see their breasts forming, and constantly refer to the coming of physical maturity and to their ability to bear children. Typical for the entire African record, the rites are disappearing or abbreviated (Mair; Jules-Rosette), "with the consequent omission of moral and magical instruction". Though perhaps unnecessary (Richards, Rasing), Bemba instructions on coital techniques were notoriously explicit, an expertise highly appreciated in neighbouring tribes. Running counter Christian teachings, the Bemba socialise sex and prepare the young of both sexes for the satisfaction of the sex impulse "as soon as possible" and "to an extend unknown in modern society". This concern for anticipation is also illustrated by the practice of anatomical preparation (labial elongation) serving coital satisfaction.
 The Fear of Puberty in the Light of Technologising Dyscurricular Puberty [up] [Contents]


Western society has developed an elaborate technology to counter puberty's "pathological" or exceptional timing. A potentially salient rationale for doing so (among other more substantial ones), medically luxated communications reveal that parents fear early puberty for its alleged sexological implications (as excerpted from Paradoxia Sexualis):


Thamdrup (1961)[66] communicates that while nearly all parents of 100 cases of precocious puberty had worried about the children's sexual activity, only a few could relate concrete episodes as a cause of their worries. In the case of girls, the parents "nearly always feared their children would be exposed to sexual crimes". In a later publication, Money and Alexander (1969)[67] present longitudinal data on the psychosexual development of 18 cases of male sexual precocity, 4 idiopathic and 14 secondary to virilising adrenal hyperplasia. They comment that several parents exhibited a "panicky, initial concern" that sexual activity not only would appear early, but would run wild and uncontrolled as well, and seven parents openly expressed their concern that their sons would become "sex maniacs, sex deviates or homosexuals". Some school authorities worried about possible sexual misconduct. On some [all] 17 children are such "concrete episodes" described: they range from nocturnal emissions at age 8 to masturbation in combination with being the great favourite in dancing school. Two were said to exhibit "really agressive [sic] sexual behaviour" [one female aged 9 with sexual passes at boys, making eyes at grown-up men in the street, been exposed to sexual aggression by man, brain tumour, and the other, a boy of 12, with "marked sexual excitation [who] committed assault on other members of the family", tuberose sclerosis, idiocy; initial request for castration withdrawn; p104-6]. In comparison, Van der Schot-de Jong et al. (1992)[68] found that 31% of mothers and 34% of fathers (N=42) expressed worries concerning early sexual behaviour of their IPP children. In a study by Xhrouet-Heinrichs et al. (1997)[69], fear of sexuality remained obvious throughout the study in most patients. Selicoff (1987)[70] further reported on parents' "fear of sexual abuse by older peers or adults".



5.3.3 The Experience of Puberty: Sexological Operationalisation [up] [Contents]


In Australia, genitalia and sexual maturity are important organising factors in everyday life; menarche, thelarche, pubarche, and ejacularche are commonly referred to by children as indicating age or age difference. Boys are (probably playfully) insulted by the exclamation kalu (penis) alputalputa (dry boy's [male-associated] grass), which, according to Róheim (1938:p346) is "slanderous as it indicates that the boy's penis is devoid of semen".

Cultural use of puberty as an argument for control or an agenda for intervention pervasively modifies the experience of its objective attributes. Elementary body functions are not anticipated, leading to traumatological interpretation. A closer look at theses issues suggests that the control on sexological operationalisation is primarily arrived at by noncoverage in ambivalent and sex-negative cultures. The sexual apparatus, its curricular changes, and its possibilities are not officially transmitted to subsequent generations, leaving the matter to an optional, peer- or self-directed curriculum (e.g., Best).




5.4 Regulating Puberty [up] [Contents]



5.4.1 The Political Meaning of Pre-Initiation /Pre-Puberty Rules: Regulating and Operationalising Violations [up] [Contents]


Apart from fines[71], etc., nosological or even thanatological threats may be used in anticipation of adverse consequences of violating the initiation rule[72]. Sometimes, institutional confessions are used[73]. An approved threat is that of impaired reconvalescence after circumcision (Kikuyu, Tiriki; Lau Fijians). Among the Toradja, the operator (and the rice plants) would suffer[74]. Other tribes use theological rationale[75]. Nosological arguments are used to shield children from initiation-stratified encounters[76], in which cases the spell or responsibility[77] is placed on the environment. Sporadically, the responsibility seems to be placed on girls (Akan, Ewe). The adverse consequences would hurt the culprit[78], the girl[79], both[80], or the wider social cause[81]. This argument may also be used to regulate the introduction of sexual exchange in age stratified institutionalised bondings[82]. A common pattern describes prepubertal betrothal, with "delayed", pubescent or post-initiatory consummation[83]. In other (much debated) cases, however, it is made explicit that conjugal consummation does not await puberty[84]. Sometimes, the initiation is held necessary even in a physiological sense[85], or delay is informed by an apparently sincere economic concern[86]. Promoting and nosological arguments may seem paradoxic at times, though[87]. Generally, it can be observed that there are cross-culturally universal tendencies to delay sex until puberty only when this is seen in the perspective of age disparate arrangements.



5.4.2 Infantile/Juvenile, or "Reverse" Pseudolicence: Meaning and Transitions [up] [Contents]


What may appear cases of a paradoxic "sexual licence" for young age strata commonly is a spurious privilege since the infant's capability for sexual acts is not regarded complete, and are nullified: it is not "about sexuality". This implies the institution of prohibitions "at" puberty[88]. On Leopoldville Raymaekers[89] writes: "Il semble que les relations sexuelles ente jeunes gens débutent dès la plus tendre enfance sans pour autant, évidemment, que les jeunes réalisent pleinement la signification de l'acte qu'ils posent" (p8). Hougaard (1996:p87)[90] notes: "Aside from the overall lack of acceptability of intercourse, acceptability of sexual behavior decreases as the child grows older. This may suggest that several sexual behaviors among younger children are viewed as exploratory and thus are more acceptable". Rather, sexual activities in younger age segments are subject to different interpretations than equivalent activities in older generations, rendering a linear comparison at odds with cultural definitions. In Africa, before puberty, especially before circumcision, the individual is "sexually insignificant; he, or she, is incapable of fecundation, and consequently without effect either magically or socially. This explains children's freedom together, and the liberty an adult is allowed with a pre-adolescent child, or a woman with an uncircumcised boy" (Rachewiltz). This was illustratively demonstrated among the Pangwe where Tessmann (1904 [I]:p131)[91] noted that boys "who as is well known "have neither understanding nor shame" " have sexual acquaintesses with older men, who "are excused with the [...] assertion: a bele nnem e bango= "he has the heart (that is, the aspirations) of boys". Tessmann's further accounts of African interpretations of play/serious sex are valuable in this respect (§2.5.1).


The Nuer and Dogon, indeed, applied the prefertility argument, or, according to the elders, "What harm can they do? No babies will result!". Reiss[92] suggests this is not manifest in American society. When puberty approaches, a Baifa father would warn his daughter: "Jetzt ist das "tepampam" [native indication of "sexual rehearsals"] zu Ende!" ". Physiological anejaculation may have its adaptive qualities. In some societies, ejacularche ends copulatory fun motivated by the fear of impregnation. This is described for the Kanuri (Cohen, 1967:p61[93]; 1971:p78)[94].


The argument made here is that cultures (a) lessen the subjective obligation for control by redefining social significance (hence, equivalence) via discursive recategorisation; and by doing so (b) erect a curricular sociological framework by which activities enter the realm of personal operationalisation. From this it follows that sexual behaviour develops from play to significant if and when this is communicated through socialisation interactions. Children understand and apply these messages to "claim" privileged positions. As Rachewiltz notes, "[m]any of the girls conceal their first menstruation, so as to enjoy their liberty a little longer"[95].


An illustrative case in this respect was presented by Krige and Krige (1947:p109)[96] mentioning "play intercourse" among the Lobedu. For this purpose, play villages were erected under the guise of mandwane, a most extensively described poly-ethnic (predominantly Bantu) sex play. The authors note how, "not more than a few years ago", sexual intercourse would take place as pubertal boys and girls (of marriageable age) claimed a role in the play. Parents apparently started to object to what was considered adolescents' confiscation of the play scenario and contemporarily, "[t]he game [was] confined to children under the age of puberty". They further note how "[…] masturbation among children is looked upon as "playing with" the sexual organs, among boys and girls it is indulged in less for its sexual satisfaction than to prove to their mates that they have reached maturity.



5.4.3 "Adolescence", Initiation and Sexual Restraint: Selected SCCS Data [up] [Contents]


In Table 1, and working within the negative (or reversed negative) formulations of SCCS definitions, it is suggested that societies can be trichotomised in their attitudinal reaction to the late childhood-adolescence transition (T2) when looking at either boy or girl. Note that in some three quarters of societies this reaction could not be rated as wholly curricularly consistent (i.e., is discontinuous).



Table 1 Sexual Restraint (SR) Patterns over T2 acc. SCCS Ratings (reduced sample Ia,b)[97]


T2 Type

B (valid %)

G (valid %)

Mean %

SRadol=SRlate ch'h (0)

32 (22)

39 (27)


SRadol>SRlate ch'h (A)

57 (40)

111 (78)

55 (37)

109 (73)



SRadol<SRlate ch'h (-A)

54 (38)

54 (37)


N of societies checked




Weighted Transition Score (Σ T/ N)



Note: The following Tables were hand-made adaptations from the original paper Ethnology studies. Comparable composite scales have been produced using the corrected Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (2002) for SPSS. T2(b)=0 when v332=(v829 reverse scale), T2(g)=0 when v333=(v830 reverse scale), and so forth.


As judged from Table 2, the more typical boy/girl configurations of T2 transitions include A/A (b/g) and –A/–A, followed by 0/0. Note that these formula do not signify either the inexistence of a double standard, or numerically gender-equal transitions.



Table 2 Gender/Phase SR Patterns T2 acc. SCCS Ratings (reduced sample II)[98]
































Note: SPSS Crosstabs T2girls * T2boys


Looking at sexual restraint transitions between late childhood and adolescence in societies with a initiation identified as sexologically significant (vide supra), the expected decline (-A) for the indicated gender is not met in most cases[99]. In the 15m+28f=43 cases[100], transition -A(II) was found twelve times (Table 3); it was unascertained in seven, and in 16 cases, figures indicate the opposite. This suggests the qualification of these initiations have not systematically been operationalised or used as an signifier for SCCS sexual restraint or SR transitions. Problems arise when considering predefined phases and timing variability of ceremonies; also, sources for both measures have not been specified, and might be differing. Sexual expression was only rated for adolescence, so that curricular arguments remain frustrated on this point.


Table 3 "Sexologically Significant" Initiation Ceremony vs SR T2 acc. SCCS Ratings


























Note: Sexologically relevant initiations (SCCS v529, 530) include those for which the following is true: v555 or v556={4,6}. For v559 or v560=3, 3 cases each are found, all -A.


High degrees of adolescent sexual "freedom" ("nonrestraint" plus activity level) were positively associated with the presence of initiation ceremonies for adolescents of either sex in highly stratified, mostly intensely agricultural societies, and further negatively with female but not male initiations in nonagricultural less stratified societies (Barry and Schlegel, 1986; all p<.05)[101]; in all other subcategories (and in the total N), the correlation was less than significant. Sexual permissiveness (Ford & Beach), also, does not generally seem to be related with the presence of female initiation rites (Textor 386x382[102]; cf. Cohen, 1964:p192-3)[103]. Likewise, Barry and Schlegel (1984)[104] failed to find a significant interaction between the degree of general childhood-adolescence continuity and sexual restraint severity (SCCS).



Table 4 "Adolescent"[105] Initiation Ceremony vs SR T2 acc. SCCS Ratings (full sample minus 5 societies)






Σ I+/-


B (%)

G (%)

B (%)

G (%)






16 (32)

25 (37)

36 (39)

23 (30)






19 (38)

23 (34)

35 (38)

33 (43)






15 (30)

19 (28)

22 (24)

20 (26)














N I+/-


50 (63)

67 (85)

93 (119)

77 (98)



182 (186)

183 (186)

Note: SPSS Crosstabs: T2girls * v530 / T2boys * v529


As becomes apparent in Table 4, and working within the (reversed) negatively defined SCCS concept, sexual restraint T2 types are fairly evenly distributed over both initiation societies and non initiation societies, and over both boy and girl initiation societies. This might suggest that cultures may be trichotomisable both in their sexual restraint in adolescence, and in their reaction to T2 (the onset of sexual maturity) regardless of gender or the presence of initiations.




5.4.4 Power, Age Stratification and Sexual Privilege [up] [Contents]


In selected societies ethnographers have pointed to the issue of power gradients governing age stratified patterns of affiliation and "sexual recruitment". These power gradients control curricular issues of mate selection and mobility. Changes in boy initiation ages poses problems to traditional age structured heterosexual systems (e.g., Nuer)[106]. The divergence of puberty and sexologically salient initiation is a tool used by the ruling age class to limit heterosexual competition: the sexual system represents a maximalisation of heterosexual access for the ruling age class at the expense of the younger generation. Case: Initiation and Sexual Opportunity in an Age-Set Society [up] [Contents]


A case presentation may clarify the problems of rating both the reality of a pre-initiation taboo, and of the exact chronology of the facts. Especially interesting cases form age-set societies. The Masai being presented here, quite comparable cases are noted for the Baraguyu, Nandi, Ariaal and, probably, N'Jemp. Though not an obvious inclusion, Ford and Beach (1951:p188) listed the Masai (SCCS sexual restraint 2,2,2,2,-,-)[107] as permissive. They (p182) state also that intercourse is forbidden until puberty ceremonies, which is indeed confirmed by a series of communications[108]. Whereas Fosbrooke noted that pre-circumcision taboo with circumcised girls (cf. Bagge) being "most strictly adhered to", Fox notes that the harsh punishment of sexual intercourse with a girl of any sort "is no longer the case, probably because the warriors are afraid of Government interference should they ill-treat the boys". Anyway, the exception seemed to have confirmed the rule (Leakey). Initiation is often delayed until some little time after puberty, and it is not considered in any way wrong for these boys to begin indulging sexually "as soon as they like", provided that they observe certain restrictions (Huntingford). Mann et al. stated that the ceremonies were held at age 8-12 (girls) and 12-15 (boys); the age of marriage for girls was given at 10-14, but males do not get married until age 30. The Masai practised foetal and infant betrothal (Merker, Leakey, Spencer). Thus, an extreme stratification by age dominated Masai sexarche. There is sexual intercourse of warriors with "immature" girls [ditos, ages 8-13]", in which the rules of consanguinity and affinity that regulate marriage are equally observed (Hollis, 1910:p479/1905:xvi, Hinde and Hinde, p68, 73, Johnston, II:p824; Leakey, p197-8, Merker, p65n, Talle). As a common legitimisation of such a situation, we find the Masai believing that the breasts of a girl can only develop when a man has had sex with her (Von Mitzlaff, p80, for the Tanzania Parakuyo; cf. Talle).




5.4.5 Changing Patterns [up] [Contents]


Many articles[109] and studies show that adolescence as a sexological concept is changing worldwide. These cases demonstrate differing phase-identified operationalisations of sexuality within cultures over a historical trajectory. Main factors have been identified as


(a) the disintegration of ritualised age stratification, replaced by school system based stratification, together with the inherent "lost" ritualised sexological age stratification;

(b) the replacement of arranged and preferential mate selection systems by free mate choice systems;


These changes represent transitions between operationalising to nonoperationalising modes of sexual socialisation.


5.5 Summarising Notes [up] [Contents]


There are large differences between pre-industrial and industrial ways of growing up "sexually", the interest of the immediate environment varying between an emphasis on the reproduction economy (fertility, exclusive and unambiguous paternity rights, fraternal interests), and on personalised social trajectories, whether explained materially (birth control, marital stability, parenthood) or in psychological terms ("psychosexual development", "erotic lifestyle", "sexual health"). These differences explain the placement of a parenting culture on both the global axis of promoting/restricting interventions, and the global axis of regulatory/nonregulatory attitudes at any given time in the sexual curriculum. Generally, economic development and stability predicts a non intervening attitude with a placement of puberty within a personalised curricular ideology controlled by lateral and indirect approaches (as well as an indirect pervasive conditioning before puberty), and anxieties only luxated and expressed with the occurrence of exceptional timing of puberty (§ Paternal interests within selected pre-industrial economies cause the recognition of puberty to be placed within this scope, the form, direction and timing of regulation being directly linked to this interest (e.g., ritualised discontinuity).

The formalised or informal sexological operationalisation of puberty competes with variable circumstantial factors, including age hierargy systems, age of marriage[110], presence and timing of betrothal, appreciation of early reproductive effort, as well as age of institutionally recognised reproductive milestones (which may or may not reflect actual ages[111]). With the absence of these institutionalised social organisations, and in gender egalitarian societies, the operational recognition is left to compete primarily with the girl's training for future academic roles.

These factors determine whether these is a (mostly nonpublic) premature (prepubertal) operational recognition, an ad hoc ritualised public recognition (pubescent), a delayed (public or semipublic) recognition (post-pubertal, permarital), or an ambiguously chronologised recognition of "mature" sex. The operational recognition of pre-mature sexuality may depend on a variety of factors that reflect, anticipate or rationalise pubertal recognition or nonrecognition (enumerated elsewhere).



5.x Appendix: Suggestions for Future Application of the Cross-Cultural Method [up] [Contents]


Ratings of sexual attitudes should be revised to fit antithetical frameworks, including (a) operationalisation and (b) sexological curricular continuity measures. These should be associated with the nature and purpose of institutions directed at regulating cultural agenda concerning reproductive capacity. The proposed scoring schema would thus reads:




Appendix: Schema for scoring sexological operationalisation of puberty


Puberty Scores (m/f)


(1a,b) Puberty: Timing Score

(2a,b) Male Puberty: Recognition: Salience Score

(3a,b) Male Puberty: Recognition: Positive Modes Score

(4a,b) Male Puberty: Recognition: Negative Modes Score


Institutional Sexological Discontinuity (Initiation) Scores (m/f)


(5a,b) Institutional Sexological Discontinuity (Initiations, Marriage) : Timing Score (relative to puberty)

(6a,b) Institutional Sexological Discontinuity: Positive Modes Score

(7a,b) Institutional Sexological Discontinuity: Negative Modes Score

(8a,b) Institutional Sexological Discontinuity: Positive Intervention Score

(9a,b) Institutional Sexological Discontinuity: Negative Intervention Score


Summarising Scores


(10a,b) Attitude to Puberty Score (composite 2-7)

(11a,b) Institutional Sexological Discontinuity Composite Score (5-9)


Additional Scores:

Age of First Marriage, Nuptial Age

Age of First Betrothal



Suggested Positive Modes:, clothing, gender association, courtship requirement, arranged betrothal, arranged marriage, sexual behaviour prescriptions, sexual behaviour training, verbal clarification, prosexual morphological/physiological preparations /medicine, heterosexual identity/behaviour encouragement, generationally stratified institutional or approved coital initiation, approved subgenerational age stratified training environments (dormitories); productive biomedical sexology (promotive physiological qualities [poesis], preventative qualities, therapeutic qualities); public recognition / announcements (menarche, defloration)

Suggested Negative Modes: kinship avoidance rules, gender avoidance rules/ seclusion, age avoidance rules, residential change, sleeping/bathing/dressing arrangements, active prevention of instruction, deliberate misinformation, sexual behaviour proscriptions, contrasexual morphological/ physiological interventions /medicine, virginity examinations / requirements; destructive biomedical sexology (prevention of development, nosology).



Notes [up] [Contents]


[last updated]

[1] Raw data and references are found in preliminary material.

[2] Williams, L. S. (2002) Trying on gender, gender regimes, and the process of becoming women, Gender & Society 16,1:29-52

[3] Maybin, J. (2002) "What's the hottest part of the sun? Page 3!" Children's exploration of adolescent gender identities through informal talk, in Litosseliti, L. & Sunderland, J. (Eds.) Gender Identity and Discourse Analysis. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company, p257-73

[4] Rogers, R. S. & Rogers, W. S. (1992) Stories of Childhood: Shifting Agendas of Child Concern. Toronto: University of Toronto Press / London: Harvester Wheatsheaf

[5] See especially their chapter "Rearing its ugly head: Children and sexuality".

[6] Sarmento, M. J. (2002) Infancia, exclusao social e educacao como utopia realizavel, Educacao & Sociedade 23(78):265-83

[7] Sykes, D. L. (1999) Taking the Child out of the 'Hood: Packaging Childhood in an Other-Directed Society. PhD Dissertation, Texas A&M University [DAI 60,8, Feb. 2000, 3164-A]

[8] Kennedy, D. (1998) Empathic Childrearing and the Adult Construction of Childhood: A Psychohistorical Look, Childhood 5,1:9-22

[9] Morss, J. R. (1990) The Biologising of Childhood: Developmental Psychology and the Darwinian Myth. Hillsdale, NJ, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

[10] Dunne, M. P., Martin, N. G. et al. (1997) Genetic and environmental contributions to variance in age at first sexual intercourse, Psychol Sci 8,3:211-6

[11] Paradoxia Sexualis. Unpublished literature review

[12] Udry, J. R., Talbert et al. (1986) Biosocial foundations for adolescent female sexuality, Demography 23,2:217-30

[13] McClintock, M. and Herdt, G. (1996) Rethinking puberty: the development of sexual attraction, Curr Direct Psychol Sci 5: 178-83; McClintock, M. and Herdt, G. (1998) Preadolescent determinants of sexuality, Pediatr Update 19,9:1-10; Herdt, G. & McClintock, M. (2000) The magical age of 10, Arch Sex Behav 29,6:587-606

[14] The enlarged foetal adrenal cortex, which produces sex steroids quickly regresses after birth. Adrenarche occurs independent of pubertal development; premature adrenarche does not lead to premature pubertal signs, and a normal adrenarche is seen in cases of delayed pubertal onset. The chief hormonal product of adrenarche is dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfated product DHEA-S (Ibanez L et al., 2000). Presenting symptoms are premature pubarche (92%), while 6.2% present with body odour, acne and/or hirsutism. This process is considered premature if it occurs before age 8 year in girls and 9 year in boys. 9.1% is eventually diagnosed with "exaggerated adrenarche", while 5.7% is diagnosed with 21-hydroxylase deficiency (Likitmaskul et al., 1995). Major cortico-adrenal hyperactivity disorders in childhood include Cushing's syndrome (irrespective of mechanism) and Cushing's disease (ACTH-dependency); signs are hirsutism, typical configuration adipositas, facial puffiness, growth retardation, etc. Causes leading to increased adrenal androgen or oestrogen production include congenital adrenocortical hyperplasia, adrenal tumour, pituitary tumour, and ACTH-producing extrapituitary tumour. Childhood hypoadrenocoticoism is associated with Addison's disease, adrenoleukodystrophy, Waterhouse-Friderichsen's Syndrome, and congenital adrenal hypoplasia caused by a number of autosomal recessive enzyme defects, with variable effects on cortisol, aldosteron and androgen production; in association, there can be ambiguous genitalia, hypertension, and (pubertal) virilisation or delayed pubarche in girls.

[15] Isolated premature thelarche or pubarche, and adolescent gynaecomastia have been characterised as essentially harmless variations, with absence of other pubertal signs; psychosexual concomitants are rarely discussed, however relevant, beside the recommendation of reassurance.

[16] Cocchi, R. (1977) [The hypothesis of adrenergic-noradrenergic substitution in habitual childhood masturbation: Two cases], Rassegna di Studi Psichia 66,1:9-16; Cocchi, R. & Ghiglione-Rocca, R. (1977) [Neurotic masturbation and infantile depression: clinico-theoretical appraoch and possible neuro-psychological explanation], Acta Neurol (Napoli) 32,2:229-41

[17] Gadpaille, W. J. (1976) A consideration of two concepts of normality as it applies to adolescent sexuality, J Am Acad Child Psychia 15,4:679-92. Reprinted as Gadpaille, W. J. (1981) The delay of normal psychosexual development, in Constantine, L. & Martinson, F. (Eds., 1981) Children and Sex: New Findings, New Perspectives. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., p95-107; Gadpaille, W. J. (1978) Psychosexual developmental tasks imposed by pathologically delayed childhood: A cultural dilemma, Adolesc Psychia 6:136-55. Another interesting article in this respect: Gadpaille, W. (1970) Is there a too soon? Today's Health 48:34-5, 70-1

[18] Gadpaille argues that sexual identity develops from numerous psychodynamically separate increments derived from an innate maturation sequence. Adolescent distress or conflict is related to cultural distortions of psychobiological growth that have produced this "pathologically" delayed childhood. In other words, "[…] most [US] middle-class adolescents must accomplish during adolescence what the normal human animal would naturally have accomplished in childhood".

[19] A full discussion is presented in my previous work, Paradoxia Sexualis.

[20] LeTendre, G. (April, 1996) Middle School Teachers' Theories of Puberty. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, New York

[21] Kinsman, J. et al. (2000) Socializing influences and the value of sex: the experience of adolescent school girls in rural Masaka, Uganda, Culture, Health & Sex 2,2:151-66

[22] One major bias in Western ideologies of "psychosexual" maturation, is that it is dominated by biological processes. The causes of this biologism may be diverse, but it is argued that among these, the moral climate plays a manifest role. As is detailed elsewhere (Paradoxia), the endocrinological claims of adolescent behavioural sexualisation are not convincing at all, and are not studied in a cross-cultural perspective. Far from proclaiming a culturalist view, it can not be concluded that hormonal pubescence has a direct and specific correspondence with any culturally centralised behavioural pattern (e.g., coitus). Rather, as Money has argued, hormones may predispose the individual to explore socially recognised patterns of self-expression in ways that are specific only as far as this recognition is so, and via the mental structure these patterns are interpreted by. This perspective, of course, argues for an interactionist model of cultural and individual levels of curricularised reality, potentialising rather than determining the sexual behaviour agenda.

[23] Aston, W. G. (1909) The Incest Tabu, Man 9:164-8

[24] According to Ellis (1887:p128), family tutelary deities are the special protectors of chastity of girls before puberty (beginning at age 11 or 12). A family deity appoints a spirit to walk behind each girl. At puberty its duties end. Barrenness is commonly thought to be due to prepubertal sexual intercourse (ibid.).

[25] DeMeo, J. (1989) The Geography of Genital Mutilations, The Truth Seeker, July/August, p9-13. Disregarding the apparent ethnocentric air in the term "mutilation", the author concluded that the "underlying psychology of genital mutilations is anxiety regarding sexual pleasure, mainly heterosexual genital intercourse, as indicated by the associated virginity taboos and ritual absolutions against vaginal blood. In the final analysis, these mutilations say more about predominant attitudes regarding sexual pleasure than anything else".

[26] Brain, J. L. (1977) Sex, incest, and death: initiation rites reconsidered, Current Anthropol 18,2:191-208

[27] Malinowski comments on the apparent continuity of Trobriand sexual development: "If we place the beginning of real sexual life [penetrative coitus] at the age of six to eight in the case of girls, and ten to twelve in the case of boys, we shall probably not be erring very greatly in either direction. And from these times sexuality will gradually assume a greater and greater importance as life goes on, until it abates in the course of nature". Danielsson ([1956:p88]) notes the same for Polynesia, as do (Adriani and Kruijt, p385) on the East Toradja.

[28] Barry III, H. & Schlegel, A. (1980) Early childhood precursors of adolescent initiation ceremonies, Ethos 8,2:132-45

[29] Lee, D. R. (1976) Exploring Sex Roles in African Studies. Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education, San Francisco, California, November 24-27

[30] Judged from reeaminations of SCCS data.

[31] "After circumcision an [Azande] boy is recognised as a person old enough to have sexual intercourse […]" (Baxter and Butt); this, however, occurs at an age variable from early postnatally to age 18. Anyway, the children play at coitus. According to others, puberty does not seem to be associated with transition rites, and proved altogether inconspicuous (Bohannan).

[32] Ramsey, P. (1982) Do you know where your children are? J Psychol & Christianity 1,4:7-15; Fujita, H. et al. (1984) Various aspects of sexuality in delinquent girls through their compositions, Jap J Crim Psychol 22,1:37-43

[33] 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

[34] Bridenthal, R. (1976) The Dialectics of Production and Reproduction in History, Radical America 10,2:3-11

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

[36] SCCS code 1251, degree of public awareness of menarche, N=51

[37] Whiting, J., Kluckhorn, R. & Anthony, A. (1958) The Function of Male Initiation Ceremonies at Puberty, in Maccoby, E., Newcomb, T., & Hartley, E. (Eds.) Readings in Social Psychology. 3rd ed. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, p359-70. Whiting explained the cross-cultural association between severe male puberty rites and low salience of father in the early socialization process by means of the intervening variables of ambivalence in sex (gender) identity in the growing male. The authors identified four associated cultural variables: male initiation rites involving genital mutilations, polygynous marriage system, postpartum sex taboos of one year or longer duration, and exclusive mother-child sleeping arrangements.

[38] E.g., Parker, S. et al. (1975) Father absence and cross-sex identity: The puberty rites controversy revisited, Am Ethnol 2,4:687-706; Snarey, J. & Son, L. (1986) Sex-Identity Development among Kibbutz-Born Males: A Test of the Whiting Hypothesis, Ethos 14,2:99-119

[39] Linton, R. (1942) Age and sex categories, Am Sociol Rev 7:589-603

[40] Whiting, B. B., Burbank, V. K. & Ratner, M. S. (1986) The duration of maidenhood, in Lancaster, J. B. & Hamburg, B. A. (Eds.) School Age Pregnancy and Parenthood. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter, p273-302

[41] Chatterjee, P. et al. (2001) Adolescence and old age in twelve communities, J Sociol & Soc Welfare 28,4:121-59

[42] Segall, M. H., Dasen, P. R., Berry, J. W. & Poortinga, Y. H. (1990) Human Behavior in Global Perspective: An Introduction to Cross-Cultural Psychology. New York: Pergamon Press

[43] See for instance Brongersma, E. (1987) Jongensliefde, Deel 1. Amsterdam: SUA, p114-23

[44] E.g., Chagga, Masai, Pedi, Swazi, Swahili, Thonga, Afikbo, Wolof, Kikuyu, Venda, Tanna, Amwimbe, Tiriki, Becwana (Mochuana), Tiv, Kipsigis, Nandi, Tuken, Tiv, Ibibio, Bakuria, Ewe; Papua Koko, Bánaro, Shuswap; Tukano.

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

[46] Rogoff, B. et al. (1975) Age of assignment of roles and responsibilities to children: A cross-cultural survey, Hum Developm 18,5:353-69

[47] 39, of which 12 were rejected on the basis of low reliability, low credibility or lack of information

[48] The data are for age (N): 3(1), 4(1), 6(2), 7(1), 8(1), 9(3), 10(1), 12(1), 13(3), 15(8). Identities of societies are not indicated.

[49] This range is most likely caused by the surprising dualistic definition, and the indefinite character of the term "sexual". Although a central issue in socialisation, the first part of the definition (socially recognised sexual capacity) is not explored elsewhere.

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

[51] Hotvedt, M. E. (1990) Emerging and submerging adolescent sexuality: culture and sexual orientation, in Bancroft, J. & Reinisch, J. M. (Eds.) Adolescence and Puberty. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, p154-72

[52] Becker, G. (1984) The Social Regulation of Sexuality: A Cross-Cultural Perspective, Curr Perpect Soc Theory 5:45-69

[53] Flandrin (1975:p150) found prepubertal promiscuity mentioned in many ordonnances synodales collected from the period 1507-1778. While only one was directed at postpuberty, 15 were intended for ages after seven (the age of reason), and two even for after age four. Masters (1966:p67-71) relates that children in Medieval Europe were held responsible for the Devil's paedophilic nature. The ages at which this crime would begin was debated (p122-3). "In any case thousands of children are reported to have been executed for lewdly coupling with incubi and succubi. In Würzburg alone more than three hundred children of such ages as three and four years confessed to sexual intercourse with demons. After age seven, a child was considered sufficiently corrupt and incorrigible to be put to death- an age limitation many judges and attorneys objected to as being unrealistically over-lenient".

[54] A cursory historical study of this concept in Western literature suggests that ever since Freud this problem is avoided by authors.

[55] American slang for pornography demonstrates a centralising of curricular restraint: it is called "adult". For a comprehensive discussion of consent matters, see Helmut Graupner's 1996 dissertation, circulated under the 1997 2-volume Sexualität, Jugendschutz und Menschenrechte : über das Recht von Kindern und Jugendlichen auf sexuelle Selbstbestimmung. Frankfurt am Main [etc.] : Lang

[56] The Lepcha "ignore puberty" and have no word for it (p315). Female sexual maturing is attributed to copulation, or, in the rare case of a virgin menarche, to the visit of a supernatural Kandoo moong, a sign of good luck. "The majority of women, however, depend on the intervention of a man; the physical signs will start whenever a girl experiences copulation, and there is therefore no stigma attached to grown men forcing little girls of nine or ten, and this occurs occasionally". A child should know who are his num-neu-zong, that is, those people with whom all sexual contact is prohibited , by the time he is nine or ten (p153). There is "no formally marked beginning of sexual life […]. Some men make a distinction between pre-puberty and post-puberty sexual activity, but this distinction is personal and not cultural. Most men, when talking of their past lives, emphasise what was their first "real" sexual experience; but some place this first experience very early, at the age of eleven or twelve. I think the operative distinction in the mind of the Lepcha is whether the sexual adventure formed part of a play, or was undertaken seriously for its own sake" (p316). Betrothal and marriage start at age 8 (girls) and 12 (boys); at the time of writing, most girls were betrothed before, or at, pubescence.

[57] A significant idea on Dogon puberty is noted when "the only case in which the young girl has the right, indeed the obligation, to lose her virginity to a man other than her fiancé is if her fiancé is absent at the time when she passes into sexual maturity. This is so that her first menstrual period will not precede the breaking of the hymen. […]. The husband has no right to complain of the situation, since he brought it about by allowing himself to be absent at the critical moment"[57] (Calame-Griaule).

[58] The author points out that "[t]he Dogon express the idea of sexual maturity in two ways: [...] "he who knows speech" and [...] "he who knows shame". Mastery of speech and decent behaviour are prerequisites to marriage according to Dogon rules. This is why the child's acquisition of language, particularly that of the little girl, is supervised so carefully". This also relates to verbal sexual instructions. A puberty, the girl receives her "hidden speech" or "speech of the bedroom". Later, when she goes to the "house of the old woman", the girl receives another education called "outside speech".

[59] However, "[t]he sexual importance of the initiation is lessened by the fact that boys and girls are circumcised a few years before sexual maturity, that even before, children already play sexually with one another, and that sexual activity is taken seriously only when it can lead to propagation" (Parin et al.).

[60] Hufnagel, G. (1999) A cultural analysis of the evolution of menarche and menstruation: Implications for education, DAI-A 60(6-A):2256.

[61] See p41-2.

[62] Banuaku, A. F. (1976) "Kyiribra": Tradition, Change and Anomie in Puberty Rites, West-African J Sociol & Polit Sci 1,2:169-76

[63] The introduction of the Christian rite of confirmation as an alternative to puberty rites produced an anomaly, since confirmation was not always delayed until puberty was reached. This was said to relax sexual standards, producing a high incidence of young unmarried mothers.

[64] Adams, P. L. (1969) Puberty as a biosocial turning point, Psychosomatics 10,6:343-9

[65] Swantz, L. W. (1965) The Zaramo of Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: Nordic Project Tanganyika, mimeographed

[66] Thamdrup, E. ([1961]) Precocious Sexual Development, Transl. Copenhagen: Munksgaard. See p104-8

[67] Money, J. & Alexander, D. (1969) Pychosexual development and absence of homosexuality in males with precocious puberty, J Nerv & Ment Dis 148:111-23

[68] Van der Schot-de Jong, L. W., Otten, B. J. & Robbroeckx, L. M. (1992) Gezinsbelasting bij ouders van meisjes met te vroege puberteitsontwikkeling, Tijdschr Kindergeneeskd [Dutch] 60,6:193-9

[69] Xhrouet-Heinrichs, D., Lagrou, K., Heinrichs, C., Craen, M., Dooms, L., Malvaux, P., Kanen, F. & Bourguignon, J. P. (1997) Longitudinal study of behavioral and affective patterns in girls with central precocious puberty during long-acting triptorelin therapy, Acta Paediatr 86,8:808-15

[70] Selicoff, H. (1987) Efectos psicologicos de la pubertad precoz en niñas, Rev Mex Psicol 4,2:138-46

[71] Tikiri, Masai

[72] Among the Jivaro, "premature sexual intercourse is prohibited to a youth until he has passed through the initiation for manhood to become what is called a tsémbraca" (Karsten). If this rule is violated, he may die (Ford).

[73] Tikiri boys are questioned on their sex history before circumcision. When he confesses to having had sexual connections before circumcision, he must pay a fine, under the threat that he would bleed to death when circumcised if he had not done so (Sangree). Sometime afterwards the kloketen initiation rite of the Selk'nam, the initiand will be made to confess whether he has had sexual relations (though he would not be required to name the woman or women involved). The young men would have been warned that premature sexual relations would stunt their growth (Chapman). Among the Cuna, a girl's sexual past is "read" during initiation, but no consequences are mentioned (Marshall). A pre-initiation Gikuyu girl is "[…] closely questioned to verify that she never bad sexual intercourse or indulged in masturbation. If she has broken any of the prohibitions of the Gikuyu social codes, the girl makes a confession to the motiiri, who reports the confession to the girl's parents. The service of a motahekania, or a "family purifier," is then engaged to purify (koruta mogiro) the girl and prepare her for the irua" (Kenyatta).

[74] "Boys were incised (montindi, mopatindi) anywhere from their sixth to fifteenth year. If a boy had had sexual intercourse before the operation, however, it was thought to be dangerous both for him and the operator and could have harmful effects on the rice plants. […] Boys had their teeth shortened when they felt they had grown up, at any rate after they were incised and before they were married. It was more dangerous, however to operate on a boy who had already had sexual intercourse, and therefore only some one who had killed an enemy could safely do it" (Downs).

[75] Among the Anlo Ewe, sex before the puberty rites was considered not only immoral but also an affront to the spiritual powers, particularly the ancestors. Sexual intercourse was reserved for procreation, the family regarded as a sacred unit

[76] The Cewa believed that full intercourse with an uninitiated girl led to sickness of a supernatural origin. Sexual intercourse with a Siriono girl who has not undergone her puberty rites is believed "to be followed by a supernatural sanction of sickness and death" (Holmberg).

[77] Among the Mende of Sierra Leone, the Humui, or medicine society, forbids sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of puberty (Little).

[78] Afikpo boys are prohibited to have intercourse before circumcision, a reason to perform the operation early. When violating the rule, boys are thought to be weakened by the act. On Malekula, "[s]exual intercourse before puberty is strongly condemned by parents as being weakening" (Deacon). Among the Shuswap boys and girls were "not allowed to smoke or have sexual connection until after their periods of training. To indulge in the latter during their training would have a disastrous effect on their future, would render of no avail to the training they had undergone, and would make it impossible to obtain a manitou or become proficient in "mystery" for a long time. It would also make them heaveyfooted, slow, and short-winded in after years" (Teit).

[79] Firth was told that Tikopia adults men "[…] do not interfere with little girls, "because if they do, the girl would die" ".

[80] The male Mochuana (Becwana tribes) "is warned that sexual intercourse among the uncircumcised has the same connecting effect as when dogs indulge in it- that the internal organs of the woman are drawn out of her and many similar things too disgusting to mention" (Brown).

[81] Among the former Chaga, precircumcision intercourse was punished by staking the lovers to the ground in the forbidden position: "Almost the most heinous crime known to the Chagga people was sexual intercourse between a girl and an uncircumcised youth", as it was believed to bring misfortune on the land (Dundas).

[82] Valenge: "[…] if a marriage is consummated before a girl is physically fit, it is considered a disgrace and a misfortune, and believed to bring illness and vene death upon the girl" (Earthy). Thonga adolescent boys may have thelarchic girls as lovers but adult sex with prepubescents in either configuration is said to cause a disease (cinsiluwe) in both parties; even deafness and prepubertal death would be attributed to seduction. Among the Akan: "In times not so very remote, any laxity of morals prior to reaching puberty was commonly punished by death or expulsion from the clan of both the guilty parties; if a man had sexual intercourse with a young girl prior to the appearance of her first period it was considered as an offence for which the whole community would suffer" (Rattray).

[83] This occurs in most cases of pubescent marriage. For explicit statements, see Akan, Vagla, Amhara (lower class), Wolof (though premenarchal intercourse mentioned by Faladé), Marutze, Chewa, [Abessinier], Valenge, Nso', Koalib, Lozi, Luo, Nandi, Nubia, Fanti, Mambwe, Bari, Ibibio, Kanda, Nkundo Mongo, Bela, Lalia-Ngolu; Pakistan, Brahmin, Punjabi, Taiwan Hokkien (Sim pua), Chuuk (formerly), Islamic countries (Iran), Kurtachi, New Britain, Saramaca (for betrothed girls), Zorcas, Warao; Aranda, Malekula (Mewun, Big Nambas), Shipibo

[84] Tuareg, Luvale, Pokomo, Kunandaburi (Australia), India: Veda (debated; legally issued in 1846, 1891, and 1925); Adjeh (debated); Wolof (debated); Hausa (debated)

[85] "At the first manifestations of puberty [polluarche], [Bena] boys undergo an initiation ceremony during which they are given definite instruction regarding sexual intercourse. It is believed that if they do not go through these rites their virility will fail" (Culwick & Culwick).

[86] Cashinahua boys "[…] become sexually active as soon as their hunting skills permit them to compete for lovers with adult male hunters, but they are frequently warned to limit their sexual activity until they are older lest it inhibit both their physical growth and the development of their skills as hunters".

[87] At puberty, a Wahehe boy "is given medicine to prevent his being impotent, but is warned against sexual intercourse with any woman before marriage, lest he contract a disease, or made her pregnant and be obliged to pay compensation" (Hodgson).

[88] E.g., Bakatla, Baifa, Tlingit, Dogons, Tebu, Burundi, Zulu, Borroro Fulani, Kanuri, Haiti, East Bay. The incest taboo is markedly loosened in some societies regarding juvenile coitus (Eddystone Island, parts of New Guinea, Chaga, Yolngu).

[89] Raymaekers, R. (1960) Materiaux pour une Étude Sociologique de la Jeunesse Africaine du Milieu Coutumier de Leopoldville. Leopoldville: Université Lovanium

[90] Haugaard, J. (1996) Sexual behaviors between children: professionals' opinions and undergraduates' recollections, Fam's in Soc: J Contemp Hum Services 11:81-9

[91] Tessmann, G. (1904) Die Pangwe. Berlin: E Wasmuth. Vol. I; Murray and Roscoe (1998:p142)

[92] Reiss, I. L. (1986b) A Sociological Journey into Sexuality, J Marr & Fam 48,2:233-42, at p235

[93] Cohen, R. (1967) The Kanuri of Bornu. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.

[94] Cohen, R. (1971) Dominance and Defiance: A Study of Marital Instability in an Islamic African Society. Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association

[95] See also Evaldsson, A. C. (2000) Don't Write That We're Children! On the Dual Nature of Ethnographic Research with Preadolescents. Paper for the American Sociological Association

[96] Krige, E. J. & Krige, J. D. (1947) The Realm of a Rain-Queen. London: International Institute of African languages and cultures

[97] All societies entered for which sufficient data were available for transition II for at least one sex.

[98] All societies entered for which sufficient data were available for transition II for both sexes.

[99] Matching cases include the Lozi, Mende (boy, not girls), Bambara, Azande, Otoro Nuba (boy, not girls), Santal, Toradja, Wadadika Palute, Eastern Apache, Siriono

[100] In 8 societies, both sexes are thus "initiated". Nsoc=43

[101] Barry, H. III & Schlegel, A. (1986) Cultural Customs That Influence Sexual Freedom in Adolescence, Ethnology 25,2:151-62

[102] Textor, R. B. (1967) A Cross-Cultural Summary. New Haven: HRAF Press

[103] Cohen, Y. A. (1964) The Transition from Childhood to Adolescence. Chicago: Aldine

[104] Barry, H. III & Schlegel, A. (1984) Measurements of adolescent sexual behavior in the standard sample of societies, Ethnology 23,4:315-29

[105] 22 boy or girl initiations are strictly speaking held "before genital maturation", which in some societies would justify for the use of T1 transitions in sexual restraint. In the present data this is ignored.

[106] "Due to this decline in age of the average initiate, it was not uncommon during the early 1980s for boys to be scarified before reaching "puberty" (juel). The fact that many newly scarified "men" had to wait for years before enjoying the sexual privileges ritually conferred upon them at initiation while more and more bull-boys were actively engaging in courtship and marriage further complicated this situation. "Manhood" was increasingly considered a matter of degree rather than a definitive status. There were numerous occasions, for instance, in which I heard older men publicly ridicule and belittle these pubescent wuuni as no better than "boys" since they "still know nothing of girls". I also heard such "men" derogatorily referred to by older men as wuuni g[.]ri (sing., wut g[.]ri), an expression that suggested that they were men only in the sense of bearing the marks of gaar. Similarly, a young man could praise himself in song by declaring "I'm not [merely] a wut g[.]ri," thereby implying that he was, rather, a fully grown warrior, capable of assuming all the social privileges and responsibilities appropriate to "manhood" " (Hutchison).

[107] Sexologically relevant initiation indicated for boys, "after puberty". Ratings "pinpointed" for the Kisonko or S. Masai of Tanzania, around 1900. The focussed bibliography lists Merker (1904) as a first source.

[108] Saitoti, T. O. (?) My Life as a Masai Warrior; Jacobs, A. H. (1973) The pastoral Masai of Kenya and Tanzania, in Molnos, A. (Ed.) Cultural Source Materials for Population Planning in East Africa. University of Nairobi, Institute of African Studies. Vol. 3, p399-405; Von Mitzlaff, U. (1988) Maasai Frauen. Translated as Masaai Women. Trickster: Tanzania Publishing House, 1994; Hollis, A. C. (1905) The Masai. Oxford: Clarendon Press, page xvi. cf. Fischer, H. Th. (1952) Huwelijk en Huwelijksmoraal bij Vreemde Volken. Utrecht [Holland]: De Haan, p110; Hollis, A. C. (1910) A Note on the Masai System of Relationship and Other Matters Connected Therewith, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 40, Jul.-Dec.:473-82; Hinde, S. L. & Hinde, H. (1901) The Last of the Masai. London: William Heinemann; Leakey, L. S. B. (1930) Some Notes on the Masai of Kenya Colodny, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 60, Jan-Jun.:185-209; Merker, M. (1910) The Masai: Ethnographic Monograph of an East African Semite People. Second corrected and enlarged. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer. Original in German, 1904, Die Masai; Fosbrooke H. A. (1948) An Administrative Survey of the Masai Social System, Tanganyika Notes and Records 26:1-50. Also refered to by Bernardi, B. (1955) The Age-system of the Masai, [eHRAF, p257-318, at p282n]; Fox, D. S. (1930) Further notes on the Masai of Kenya Colony, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britian & Ireland 60:447-65; Bagge, S. (1904) The circumcision ceremony among the Naivasha Masai, J Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 34, Jan-Jul:167-9; Huntingford, G. W. (1953) The Southern Nilo-Hamites. London: International African Institute; Talle, A. (Oct., 1983) Reproduction Control and the Role of Elders: The Case of the Massai in Kenya, in Women and Reproduction report from SAREC/SIDA seminar in Visby; Mann, G. V. et al. (1966) Survey of serologic evidence for syphilis among the Masai of Tanzania, Public Health Reports 81,6:513-8; Merker (1910:p58); Spencer, P. (1988) The Maasai of Matapato: A Study of Rituals of Rebellion. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press

[109] Caldwell, J. C., Caldwell, P., Caldwell, B. K. & Pieris, I. (1998) The Construction of Adolescence in a Changing World: Implications for Sexuality, Reproduction, and Marriage, Stud Fam Plann 29,2:137-53; Mensch, B. S., Bagah, D., Clark, W. H. & Binka, F. (1999) The Changing Nature of Adolescence in the Kassena-Nankana District of Northern Ghana, Stud Fam Plann 30, 2:95-111; Ogbu, M. A. (1996) Girl to woman in a changing African society: The impact of modernization and development on sexual socialization of adolescents, DAI-B 57(3-B): 1740; Worthman, C. M. & Whiting, J. W. (1987) Social change in adolescent sexual behavior, mate selection, and premarital pregnancy rates in a Kikuyu community, Ethos 15,2:145-65

[110] SCCS code 1252, average number of years between menarche and marriage (N=51/186)

[111] In Ahafo, girls must not get pregnant before menarche is formally announced, a practice that may be delayed for years after its actual manifestation (Vervoorn, 1958).