(1997) pointed out the
central role of
Mantegazza regarded the Dawn of Love as announced by three facts: pollutions [which are said to be natural and calm rather than to boost the senses…but not more than 2 to 3 times a week], erections and a mighty longing to approach a woman to honour her with a first impregnating [?] kiss. He complained about the depraved and hypocritical nature of his society to corrupt such ideal, reducing its “idyll” to a mere rarity. He regarded pubertal sexual dreams [the Angel of the Night] as a sublime sex educator, and recommends young readers to subside with their content. He also mentions the artificial awakening of unripe, innocent organs by means of example and the Maid’s seductions, by this arousing feelings that previously slumbered and polluted the immaculate purity of the first years of life, producing “unripe Onanists and Lovers”. In a chapter on masturbation, he again warns for maids. On children’s masturbation he complains: “The innocence is dead, before it was born, and the satirical cramps of lust have carved the first grooves on the face of the angel” [transl. from Dutch ed., DJ].
Similarly, Marro (1899:p214)  had argued that “[i]n man at the age of puberty the sexual emotion awakes powerfully […]”. Marro further pointed out that early masturbation was rampant among criminals (cf. Lombroso).
Jagstaidt et al. (1996)
provide some contemporary data on childhood sex play and masturbation in
Italian bulimics. Caletti (1980:p145)
gives some data on childhood and adolescent sexual milestones in the early
1970s in regions of
In the second “ASPER” study by Cafaro
(1992:p110) adolescents indicated
to have masturbated before age 10/10-11/12-13 in 7.2%, 30.2% and 35% (not
accumulative figures), respectively; for females, these figures read 3.1%,
22.3% and 40.1%. The first “sexual experience” occurred mostly at ages 15-16,
with 1.5% in twelve-year-old males, and 2.1% in 12-year-old females (p49).
More than forty per cent had either their menarche or polluarche at ages
11-12 (p48). According to a generational study,
mean age at first intercourse in
Parca (1965 [1967:p20-36]) gives a rather elaborate view of Italian boyhood significant mostly for before 1950. According to this study (N=1,018), 20% was sure not to have played sexually in childhood, another 20% said not to remember anything like it, while more than half indicated they did. The age at which this occurred was typically 6 or 7, the exception being rural south Italy, were the age of 8 or 9 is the most common timing [p25-8]. This may not be in discordance with observations by Whyte (1943a:p25; 1943b), who writes on slum “corner boys”:
“In Cornerville children ten years of age know most all the swear words and they have a good idea of what the good “lay” means. Swearing and describing sex relations by older people and by the boys that hang on the corner are overheard by little children and their actions are noticed and remembered. Many of the children when they are playing in the streets, doorways and cellars actually go through the motions which pertain to the word “lay”. I have seen them going through these motions, even children under ten years of age”.
In a report on young adults (Signorelli et al., 2000), the median age at first sexual experience appeared 18 years for both genders. In another study (De Seta et al., 2000) of symptomatic patients attending an outpatient clinic for sexually transmitted diseases between April 1995 and April 1999, the age of sexual intercourse was below 15 in 44.4% of patients (vs 7.7% of control women aged 20 to 40).
four in 10 Italiajn teenage maleshad their first sexual experience with a
prostitute, according to a survey in
a study by Amann-Gainotti (1986; etc.) in
At puberty, a girl becomes a Vergine, Virgin:
“The innate vulnerability of women- defined in terms of their ability to be physically penetrated- is commonly cited to explain and justify their strict surveillance, which begins at puberty. On the one hand, puberty indicates the potential to create life, a potential that should come to fruition following marriage, But Garrese [Garre, Sicilian town] also believe that puberty marks the beginning of a woman’s sexuality- her own sexual urges as well as her sexual appeal to men. Therefore from that point on a woman must be carefully guarded if her virtue is to remain intact”.
Giovanni observes how, through negative and positive terms, women “[…] are socialised to accept and even desire the role of la Vergine”.
As excerpted from Wanrooij (2001):
“Men start masturbating earlier than women: 16.3 percent before age 12, 33.3 percent between age 12 and 13. In any event, the vast majority - both men and women - consider masturbation part of the sexuality of every normal human being. This idea is the outcome of radical changes in the consideration of masturbation. In the nineteenth century, masturbation was the object of severe repression, and was said to be the cause of numerous physical problems. Moreover, masturbation, especially if performed in the presence of other people of the same sex as might occur in boarding schools, was believed to lead to homosexuality. In the twentieth century, opposition against masturbation was based above all on the idea that masturbation undermined the individual’s capacity to use sexuality as a form of communication. Alternatively, masturbation was considered a substitute for “real sex,” an act which could be performed by young people without stable partners, but which denoted a lack of sexual maturity in the case of adults”.
“In the beginning of the twentieth
century, expressions of infantile sexuality were considered a form of
perversion, and were severely repressed. Today, on the contrary, most Italian
parents acknowledge the sexual curiosity of children, but at the same time
fear that games with a sexual overtone may lead to over-sexualization.
Moreover, Italian parents are afraid of the sexual abuse of children by
adults, which is the object of general severe condemnation and repression.
From a legal point of view, sexual relations with minors under age 14 are
considered statutory rape. The age limit is higher, 16, in the case when the
adult person cohabiting with the minor is a relative, guardian, or other
person with educational responsibilities over the minor. A minor who has
sexual relations with another minor is not guilty of any crime, on the
conditions that the younger partner is at least age 13, and the age
difference between the partners is not more than three years. […] In
In a 2001 sample of men and women representing Italians born between 1946 and 1975, it was shown that
“[…] the pattern of men and especially of women has evolved through the cohorts: synchronisation between first sexual intercourse and first marriage has progressively decreased; median age at the event, after a phase of decreasing, has increased again and the most recent generations display an age at first intercourse close to that of the oldest generations but much more spread out along the age axis”.
“During the fascist period the age of consent of then 12 years has been raised in 1930: to 14 for `morally corrupted" youths (Art. 519, 521 CF) and to 16 for the "uncorrupted" (Art. 530 CF). The higher age limit for "innocent" adolescents should serve as a basis for a moralising jurisdiction and i.e. for discrimination of homosexual relations. Fortunately the courts seemed to handle the law rather restrictively. More than 100 people a year have been reported to police for this offence but less than 10 convicted. Now  the offence has been repealed and the new law establishes a uniform, non-discriminating age limit for all youths (whether "corrupted" or not) 14 years (Art. .609 quater CP). Moreover consensual sexual relations with 13 year olds are not punishable if the partner is not older than 16 (Art. 609 quater CP)”.
“A castrato is a type of high-voiced male
singer, produced by castrating young boys with promising voices before they
reached puberty. Castrati rose to prominence in the Italian opera seria of
the 17th and 18th centuries. They were the prima donnas, even the rock stars,
of their day. Somewhat ironically, however, the era of castrati both began
and ended in the church. Castrati are known to have existed in
§ Watkin, N. A., From mutilation to medication: The history of orchidectomy, Br J Urol 80:373-8
Roll, L. () Angels We Have Heard On High: The
Making Of The Castrati In 17th And 18th Century
§ Many links: http://www.radix.net/~dalila/singers/castrati.html
Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. Volume I. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology
Last revised: Dec 2004
G. (1986) Rispetto dell’infanzia e violenza sui minori nella venezia
 Ruggiero, G. (1985) The Boundaries of Eros. New York: Oxford University Press, p138
 Haeberle, E. J. (1997) Sexology: from Italy to Europe and the world, in Simonelli, C. et al. (Eds.) Sessualità e Terzo Millennio, Studi e Ricerche in Sessuologia Clinica. Milan: Franco Angeli. Vol. I, p13-22
 Fisiologia dell’ Amore (1872). Dutch translation, 1889
 On idylls, he remembers 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 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.
 Marro, A. (1899) Influence of the puberal development upon the moral character of children of both sexes, Am J Sociol 5,2:193-219
 Caratteri dei Deliquenti, quoted by Havelock Ellis
 Lombroso, C. (1876) L’Uomo Deliquente. Milan. Translated as Criminal Man; Lombroso, C. (1883) Amori anomali precoci nei pazzi, Archiv di Psichiatria
 Jagstaidt, V., Golay, A. & Pasini, W. (1996) Sexuality and bulimia, New Trends in Exp & Clin Psychia 12,1:9-15
 Caletti, G. (1980) Report on the sexual behavior of a selected group of people, in Forleo, R. & Pasini, W. (Ed.) Medical Sexology. Amsterdam [etc.]: Elsevier, p144-7
 Cafaro, D. (1992) Sesso 2000. 2° Rapporto ASPER. Roma: ASPER
 Negri, E., La Vecchia, C., Franceschi, S. & Parazzini, F. (1993) [Number of sexual partners and age at first intercourse in subsequent generations of Italian males and females], Rev Epidemiol Santé Publique 41,1:59-64
 Parca, G. (1965) Mentalità e Comportamento del Maschio Italiano. Dutch translation (1967), Italiaanse Mannen en de Liefde. Amsterdam: Contact
 Whyte, W. F. (1943a) A slum sex code, Am J Sociol 49,1:24-31; Whyte, W. F. (1943b) Street Corner Society. University of Chicago Press
 Parsons, A. (1964) Is the Oedipus complex universal?, Psychoanal Study Soc 3:278-328. Reprinted in Muensterberger, W. (Ed., 1969) Man and his Culture. London: Rapp & Whinting, p331-84
 Signorelli, C., Renzi, C., Zantedeschi, E. & Bossi, A. (2000) [Prevention focused on sexual behavior], Ann Ist Super Sanita 36,4:441-3
 De Seta, F., Riccoli, M., Sartore, A., De Santo, D., Grimaldi, E., Ricci, G., Wiesenfeld, U. & Guaschino, S. (2000) [Sexual behavior and adolescence], Minerva Ginecol 52,9:339-44
 The Observer,
 Amann-Gainotti, M. (1986) Sexual socialization during early adolescence: the menarche, Adolescence 21,83:703-10. See also Amann-Gainotti, M. (1988) La rappresentazione dell’interno del corpo: uno studio evolutivo, Arch Psicol, Neurol & Psychichia 4:480-98; Amann-Gainotti, M., Nenci, A. M. & Di Prospero, B. (1989) Adolescent girls’ representations of their genital inner space, Adolescence 24,94:473-80; Amann-Gainotti, M., Di Prospero, B. & Nenci, A. M. (1989) [Anatomical knowledge in relation to the female genitalia in adolescent girls], Minerva Ginecol 41,5:231-5; Amann-Gainotti, M. (1989) Knowledge and beliefs about the body interior during early adolescence: the case of menstruations, Acta Paedopsychia 52,2:143-9; Amann-Gainotti, M. & Antenore, C. (1990) Development of internal body image from childhood to early adolescence, Percept & Motor Skills 71,2:387-93
 Giovannini, M. J. (1981) Woman: A Dominant Symbol Within the Cultural System of a Sicilian Town, Man, N. S. 16,3:408-26, at p411
 Wanrooij, B. P. F. (2001) Italy, in Francoeur, R. T. (Ed. in chief) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. Vol. 4. New York: Continuum. Online ed.
 Ongaro, F. (2001) First sexual intercourse in
 Boys Will Be Girls, Girls Will Be Boys: Cross Gender
Roles in Opera. University at Buffalo Music Library
Exhibit, October 1, 2003-
 Pleasants, H.
(1970) The Great Singers: From the Dawn of Opera to Our Own Time.