Green characterises the rural lower
class pattern as follows:
“Sex training in these
Jamaican communities [Rocky Roads, Mocca, Negril, FarquharBeach] does not
follow dependence-independence patterns. It is relatively unimportant.
Mothers shelter their daughters so that pregnancies will not produce too many
mouths to feed- thus undermining economic security- and there is no
masculine-feminine modes of behavior, virginity, or fecundity” (p42).
a study by MacCormack and Draper (1987), virtually half of female respondents stated a girl passes to the
status of Woman at menarche; a quarter stated it coincided with pregnancy,
and 6% stated it occurred with the beginning of sex relations. According to
data by Roberts and Sinclair (1978:p80) menarche occurred at a mean age of 14.21 in women under twenty-five,
suggesting a one years’ drop over a single generation. According to Brody
(1981), 28% of girls received no information on menarche prior to its first
occurrence. Other studies confirm that girls are told very little about
menstruation and sex before their first occurrence (Clarke, 1957:p98; Roberts and Sinclair, 1978:p109, 111; Allen, 1982:p26, Thompson, 1982:p27, 30; cf. Blake, 1961:p52-6. 72, 76-9; Greenfeld, 1966:p108-9; Kerr, 1963:p39-41, 67, 80).
As an older source reveals, “[a]t home the attitude of the parents towards
sex instruction and masturbation vary. Most mothers tend to avoid giving sex
instruction […]. There is definitely a reticence to discuss sexual matters
with children […] Masturbation is sometimes regarded as an evil [in that it]
will impair the virility of the child later on […]. Some parents, however,
“will deliberately encourage their children in premature sexual activities,
even with each other”. A girl relates: “[…] I never heard anything from
anybody and had to find out things for myself. […] I never even know what he
was doing until he get it in there” (Blake). Puberty may be “the beginning of
the period of sex experimentation” (Hendriques, 1953:p131, 133). “ ‘Boys are not taught as much as girls’. They were not punished as
are the girls if their early sex experimentation was discovered, nor did they
receive any instruction from their fathers as to the responsibilities of
paternity” (Clarke, 1957 [1979:p98]).
(p89-90) mentioned that girls aged 14 engaged in sexual intercourse with
mature men upon the bestowal of rather minor gifts, such as a chocolate candy
bar. However, it was argued by Sanford
(1975:p161-2) that the girls were rarely taken advantage of.
masturbation [genital play, DJ.] is, unlike early sexual experiences, not
admitted by mothers, who indicate that they will stop it if seen. One mother
would flog the children, reasoning they would “hurt” themselves (Kerr, p41).
tends to be scheduled in early adolescence. Olenick reported a low mean
coitarchal age of 13.4 for sexually experienced male respondents in 1997
(opposing a mean of 15.9 for females). According to data collected in the mid-1970s, Brody found that 87.3%
of girls had coitache at ages 14-19, the youngest being 9. In a sample of
women attending antenatal clinics, Mukerjee (1982:p23) found that 29% had their first experience at age 15 or younger. In a
similar survey, Allen (1982:p29) found that the youngest was 11 and the mode
was 14, some three years earlier than girls’ mothers. In a comparative study of
young women from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Murphy (1982:p23) found a range of ages for first intercourse from 7 to 18, with a
modal age of 15 (cf. Rubenstein, 1987:p263-4) []. In a study reported by Warren et al. (1988) of sexually experienced
adolescents (ages 14-24; 46.8% of males before age 14, 15.3% of females
before age 14), first sexual intercourse occurred before age ten in 14.7% (M)
and 0.5% (F); at age ten in 10.8% (M) and 0.4% (F); at age eleven in 6.3% (M)
and 1.2%), and at age twelve in 13.5% (M) and 4.5% (F). Mean ages were 14.3
(M) and 16.9 (F); mean ages of first partners were 13.2 for males and 19.7
for females. It was hypothesised that females referred to experiences at
occurred later than actual sexarche, and that males were bragging (p138).
on a 1995 study on 945 Jamaican students aged 11-14 (Eggleston et al., 1999; cf. Jackson et al., 1998:p26ff), 5.8% of girls and 64.4% of boys reported sexual intercourse. The
mean ages indicated were as low as 11.3 (girls) and 9.4 (boys). “Forty-five
percent of boys reporting sexual activity claimed they first had sexual
intercourse at age nine or younger. This unlikely finding suggests that boys
overreported their sexual experience. Only four of the 28 girls who reported
having had sex said they had intercourse prior to ten” (p81).
“In each group, some
boys insisted that a boy might have sex at age eight or nine or younger. A
boy at a rural school related how sex at this age might occur: “A boy and a
girl a play dolly house- the boy the father and the girl the mother. Them a
sleep and things get outta hand. Him start feel her up, you know, them take
off clothes, kissing go on…him push it in, she start cry” (ibid.).
survey material typically indicated that girls thought that sexual
intercourse should await ages 21 for boys and 22 for girls (boys stated that
both sexes should wait till age 20), a “sizable proportion” of boys in
discussion groups indicated “that a boy should have sex by age 12 or 13”
(p80). Boy’s intercourse experience is met with high status among peers;
girls are not likely to tell peers, since they would be accused of being
called sketels [sluts]. Of course, neither sex is going to tell parents.
a follow-up study (Eggleston, et al., 2000), it was revealed that boys were nearly 14 times more likely to report
their sexual experience inconsistently.
Cohen (1955:p279-80, 284)
stated that, although flogged for a variety of reasons,
“[t]here is never any
parental interference with erotic or genital play during infancy, childhood
or adolescence, save for the imposition of the incest taboo during late
infancy. Infants and children, both boys and girls, masturbate frequently and
openly without any evidence of guilt and shame. At no time are they punished,
teased, or praised by their parents for their autoeroticism; the parents are
aware of the erotic play of their children, but never comment on it. […]
Masturbation ceases completely, according to observation and the reports of
parents, at about the age of four years and is rarely resumed in adolescence
or adulthood. […] Premarital sexual intercourse begins at puberty for boys
and girls. There seems to be few indications of anxiety or guilt surrounding
sexual behavior in Rocky Roads”.
D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin:
Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology
revised: Dec 2004