IES: Indonesia







JAVANESE (Java, Indonesia)



IndexIndonesia → Javanese

 “Sex is never discussed openly; “Javanese equals and close friends, however, do discuss sex frequently, and this is how adolescent boys and girls learn about it. It is generally believed that that boys receive much of their early sexual experience from prostitutes in the towns who are associated with coffee stalls along the streets. I have never been able to find out how the adolescent boys of the villages where prostitutes are not available obtain their actual early experience. Village girls usually have only a very brief adolescence, as they marry between the ages of twelve and fifteen”[1], which according to Geertz is an exponent of control. Parents avoid sex talk and intercourse in front of children, but would leave room for “indirect observation, the overhearing of adult conversations, or the imparting of information by older people such as grandparents” (Koentjaraningrat, [1971:p98])[2]. Adolescents are said to have their “first” sexual experience with town prostitutes or a select group of girls or women who are “willing to be free with their favors” (Jay, 1969:p36, 44)[3]. Among the ®Sundanese, infants’ genital region is “gelegentlich freundlich-neutral gestreichelt […] (Von Loh, 1996:p122)[4]. At the age of 40 days, the girl’s clitoris is rubbed with a paste made of turmeric, which is believed to have healing properties. At least in the late 1950s, the organ was then slightly “incised” with no blood drawn (Jaspan and Hill, 1987:p22)[5].





 Additional refs.:


§         Geertz (1961)[6]

§         Shaluhiyah, Zahroh, ‘Sexual scripts and sexual interaction of young people in Central Java’. Association of South East Asian Studies (UK) 22nd Conference 2005, “Turbulence and Continuity in South East Asia”, Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May 2005 []

§         Suryoputro, Antono, ‘The pattern of risk of youth sexual behaviour in Central Java:  Implications for Sexual and reproductive health policy and services’. Association of South East Asian Studies (UK) 22nd Conference 2005, “Turbulence and Continuity in South East Asia”, Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May 2005 []




Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Apr 2005


[1] Koentjaraningrat (1985) Javanese Culture. Oxford [etc]: Oxford University Press, p120

[2] Koentjaraningrat, R. M. (1960) The Javanese of South Central Java, in Murdock, G. (Ed.) Social Structure in Southeast Asia. Chicago Quadrangle Books. 1971 reprint, p88-115

[3] Jay, R. R. (1969) Javanese Villagers. Cambridge, Mass. [etc.]: The MIT Press

[4] Von Loh, S. (1996) Frühe Kindheit der Sundanesen auf West-Java, Indonesien, in Gottschalk-Batschkus, Ch. E. & Schuler, J. (Eds.) Ethnomedizinische Perspektiven zur Frühen Kindheit. Berlin: VWB, Verlag fuer Wissenschaft und Bildung, p115-26

[5] Jaspan, H. & Hill, L. (1987) The Child and the Family. University of Hull, Centre for South-East Asian Studies

[6] Geertz, H. (1961) The Javanese Family: A Study of Kinship and Socialization. New York: Free Press of Glencoe