IndexPacificsMelanesiaSolomon IslandsKurtatchi

Tikopia, Kurtatchi, Shortland Isl., Siuai




Blackwood (1935:p82-3)[1] speaks of “comparatively little sexual interest” in children’s games and reciprocal behaviour; “I have seen imitations of the act of coitus performed by children; they were done quite openly, butt amounted to no more than taking up the appropriate position. […] Small children who finger their own genitals of those of their companions are always promptly reproved by an older child or an adult”. When a boy puts on his upi, at the age of nine to ten (or earlier) to 18, he is “forbidden to play or have any close converse with the girls and women. […] One or two cases were reported to me of boys still wearing the upi, but they were spoken of with bated breath, and clearly considered very great enormities and quite exceptional” (p100). Formal education is not given, not even during initiation (183, 199). Sexual incidents take on a prominent place in stories and myths told by children and adults of both sexes.

Girls are betrothed in their first year, and in the past “[…] it was only exceptionally that a girl was not claimed by a husband at or before sexual maturity […]” (p99-100). The boy may already wear his upi by then, and “[t]he marriage is never consummated till the puberty ceremonies are finished and the upi removed, and usually not until the girl has experienced her first menstruation, though there appear to be some exceptions to this latter rule”, which is when a youth marries more than one wife.












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

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Blackwood, B. (1935) Both Sides of Buka Passage. Oxford: Clarendon Press. See also (Ford, 1945 [1964:p20]) and Whiting, J. & Child, I. (1953) Child Training and Personality: A Cross-Cultural Study. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p88-9