Growing Up Sexually

World Reference Atlas (Oct., 2002)


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Janssen, D. F. (Oct., 2002). Growing Up Sexually. Volume I: World Reference Atlas.

Interim report. Amsterdam, The Netherlands




South America

[See also Latin America]


Geographic Index


Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Equador, French Guiana, Guiana, Paraquay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela


Ethnographic Index


Alkatcho, Amahuaca, Apinayé, Araucanians, Aritama, Aymara, Bahia, Bakairí, Bororó, Canela (Eastern Timbira), Cashinahua; Cayapá, Cubeo, Embera, Guajiro, Guaraní, Guatos, Jivaro, Kagaba, Kagwahiv, Kaingángs, Kayabí, Kogi, Machiguenga, Mataco, Mehinaku, Nambikwara, Ndyuka, Ona, Pilagá, Saramakans, Sharanahua, Shavante, Shipibo, Siriono, Tapirapé, Teheulche, Tenetehara, Ramcocramecra Timbira, Trumaí, Tucano, Tupinambá, Vaupé, Wai-Wai, Warao, Wari', Xokleng, Yahgan, Yanomamö, Yaruros, Zorcas




Contents of Section  [up] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


South America. 1


Introduction  1

Current Age of Consent in Central and South America  2

Early Betrothal / Marriage  2

Psychoanalysis  3

Ethnographic Particularities  3


Notes  28




Introduction  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Werner (1986), as cited by Frayser (1994:p206-7)[1] provided some data on the sexual climate of children in South America:


"Xokleng children of southern Brazil often sleep with adults who engage in sexual activities with them; such relations are regarded as amusing and playful […]. Siriono women of Bolivia often had sex with the prepubescent brothers of their husbands, and older Tupinamba women in Brazil who did not have the favor of older men might constantly accompany young boys, to whom they gave presents and instruction in sexual matters […]".


"As in the Melanesian cultures of the Pacific, initiation, more than marriage, is indispensable in northwest Amazonia to the transition from the asexual world of childhood to the sexual world of adults"[2], a transition that is commonly associated with "playful" transitional male homosexuality[3]. De Freitas et al. (1997)[4] from Brazil found that "12 percent of Paulistanos and Cariocas and 17 percent of other, non urban respondents reported erotic contact with animals in their childhood or adolescence". In Paraguay, Mantegazza[5] personally observed that "children of both sexes, stark naked, playing freely together, and I believe that more than once, out of curiosity and for amusement, they try copulation long before the age of puberty, which little by little dilates the genital parts of the girl, and results probably in a gradual loss of the maidenhead, without violence".

Among the Kulisehu, the praeputium is tucked under a waist string, so as to elongate it. This is customary. "Man hält den Jüngling zu diesem Verfahren an, wenn sie die ersten Erektionen eintreten", according to Von den Steinen (1897:p188)[6].


An overview of sexarche figures was offered by Wulf and Singh (1991)[7].



Current Age of Consent in Central and South America[8]  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


For details, one is to consult ECPAT[9] and ILGA[10]. Graupner (2000) offers data on the sexual consent of Brazil (14, all categories) and Chile (20, all categories). Some data on sexual consent and sex education in are collected by the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP)[11]. ECPAT (Nov., 2002) considers AoC for the following South American countries: Bolivia (14)[12], Brazil, Chile ([12])[13], Colombia (14)[14], Ecuador ([14])[15], Guyana[16] (13), Paraguay (14 [het.])[17], Peru (14), Uruguay (15)[18] and Venezuela[19]; it is unclear about Suriname[20]. For the Caribbean: Barbados (16) [21], Cuba (none) [22], Dominica (16), Dominican Republic (none)[23], Jamaica (16)[24], Saint Kitts & Nevis (16), and Trinidad & Tobago[25].


The age of consent is 16 on Cuba; in Guatemala, it is 18; in French Guiana, it is 15; in Honduras, it is 14. Argentina: "Será reprimido con reclusión o prisión de seis a quince años, el que tuviere acceso carnal con persona de uno o otro sexo en los casos siguientes: 1) Cuando la víctima fuere menor de doce (12) años […]" (Artículo 119, Código Penal vigente, 1921). "Se impondrá reclusión o prisión de tres a seis años, cuando la víctima fuere mujer honesta mayor de doce (12) años y menor de quince (15) y no se encontrare en las circunstancias de los números 2 y 3 del articulo anterior" (Art. 120). Bolivia: "La edad de consentimiento para la actividad sexual, previo matrimonio civil, en las mujeres, es de catorce (14) años de edad. Para los varones es de dieciséis (16) años". Chile: "De las disposiciones mencionadas y en relación con los artículos 361 (violación) ; 363 (estupro) ; y 366 (abusos deshonestos) del Código Penal, se desprende que la libertad para consentir el acto sexual, es a los doce (12) años en las mujeres siempre que no exista violencia, ni intimidación, ni este privada de razón por cualquier causa". The Law of Marriage, 10 of Januari of 1884, in the article 4°N°2, prohibits prepubertal marriage (12 for girls, 14 for boys). Colombia: "El que realice actos sexuales diversos del acceso carnal con personas menores de 14 años o en su presencia o lo induzca a practicas sexuales, estará sujeto a la pena de 2 a 5 años de prisión" (Art. 305). The age of consent for sexual activity is 12 for woman and 14 years for males. Costa Rica: "Será reprimido con prisión de cinco a diez años, el que tuviere acceso carnal con una persona de uno u otro sexo en los siguientes casos: Cuando la víctima fuere menor de doce años […]" (Art. 156, Penal Code). "Se impondrá prisión de uno a cuatro años, el que tuviere acceso carnal con mujer honesta aun con su consentimiento, mayor de doce años y menor de quince" (Art. 159). In Jamaica, "[w]hosoever shall unlawfully and carnally know and abuse any girl under the age of twelve (12) years shall be guilty of felony, and, being convicted thereof, shall be liable to imprisonment for life (Art. 48). "Whosoever shall unlawfully and carnally know and abuse any girl being above the age of twelve (12) years and under the age of sixteen (16) years shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof, shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years" (Art. 50). Mexico: "Al que tenga cópula con persona mayor de doce años y menor de
dieciocho, obteniendo su consentimiento por medio de engaño, se le aplicará de tres meses a cuatro años de prisión" (Art. 262, Penal Code). Panama:?. Peru
: "El que practica el acto sexual u otro análogo con menor de catorce (14) años de edad será reprimido con las siguientes penas privativas de libertad: 1.Si la víctima tiene menos de siete años, la pena será de cadena perpetua; 2. Si la víctima tiene de siete años a menos de diez la pena será no menor de veinticinco ni mayor de treinta años.  3.Si la víctima tiene de diez años a menos de catorce la pena será no menor de veinte ni mayor de veinticinco años" (Art. 173, Code Penal). "El que, mediante engaño, practica el acto sexual o otro análogo con una persona de Catorce (14) y menor de dieciocho (18), será reprimido con pena privativa de libertad no mayor de tres años o con prestación de servicio comunitario de treinta a setentiocho jornadas" (Art. 175). Puerto Rico: "Every person who, without intending to consummate sexual intercourse, commits any indecent or lewd act with another person shall be punished by imprisonment as provided hereinafter if any of the following circumstances occur: If the victim is under fourteen (14) years of age […]" (Art. 4067). Uruguay:?. Venzuela: "" El que por medio de violencias o amenazas hay constreñido a alguna persona, del uno o del otro sexo, a un acto carnal, será castigado con presidio de cinco a diez años. La misma pena se le aplicara al individuo que tenga un acto carnal con persona de uno u otro sexo, que en el momento del delito: No tuviere doce (12) años de edad […]" (Art. 375, Penal Code).



Early Betrothal / Marriage  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


The Spanish forbade prepubertal marriage in 1581[26]. Despite this act, parental selection of marriage partners survived in many indigenous peoples.


Sumner (1906:p382)[27] cited reports that of child marriage where "girls of ten are mothers"[28]. Child betrothal is reported among the Guaraní of the Paraná River. "In some cases little girls were given to grown men, who lived with their child wives, probably in the house of their future parents-in-law" (Métraux, 1948)[29]. Child betrothal is also reported among the Cainguá, but the girls were said to remain with their parents, who receive presents from their prospective sons-in-law (ibid.). Among the Ona, "There was no child betrothal proper" (Cooper, 1946)[30]. For the Samaraka, "[i]n the past, girls were formally betrothed (kiiá) well before puberty, and "betrothal in the womb" was an accepted practice, while today mean age at betrothal is only a year or two below age at marriage and child betrothal is unknown" (Price, 1975)[31]. Among the Warao, "[t]here were boys who were betrothed to little girls who had not yet reached puberty" (Heinen, [1988])[32]. Among the Brazilian Yanomamo, "[p]arents may also betroth their children while they are still infants" (Early & Peters, 1990)[33]. Among the Cuna, the premarital four-day debut ceremony is even sometimes given before puberty in the parents' zeal to insure their daughter's having it (Stout, 1947:p34). As for the Asang, "[a] girl at a very early age, between eight and nine, is betrothed to a young man, who at once takes up residence in the house of her parents, whom he assists until […] [she] is old enough to be married, when, without ceremony, they are recognized as man and wife (Pim and Seeman, 1869:p306-7)[34]. Helms (1971:p85)[35] observed that this was no longer customary. The Aikaná practised betrothal in childhood, marriage took place after menarche (Becker-Donner, ?:p280)[36]. The same was formerly so in the Makurap (p290). The Bororo practised rearing marriage (Levak, 1973:p77-8)[37].



Psychoanalysis  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


A number of psychoanalytic journals provide an insight in Latin American academic integration of Freudian measures of "infantile sexuality" and associated concepts. These include the Revista de Psicoanalisis (Asociacion Psicoanalitica Argentina), Tropicos: Revista de Psicoanalisis (Sociedad Psicoanalitica de Caracas, Venezuela), Revista Chilena de Psicoanalisis (Asociacion Psicoanalitica Chilena, Chile), Revista Uruguaya de Psicoanalisis (Asociacion Psicoanalitica Del Uruguay), etc. [For a more comprehensive list, see]


[Examples: Vaz-Ferreira, C. (1941) Correlaciones entre los aspectos psicologico, fisiologico, endocrinologico y anatomico de la sexualidad infantile, Rev Psiquia Uruguay 6:15-23; Dowling, A. S. (1983) Analisis de una nina en su periodo de latencia, Rev Psicoanal 40,2:437-58; Rascovsky, A. (1993) Consideraciones psicosomaticas sobre la evolucion sexual del nino: Paralelismo entre las expresiones psicologicas, fisiologicas y estructurales, Rev Psicoanal 50,3:637-84; Litvinoff, H. (1997) Reflexiones sobre la sexualidad femenina, Rev Psicoanal 54,1:117-48. See also Nedeff, C. C. (2001) Contribuicoes da sexologia sobre a sexualidade infantil nos dois primeiros anos de vida: uma revisao bibliografica, Psicologia: Teoria & Pratica 3,2:83-91; Soifer, R. (1990) Narcisismo, autoerotismo, simbiosis e incesto. Su conexion con las dos formas de relacion objetal en los primeros anos de vida, Rev Psicoanal 47,2:335-8; Aberastury, A. (1970) [The importance of genital organization in the initiation of the early Oedipus complex], Rev Psicoanal 27,1:5-25]




Ethnographic Particularities  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]




Colombia (Kogi, Embera, Cubeo, Kagaba, Tukano, Aritama, Zorcas, Alkatcho)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index] [IES]


Two studies were done by Alzate (1978, 1984)[38] on female Colombian university students, revealing data on masturbarche and coitarche. Romanowski et al. (1996)[39] reported on rural parent-child communication on sexuality using a sample of adults and adolescents. Rodrigues et al.[40] report on a study of 200 men assessed for treatment of sexual dysfunction in private clinics, arguing in favour of a relationship between childhood and present curiosity about sex. Bonilla and Fernanda-Mejia (1991)[41] found that 400 teenagers (aged 14-19 years) experienced "poor communication with parents [on the topic of sex] because of the fear of being judged, rejected, or misunderstood". Ebert and Money (1986)[42] report of a Catholic woman's development of awareness and acceptance of her children's sexuality. The subjects own sexual education, her mother's repressive attitudes, the punitive attitudes of the Catholic Church and Catholic schools, her own developing sexuality, her sexual activities as a young adult, and her interactions with her children are discussed.


Fals Borda (1955:p204)[43] stated that "[a]ccording to accounts, the first sexual experiences begin early in adolescence". This would be slightly over age 15 for married mestizo women (Lopez, 1967:p454)[44]. Males indicate a "sort of" virginity complex, the experienced coach the virgos. In Cartagena area Colombia, boys have intercourse practice with donkeys (Brongersma, 1987:p129)[45].

Solano and Gonzalez (1987)[46] studied the sexual attitudes and knowledge of female teachers in government and private preschool institutions in Barranquilla, Colombia. Subjects completed a sexual attitudes and knowledge inventory, and mean scores for various groups were compared [note: not seen by the compiler. It was not established whether the "attitudes" and "knowledge" pertains to child matters].


[Additional refs: Gonzáles, J. M. et al. (2001) Colombia, in Francoeur, R. T. ( chief) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. Vol. 4. New York: Continuum. Online ed.; CRLP (1997) Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Latin America and the Caribbean, p69-90. Also Progress Report, 2000, p30-8; Restrepo Angel, H. E., Awad Audad, E. L., Correa-Molina, G. S., Gonzalez-Soto, M. D. et al. (1988)Educacion sexual en las familias de adolescentes escolarizados del area metropolitana del Valle de Aburra [Sex education in families of high school students of the metropolitan area of the Aburra Valley],Rev Latinoam Sexol 3,1:25-41; Fomez-Ponce-de-Leon, R. F. (1994) Educacion sexual en la adolescencia, Rev Latinoam Sexol 9,1:31-48]


Kogi (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, northern Colombia) (unrated) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


In some Sierra Nevada tribes, both girls and boys were initiated to sexual intercourse by an older adult (Park, p883)[47]. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1951)[48] provides a reasonably elaborate account of the sexual climate of the Kogi child.


First two years:


"From the first days of their lives, the sexual organs of the babies are covered carefully, and every day the mother repeats this act very demonstratively, drawing the cloths of the clothing between the child's legs. Constant threats accompany the children in this regard during the first two years: "Hide your penis because an animal will eat it up!" is said to male children, and "Cover yourself, because a snake will get into you!" is said to the girls. It is daily repeated to boys that it is the toad that will eat or bite this organ, and little girls are told that the aggressive animal is the snake or the "worm". When one mentions the word "toad" or "snake" in front of children about two years old, they always react with a rapid movement of the hands toward the genital region" [see also p283-4].


Two to six (p219-20):


"[T]he mother, in addition to masturbating her son, shows a lively interest in the erotic pleasures which her daughter derives from her body and takes a certain pride in the fact that this instinct is developing in her children. Both parents nevertheless try to avoid having the children observe the sexual activities of the adults, and since these are carried out almost solely at night and outside the house, the children evidently do not have any occasion to learn about them. […] [C]hildren five or six years old are frequently subjected to sexual aggression by adults; and homosexual relations between children and adolescents of both sexes occur, although they are strictly prohibited and severely punished in case they are discovered. Upon finding themselves with persons who are not known, children about two years old already cover or touch their sexual organs, which the Kogi interpret as a means of defense. In reality it is more probably a means of self-assurance in new situations, and the same phenomenon is later observed among the adults, although at times they substitute for the sexual organ some object which they manipulate with the fingers".


From six to twelve:


"Infantile sexuality is watched more and more by the adults during these years, and the increase of the instinct sometimes causes serious difficulties between father and son. Nonetheless, the boys still do not know anything concrete about the sexual life of the adults. At times they may have heard an obscene word or seen a suggestive gesture, but their imagination in this regard is based principally on the fragments of songs and myths which they have heard in the ceremonial house. The symbolism of these, in which sexuality, aggressiveness, and concern about food are constantly intermixed, seems to cause serious worries in this stage of childhood".


Parental attitudes to masturbation are contradicting (p284-5):


"Masturbatory manipulations by male children are regarded as a serious danger to the sexuality of the father and, it is said, lead to the End of the World. The same is said with reference to girls, but in this case it does not affect the parents magically, but rather the health of the girl herself. Masturbation is thus regarded as "very bad" and is severely sanctioned with physical punishment. It might be that the father himself beats the child on his buttocks with a stick, or it might also be that he would take him before the Máma, who punishes him by "kneeling" him. It is above all the fathers who are concerned about the masturbation of their children; the mothers do not take it so seriously, and at times they do not tell their husbands anything when they discover a child in this act. Even at 3-4 years old, the mothers frequently masturbate their children in order to calm them and make them sleep. This occurs without the knowledge of the father, who, should he find out about it, would not hesitate to denounce his wife and child before the Máma. In the following years masturbation increases, especially among the males; its strict prohibition and the fear of castration and of severe punishments cause a marked anxiety among the young men. During adolescence and maturity, masturbatory practices continue, even though the individual is married".


At puberty (ages 11-12), the boy is given a gourd in a ceremony that includes a symbolic defloration.

The Máma talks to him "about the future sexual relations between man and woman", and has a ceremonial coitus with an old woman. "The rite represents essentially the introduction of the individual to sexual life. It is natural that the symbolism of the ceremony, the beginning of the slow intoxication of cocaine and, above all, the tremendous experience of the first coitus cause a profound impression at this age".


After menache,


"It is the duty of the mothers to teach their daughters what behavior is to be observed when the first menstruation appears, and they are responsible if this behavior is not observed. […] Then the Máma divines who should deflower the girl. Generally this is an "Elder", a man who is not related to her, but many times the Máma himself performs this act. The man, or the Máma, then builds a small house (nyuíji hubé -- the house of the bat), where the first coitus is to take place. On the previous day the Máma gives the girl a spindle wheel and a needle of deer bone (sometimes made out of its antlers) and explains to the girl that these two implements represent male and female sexual organs. Both objects are placed in the little house, and after the coitus the girl gathers them up and keeps them carefully since they are the sewá which now allow her to marry. Coitus must be repeated for four days, and it is said that the hymen should be broken gradually and not in the first act, since otherwise the girl would be sterile in her marriage. Upon leaving the little house, the man touches the girl's navel with the point of the little lime stick, an act with which the initiation is considered ended. The man who performed the defloration, and who is regarded as "hired" by the girl's family, now receives from her parents some gifts of food, such as yuca, platanos, or potatoes. The Máma fumigates the woman's house for several days, burning frailejon leaves" (p39-40).


Reichel-Dolmatoff (1987:p106-7)[49]:


"In Kogi myth the Great Mother sexually initiates her son; in real life, a Kogi youth is initiated by an old woman (no kin) in a cave or in a specially built beehive-shaped hut, a deeply disturbing experience, from what people say. Many Kogi say that they were initiated by their own mothers but this is doubtful or may be related to the mother-wife equivalence Kogi men are likely to establish. It is significant in this context that the word for woman […], which is used in familiar conversation instead of sewá, means wife, and is the same word for daughter […]. Of course, both terms are related to munsá, meaning vagina or "dawn of creation". Kogi girls, at reaching puberty, are sexually initiated by a priest who is a father figure".


Reichel-Dolmatoff (1976)[50]:


"Ideally, a Kogi priest should divest himself of all sensuality and should practice sexual abstinence [ [51]], but this prohibition is contradicted in part by the rule that all nubile girls must be deflowered by the máma who, alone, has the power to neutralize the grave perils of pollution that according to the Kogi are inherent inthis act. Similar considerations demand that, at puberty, a boy should be sexually initiated by the máma's wife or, in some cases, by an old woman specially designated by the máma. During the puberty ritual of a novice, the master's wife thus initiates the youth, an experience frought with great anxiety and which is often referred to in later years as a highly traumatic event" (p280).


The same is said by Pruess (1926)[52] for the Cagaba:


"For the boy, as soon as the time for sexual intercourse has arrived [puberty?], packets of the stones […] and […] are readied, and a widow is chosen by the priest to teach him the method of co-habitation. She is called […] (teaching old woman), […] thus again a magical act, as is also expressed in the teaching of the temple novices. For each individual case a little hut, which is the same as the christening and wedding huts, is built for this purpose. But it is only called hutsukua (little hut). The same was formerly done by an "old one" ([…], the teaching old man) with a girl after the first menstruation".


The trial is reported to be terrifying to the boy and it is often several days before he succeeds, only after which he is allowed to leave the hut (cf., Whiting et al. [1958:p367])[53].

So also by Park (d1965:p883)[54]:


"Formerly, at the end of seclusion [after the onset of puberty], Cágaba and Ica girls were initiated into the sexual act by older experienced men. It is said that this practice is no longer followed. […] Boys are given a lime container (pororo) at puberty and initiated into the sexual act by older women, usually widows. No other observation of boys' passage into manhood has been reported".



Embera (Colombia)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


According to Losonczy (1993)[55], the beginning of the menstrual cycle marks the opening of the feminine body to "a cosmic movement, focused on the capacity of childbearing". The girl in the ambiguous transitional phase between childhood and maturity is represented in initiation rites as an accomplice, seductress, and nurturer of supernatural beings. This transitional status must culminate in marriage and maternity to sustain the cosmic movement of production and reproduction.



Cubeo (2-,2-,3,2+,3,3;3,3;G3) (northwest Amazon; Vaupés region of the Colombian Amazon)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Young children who indulge in heterosexual play are "shamed by the older boys for ignoring the proprieties of privacy" (Goldman, 1963:p181)[56]. "Girls undergo digital defloration at the age of eight, I was told. An old man of the sib who is no longer virile is charged with this task. He is said to stretch the young girl's vagina until he can insert three fingers. He then announces, "You are a woman". The Cubeo say that if a girl should reach her first menstruation with her hymen intact coitus will ever after be painful for her and she will have difficulties during parturition. Digital defloration is a secret act; officially, the Cubeo credit the moon with the act. The moon copulates at night with a young girl and brings on her first menstruation. Thus, a prepubescent girl is referred to as paúnwe bebíko (one who has not yet copulated with the moon)" (p179-80).



Kagaba (Colombia) (unrated)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Gregersen (1983:p273) states: "Children of about five or six are frequently subjected to sexual advances by adults, so there seems to have been an exceptionally high incidence of paedophilia".



Tukano, Vaupé (Colombia) (unrated) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Da Silva (1962:p592)[57], on the Colombian Vaupés:


"[…] the precocity of the children, especially of the female sex, is remarkable. It surprises us to see how individuals who on the outside still look like children are subjected to the rite of the puberty initiation […]. How much they appear to know is an even greater surprise. Children still quite young know perfectly all the mystery of life, like any adult. The girls enter the mission schools at seven or eight years of age, and at this age they not infrequently reveal full knowledge of this subject. Sometimes the thought that already absorbs and preoccupies them is that of marriage, a Missionary Sister Superior revealed to us. They talk of that often, and perhaps they might already even know whom they are going to marry, according to the customs of the tribe and the desires of the parents".


Da Siva also noted public mutual masturbation by boys (p181), although officially, homosexuality only occurs in the puberty rites for boys. The Vaupé "conceive the sexual relations between the two sexes as a normal pleasure for the individuals who have reached the legal majority by the puberty rite, and therefore such relations are practiced publicly, in front of their own parents of their own spouse […]".


Initiation, more than marriage, means "passage from the asexual world of childhood to the sexual world of adults (Hugh-Jones, 1979a, 1979b:p110)[58], or "the beginning of the participation in the circuit of sexual energy" (H-J [1971]). "The rite marks the start of the public sexual life, because up to this time they can only practice it secretly" (Da Silva), which may also be true for girls (p671). However, "[b]oys approaching initiation are sometimes involved in homosexual teasing which takes place in hammocks in public [...]" (H-J, 1979a:p160). Arhem (1981)[59]:


"Between the first and second menstruations, a shaman performs protective magic for her. During this time, she is also taught the role and duties of an adult and married woman. After her second menstruation, the shaman starts to bless food in the usual sequence. The girl gradually returns to normal life and eating habits. When her hair has grown long again, she is considered an adult woman. She may now have sexual relations with men and is free to marry".


"The male initiate is taught that physical strength, fierceness and sexual aggressivity are the essence of manhood. In fact, the period following upon the main Jurupari ritual at the culmination of the male initiation is considered the proper time for marriage among the Makuna. It is also during this period that the young men learn the male skills and crafts that are required of them in order to take a wife. In practice, young, initiated men are not considered entirely adult until they are married".


"Male sexuality is so very much linked to ritual that it seems unjust to separate them. An example is the ritual of Yuruparí, in which the initiates are openly compared to menstruating women, ritually imitating the loss of menstrual blood, dying, and being reborn (Hugh-Jones, 1974)[[60]]. Menstrual and initiation rites are full of physiological sexual references. "The initiates' potential role in sexual reproduction is stressed, but the low position and small size of their flutes emphasises the newness and immaturity of their adult physiology. The flutes have a phallic aspect (shown both in myth and in the rite itself where they are blown over the boys' naked penises) and by using them the boys are opening their own penises" (Hugh-Jones, 1979a:p147).


During initiation, sexual intercourse is forbidden (Hugh-Jones, 1979b:p85)[61]. Girls should remain virgins till first menstruation and boys until after initiation (p201).


In one myth, "[t]he Daughter of the Sun had not yet reached puberty when her father made love to her. The Sun committed incest with her at Wainambí Rapids, and her blood flowed forth; since then, women must lose blood every month in remembrance of the incest of the Sun and so that this great wickedness will not be forgotten. But his daughter liked it and so she lived with her father as if she were his wife. She thought about sex so much that she became thin and ugly and lifeless. Newly married couples become pale and thin because they only think of the sexual act, and this is called gamúri. But when the Daughter of the Sun had her second menstruation, the sex act did harm to her and she did not want to eat anymore. She lay down on a rock, dying; her imprint there can still be seen on a large boulder at Wainambí Rapids. When the Sun saw this, he decided to make gamú bayári, the

invocation that is made when the girls reach puberty. The Sun smoked tobacco and revived her. Thus, the Sun established customs and invocations that are still performed when young girls have their first menstruation" (Reichel-Dolmatoff, [1971:p28-9])[62]. "[…] the adults stimulate the youths during puberty in their erotic games and are proud of their precociousness even when this is not expressed in heterosexual acts" (Amazonian Cosmos, p245).



Aritama (Northern Colombia)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Reichel-Dolmatoff and Reichel-Dolmatoff (1961:p87, 96)[63]: "The genitals of babies are frequently touched and rubbed in a playful manner by adults and children, not only when nursing but on any other occasion. Male children especially are handled in such a fashion, and often a mother can be seen kissing her infant's penis of fondling it to quiet his crying. Adults make joking remarks about the future virility of the baby, about the size of his penis, and about his reactions to such caresses". Further (p96):


"As children are able to observe the sex life of adults, they soon try to imitate it, and at about four or five years boys and girls imitate coitus in the presence of adults. Such behavior is not punished, as people believe it is quite natural in children. Masturbation is common at about three years and is always severely punished by slaps and threats of castration, accompanied by the showing of knives and scissors to scare the child. All adults and older children are obliged to denounce masturbatory practices of younger children immediately to the parents. All this in spite of the fact that mothers quite often masturbate their children when putting them to sleep. A certain tendency to exhibitionism is observed in boys between two and five years. During these ages "urinating contests"- in which the boys vie to see who can come nearest a target with his stream of urine- are common. Or, in the presence of parents and other people, the boys will try to urinate into a bottle, or will persecute a girl by trying to urinate on her dress. These "show-offs" are laughed at by the adults, and rather encouraged, but at five years of age the sexes are separated at play, both boys and girls tending to form their own play-groups, without mixing".


Zorcas (Caucaa Valley, Colombia)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


According to Beals (1961:p601)[64], after betrothal in infancy marriage was consummated at first menstruation, although betrothed infants "sleep together in the girls' home".



Alkatcho (British Colombia)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Goldman (1963:p369)[65]: "[…] coitus was thought to be required by all just pre-pubescent children to promote physical growth. Young boys were told by their older age-group, "you better catch a woman pretty soon or you won't grow". It was also believed that defloration was necessary to bring on the first menses in girls".



Venezuela / República de Venezuela (Yaruros, Guajiro, Warao, Yanoama)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


When Afro-Venezuelan children get older, girls and boys are segregated; then the father may develop some interest in his sons, who are taught the values of the macho world, while the girls remain under the influence of their mother[66]. The transition from childhood to adulthood takes place "very quickly" and is not marked by initiation rites.

Havelock Ellis cites Ernst[67] in the observation of early masturbation among Spanish creoles.



Yaruros (Venezuela)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Petrullo (1939:p230-2)[68] excuses himself of not knowing "anything" about the sexual development of the Yaruro boy and girl. He "does not know what secret sexual play the children may indulge in, nor does he know whether the unmarried girl has any sexual relations. He thinks that the unmarried do. He also thinks that there is some kind of homosexuality among the boys, and even the men". The sexes are kept apart from infancy, and the girl is geared toward future marriage. "The children are not kept in sexual ignorance. At least the boys seem to learn something of the sexual functions at an early age. From what I have observed of Yaruro camp life, it seems that no attempt was made to keep knowledge of sex and sexual functions away from the children. In the first place, there is no sense of modesty so far as the sexual parts are concerned […]. Even if there were stronger interest in sex than seemed to exist, there would be little opportunity for the youngster to indulge in any sexual relations, since their playmates tend to be parallel cousins and very often playmates are lacking altogether". Upon reaching puberty, boys and girls marry if a mate is available, regardless of "considerable" age difference. "Premarital romantic love life may be entirely absent on this account […]".


Guajiro (Venezuela) (unrated) (Goajiro: 2+,3,3-,3,3,3;1,1)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Girls after menarche receive "instructions with respect to sexual […] activities, such as how to prepare and use contraceptives […]" (Watson-Franke, 1982:p452; 1976)[69]. These contraceptives would be administered even during the seclusion, part of the initiation called majayuraa.

In Guajiro society there is an apparent relationship between severe socialisation of female sexual behaviour and the demands made on a woman's behaviour by the institution of marriage (Watson, 1972)[70]. The success of this severe sexual socialisation of the girl has a bearing on the ability of her family to maintain its status in society and to contract useful political alliances. Severe socialisation is functionally adapted to these demands because it produces negative fixation in the sexual system, which in turn acts as a psychic monitoring device to discourage the unmarried girl from experiencing sexually and thereby increases the likelihood that she will remain sexually chaste, marry well and be potentially valuable to her lineage for cementing a political alliance. This pattern is carried out especially conscientiously by upper class Guajiro who have more at stake in the successful marriage of their daughters.


"Virtually from the time a girl can walk, she is taught to keep physical distance from boys and men. […] If she is seen talking to boys she is scolded sharply; if this pattern is repeated she may be slapped or beaten. The girl is told by her mother that sex is "evil" and "dangerous". […] She is warned that sexual experimentation will not only be severely punished but will seriously damage her future. Even if the merest suspicion of sexual transgression on her part (to say nothing of actual detection for sexual deviation) brings in its wake immediate sanction. This usually takes the form of a beating or whipping, but if the offense is a serious one the mother may place the tip of a hot banding iron on the girl's vagina to make the punishment a convincing object lesson. This, it is believed, will effectively deter any repetition of the transgression. Adult female informants expressed the opinion that if a tendency to engage in clandestine sexual activity is not checked in its beginning stages, the girl will develop an uncontrolled craving to have sexual intercourse with men for the sheer pleasure of it, becoming a kind of "whore who takes no money for her services. [though some rationalise their behaviour in terms of premarital purity and the "good name of the family and lineage"] […] Like other forms of sexual behavior, masturbation is severely punished in a girl for it is believed to create in her an irreversible urge to have sexual intercourse. […] On emother stated: "If the girl likes to play with her vagina the mother puts gloves on her hands which have been sprinkled with a hot peppery substance. […] sexual socialization is even more severe for a high-raking girl than for one from an ordinary family. Such a girl is subjected to a particularly long period of confinement when she reaches puberty (sometimes exceeding five years), during which she must endure close and almost suffocating surveillance to ensure her virginity" ".


Girls may be "checked" digitally if under suspicion. Nothing is said about male sexual socialisation.

"The majority of the Guajiro seem to act as passive carriers of their tradition and do not question, to any appriciable degree, the reasons why they socialize sex the way they do" (p155).



Warao (Orinoco Delta, Venezuela) (Warrau: 2,2,2,2,-,-;-,-)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Moreno (1945)[71] speaks of "moral bankruptcy":


"Absolute nakedness, laziness, sexual promiscuity, the mixing of the larger ones with the little ones, the liberty of both in their actions, conversations, and looks, awaken infantile curiosity in such a way and in such proportions that they see everything, watch everything, hear everything, peep into everything, know everything, and end up by doing everything; in a word, they are initiated from the time they are little and know the mysterious secrets of life, this moral catastrophe thus being in part provoked by their own parents" (p271).


"Thus there is no girl seven or eight years old who has not lived with boys of her age and even with adult Indian men" (p272). The Warao, before the influences of missionaries, practised betrothal in early childhood. "— One scarcely finds girls eight or nine years old who have not been violated. In 1930 we took to the Misión de Araguaimujo a girl 12 years old who had already had seven husbands, those who had had her having baptized her with the honorable name of "Samaritana" (samaritan). Afterwards she was very good, decent, and industrious" (p294). Because of the bragging of adults over infidelities, the children become "as versed in certain secrets as is the most expert student of physiology". However, "With regard to children and young people, no great moral aberrations have been observed in the rancherias" (p295).

Suárez (1968)[72]:


"One way to ensure these alliances among the Warao in the region of Güinikina consists of leading up to them by long matrimonial engagements between a still adolescent boy, or a grown man, and a girl who has not yet entered upon adolescence. It is expected, in order to consummate the marriage, that the girl will be ready for marriage at the time of the rite of initiation that accompanies her first menstrual period".


This is also maintained by Wilbert (1972)[73]:


"All Warao men and women consider marriage to be a most natural concomitant of a person's life. Although a young girl may be promised into wedlock at an early age, the marriage may not be consummated before her first menstruation".



Yanomamö / Yano[m]ama / Waika (Venezuela, Brazil) (-,-,-,-,3,3;5,5;G3)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


The inability to code the Yanomamo was due to Chagnon's[74] silence. Becher (1960:p140-1)[75], on a Yanoama tribe:


"It is especially popular to play "mother and child" or "married couple". In the latter game sexual activity is already often involved. As long as the children have not yet reached puberty, the adults laugh about it. It is only the mothers of girls who are a little annoyed when they hear about it. They do not regard it as tragic, however, since they themselves were reprimanded about it by their mothers when they were little girls".


Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1976:p98, quoted by Schiefenhövel, 1982:p158)[76] observed (and taped) the following among the Yanomamö:


"Zuerst erheiterte es die Mutter, indem sie mit aufgesetzten Lippen auf seinen Bauch blies, worüber der Kleine [Säugling] herzlich lachte. Dann rieb sie ihre Stirn an der seinen, dann hob sie ihn hoch und schüttelte ihn und lutschte danach lange an seinem kleinen Penis. Das [5-year-old] Brüderchen schaute zu, und als die Mutter den Säugling rücklings auf ihren Schoß legte, da lutschte er auch kurz und betapste zärtlich seinen Bruder"[77]


Little boys play with their fathers' penis until erection. Gregor (1995:p29)[78] mentions the game of Kanupai ("taking a wife", marrying), and Ukitsapai ("being jealous"). The latter game involves the children sneaking off on cross-marital assignations, "only to be surprised by furious spouses". Lizot (1976 [1982:p49-56])[79] also pictures a busy sexual life for children, including sodomy, bestiality (fish, birds), heterosexual seduction, and genital friction with the earth. Tierney[80], however, alleges that French anthropologist Jacques Lizot sexually exploited Yanomami adolescent boys and girls[81]. (Lizot says any sexual relationships he had in the Amazon were consensual and only involved adults.) Peters (1984:p158) for the Shirishana: "Periodically a boy may be teased about his rigid or stubby penis. By the end of this stage [4-8] both boys and girls are aware of sex, having heard older tribespeople discuss the subject, or seen a fisticuff duel precipitated by an "illicit" sexual encounter. They have laughed at dogs copulating and a few youngsters have seen older Yanomama heterosexual pairs have intercourse. The young males have seen, handled and joked about the genitals of the tapir, peccary and monkey shot in the forest". Sexual favors are demanded after puberty "and in a few isolated instances before puberty" (p159). Specifically: "Though not common, there have been instances of prepuberty coitus among the Yanomama". Most men have experienced sex by age 18, particularly during festivals, but he risks the retraction of the betrothed girl by her family. The girl is told "forcefully" to submit to her husband's sexual wishes. Generally, however, cohabitation takes place between age 23-28 (males), and several months to one year after a girl's puberty rite (1987:p88).


In a study by Early and Peters (1990)[82] on the Mucajai group, cohabitation, which is prearranged by the girl's parents, is said to begin sometime within two years following menstruation, taking place at an average age of 12.4 years[83]. Betrothal may take place in infancy.


"The girl may live with her family for up to 2 years after the puberty rite. The families decide when cohabitation should begin. Her family invites the young man to whom she has been betrothed and his family for an extended hunting-gathering trip in the jungle. One day the girl's mother remains behind while the rest of the group is foraging. She removes the hammock of the young man from its place with his family and ties it above the girl's hammock among those of her own family. When the young man returns, he feigns surprise and reclines in his relocated hammock. The girl reclines in hers and this symbolizes the onset of cohabitation. As the girl is still young and often afraid, coitus may not occur for 2-6 weeks, until she has been instructed and encouraged by her mother. The young man takes up residence with the girl's family and provides game for them (p41-2)".


Among the Indians of the Orinoco-Ventuari region of southern Venezuela, "[s]ometimes parents marry off their children before they reach maturity. Some men also take a second wife when she is still underage, but they respect them and have no sexual contact with them until after the first menstrual periods have passed. […] The first menstrual period indicates that a man may have sexual relations with the wife who was promised to him when she was still a child. Sometimes a girl will refuse to marry the man to whom she was promised as a wife, but she is afraid to conceal her first menstrual periods for mythological reasons" (Wilbert, 1963:p87-8)[84].


The preputium is tied with a string around the waist from around age 7 (Zerries, 1985:p760)[85]. Among the central Yanoama of the Upper-Orinoco[86], girls are allied, on a free basis (siohamo) or per raptam (shai), to their husbands before menstruation (age 9, 10), and await marriage at puberty (p766, 769).

Layrisse (1962:p82)[87], on the Waica: "Polygyny is permitted and young girls are frequently married to men even before their first menstruation".

Wilbert (1963:p87-8)[88], on the Sanema: "The first menstrual period indicates that a man may have sexual relations with the wife who was promised to him when she was still a child. Sometimes a girl will refuse to marry the man to whom she was promised as a wife, but she is afraid to conceal her first menstrual periods for mythological reasons. […] Sometimes parents marry off their children before they reach maturity. Some men also take a second wife when she is still underage, but they respect them and have no sexual contact with them until after the first menstrual periods have passed. We have mentioned that an adult may marry a very young girl, but must not have sexual relations with her until after the first menstrual periods".



British Guiana  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Smith (1956:p136)[89] noted that British Guiana boys or 12 or 13 might begin to demonstrate "sex antagonism" by pulling girls' breasts and then running away.



Guiana (®Wai-Wai)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]




Suriname (Ndyuka, Saramakans)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


According to observations by Kloos-Andriaansen (1974:p63-74)[90], no formal education was given to children. Infantile masturbation was not commented upon; thereafter, clothing would prevent manipulation. Masturbation is not noted in public. Heterosexual interests are distracted, while no data were available on punishments.


Adults hardly discuss sex with children (Tiemersma, 1996:p24-5)[91]; in fact, throughout the Caribbean sexual information may typically be gathered "informally" (ibid., p55-6). Buschkens ventures that parents fear that children disrespect them if they would (cf., Helman, 1977a:p260-1[92]; Lamur et al., 1990:p25[93]; Distelbrink, 1994:p143)[94]; the same would be true for teachers (as cited by Tiemersma, 1995:p15)[95]. Thus, sex education in schools is rather modest (Lamur et al., 1990). The attitude to the importance of sexual education differed substantially as compared with Creole immigrants to Holland (Distelbrink, p151 and refs.).


Coitarche occurs at ages 14.3 for boys and 16.3 for girls; the Creole group is below this figure (15.3) with 14.8 (T., 1996:p25); ages have lowered considerably over the past decades as is suggested by cohort differences. According to Wekker (1994:p103)[96], a widespread idea exists that children "are sexual beings and have sexual knowledge from a very young age". Apparently, sex is done, and not talked about: "Children see and listen, and "are not stupid" " (ibid., p157). Indeed, children may not understand everything they see (e.g., R. van Lier, 1986:p58)[97]. The arrangement of domestic space leaves little room for privacy so that children observe parental activities from early age (Helman, 1977b:p133)[98]. Winkel earlier wrote on the erotic transgression between women and girls (1992)[99]

This is no big matter; at the most, children are "teased a little in a benign way about their own genital games". Buschkens (1973:p243)[100], however, had found the opposite: "Masturbation is forbidden to boys, "because they could go mad by it", or because people fear the habit would at a later date lead to ejaculatio praecox".

In his study of Dutch Creole women, Lalmahomed (1999)[101] notes that, unlike their mothers, girls received information on sexual matters at menarche. Since 1912, a gradual decline in the age of first date could be noted from approaching the twenties to age 12.5 (p98). Tension around sex has equally loosened. Sexual abuse of girls (p147-61), even by supernatural beings, was not uncommon.



Ndyuka (Suriname and French Guiana) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


As excerpted from Hurault (1961)[102]:


"Boys go to sleep at the home of a brother, an uncle, a comrade; the same for girls who have not yet reached puberty; but it is not the same for girls who have reached puberty; they are subjected to strict supervision. […] Whereas little girls before puberty are left free to come and go, older girls are the object of constant surveillance. They are always under the surveillance of one of their near relatives specifically designated. If they have permission to go dancing in another village, they must present themselves upon arrival to an uncle, an aunt, an older brother who will watch over them all evening. Sometimes they build for a girl a little house where she sleeps alone... but she is double-locked into it for the night. […] It often used to happen that a girl might be promised by her mother to a man from her first years (they still say, although that is no longer practiced, poti mofu na umã, "to put his mouth on a girl," meaning by that to have received a promise of marriage). This plan always used to remain subject to the girl's assent when she grew up and did not constitute a contract, strictly speaking; it did not involve any payment or compensation whatever. A girl could not be obligated to a marriage which was absolutely displeasing to her, but the mother's authority was great enough to make these marriages come about in most cases. […] If the girl is deflowered too young, her mother does not give her the [.] and continues to forbid her to have sexual relations, for she fears that she may become pregnant. Now for a girl, becoming pregnant without having concluded a contract of maintenance with a man is an extreme shame, for that means she is not worth anything. […] The general opinion is that girls can no longer be held down, that they escape more and more from the authority of their mothers; many of them begin to run wild at about 14 or 15, and people are obliged to marry them off precipitately at 15 or 16." (p217, 218, 219)


W. Van Lier (1940:p263)[103]: "Kinderen mogen [...] alle gesprekken bijwonen, ook die wat betreft sexueele dingen en ze mogen vragen stellen en worden wel eens geëxamineerd. Zooals reeds gezegd, mogen bij een bevalling meisjes, hoe jong ook, tegenwoordig zijn"[104]. Prepubertal arrangements are not always followed through (p270).


Saramakans, Saramacca ("Bush Negroes"; Suriname) (2,2,2,3,2,2;8,8) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Early betrothal has already been mentioned. Price (1993:p12)[105]: "Little children are constantly reminded in a playful way about their sex, most often by adults of their grandparents' generation, but also by others. Men tease girls from infancy on by grabbing at their "breasts" and genitals, and women often pull playfully at a little boy's penis, interrogating him about whether he really knows how to use it and whether he thinks it is big enough to satisfy them. A favorite way of engaging a two- or three-year-old boy is to ask after his pregnant wife or, for a girl, to inquire whether her recent labor pains were severe, and children are expected to provide appropriate answers. When three- or four-year-old children play at sexual intercourse, adults are generally amused, expecting them to learn discretion in these games as they grow older". Thus, "Sexual banter is enjoyed by Saramakas of all ages. Toddlers are frequently teased about sex and encouraged to develop their verbal wit in this direction […]"

(p39). Summing up: "By the age of ten or eleven, Saramaka girls have already tasted almost every ingredient of a woman's life. […] All have had some kind of sexual experience, most commonly digital penetration, and about half of them are formally betrothed to an older man. Unlike the boys of their age, who are still a decade or so away from social manhood, prepubescent girls are well aware that the responsibilities of marriage and child rearing will be theirs within a few short years" (p15). Teenage girls have romantic affiliations with older women (p17). Herskovits (1934)[106], however, noted a strict taboo on the part of young men or women to speak of sexual matters with both their parents, and parents-in-law.


"Emergence from menstrual seclusion is also marked in marriage customs for a girl who was betrothed during adolescence. On the day that she leaves the hut after her first stay there (that is, at the conclusion of her first menstrual period as a socially recognized adult), a messenger is dispatched to the prospective husband, who comes that night to consummate the marriage" (Price, p23).




French Guiana (®Ndyuka)  [up] [Contents] [Index] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]




Brazil (KagwahivBakairí, Nambicuara, Wai-Wai, Xokleng, Guatos, Kayapó, Ramcocramecra Timbira, Bahia, Bororó, Apinayé, Mehinaku, Kaingángs / Aweikoma, Kayabí, Trumaí, Tupinambá, Wari', Canela, Shavante, Tenetehára, Tapirapé; ®Yanomamö)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index] [IES]


Kidnapping, seduction, and child rape were all epiphenomena of a socially accepted sexuality and reflected the disquieting landscape of gender relations in 19th-century São Paulo; in the case of rape the problem was related to the dramatic situation of child destitution (Campos, 1995)[107].


Wagley[108] documents that a rural Brazilian girl at marriage is "expected to be a virgin- even innocent of the facts of sexual life". "Girls should be carefully protected" and chaperoned [p166, 167]. Willems (1953[109]; cf. Donald, 1954:p310-1)[110] speaks of a rigid premarital standard, chaperonage and a "virginity complex". "A young Brazilian is expected to get actively interested in sex at the age of puberty. Even before puberty the average boy becomes used  to the sexual bravado of older companions. He learns that regular sexual intercourse is not only believed to be physically healthy, but above all an essential attribute of manhood. There is a generally accepted opinion that early and frequent sexual intercourse is stimulated by peculiar racial qualities and the physiological effects of a tropical climate", a belief not even weakened by the Catholic church (Willams, p341-2). Girls marry between 14 and 17, and premarital virginity is not a prerequisite for stable unions. In Brazil, there are no ceremonies to mark the onset of menarche; however, the Portuguese word moca (teenage girl) is used instead of menina (young girl) for a female who has menstruated and is not yet married[111]. Correa (1994)[112] provides an analysis of sexual attitudes among Brazilian urban teenagers. Focusing on 62 adolescents aged between 13 and 15 years, both male and female, their acquisition and development of the language and normative rules of sexuality.

According to Neuhouser[113], in a Brazilian shantitown, "Regardless of age, a moça [adolescent girl] becomes a mulher [woman] with first sexual intercourse. […] Without educational or occupational goals that would delay motherhood, girls often become sexually active and mothers in their early teens" (p346). As for boys:


"[…] in terms of the requisites for becoming a man, young men and women mentioned that there are two fundamental steps to becoming a man: (a) becoming sexually active and (b) financially supporting oneself and one's family. For most young men interviewed, becoming sexually active was seen as the easier of the two requisites. In essence, becoming sexually active was perceived as easy to do or, if need be, to lie about; finding a job and being financially responsible, however, were seen as being far more difficult, and impossible to lie about. Thus, the sexual conquest as a sign of manhood was seen as necessary but not sufficient and was, for males, secondary to the role of financial provider. It is also interesting to note that young women more commonly defined becoming a man as being sexually active, whereas males more frequently mentioned the pressure they felt to be a provider […]"[114].


Ribeiro[115] experienced hardship in addressing children's sexuality among nursing students.


[Additional refs: CRLP (1997) Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Latin America and the Caribbean, p51-68. Also Progress Report, 2000, p24-9]


Urban Brazil  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


A Brazilian doctor told Rosen (1962:p620)[116] "wryly": "When a child is born they look at its genitals. If it's a boy they spoil it; i[f] it's a girl they discipline it".

Whitam and Mathy (1986:p44-52)[117] gives some indication of sexual development (attraction in childhood sex play, gender of first sexual contact, age of first sexual contact, age of first sexual attraction, age of realization of sexual orientation) among Brazilian, as compared to Guatemalan, Phillipino and North American, hetero- and homosexuals.

In two reports, Leite, Buoncompagno et al. (1994, 1995)[118] report on a 1990 questionnaire among female and male freshmen students.


Porto et al. (1994)[119] found that among 496 street adolescents from 9 to 20 years old in central Brazil, the age at first sexual intercourse was as low as 9 years old, and approximately 60% of this sample had had at least one "sexual relationship" by the age of thirteen.


[Additional refs.: Paiva (1995:p106)[120]; Raffaelli et al. (1993)[121]; Whitam et al. (1998)[122]]



Amazones  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


According to Capt.Thomas Whiffen (1915)[123], small boys of the North-West Amazon (Peru) use a recognised sign as a ribald gesture for sexual intercourse. "The right elbow is grasped with the left hand, the elbow being so flexed as to allow the hand to point upwards". In Northwest-Amazonia, initiation, more than marriage, means "passage from the asexual world of childhood to the sexual world of adults (Hugh-Jones, 1979:p110)[124]. However, "[b]oys approaching initiation are sometimes involved in homosexual teasing which takes place in hammocks in public [...]" (ibid.,p160).


Kagwahiv (central Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Among the Kagwahiv (Kracke, 1978)[125], early heterosexual interests appear to be counteracted (p164, 209-10, 261n16).


Bakairí (central Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


The Bakairí "become sexual early in life" (Picchi, 2000)[126]. Menarche occurs at age 12.



Nambikwara, Nambicuara (2,2,2,2,2,-;5,2) (Mato Grosso, Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Lévi-Strauss (1955:p301 [1962:p277])[127] stated that children, who are cousins, call themselves spouses. In the evening they make their own campfire and dedicate themselves-depending on their abilities and means- to the same love play [aux mêmes épanchements] as their elders; the adults observe the scene with amusement. There is no formal play, however. Lévi-Strauss (1949:p71-2)[128] had already commented on the fact that the children enact


"[t]ous les traveaux érotiques qu'ils ont vu leurs aînés pratiquer. L'incident est accueilli par les adultes avec indifference, ou, au plaus, avec des sourires amusés: […] "Ce sont des enfants qui ont de petites relations sexuelles" , dit-on en passant. Nous n'avons verifié ces que de façon occassionelle, chez jeunes enfants (cinq à sept ans)".


The games appear absent in those approaching puberty, but reliable data are not present.


One man who "caught a little boy" (pegou um menino), was requested to leave town at least temporarily. "The boy's only remark was that he had not been paid" (Hutchison, 1957:p141)[129].


Fernandes (1969:p82-3)[130] states that the urban Negro (São Paulo) learned the secrets of life "precociously". There was much sexual use of minors, particularly also of boys, and children "already used each other at five and six years of age according to informants". Although females are subject to a puritanical sex code, males are given "more or less a carte blanche to do as they please and get away with as much as they can". Virginity is valued with great intensity, and a rigid pattern of separation and chaperonage is seen after puberty. Sex is not generally talked about, but some mothers might (Patai, 1988:p116-7, 139-42, 154, 219-20, 288, 302)[131]. Harris (1969:p158)[132] stated that "childhood masturbation, while never deliberately discouraged, is less likely to be methodologically prohibited in males than in females, especially among the lower classes". Parker (1991:p122, 123-4)[133] noted masturbation contests in jack-off clubs. Thus, "[f]rom early childhood on, masturbation, oral eroticism, and anal eroticism, as well as same-sex relations and any number of other deviations [sic], emerge alongside the genital sexual norm […]". A man relates:


"When I was maybe six years old, in groups of men, my father would say, "You have to fuck that one there […] that one there is a woman […] you have to fuck women […] fuck cunt […] you have to make her suck […] you have to fuck her ass!" And the others, they would add on […]. They would give lectures. "Take off the bra first." "And when you're sucking her nipple, you take her hand and put it on your cock". "But you've got to have a hard-on, to show her that you're a macho" (p60).



Wai-Wai (Southern Guiana, Northern Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Marriage takes place at age 17, some four years after menarche (Mentore, 1987:p515)[134].



Xokleng (Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


"Xokleng children of southern Brazil often sleep with adults who engage in sexual activities with them; such relations are regarded as amusing and playful […]" (Werner, cited by Frayser)[135].



Guatos (Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Girls would be sold into marriage long before menstruation. An informant would lie about the age of consummation (Rhode, cited by Ploß and Bartels, I:p546; Bloch, 1902, I:p252).



Kayapó (Ge; Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Betrothal occurs at birth (Dreyfus, 1963)[136]. The bleeding at defloration is regarded as identical with menstrual bleeding, an ideology typical of the Gé (p54-5). Defloration occurs early ("[e]lle est très jeune, elle n'a qu'une dizaine d'années, douze tout au plus"), and is observed by a girl's parent (usually the mother). Marriage is then announced. "[…] the initiation of menarche [sic] among females [sic] of this [unmarried] age grade is thought to be a result of sexual intercourse and to chronologically follow defloration. Age at the time of menarche and first sexual experience do seem roughly to coincide" (Fisher, 2001:p126)[137].



Ramcocramecra Timbira (Ge; Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Nimuendajú (1946:p120-1)[138] stated that "some mothers try to accelerate the development of breasts by dealing with a daughter a few light taps against the nipples with their finger joints- usaully in the morning on waking up. Girls also practise this custom themselves. I once observed a ten-year-old girl who for this reason wore a broad grass strip tied tightly across the chest, with a little disk of charcoal over each nipple and under the grass strip". On sexual life: "Nowadays only a minority of girls attain puberty as virgins. De facto most of them are already married at twelve or have had extramarital relations". "Like their Apinayé cousins, the Ramkokamerkra firmly assert that menstruation is impossible prior to sexual congress. Such a theory is after a fashion intelligible for the Apinayé, whose girls with possibly few exceptions are actually deflowered before their first menses, but for the Ramkokamerkra it is utterly inconceivable […]. How the native theory of defloration as prerequisite to menstruation could persist is a complete enigma; and its occurrence in identical form among Eastern and Western Timbira proves that the idea is not an innovation".

Lowie (1946:p499)[139] agrees: "The Timbira and Pau d'Arco oddly believe that menstruation is impossible for a virgin, but among the Apinayé most girls are actually married before puberty".




Wari' (Pakaas Novas) (Western Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


"A pubescent Wari' girl's sexual maturation and physical growth are held to develop first out of a special relationship to the moon, whose influence is loosely thought of as a stimulus to breast development and menstruation. The second, more direct stimulus (upon which the efficiacy of the first depends) is a cross-sex transfer of body fluid: the first time a girl has sexual intercourse, the infusion of semen (a blood product) is said to transform her blood so that it increases in quantity and strength. This sparks a growth spurt: the girl grows fatter, stronger and- a point that Wari' emphasize- able to do women's work in planting, harvesting, and processing food. […] The infusion of semen is thought to be prerequisite not only for menarche but for every menstrual period in a woman's life" Conklin, 2001:p153, 154; cf. 147, 160)[140].


"Prior to the contact, girls ideally (and often in practice) married and began to have sexual intercourse before they began to menstruate. The ideal that a husband should "grow" his young wife's body is analogous to a father's responsibility to contribute semen to the growth of the fetus in his wife's womb and to contribute meat, fish, and vegetable foods to feed his children. Wari' do not mark female puberty and menarche with any ritual […]". Boys were instructed by older men "to control their sexuality by respecting other men's wives" (p158).



Canela (Eastern Timbira) (Brazil) (2+,2+,-,-,2,2;8,8)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Crocker and Crocker (1994:p33-4, 156-7)[141] stated that girls begin sexual relations between ten and thirteen before menarche.

Boys and girls are segregated at ages 6 to 7. At ages 6 to 14, a girl "is appointed to be a girl associate of a male society for one or a number of successive years. At one or more ceremonial points in the festival, beginning in her early teens, she has sexual relations with the society's members, teaching her that one of her roles in mature Canela life is to keep nonrelated males sexually satisfied". At age 11-13, "[a] girl's genitals [are] formally inspected by a disciplinary aunt to see if she had lost her virginity. If she had, the name of the male was demanded (Girls are no longer inspected)". After she has graduated as a girl associate, she is secluded under [postpubertal] food and sex restriction. At age 13 to 16, she presents food to her mother-in-law provided by her lover in return for sex with him. The period 13-18 is considered a time for sexual liaisons and few social responsibilities. The average age of first conception is 15¾. Formerly, girls were engaged to be married when they were 4 or 5 to young men 12 to 15 years older. Now, courtship takes place, and marriage is equated with defloration. "Girls almost always have intercourse before they menstruate, so their experience reinforces the Canela theory that sexual intercourse is the cause of menstruation. Ideally a girl has first intercourse with a young man in his late teens or 20s who has no children of his own" (p104-5).

As for boys, at ages 12-14, "[s]ome older woman who likes an unrelated boy takes him into the woods to give him his first experience in sexual intercourse. Formerly, the woman was in her 40s or 50s; now, she is more likely to be in her 20s. The boy's aunt goes to the woman to collect a small payment for his loss of virginity [cf. p110-1]. After defloration, his disciplining uncle orders him into seclusion, with sex and food taboos, while "the socializing attitudes of his uncles [change] abruptly from supportive to confrontational". At ages 12-17, he should, to gain strengths and become a person of character, refrain from much sex, or if so, only with older women.



Shavante / Xavante (-,-,4,3+,3+,3+;2,1) (Ge; Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Maybury-Lewis (1967:p73-4)[142]: "By the time a girl is five […] she may well be married. When she is seven, she is already being watched carefully both by her kin and by her husband, for she will soon be considered physically able to cohabit with a man. Accordingly, a girl of about six years old tends to behave like a small, weak, and underdeveloped woman". Her husband would wait until she is "matured sufficiently", which was estimated as age eight to ten (p82-3, n1):


"I am uncertain as to the criteria according to which the Shavante deem a girl to be old enough for sexual intercourse. Girls are normally deflowered long before their first menses and before there has been any significant development of their breasts. It seems to depend largely on the size of the individual girl. Her husband will sleep with her as soon as he considers her to be big enough, which is between the ages of 8 and 10 as far I could judge".


"One of the main objectives of the missionary boarding schools was to physically separate Xavante boys from girls, whose "precocious sexuality"--girls can go through sexual initiation as early as 8 years of age-- outraged the chaste Christians"[143].



Kaingángs / Caingangs / Aweikoma (Ge; Brazil) (2-,2-,2-,2-,2-,-;8,-)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Jules Henry (1941 [1964:p17-9])[144] reports materno-infantile masturbation in the Kaingángs[145]. Allegedly, the adults introduce the children in their vita sexualis. Despite the fact that "little children of two and three are told jocularly to copulate with one another", and "[b]abies are jokingly told to copulate with people anywhere from ten to twenty times their age, and a man sixty-five years old will call a toddler of three "my co-husband" (etc.)[146], "[...] I never saw or heard of intercourse among children. Jokes about the love affairs of children among themselves are never made by the adults nor by the children. The children receive so much satisfaction from adults it is hard to see why they should bother with one another. [...] Children lie like cats absorbing the delicious stroking of adults". Thus, the child's wandering "often culminate in the sexual experience to which the grown-ups are eager to introduce the child, and he is generally enjoyed first by a person much older than he. Some married men have nicknames that bear a humorous reference to their experience in trying to deflower young girls. […] The growing child's sexual experience is primarily humorous, often illicit, administered by adults and apt to be violent in the case of girls".



Bahia (Brazil) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Bahia's medical and religious history points to an emphasis on premarital virginity, as in other areas of Brazil. Others might argue that in practice, "girls in Bahia are unlikely to retain their virginity into their teens, nor are they likely to live with a partner in legally sanctioned marriages". In any case, it is observed that "[l]ittle or no information is directly passed between father and sons or mother and daughters concerning sexual matters. Each generation is left to find out for itself" (Hutchinson, 1957:p140)[147]. "In the past fathers would take their sons to brothels for their first sexual experiences, but this is now unnecessary. Jorge [a black community leader] explained: "They already have more than their fill here in the local neighbourhood. Hmmmm! Here girls by the time they are seven or eight are already namorando (cuddling, kissing, making love). The boys are already all over them, grabbing them! In the old days there was that difficulty, and on top of that one paid the companheira (female companion, here in the sense of prostitute) well to teach a thorough lesson. Nowadays they just do it for its own sake - gossiping here, gossiping there - so the problem just gets worse" (McCallum, 1999:p281)[148].



Bororó (Brazil) (unrated) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Cook (1907:p58-9; 1909)[149] writes about the Bororó:


"The betrothal is consummated by the bridegroom-to-be, depositing at the entrance to the hut of the parents of the baby girl whom he desires shall one day become his wife, some much prized game that he has had the "good luck" to capture. The parents of course learn, either directly or indirectly, what his wishes are in making them this valuable present; and if they do not object to the nuptials, their little daughter is reserved for him. Again, some day, after the child has reached the age of ten or twelve years, the groom-to-be deposits at the entrance to her hut a highly prized fish or animal which he has had the good fortune to capture, then retires to his own hut. The father of the little maid now takes her by the wrist-- always the wrist-- conducts her to the entrance of the hut of her betrothed husband and delivers her to him, and she becomes his lawful, wedded wife without further ceremony. He may be forty or fifty years of age, and have already a wife and married children, though, nevertheless, allowed to have two wives because he has slain the jaguar, or performed some other feat of valor, or because he is a captain, having passed middle life" (1909).


"Even now the ideal marriage is one contracted between a grown man and a small girl. He contributes to the economy of the house, makes ornaments for his young wife, defends her from sexual assaults by other men, and, what is most important, he is the one responsible for the physical development of the girl. The Bororo believe that the growth of the breasts is the result of the man's handling the sexual organs of his young wife. A good husband will try to enlarge the opening of the hymen with his fingers so that the first intercourse will be less painful, or, if he was particularly good and patient, without any pain whatsoever. Only then, after defloration, can the first menstruation be expected at the next moon" (Levak, 1973:p77-8)[150]. Werner (1986) as cited by Frayser (1994:p206-7)[151] also states that the Bororo of Brazil think that intercourse with a mature man causes menstruation to occur. This idea is in opposition to Bororó ideas on the formation of boys. After puberty, thus when boys are still "soft and incompletely formed" masturbation and sexual intercourse may deplore them of rakare, a life force slowly accumulating in childhood and adolescence (Crocker, 1969:p241)[152].


Baldus (1937:[p28])[153]:


"The father tells the son and the mother the daughter what people have to do during coitus". When he hears what position is taken by the whites in this act, he is startled at first and later says with mild indignation: "But what weight!"


"Sometimes […] the Bororo make the children obey by threatening that some animals, owls or wolfs, will come and eat their sexual organs" (p103). Every descendant of the female sex has the right to live in the maternal home, not only before, but also after marriage; the one of male sex loses this right as soon as he reaches puberty (Colbacchini, 1942)[154]. Boys and initiated at ages 12-14, girls are not. At this initiation, the boy is referred to as the "wife" of the initiator, but no sexual connotations seem to be implied  (Levak, p98).


"The boy is given to his initiator by this announcement. "In the case of initiation the words do not have sexual implications but merely point out the structural similarity of the two actions. Just as a wife is given to her husband, who will then continue to care for her, provide food for her, and teach her, the boy is given to his initiator. The continuous companionship anticipated between the two yorubodare is parallel to that between husband and wife. When the Bororo were asked to explain this point, they repeated that the boy is the initiator's wife, just as the initiator is the boy's husband, his son, and his father--his yorubodare. The meaning is more apparent in other variants of the speech which do not start with akoredujereo but with aerubodareo, "this is your yorubodare"; or when akoredureo, "this is your husband", is occasionally added. The rest of the speech refers to the new role the initiator will assume toward the boy".


More references on this custom were provided by Martius (1844 :p111-31[155]; cf. Bloch, 1933:p105[156]; Greenberg, 1988:p26)[157].



Apinayé (Brazil) (unrated)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


The Apinayé were said to believe that defloration was a prerequisite to menarche (Nimuendajú, 1939:p75; Nimuendajú, 1946:p120-1)[158]. Thus,


"Oddly enough, the Apinayé are thoroughly convinced that menstruation is impossible before defloration; its absolute prerequisite. […] references to a maiden's first menses among civilized neighbors are met with derisive superciliousness. This view, incidentally, agrees with that of the Canella. Of course, such a theory could persist only among a people whose girls only exceptionally attain their first menses as virgins. Actually, this holds for the contemporary Apinayé. To marry off immature girls of ten or twelve is accordingly an ancient Apinayé custom, not an innovation. Among the Šere'nte this practice is an innovation" (N., 1939).


The Apinayé forbid masturbation from infancy (Ford & Beach, 1951:p180)[159]. Nimuendajú (1939:p74) relates that the Apinayé "declare that masturbation must not be tolerated because it enfeebles young folk and unfits them for log races. Guilty boys are recognized by the retractability of the prepuce. How girls are detected, I do not know; I was merely told that it was by the appearance of the genitalia". At the log-race, boys are lined up and punished severely if thus detected.



Mehinaku (Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Boys are secluded for three years at age 12, girls at menarche (Gregor, 1977)[160]. A father of a boy who was having a romance, would say: "That will keep him away from her; I don't want him to grow up stunted".

Children may "play at seclusion" (p114, 226). Other games require privacy: "women's sons" (teneju itãi), "Mariage" (kanupai), and "jealousy" (ukítsapi) (p113). In one variation of marriage, "[…] the husbands and wives pair off and go to hidden areas around the village to engage in casual sex play or, if they are capable, actual intercourse. The Mehinaku are sexually free, and most children have had some degree of experience by the time they are adolescent". In playing Jealousy, "the boys and girls take lovers while their spouses are away. When the cuckolded partner returns from a fishing trip, he discovers his wife and his friend together in the same hammock. In a fury he pretends to beat his wife while his friend runs off". Thus, the children "not only imitate their parents but their parent's mistresses and lovers as well" (p114). "There is even a game in which a girl violates the privacy of the men's house and the little boys in retaliation pretend to gang rape her" (p114). "[…] some prepubescent girls enter into casual lesbian relationships. Since the participants in these experimental affairs are mercilessly teased if they are exposed, village children must become acquainted at an early age with the arts of concealment they will employ in adult life" (p116).

 "Adults freely discuss sexual matters in their children's presence and even incorporate children in their sexual intrigues as bearers of messages or gifts" (Gregor, 1995:p339)[161].



Kayabí (Central Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


The Kayabí discourage masturbation in both sexes (Grünberg, 1970:p121)[162].



Trumaí (Central Brazil) (2,2,2,2,3,3;8,5;G3)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Murphy and Quain (1955 [1966:p83-4])[163] reported that "there was no heterosexual activity between children, for there were no girls of appropriate age in the village. Thus, pre-pubescent sexual relations occurred between boys or between boys and men, and almost always it was the boys who were the instigators. […] The minor homosexual engagements that took place between the boys themselves were […] in the nature of play", while no adult homosexuality was seen. "The sexual play of a young child might even include his father"; at least, one is reported to manipulate a boy in erection, without much consideration for observers.



Tupinambá (Brazil) (-,-,2,2,4,4;2,2;B)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


" […] Tupinamba girls, before their breasts are full and the menses appear, are forbidden intercourse" (Ford, 1945 [1964:p20]). "[…] older Tupinamba women in Brazil who did not have the favor of older men might constantly accompany young boys, to whom they gave presents and instruction in sexual matters" […] (Werner, cited by Frayser).



Tenetehára (unrated) (Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Wagley and Galvão (1949:p78-9)[164] state the Tenetehara children know all, girls from the women in households, boys from playmates. "Small boys invariably know of all extramarital affairs in the village", in short, "All of them know everything". There is some masturbation, despite discouragement ("the head (glans) of your penis will stick out and the foreskin will stretch as far as your feet if you do not stop") and some sex play, in which boys invite girls to come to self-made houses near the village. The girls soon retire, and little boys of five years would be used "as the girl".



Tapirapé (unrated) (Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Wagley (1977:p145)[165]: "They [boys] played house and included little girls as wives. Adults roared with laughter when the children imitated quarrels between husband and wife. And I saw boys and girls imitating copulation without being reprimanded by adults".





[No data available]




Argentina (República Argentina) (Pilagá, Mataco, Araucanians, Ona, Teheulche)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index] [IES]


Kamenetzky [166] on sex education:


"Currently there are no sexual education programs at the primary school level. It is left to the teachers to give some information as part of the classes on biology. In the few cases in which a teacher decides to do so, it is no more than a description of the reproductive organs in plants and animals, and some references to the role of ovaries and testes in human reproduction, with no explicit mention or even less showing of pictures of the genitals".


On masturbation:


"In Argentine society, despite official Catholic negative views of sex outside the marital union, it is usually seen as normal for preteenage boys to play exploratory games with other boys, and girls with other girls. These games are seen by most parents as part of the process of growing up. It allows the child to reassure him/herself of the normality of his/her body by comparing it with the body of a friend, relative, or schoolmate, although sometimes instead of being a reassurance it could generate anxieties as when girls compare the size of their breasts and boys the size of their penises. It is also a source of anxiety when a boy feels sexually excited by another boy and fears he is becoming gay. Freedom for these kinds of exploratory games was greater in bygone days when Argentine society had less violence, and drugs were not as common. In the past, boys would gather in parks and compete to see who threw their semen further while masturbating. Parks were also a place where couples would meet for sexual encounters and teenagers would peep on their activities without disturbing the partners".


With regard to first sexual experiences, it became clear that in Buenos Aires 18-24 year olds sexual activities


"are initiated at increasingly earlier ages. Most of the interviewed youth defined their first experiences as disappointing. Asked why, they always responded that it was so because of a lack of romance. Most boys had been initiated in whorehouses, under the pressure of the fathers who would arrange the visit, and this happened without a previous intimate talk that could soothe the anxiety of the teenager by discussing what he may expect to happen and how to protect himself from diseases, mainly AIDS, about which the teenager had already heard at school. Such experiences, they said, left bitter memories, which for some disappeared when they fell in love and discovered the ingredient they were longing for: romance. The boys all agreed that the experience at the whorehouse was felt as an obligation to fulfill in order to affirm their virility.

Among girls, the memories of their being deflowered were somewhat different from the boys. Some did not bother to get prior information about the meaning and the possible consequences of their first sexual encounter. They perceived their first intercourse as the fulfillment of a strongly felt desire that at the same time would transgress a social taboo. Hence they reached the situation with many expectations, and as much anxiety as boys said they did. For other, more entrepreneurial-type female students, it was a calculated action to get rid of their virginity, which they perceived as an obstacle to enter into a more mature and fulfilling sexual life. These girls sought information from doctors in private gynecological practice and acquired the necessary contraceptive technology to protect themselves".


In one 1997 study, [167] on female adolescents 15 to 18 years old attending the gynaecological service of the adolescents' department of a public hospital, the mean age at first sexual intercourse was calculated at 15.3 with a modal value of age 15. Almost 1/4 were initiated before age 14. According to a recent study, mean age at coital initiation of late adolescent schoolboys near Buenos Aires was established at 14.9 (SD 1.5 years)[168]. Boys would typically start off with prostitutes (41.6%).


Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna Lynch's sexarche at age 14 was, according to Che's biographer Jon Lee Anderson[169], typical:


"For sex, boys of Ernesto's social milieu either visited brothels or looked for conquest among girls of the lower class [...] for many, the first sexual experience was with the family "mucama", or servant girl, usually an Indian or poor mestiza from one of Argentina's Northern provinces. It was Calica Ferrer who had provided Ernesto with his first introduction to sex [...] in a liaison with his family mucama, a woman called "La Negra" Cabrera" ".


[Additional refs.: CRLP (1997) Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Latin America and the Caribbean, p15-33. Also Progress Report, 2000, p9-16; Chejter, S. (Oct., 2001) La Niñez Prostituida: Estudio sobre Explotación Sexual Comercial Infantil en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: UNICEF Argentina [ Ninez-prostituida.pdf]]


Pilagá (unrated) (Gran Chaco, Argentina)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


The remarkable child sexuality in the Pilagá (Argentine Gran Chaco) is to some extent studied by the Henries[170] in the 1940s; regrettingly, few corroborating data exist. Reviewed (1945) and cited (1952:p540-1) by Róheim, their work was praised to be "the best and most extensive field work done on any group of children in a primitive society", although clearly Róheim regretted their self-admitted impotence in psychodynamic interpretation.

The reader is told that the children "pass hours each day in violent sexual games […] in everyday life, there is a constant veering between sexuality and violence, and often the two are inextricably blended […] absolutely no prohibition is placed on child sexual activity by the adults, so that the children are at liberty to do what they please. Under such circumstances, the only limits to the child's sexual activity are his physiological capacities and the tolerance of his companions ([1944 [1974:p55-9, 72]; 1948 [1953:p296, 299])". The games include attempts at coitus (1949:p97). It must be said that the (spontaneously) genitalised dolls may have triggered the sexual phenomena, since sexuality was "completely absent when the girls played with their own dolls" (1944 [1974:p32]); also, native doll use was impersonal rather than externally personalised. The native sexual patterns, however, do not necessitate such explanation (ibid.):


"Young children are permitted absolute freedom. The adult sexual act is performed at night but without any attempt at concealment. Up to the age of five boys masturbate and practice pederasty unashamedly in broad daylight. The girls masturbate against one another in public, and at five years they start taking little boys to bed with them and attempting coitus. Open masturbation by rubbing against other children, games of snatching at genitalia, and open "coitus bees" in which groups of little boys and girls attempt coitus at night, continue until about the age of twelve. Children and adults joke constantly about sex, and sexual insults by children are common".


Their discussion of doll-facilitated sexual phenomena ([1974:p72-9]) reveals that intercourse between the dolls was the prime symptom. The piling up of dolls, which the authors include in the phenomenon of "spreading" of sexuality, may, in some case, "be related to the habit young Pilagá children have of piling one on top of the other in a frenzy of masturbation". Other positionings were significant for the "known homosexuality of little boys", including the example of anal penetration by a four-year-old boy performed on a boy slightly junior his age.

Interestingly, the authors report a case of what could have been considered problem sexual behaviour by the Pilagá (no arguments are made in this respect) in an eight-year-old girl, who set out on a "raping rampage" involving little girls (p77). This occurred in an apparent identification with a maladjusted adolescent, who, according to local believes, could be expected to perform rape (being a "lunatic").


[Additional refs:

-- Henry, J. (1940) Some cultural determinants of hostility in Pilagá indian children, Am J Orthopsychia 10,1

-- Henry, J. (1947) Environment and symptom formation, Am J Orthopsychia, Oct.]



Mataco (Northern and Central Gran Chaco, Bolivia to Argentina)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Fock (1963)[171]:


"The Mataco regard the initiation of girls as an introduction to marriage. This initiation consists in the girl's seclusion—or better—segregation from everyone apart from her mother. It comes as a prolongation of her first menstruation, and the long isolation is spent in continual work making caraguatá cord. It is considered very important that this work should be performed rapidly and well in order that an impression can be formed of the girl's ability as regards her main occupation in the future. As a rule the end of seclusion is marked by an aloja festival during which the girl looks around for a man. That same night she is able to take him with her to her home and allow him to sleep with her".


Karsten (1932)[172]: "As soon as a girl has passed her first menstruation she is considered free to choose for herself occasional lovers, and generally she does not delay in making use of this right". Equally: "Among the Tobas, as among most Chaco tribes, pre-nuptial chastity is almost unknown, great sexual liberty being allowed both boys and girls before marriage. As soon as a girl is marriageable, that is, has passed her first menstruation, she may choose casual lovers, and generally she does not fail to make use of her freedom".


Métraux (1939)[173]: "It is the moon who sleeps first with the girls and that is why they menstruate. She [girls] may not marry or have sexual intercourse until after her first menstruation".



Araucanians (Mapuche: 3-,3-,3-,3-,2,2;7,5) (Argentina, Chile)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Sister Hilger (1957)[174] states that child betrothal was rare, in which case marriage would be delayed till fifteen (p329, 389). Hilger (1957) has no arguments on child sexuality. Among the Argentine Araucanians, a girl is prepared for menarche, but not explained its purpose. (p293). "Neither boys not girls were given sex instructions. Speaking of sex matters was practically taboo. "We would not talk about it; it was too delicate. Things were very strict formerly. A girl of 20 years old knew nothing about sex; today very young girls know everything they should not know [ch. Chippeway]. Formerly, if a young man touched a girl, like putting his hands on hers of holding hers, his father had to make a payment in animals to the girl's father". In rare instances, however, a mother or a gandmother told the girl the purpose of menstruation" (p292). At menarche, girls are secluded; boy's pubescence is not ritually marked.

Thus, among the Araucanians of Chile, girls are not instructed about sex or menarche (p57), and there are no puberty rites for either sex. Children among themselves are said to be "modest" (p57, 244).

The Mapuche feel that premarital sexual experimentation is "natural and even desirous", but also urge their children to settle down to married life after a few years' sexual freedom (Faron, 1968:p40)[175]. At age twelve a boy may be told about "manhood" and the rules of marriage. Faron (1961:p157-9)[176] states that senior members of children's play groups act as "[…] founts of information about sexual matters. By and large, these groups are composed of closely related youngsters who are members of the same lineage and who tend not to engage in sexual experimentation among themselves, although they discuss sexual matters avidly. Children are aware of their parents' sex activities and occasion make lewd reference to them among their peers. […] Parents do not inform young children about sex and its functions and, indeed, there seems no appreciable difference in this knowing between adolescents and their elders. […] very little information about sexual functions passes directly from father to son. Mothers usually advise their daughters at the onset of their first menses with regard to bodily cleanliness and the care of soiled garments, but again little or nothing about sexual activity is transmitted from mother to unmarried daughter". Nevertheless, "[p]remarital sexual activity is expected to begin at about the onset of puberty, though parents restrict their children's opportunity for sexuality in an attempt to keep it within respectable bounds. […] Sexual intercourse is often first experienced by boys during early adolescence, while still attending school. For most girls, however, it is said that this experience comes a few years later and usually under the guise of courtship".



Yahgan / Ona (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina) (3+,4+,4,4,3,3;5,5)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Among the Yahgan, little girls are betrothed to adult men; sometimes parents agree to unions between little boys and girls[177]. Girls of ten to twelve are found to be no longer virgin[178].


Among the Ona, "[t]he sexes were kept separate and watched vigilantly from very early years" (Cooper)[179]. Gusinde's trilogy on the Yahgan gives some insight. Children of the Selk'nam (1931:p372)[180] separate in childhood (cf. Gusinde, 1946:p253-4)[181]. Some homosexuality among boys is prevalent: "Wissen Buben sich selbst überlassen, dann kommt es manchmal zu Frivolitäten, welche sie als solche einschätzen, doch nie vor Erwachsenen zu wiederholen wagen. Sie drücken und ziehen sich gegenseitig am Membrum, pissen sich gegenseitig an, legen sich nackt aufeinander und steifen dabei das Membrum. Manche Weiße verkehrten mit indianischen Burschen in der nämlichen Form".


Also (1931:p558-9):


"They never show the slightest prudish narrow-mindedness when boys are by themselves; rather, it has their fullest approval that they thoroughly have their fling. Naturally, the rascals throw off their little cloaks during lively play, even those as old as 14. Then they vivaciously frolic about, throttle and wrestle with one another, throw themselves on the ground and lie on top of one another in the drollest positions, strike one another on the buttocks or lightly brush the hand over the sexual parts, and sometimes adopt a pose that would not be permitted adults: All this is regarded as harmless naïveté, for such romping about usually takes place outside the camp. Once I saw from a distance how several small boys made a circle and at the same time, amidst whispering and giggling, started to take care of a minor need with somewhat free deportment, quickly broke up the circle, ran after one another yelling, and mutually urinated on one another. Two old men who were standing beside me- we were not observed by the boys - smiled at this performance; they said to me apologetically: "After all, the boys are there by themselves!" ".


Girls are less active. Sex instruction is not formalized. "Children are never witnesses to intimate familiarities between married people" and "[…] children are never given a so-called "explanation of the facts of life", any more than they are given hints about the sexual life of spouses. Each child's own developing nature may teach him what needs to be known about this. The young Feuerländer /Fuegians are alert and have a keen gift of observation; hence the twofold sexuality among human beings cannot remain hidden from them as long as they can directly observe it in the animal" (p579).

Thus, "In educational instructions and especially in sexual enlightenment, the Indian never anticipates the child's physical and mental degree of development or maturity reached naturally; in everything he waits for the appropriate age and the eligibility of the developing young human being"[182].


A comparable pattern is seen for the Yamana (1937:p741)[183], and for the Halakwulup (1974:p392)[184].


At the Kloketen initiation rite (Chapman, 1982)[185], genitalia of the initiands are sqeezed (p105-6). Sometime afterwards the kloketen (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.



Teheulche (Argentina)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


In 19th century Patagonia, girls "[…] attain puberty at an early age—probably about thirteen years—are frequently married at fifteen years of age, and, from exposure and hard work, speedily become aged"[186].



Equador, Ecuador (Jivaro, Cayapá; ® Santa Cruz Islands)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Among young adult males in urban Equador, 28% experienced their first sexual intercourse with a prostitute[187].



Jivaro (Equador) (-,-,3,3,3,-;5,-)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


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, 1935:p216; Ford and Beach, 1951:p182)[188]. If this rule is violated, he may die (Ford, 1945 [1964:p20]). "Very frequently immature girls of 8 or 9 years of age are purchased as wives. […] Sexual intercourse does not take place, however, until puberty" (Stirling, 1938:p108)[189].



Cayapá (Equador) (2+,2+,3+,3+,3,3;5,8)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Altschuler (1964:p231)[190] was sure of young Cayapa boys indulging in homoeroticism (in contrast to homosexuality) when wrapped around each other on the floor or sharing hammocks. Cayapá parents and older sisters pick the boy up in the air and take his penis between their lips (Altschuler, 1971:p50-1)[191]: "A common activity that parents and older siblings engage in with young male children is to hold the child high overhead, open the mouth, and then close it over the child's genitals (The game is never played with female children). Observation suggests that the experience is not at all frightening to the child".



Peru (Sharanahua, Shipibo, Machiguenga, Amahuaca, Cashinahua; ®Aymara)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


A male's first sexual experience in Lima was typically either with a prostitute or a "fling" (Nencel, 1994:p62, 63, 68)[192]. In a study (Chirinoset al., 2001)[193] on Latino male adolescent (12-19) students living in California and Lima, "the" sexual debut was 13 years in both samples. Of the sample, 43% had ever had sex; age at first sexual intercourse was 13 years (Chirinos et al., 2000)[194]. Males tended to mainly discuss sexuality with their male peers. In a previous (early 1990s) Lima study on low-income mid-twenties reported by Mahler[195], first coitus occurred at a mean age of 16.2 (mm) and 19.2 (ff). In a later study[196] on 6,962 urban secondary school students aged 13-18, seventeen per cent reported ever having had sexual intercourse (boys: 32 per cent, girls: 7 per cent). Among those reporting having had coitus, the mean age at its first occasion was13.1 and 14.1 (bs and gs).


Whitam et al. (1998)[197] offer some material regarding lesbian identity development.


In one study from the mid-1980s, "Many of the young men said their first sexual experience had been with a much older woman- probably a prostitute, according to the investigator"[198]. "Most contacts of [female adolescents] were with boyfriends. [Male adolescents], however, had had intercourse with friends, prostitutes, and girlfriends. Homosexual experiences were reported at 12.3% for men and 4.3% for women. Preceding such experiences, noncoital practices served to facilitate the initiation of youth to coitus at a rather early age"[199].


[Additional refs: CRLP (1997) Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Latin America and the Caribbean, p163-85. Also Progress Report, 2000, p71-9]



Mocheros  (Moche District, North Coastal Peru) [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


In Moche, Peru, female virginity is highly valued but many boys have intercourse by ages 12-13 years though dating doesn't begin until ages 15-16 years. Premarital intercourse, "although disapproved, is taken for granted" (Gillin, 1948)[200]. Gillin (1949:p70-1)[201] argues that sex is dealt with "naturally". Thus, "Masturbation is ideally frowned upon, but elders do not hound their child to desist and it is actually regarded as a legitimate outlet for the sex drive in those rare cases where "normal" satisfactions are not available. [...] A boy begins to have sexual relations when he is about twelve or thirteen, but such relations are restricted. Most boys seem to have their first experience with girls of about their own age or somewhat older. The more common practice seems to be for a boy to waylay a girl as she passes through the campiña [...] Sometimes a group of boys waylays a group of girls. As a rule, either type of seduction is preceded by verbal plans or hints and certainly by prior acquaintance. [...] By the age of fifteen or sixteen a boy makes dates with a girl to meet him at a given place in the campiña when he is supposed to be coming home from the market". "Perhaps the majority of children [...] have seen intercourse at an early age, and practically all children know about it in a vague way by the time they are eight or nine years old, though they fail to understand its details or biological purpose. There is no puritanical attitude about it, and there is no effort to withhold knowledge from children, though privacy is preferred. [...] the disapproval of masturbation seems to be more half-hearted than real. Children are not corrected for acts evidencing autoeroticism, but a confession is made to European mores. "Of course t is bad", they say, but children are not lectured on its baleful effects not hounded to desist. The same is true regarding premarital intercourse".



Peruan Indians: Generalia (unrated)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Tessmann (1930)[202] gathered data on premarital intercourse prohibitions and early homosexuality in 49 Peruan Indian tribes. His data reveal that the common prohibition and punishment of premenarchal coitus is usually associated with early homosexual behaviour or, less common, masturbation. Societies with no such prohibition (Koto, p201; Bora, p278; Kandoschi, p291; Yagua, p470; and less clear, Mayoruna, p375) reveal minimal homosexual play. An exception to this rule are the Muinane (p336), in whom both occurs, and the Auischiri (p483) as well as the Okáina (p557), for both of whom neither practice is seen. Among the Indians of Ucayali (unrated), Tessmann (1928:p208-9)[203] notes:


"Mit dem Geschlechtsverkehr beginnt die Tschama früh- es ist sehr schwer, über das Alter etwas auszusagen- mit acht bis zehn Jahren dürfte nicht zu früh geschätzt sein. […] Der Tschama ist genau wie der peruanische Mischling selbst in Iquitos schon von frühester Jugend an strak auf das weibliche Geschlecht eingestellt. Seinem Trieb folgt er früh und sucht die kleinen Mädchen zu verführen. Diese kommen ihm, wenn sie nur können, entgegen und benutzen jede Gelegenheit, wenn ihre Mutter sie der Pflanzung beschäftigt ist, oder die abendlichen Stunden, um ihren Liebhaber zu treffen und sich hinzugeben. Beide heißen muerati, was ich nur mit Vorbehalt als "Geliebte" bzw. "Geliebter" zu übersetzen wage, da nicht etwa ein Junge immer dasselbe Mädchen hat, sondern jeder nachstellt, die er erreichen kann, wie sie auch nur dann keinen anderen nimmt, wenn keiner zu bekommen ist. Dieser von keinen sentimentalen Anwandlungen getrübte Liebesverkehr beginnt schon lange vor der Beschneidung der Mädchen, und meine Berichterstatter haben mir versichert, wie ich schon sagte, daß keine der zu Beschneidenden noch jungfräulich ist".


The parents do not protest. Masturbation would be uncommon (typical of most Peruan Indians), and anal intercourse occurs "nur unter kleineren Jungen".


Fejos (1943:p74)[204] on the Peruan Yagua: "Girls have their first sexual experience either before their first menstrual period or shortly afterwards. Boys and girls of the same clan meet secretly in the bush or on outer chacras but if they are discovered they are not punished".



Sharanahua (Peruan Amazonia)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Siskin (1975:p58-9)[205] stated: "The prepubescent girls, many of whom are already married, flirt and giggle but are already experts at evasion and teasing, aiming their wills mostly again at men. […] Some sex play goes on, but a real attempt at sexual intercourse is reported to the adults. The girls are incessant tale bearers, reporting on each other as well as on the boys". Marriage may be completed at age seven (ibid., p75, 79). "Little girls are sometimes affectionate to their husbands, but they usually ignore them until they are closer to adolescence at fourteen or fifteen".



Shipibo (Eastern Peru) (eHRAF)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Bergman (1980:p80)[206]:


"Parents often arrange marriages for their children in infancy or early childhood. Traditionally a man of 25 years marries one or more wives of from 8 to 10 years of age, but it is said that sexual relations do not begin until the wife reaches puberty. In Panaillo there is now only one recent marriage of this type. The husband is about 30 years old and the wife a rather childish twelve. They seemed to get along well. Recent practice still includes parental arrangement, but eighteen-year-old men marry girls of fourteen or fifteen years. Villagers say that at this age the girl is better able to assume wifely duties. A young man's prime qualification for marriage is his skill as a fisherman".


Roe (1982)[207]:


"One thing [Tessmann] probably was correct about, however, was that the ceremony did not serve as a public demonstration of the girl's virginity: That the circumcision is a "Sacrifice to the Moon" or an ascertainment that the girl is a virgin […] is incorrect. This is the interpretation of the settlers, who have naturally tried to explain the meaning of this striking custom. Every Tschama [Chama] knows that none of the girls were virgins before the circumcision because of the free sexual intercourse between children (1928[208]:p211, transl. [Roe])".


"After her fifth menses had passed the girl's mother invited the women and a few old men of the village to a feast. The day was spent in singing songs, dancing, and feasting. At the end each guest received a present. Her long stay in the dark cell was now over. But her companion remained with her constantly, and she continued her daily baths. She was now regarded as eligible for marriage, and ordinarily did marry within a short time" (Olson, 1936:p105-6)[209].


Eakin (1980/1986)[210] stated that "[p]uberty rites for girls […] were conducted soon after the first menstruation, as preparation for marriage. After the girl had been tired out from dancing and stupefied with drink, she was subjected to a genital subincision, which involved the penetration of the hymen [[211]] and in many cases included a clitorectomy or labioectomy. The operation was performed by one of the older women, using a bamboo knife"[212] (p79-80). DeBoer (1979)[213] speaks of a ceramic object used for [vaginal?] insertion[214].


Karsten (1955)[215] contributes that in the tribes of the Ucayali, the body is seen as particularly exposed to "the invisible enemies who the savage fears".


"The first sexual relation of the girl, or the defloration, is particularly full of dangers; the wound thus caused can serve as an entrance to malignant demons, and the definite elimination of the hymen and other parts of the genitals mysteriously acts as a precaution to protect the young person from these dangers. According to the affirmations of some travellers, the elderly who perform the operation not only rubbed certain medicinal grass onto the severed parts, but after a little while introduced an artificial penis, made of clay in the vagina […], of the same dimensions of the girl's orifice. The Indians whom I consulted in detail denied the existence of such a practice, and perhaps it does not happen on a regular basis, at least in our days, but if it still existed it would indicate clearly the true intention of this rite" [transl. D.J.][216].


Hern (1977)[217]: "The early age of cohabitation does not seem to be the result of culture change, since many women in their later reproductive years reported having been entregada (betrothed) to their husbands before puberty. Sexual activity customarily began shortly after the first menses. Surely the missionaries did not approve of this custom".


"Marriage and pregnancy occur early, at about 14–15 years of age, a fact that many women bitterly resent. Barely freed from babysitting for their siblings, a job that has consumed much of their time between ages seven and fourteen, girls are, or at least feel, thrust into the responsibilities of adulthood without ever having really been children themselves. […] Women also complain of being forced to marry an "old man". A few women refused to marry a particular man because he was too old, or because he beat his first wife" (Abelove, 1978)[218]. "Formerly, a girl two or three years of age might be promised for marriage and might be made to live with her husband as early as age seven or eight. Today, child marriages are rare, and most girls marry between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, although a few marry as early as eleven or twelve. The marriage age for young men covers a wider spread, and may be anywhere from seventeen to thirty with the nineteen to twenty-five bracket as the most common" (Eakin). "The mean and median reported ages at first marriage for females were 14.6 and 14.2 years, respectively" (Hern). The proposing by a boy was often done through a male intermediary when the intended was but a small child (Karsten 1964:186). Karsten (1964:p192) maintained that after the bride was handed over to her groom all those assembled watched the consummation of the marriage, but Roe could get no confirmation on this from his informants (p41).



Machiguenga (Peru)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


According to Johnson[219]:


"The gender separation of older children that intensifies through work with their same-sex parents comes to extend to social relations in general. When men and women form sex segregated groups at a feast, for example, older boys join the men around their food pot, leaving the young boys with the women and girls. Owing to the general public seperateness between male and female, I rarely observed sexual play among adults or children. Parents hide sex from children by saving it for private trips to their garden or clandestine late night lovemaking. But they say that from an early age children learn about sex and engage in sex play and intercourse in the bushes--having apparently learned modesty from their parents".



Amahuaca (2,2,2,2,2,2;5,5) (Peru; Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


"The Amhuaca marry at age 8 to 11, usually with men in their twenties; however, "[…] most children seem to have their first sexual experiences with siblings, and such experimentation is not considered a violation of taboos" (Huxley and Capa, 1965:p72)[220].



Cashinahua (Eastern Peru; Brazil)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Kesinger (1995:p79-80)[221] states that children learn from direct observation and via the gossip of adults. Coitus is observed frequently, "a fact that is amply demonstrated in their play, much to the amusement of the watching adults". Children are taken by their mothers to their [mothers'] erotic adventures.


"Prepubescent boys frequently gave me explicit descriptions of sexual activity they observed while play hunting in the areas frequented by lovers. Both boys and girls are enjoined from having sex before they have completed the month-long initiation rites, which are held at roughly five-year intervals, when the initiates are between nine and thirteen years old. My data indicate that they behave as expected. Most girls marry shortly after initiation and begin having sexual intercourse well before their first menses. Boys frequently are taught the techniques of seduction and sexual intercourse by older women of the kin class xanu, including older brother's wife, father's father's brother's wife, and father's mother. They 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. I never witnessed any masturbatory or other sexual play as described by Jacques Lizot (1985)[[222]] for the Yanomami. Although the Cashinahua have terms (actually descriptive phrases) for male and female masturbation, terms they say they borrowed from the neighbouring Marinahua, they insist that such practices are unnecessary because sexual partners are readily available".


Bolivia / República de Bolivia (Siriono, Aymara ; ®Mataco)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


A study on virginity concepts among junior and senior high students was offered by Morris et al. (2000)[223].


[Additional refs: CRLP (1997) Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Latin America and the Caribbean, p34-50. Also Progress Report, 2000, p17-23]



Siriono (Bolivia) (2+,2+,2+,2+,2,2;6,6;G1;BE)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Holmberg (1950:p79)[224] stated that genital teasing (pinching) occurred, although masturbation was not a "common juvenile pastime". "Children, especially boys, however, finger their genitals a great deal without censure, and when they are young their parents masturbate them frequently" ([1969:p169]). Sexual intercourse with a girl who has not undergone her puberty rites is believed "to be followed by a supernatural sanction of sickness and death" [p211], and was not observed [p168].



Aymara (Bolivia, Peru) (2-,2-,2-,2-,2-,2-;8,8)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Tschopik (1951:p167)[225] writes: "Owing to sleeping arrangements within the Aymara household, children are, moreover, aware of adult sexuality from early childhood, and it is not surprising in view of the lax attitudes towards sexual behavior that they themselves should experiment freely as soon as they are so inclined. As a consequence, both boys and girls have had first-hand experience and are thoroughly familiar with sex long before they have reached puberty. It seems unnecessary, therefore, to point out that in this society no importance whatever is attached to virginity".


"The sex play of young children is viewed by adults with tolerant amusement, and masturbation, though ridiculed, is not actively disapproved, with the result that informants recall having practiced it with no apparent feelings of guilt or shame. Attempts at heterosexual activity on the part of children are, generally speaking, ignored, and if noted tend to evoke amusement or mild ridicule on the part of adults". […] "As adolescence approaches, girls are often admonished by their mothers not to have "too many" love affairs, but maternal advice in regard to affairs of the heart is customarily elastic and vague. In few instances do illegitimate children constitute a bar to the marriageability of their unwed mothers. Boys are merely warned not to make girls pregnant, lest they become involved with some undesirable and unscrupulous woman who might have serious matrimonial intentions. Evidence furnished by life histories indicates that in not a few instances girls or women take the initiative in making sexual advances, and, indeed, it is the opinion of some Aymara that women are more ardent than men" (p167a-b).


La Barre (1948:p126)[226] agrees that under the given circumstances, ("As far as the facts of procreation are concerned, no attempt is made to preserve children from a knowledge of them; the entire family sleeps together on one bed on the raised mud platform in the one-room native hut. No excessive care for privacy is exercised in any case […]"), "Aymara children are aware of genital sexuality from earliest childhood". Nevertheless, they have an expression for coitarche: lliukattatha.



Paraguay (Guaraní/Cayua)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Service and Service (1954:p224-6)[227] state that parents "consciously avoid discussion of any [sexual] topic in front of children. Informants also agreed, however, that all children "know everything" by the time they are twelve or thirteen and that some may even have had sex relations at that time. It is said that children learn about sex by "figuring it out", by observation of animals, and from older children".  More restriction is noted in upper classes than in middle and lower classes, where "sex relations soon after puberty are not uncommon". Small children who go naked may be distracted from touching their genitals, but are not scolded; older boys are punished, because of the believe that it causes "insanity, pimples, and weakness". The most common stories about "sex aberrations" have to do with boys' experimentations with farm animals; such acts are considered to be the result of natural curiosity, rather than abnormal.

The 1990 Paraguay Encuesta Nacional de Demografia y Salud offered a median age of first intercourse of 19.3 (versus a median age of marriahe of 20.9)[228].


[Additional refs.: Pantelides, E. A. & Binstock, G. (1993) Factores de riesgo de embarazo adolescente en el Paraguay [Risk Factors of Pregnancy among Adolescents in Paraguay], Rev Paraguaya Sociol 30/87:171-86]



Guaraní /Cayua (Paraguay) (2, -,2+,-,-,-;-,-)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Girls enter marriage at 11 or 12, boys seldom before age 17 or 18 (Müller, 1935:p381)[229].


"Knowledge of sexuality among the Tupí- Guaraní  is extremely limited because missionaries, by convention, were rather prudish in writing about this subject" . Child betrothal is reported among the Guaraní of the Paraná River. "In some cases little girls were given to grown men, who lived with their child wives, probably in the house of their future parents-in-law" (Métraux, 1948)[230]. Ganson (p214-5), however, noted that mission Indians married at the age of 14-15 for girls, and 16-17 for men, while native customs indicated the "age of sexual maturity".[?]A number of taboos accompanies the healing process, including "rigorous" sexual abstinence. All this until the boys are healed, because "otherwise the hole is ruined" (Schaden, 1962)[231].



Chile (®Araucanians; Easter Island)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


In males of Chile, the median age of first sexual intercourse was about 15 or 16 (Francoise Hall, 1971:p146)[232]. Another study by Murray et al. (1998)[233] found a median age of coital debut was 15.0 years for females, and 14.0 for males; about 5% of females and 10% of males had had coitus at age 13 or before. According to another study (Herold et al., 1992)[234], the median age of first sexual intercourse for experienced Santiago females was 18.4, for experienced males it was 16.4 (overall ages were 21.2 and 17.5). [This compares to a median 15 for males in a 1968 study[235].] Partners of first sexual intercourse for both tend to be at least 2.5 years older. In a study of 229 adolescents attending seventh and eighth grade of junior school, in private and public schools of Temuco, Chile, of the 11 percent of adolescents who already had their first sexual intercourse, this occurred at a mean age of 12.2 +/- 2.4 years[236]. In a sample of 301 women, aged 20 to 70 years old, consulting a medical service, the mean age at the first intercourse was 20.6 +/- 4.5 years[237].

Vizcarra and Balladares (2000)[238] explored the childhood sexual behaviours in a sample of 588 university students from Temuco (Chile), whose ages ranged from 17 to 21 years; there was also a cross-cultural comparison.


[Additional refs.: Millan, T., Valenzuela , S. & Vargas, N. A. (1995) [Reproductive health in adolescent students: knowledge, attitudes and behavior in both sexes in a Santiago], Chile community, Rev Med Chil 123,3:368-75]



Easter Island (Chile)  [up] [Contents] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


"On Easter Island children from the age of six on imitate the sexual behavior of adults without censure […]" (Ford and Beach, 1951:p191). McCall (1981[1994:p80])[239]: "[…] adults refrain from discussing [sexual matters]. Some sexual experience is apart of most Rapanui pre-adolescent behavior and while some parents are worried about the consequences of such play, particularly for their daughters, most realise that it is a part of becoming an adult". A complex custom exists in regard to the clitoris (Marshall, 1962:p249). "There it was teased out by the priest until he could fasten a cord to it. From this dangled a weight which stretched the organ to a length of two to three inches". According to Danielsson (p89-90) citing a German author, the girl is first orally instructed by an older woman, after which she had intercourse with an older male relative. Métraux ([1957:p107-8])[240] states that puberty (10-11 for girls, 12-14 for boys)


"[…] does not even coincide with the beginning of sex life, which starts at a relatively tender age. Nowadays few girls reach the critical age [puberty] without having had some sexual experiences or even with adults, who, we were told, have recourse to various methods of seduction or even force. The little boys are precocious and at an early age imitate the frolics in which they have seen their elders engaging. As far as we could judge, parents take very little notice of these early sexual activities. Among the Easter Islanders puberty is a purely physiological state in the mode of life".











Index to Section  [up] [Contents] [Index] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]


Alkatcho, 8

Amazones, 13

Amhuaca, 23

Apinayé, 16

Araucanians, 19

Argentina, 17

age of consent, 4

Aritama, 8

Aweikoma, 15

Aymara, 23

Bahia, 15

Bakairí, 13

Bolivia, 23

age of consent, 4

Bororó, 15

Brazil, 12

British Guiana, 11

Bush Negroes. See Saramacans

Cagaba, 6

Caingangs. See Kaingángs

Canela, 14

Cashinahua, 25

Cayapá, 21

Cayua. See Guaraní

Chile, 24

age of consent, 4


Easter Island, 25


age of consent, 4

Costa Rica

age of consent, 4


age of consent, 4

Cubeo, 7

Easter Island, 25

Embera, 6

Equador, 20

French Guiana, 12

age of consent, 4

Ndyuka, 11


Caingangs, 15

Kayapó, 14

Timbira, 14

Xavante, 15

Guajiro, 9

Guaraní, 24


age of consent, 4

Guatos, 14

Guiana, 11


age of consent, 4

Ica, 6


age of consent, 4

Jivaro, 20

Kagaba, 7

Kagwahiv, 25

Kaingángs, 15

Kayabí, 17

Kayapó, 14

Kogi, 5

Machiguenga, 23

Mataco, 19

Mehinaku, 16


age of consent, 4

Mucajai, 10

Nambikwara, 13

Ndyuka, 11

Oceania, 2

Ona, 20

Pacifics, 3

Paraguay, 24

Peru, 21

age of consent, 4

Pilagá, 18

Puerto Rico

age of consent, 4

Sanema, 11

Saramakans, 12

Sharanahua, 21; 22

Shavante, 15

Shipibo, 22

Shirishana. see Yanomamo

Siriono, 3; 23

South Americas

current age of consent, 4

early betrothal / marriage, 4

South-Americas, 3

Suriname, 11

Tapirapé, 17

Teheulche, 20

Tenetehara, 17

Tierra del Fuego, 20

Timbira, 14

Tobas, 19

Trumaí, 17

Tukano, 7

Tupinamba, 3

Tupinambá, 17

Vaupé, 7

Venezuela, 8


age of consent, 4

Waica, 11

Waika, 10

Wai-Wai, 14

Warao, 9

Warrau. See Warao

Xavante. See Shavante

Xokleng, 3; 14

Yahgan, 20

Yanoama, 10

Yaruros, 9

Zorcas, 8



Notes  [up] [Contents] [Index] [Geographic Index] [Ethnographic Index]

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[1] Frayser, S. G. (1994) Defining normal childhood sexuality: An anthropological approach, Ann Rev Sex Res 5:173­217

[2] Johansson, W. (1990) Amazonia, in Dynes, W. R. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. New York & London: Garland Publ. Inc.Vol I, p45-6

[3] See also Murray, S. O. (1992) Sentimental effusions of genital contact in Upper Amazonia, in Dynes, W. R. & Donaldson, S. (Eds.) Ethnographic Studies of Homosexuality. New York [etc.]: Garland, p339-51

[4] De Freitas, S. et al. (1997) Brazil, in Francoeur, R. T. (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. New York: Continuum, Vol. 1. Quoted from the online edition

[5] Quoted by Jacobus X ([1893] 1898) L'Amour aux Colonies. Paris: I. Liseux. 3 vols. 2nd & enl. English ed., Untrodden Fields of Anthropology (etc.). Paris: Librairie de Medecine, Folklore et Anthropologie. Vol. II, p444

[6] Von den Steinen, K. (1897) Unter den Naturvölkern Zentral-Brasiliens. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer

[7] Wulf, D. & Singh, S. (1991) Sexual activity, union, and childbearing among adolescent women in the Americas, Int Fam Plann Perspect 17,4:137-44

[11] CRLP (1997) Women of the World: Laws and Policies Affecting Their Reproductive Lives: Latin America and the Caribbean. Also Progress Report, 2000 [Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru]

[12] A 1999 "law created a uniform age of consent to sexual relations of 14 years, eliminating the previous age of consent differential between boys and girls. Boys are now also included in the provision against statutory rape, which had formerly only prohibited sexual intercourse with a girl under 14 years. The amendments also increased the penalties for all crimes against sexual liberty, and particularly for sexual crimes against children: sexual intercourse with a person of either sex under 14 years is punishable by 15 to 20 years imprisonment. It is legal for children above 12 years to have consensual sexual relations, but only if the age differential between the partners is less than 3 years".

[13] "Penetrative sexual acts (including sodomy) and non-penetrative sexual acts on a child between 12 and 18 years are illegal [...]. Under the Chilean Civil Code, a minor is anyone under 18 years of age. Throughout the Civil and Penal Codes, there are distinctions between children (under 7 years), immature adults (boys under 14 and girls under 12), and adults (finished puberty). Because of these different definitions, the legal age of consent is unclear; however, for practical purposes, it appears that the age of consent to sexual relations is 12 years".

[14] "The age of consent in Colombia is 14. Sexual intercourse with a person under 14 years is illegal. Also, it is an offense to commit non-penetrative sexual acts involving a person under 14 years, either against the child or in his or her presence, and to induce a child to sexual practices".

[15] "Ecuador recently amended its Penal Code, increasing penalties for crimes of sexual exploitation, and raising the age of protection from 12 to 14. For practical purposes, the age of consent in Ecuador is 14, although under the Civil Code there are distinctions between infants (up to age 7), boys (up to age 14), girls (up to age 12), adults (finished puberty), and age of majority (18 years old)".

[16] "[…] the Criminal Law Offences Act, rarely refers specifically to "children", only to "females". This legislation puts the age of consent to sexual relations at 13 years. Sexual intercourse with a person under 12 is statutory rape. If the victim is between 12 and 13, the consent of victim is a triable issue and the accused could mount a defense that he was under the belief that the victim was over 13 years of age".

[17] "For most sexual acts, it appears that the age of consent in Paraguay is 14, although for homosexual acts it is 16".

[18] "The age of consent is 15 years. Sexual intercourse with a child under this age is illegal. It is also an offense to have consensual sexual intercourse with an "honest unmarried woman" of any age above 15 years. [...] Additionally, under Uruguayan law, anyone who has sexual relations with a virgin between the ages of 15 and 20 commits statutory rape unless the offender subsequently proposes marriage. [...] There is a presumption that violence has occurred in a sexual assault if the victim is under 15 years old. However, that presumption can be rebutted with evidence if the victim is older than 12 years".

[19] "There doesn't seem to be one specific age of consent to sexual relations. The age of consent to marriage is 14 for girls and 16 for boys. […] [An] article in the Penal Code criminalises penetrative or non-penetrative sexual acts with a person between 12 and 16 years of age".

[20] "The legal age of consent is 21, but the Asian Marriage law, which applies to citizens of Asian descent, puts the age of consent to marriage at 13 years for girls and 14 years for boys".

[21] "The Sexual Offences Act, 1992-93, made sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 14 a criminal offence; but the minimum legal age of consent is 16".

[22] "There is no minimum age for sexual consent but the Family Code sets the minimum age for marriage at 14 years for girls and 16 years for boys".

[23] "Dominican law defines children as persons up to the age of 12 and adolescents as persons aged between 13 and 18. Young women may marry from the age of 15 and young men from the age of 16. There is so far no legislation on the age of sexual consent".

[24] "The age of legal consent for sexual activities is sixteen years and the age of marriage is 18. […] Article 40 of the Penal Code prohibits aggravated assaults on women or children. Under Article 44 carnally knowing, or attempting to carnally know, a girl under twelve is an offence. Article 50 makes it a misdemeanour to have carnal knowledge with a child above 12 but under 16. Article 53 addresses indecent assault on a girl under 16".

[25] "The age of marriage varies depending on religious background. Under the Hindu Marriage Act, a girl may marry at age 14 and a boy at 18. Under the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act a girl may marry at 12 and a boy at 16 whilst under the common law, the ages of marriage are 12 for a girl and 14 for a boy. Parental consent is required for all marriages of minors except in respect of a Hindu girl who has attained the age of 16. Under section 6 of the Sexual Offences Act (1986), it is an offence for a male to have sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14 years. This is punishable by life imprisonment".

[26] Abendanon, J. H. (1923) Het oud Spaansch koloniaal stelsel […], Bijdragen Taal-, Land-, & Volkenk Nederlansch-Indie [Holland] 79:73-197, at p117

[27] Sumner, W. G. (1906) Folkways. Boston [etc.]: Ginn & Co.

[28] Apparently citing Schomburgk, M. R., Travels in British Guiana, 1840-1844. Transl. from the German. I, p122; and also Wickham (1895:p205)

[29] Métraux, A. (1948) The Guarani. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office

[30] Cooper, J. M. (1946) The Ona. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office

[31] Price, P. R. (1975) Saramaka Social Structure: Analysis of a Maroon Society in Surinam. Rio Piedras: Institute of Caribbean Studies, University of Puerto Rico. However, informants indicated that at the time of writing child betrothal was still practised; "[f]urthermore, informants who had lived for years among the Djuka reported that there, where the sex ratio, wage labor patterns, and polygyny frequency are more similar to those of our region a century ago than to those of today, early betrothal (including betrothal in the womb) is still practiced (see R. Price 1970a; Hurault 1961:146, 149)".

[32] Heinen, H. D. ([1988]) Oko Warao: Marshland People of the Orinoco Delta. Münster: Lit. Kirchhoff, P. (1946-59) The Warrau. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office: "The parents of a girl choose a bridegroom at a very early age and hand her over to him at a later period without any further ceremony. From the day of the betrothal, the boy must work for her parents until he reaches manhood, when he takes the girl to the hut he has built. A man may ask a father for his daughter and, if he is accepted, he removes his property to his father-in-law's hut and hunts, fishes, and clears a field for him. The second and third wives are obtained by purchase. When his wife becomes old (20 years), a man takes a little girl of 7 or 8, and his wife instructs her in household duties until she is old enough to marry him".

[33] Cit. infra

[34] Pim, B. & Seeman, B. (1869) Dotting on the Roadside, Panama, Nicaragua  and Mosquito. London, p306-7. See also Esquemeling, J. (1893) The Buccaneers of America. Edited by H. Powell. London, p253; Conzemius (1932) Ethnographical Surveu of the Miskito and Sumu Indians of Honduras and Nicaragua. Washington: Governmental Printing Office, p145, 147; Moravian Church (1898) Rules and Regulations of the Moskito Mission Province […]. Hernhut, p22

[35] Helms, M. W. (1971) Asang. Gainesville: University of Florida Press

[36] Becker-Donner, E. (?) Notizen über einige Stämme an den rechten Zuflüssen des Rio Guaporé, Archiv Völkerk, 275-343

[37] Levak, Z. D. (1973) Kinship System and Social Structure of the Bororo of Pobojari. Dissertation, Yale University

[38] Alzate, H. (1978) Sexual behavior of Colombian university students, Arch Sex Behav 7,1:43-54; Alzate, H. (1984) Sexual behavior of unmarried Columbian university students: a 5-year follow-up, Arch Sex Behav 13,2:121-32

[39]Romanowski, M. P., Cuellar, J. I. & Vargas-Trujillo, E. (1996) Creencias, valores, actitudes y conocimientos sobre sexualidad de un grupo de maestros, padres y adolescentes en un area rural colombiana [Beliefs, values, attitudes and information about sexuality in a group of teachers, parents and adolescents in a Colombian rural area], Avances en Psicol Clin Latinoam 14:125-37

[40]Rodrigues, O. M., Monesi, A. A. & Costa, M. (1991) Curiosidad sexual infantil y adulta: Prevalencia e implicaciones para el tratamiento de las disfunciones sexuales masculinas  [Child and adult sexual curiosity: Extent and implications for treatment of male sexual dysfunction], Rev Latinoam Sexol 6,1: 45-54

[41]Bonilla, N. & Fernanda-Mejia, L. (1991) Se comunican los adolescentes con sus padres acerca de temas sexuales? [Do adolescents talk to parents about sex?], Rev Latinoam Sexol 6,2:151-66

[42]Ebert, P. & Money, J. (1986) Biografia de la educacion sexual de una madre catolica [Biography of the sexual education of a Catholic mother], Rev Latinoam Sexol 1,1:55-65

[43] Fals Borda, O. (1955) Peasant Society in the Colombian Andes. Gainesville: University of Florida Press

[44] Lopez, A. (1967) Some Notes on Fertility Problems in a Colombian Semi-Urban Community, Demography 4,2:453-63

[45] Brongersma, E. (1987) Jongensliefde, Deel 1. Amsterdam: SUA. Brongersma Foundation was said to possess a videotape of the custom, although it may have been confiscated by the police after his death.

[46] Solano, A. L. & Gonzalez, J. M. (1987) Actitudes y conocimientos ante la sexualidad en educadoras preescolares de hogares infantiles I.C.B.F. y jardines infantiles privados de la ciudad de Barranquilla [Sexual attitudes and knowledge of female preschool teachers in government preschool institutions and private kindergartens in the city of Barranquilla], Rev Latinoam Sexol 2,1:57-78

[47] Park, W. Z., Tribes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, Bull Bureau Am Ethnol 143[I]. Stewart, J. H. (Ed.) Handbook of South American Indians. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. Vol. 2, p865-86

[48] Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. (1951) The Kogi: A Tribe of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia. Vol. 2. Bogota: Editorial Iqueima

[49] Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. (1987) The Great Mother and the Kogi universe: a concise overview, J Latin Am Lore 13,1:73-113

[50] Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. (1976) Training for the priesthood among the Kogi of Colombia, in Wilbert

J. (Ed.) Enculturation in Latin America: An Anthology. Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications, University of California, p265-88

[51] A boy who is to become a priest is selected or escluded, at least partially, on this basis, following from a passage that could also be read in an opposite way.

[52] Preuss, K. Th. (1926) Journey of Exploration to the Cagaba. St. Gabriel-Mödling bei Wien: Administration des "Anthropos"

[53] Whiting, J. W. M., Kluckhohn, R. & Anthony, A. (1958) The function of male initiation ceremonies at puberty, in Maccoby, E. E., Newcomb, T. M. & Hartley, E. L. (Eds.) Readings in Social Psychology. Rev. ed. New York:  H. Holt, p359-70

[54] Park, W. Z., Tribes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, Bull Bureau Am Ethnol 143[I]. Stewart, J. H. (Ed.) Handbook of South American Indians. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office. Vol. 2, p865-86

[55] Losonczy, A. M. (1993) La Nourrice d'Esprits. La Jeune Fille chez les Indiens Embera du Choco (Colombie), Cahiers Litt Orale 34:157-76

[56] Goldman, I. (1963) The Cubeo. Urbana: University of Ilinois

[57] Da Silva, P. (1962) The Indigenous Civilization of the Uaupés. Sao Paulo: Centro de Pesquisas de Iauareté

[58] Hugh-Jones, Ch. (1979a) From the Milk River. Cambridge University Press

[59] Arhem, K. (1981) Makuna Social Organization.Uppsala; Stockholm, Sweden: Academiae Upsaliensis;

Distributed by Almqvist & Wiksell International

[60] Hugh-Jones, S. (1974) Male initiation and Cosmology among the Barasana Indians of the Vaupés area of Colombia. Ph.D. diss., Cambridge University

[61] Hugh-Jones, S. (1979b) The Palm and the Pleiades. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press

[62] Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. ([1971]) Amazonian Cosmos. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. More myths refer to menarche: "Another aspect of Vaí-mahsë and, perhaps, the most important, is his sexual interest in human beings. Vaí-mahsë pursues women, especially those who have not yet reached puberty, and waits for an occasion to violate them. […] No young girl who has not yet reached puberty should go near these places because Vaí-mahsë will cause her to have a painful first menstruation. This is because the normal cycle will be interrupted by the influence of Vaí-mahsë. Women who go near the hills or walk alone in the forest risk the same danger".

[63] Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. & Reichel-Dolmatoff, A. (1961) The People of Aritama. Chicago:

University of Chicago Press

[64] Beals, C. (1961) Sex life in Latin America, in Ellis, A. & Abarbanel, A. (Eds.) The Encyclopaedia of Sexual Behavior, Volume 2. London: W. Heinemann, p599-613

[65] Goldman, I. (1963) The Alkatcho carrier of British Colombia, in Linton, R. (Ed.) Acculturation in Seven American Indian Tribes. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smit, p333-89

[66] Pollak-Eltz, A. (1979) Socialization of Children among Afro-Venezuelans, Int Soc Sci J 31,3:470-6

[67] Ernst (1870) Anthropological researches on the population of Venezuela, Memoirs Anthropol Soc 3, [p277]; Ellis ([1925:p207])

[68] Petrullo, V. (1939) The Yaruros of the Capanaparo River, Venezuela. Washington: Government Printing Office

[69] Watson-Franke, M. (1982) Seclusion huts and social balance in Guajiro society, Anthropos 77:449-60; Watson-Franke, M. (1976) To learn for tomorrow, in Wilbert, J. (Ed.) Enculturation in Latin America: An Anthology. Los Angelos: Latin American Center, University of California, p191-211

[70] Watson, L. C. (1972) Sexual Socialization in Guajiro Society, Ethnology 11,2:150-6

[71] Turrado Moreno, A. (1945) Ethnography of the Guarauno Indians. Caracas: Lit. y Tip. Vargas

[72] Suárez, M. M. (1968) The Warao: Natives of the Orinoco Delta. Caracas: Deparemento de Antropología, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas. HRAF MS

[73] Wilbert, J. (1972) The fishermen: the Warao of the Orinoco Delta, in Wilbert, J. (Ed.) Survivors of Eldorado: Four Indian Cultures of South America. New York: Praeger, p65-115

[74] Chagnon, N. A. (1968) Yanomamö. The Fierce People. NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

[75] Becher, H. (1960) The Surara and Pakidai, Two Yanoama Tribes in Northwest Brazil. Hamburg: Kommissionsverlag Cram, De Gruyter & Co

[76] Schiefenhövel, W. (1982) Kindliche Sexualität, Tabu und Schamgefühl bei "primitiven" Völkern, in Hellbrügge, Th. (Ed.) Die Entwicklung der Kindlichen Sexualität. München: Urban & Schwarzenberg, p145-63

[77] Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. (1971) Liebe und Hass. München: Piper. Dutch transl., Liefde en Haat. Amsterdam: Ploegsma, p208

[78] Gregor, Th. (1985) Anxious Pleasures: The Sexual Lives of an Amazionian People. Chicago: Chicago University Press

[79] Lizot, J. (1976) Le Cercle des Feux. Paris: Editions du Seuil. Used here is the 1982 German Translation, Im Kreis der Feuer

[80]Tierney, P. (2000) Darkness in El Dorado. New York: Norton

[81] A October 11, 2001 Preliminary Report on the Neel /Chagnon Allegations by the University of California Santa Barbara, not specifically addressing Lizot's case, did not refute this allegation (p79). See further Jane H. Hill (University of Arizona Tucson, Arizona), in American Anthropological Association El Dorado Task Force Papers Volume II. Submitted to the Executive Board as a Final Report, May 18, 2002, p101-3, stating Tierney's data are "well-founded" and backed up by independent sources.

[82] Early, J. D. & Peters, J. F. (1990) The Poulation Dynamics of the Mucajai Yanomama. San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press. Cf. Peters, J. F. (1971) Mate selection among the Shirishana, Pract Anthropol 18,1; Peters, J. F. (1975) Polyandry among the Yanomama Shirishana, J Comparat Fam Stud 7,2:197-207; Peters, J. F. (1980) The Chirishana of the Yanomama: a demographic study, Soc Biol 27,1:272-85; Peters, J. F. (1984) Role socialization through the life cycle of the Yanomama: the developmental approach to the study of family in a preliterate society, J Comparat Fam Stud 15,2:151-74; Peters, J. F. (1987) Yanomama mate selection and marriage, J Comparat Fam Stud 18,1:79-98. According to Peters, the infant girl ("at least before age 3", in one case before birth) is betrothed to a male 8 to 20, or even 40 years her senior.

[83] Becher (1960:p66): 9-10; Cocco (1972:p274): 12-14. See Zerries (p763), cit. infra

[84] Wilbert, J. (1963) The Sanema. Caracas: Fundación La Salle de Ciencias Naturales [eHRAF]

[85] Zerries, O. (1985) Pubertät und Heirat bei einem außerandinen Indianervolk Südamerikas, den Yanoama im Granzgebiet zwischen Venezuela und Brasilien, in Müller, E. W. (Ed.) Geschlechtsreife und Legitimation zur Zeugung. München: K. Alber, p759-75

[86] Cf. Zerries, O. & Schuster, M. (1974) Mahekodotedi. München. Vol. II, p134-44

[87] Layrisse, M. (1962) Blood group antigen tests of the Waica Indians of Venezuela, Southwestern J Anthropol 18:78-93

[88] Op.cit.

[89] Smith, R. T. (1956) The Negro Family in British Guiana. New York [etc.]: Routledge  Kegan Paul

[90] Kloos-Andriaansen, A. C. (1974) Kinderen van Galibi. University of Amsterdam [Dutch]

[91] Tiemersma, K. (1996) Erotiek en Zonde: Seksualiteit in het Afro-Caribische Gebied. University of Utrecht, The Netherlands [Dutch]

[92] Helman, A. (1977a) Cultureel Mozaïek van Suriname. Zutphen [Holland]: Walburg [Dutch]

[93] Lamur, H. et al. (1990) Caribische Vrouwen en Anticonceptie. Delft: Eburon. See also Lamur, Sh. (1987) Anticonceptie en Sexualiteit bij Surinaamse Meisjes. University of Amsterdam [Dutch]

[94] Distelbrink, M. (1994) Opvoeding in Surinaams-Creoolse gezinnen, in Pels, T. (Ed.) Opvoeding in Chinese, Marokkaanse en Surinaams-Creoolse Gezinnen. Rotterdam [Holland]: ISEO, p133-67 [Dutch]

[95] Tiemersma, K. (1995) Safe Sex. Diss., University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

[96] Wekker, G. (1994) Ik Ben een Gouden Munt, Ik Ga Door Vele Handen, Maar Verlies Mijn Waarde Niet. Amsterdam: VITA [Dutch]

[97] Van Lier, R. (1986) Tropische Tribaden. Dordrecht [Holland]: Foris Publications [Dutch]

[98] Helman, A. (1977b) Facetten van de Surinaamse Samenleving. Zutphen [Holland]: Walburg [Dutch]

[99] Winkel, G. (1992) "Girl, It's boobies you're getting, no?" Paidika 2,4(8):43-8. Cf. id., in Sax, M. & Deckwitz, S. (Eds., 1992) Op een Oude Fiets Moet je Het Leren. Amsterdam: Schorer, p87-97

[100] Buschkens, W. F. L. (1980) Het Familiesysteem der Volkcreolen van Paramaribo. Diss., University of Leiden, The Netherlands [Dutch]

[101] Lalmahomed, B. (1999) Creoolse Vrouwen: Opvoeding en Levensstijl. Utrecht [Holland]: Van Arkel [Dutch]

[102] Hurault, J. (1961) The Boni Refugee Blacks of French Guiana. Dakar: IFAN

[103] Van Lier, W. F. (1940) Aanteekeningen over het geestelijk leven en de samenleving der Djoeka's (Aukaner Boschnegers) in Suriname, Bijdragen Taal-, Land-, & Volkenk Nederlansch-Indie [Holland] 129-294

[104] "Children may remain present during all conversations, including those concerned with sexual matters, and may ask questions and sometimes they are questioned. As indicated before, girls are allowed to be present at deliveries no matter how young" [DJ].

[105] Price, S. (1993) Co-Wives and Calabashes. 2nd ed. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press

[106] Herskovits, M. J. (1934) Rebel Destiny. New York: Whittlesey House

[107] Campos, A. (1995) Crianças estupradas na São Paulo itocentista. relações de gênero [Child rape in 19th-century São Paulo: gender relations], História [Brazil] 14:139-52

[108] Wagley, Ch. (1953) Amazon Town. 1964 ed., New York: A. A. Knopf

[109] Willems, E. (1953) The Structure of the Brazilian Family, Social Forces 31,4:339-45

[110] Donald, P. (1954) The Family in Brazil, Marriage & Fam Living 16,4: 308-14

[111] Sardenberg, C. M. B. (1994) De sangrias, tabus e poderes: a menstruacao numa perspectiva socio-antropologica [Of Bloodletting, Taboos and Powers: Menstruation from a Socioanthropological Perspective], Estud Feministas 2,2:314-44

[112] Correa, M. (1994) The Construction of Sexuality among Adolescents: A Study of Two Different Groups in The City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Paper for XIII World Congress of Sociology, also Published in Pfeffer, G. & Behera, D. (Eds) Contemporary Society: Childhood and Complex Order. New Delhi: Manak

[113] Neuhouser, K. (1998) "If I Had Abandoned My Children": Community Mobilization and Commitment to the Identity of Mother in Northeast Brazil, Social Forces 77,1:331-58

[114] Barker, G. & Loewenstein, I. (1997) Where the boys are: Attitudes related to masculinity, fatherhood and violence toward women among low income adolescent and young adult males in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Youth & Society, 29,2:166-96

[115] Ribeiro, M. O. (1989) [The feelings and reactions of the nursing student facing situations related to children's sexuality], Rev Escola Enfermagem U S P 23,2:3-19

[116] Rosen, B. C. (1962) Socialization and Achievement Motivation in Brazil, Am Sociol Rev 27,5:612-24

[117] Whitam, F. L. & Mathy, R. M. (1986) Male Homosexuality in Four Societies. New York [etc.]: Praeger; Whitam, F. L (1980) The prehomosexual male child in three societies: The United States, Guatemala, Brazil, Arch Sex Behav 9:87-99

[118] Leite, R., Buoncompagno, E. et al. (1994) Psychosexual characteristics of female university students in Brazil, Adolecence 29,114:439-60; Leite, R. & Buoncompagno, E. (1995) Psychosexual characteristics of male university students in Brazil, Adolecence 30,118:363-80

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[120] Paiva, V. (1995) Sexuality , AIDS and gender norms among Brazilian teenagers, in Brummelhuis, H. & Herdt, G. (Eds.) Culture and Sexual Risk. Amsterdam: Gordon & Breach, p97-114

[121] Raffaelli, M., Campos, R., Payne Merritt, A., Siqueira, E., Antunes, C. M., Parker, R., Grego, D., Halsey, N., & The Street Youth Study Group (1993) Sexual practices and attitudes of street youth in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Soc Sci & Med 37,5:661-70

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[123] Whiffen, Th. (1915) The North-West Amazons: Notes of Some Months Spend Among Cannibal Tribes. London: Constable

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[130] Fernandes, F. (1969) The Negro in Brazilian Society. New York [etc.]: Columbia University Press

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[132] Harris, M. (1969) Town and Country in Brazil. New York: AMS Press

[133] Parker, R. G. (1991) Bodies, Pleasures, and Passions. Boston: Beacon Press

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[142] Maybury-Lewis, D. (1967) Akwe-Shavante Society. Oxford: Clarendon

[143] Leal Ferreira, M. K. ([2000]) The Two of Us Together: Xavante Mathematics in Central Brazil. Proceedings of the International Seminar on Aryabhateeyam. Thiruvananthapuram, India: Center for Mathematical Sciences. Online at

[144] Henry, J. (1941 [1964]) Jungle People: A Kaingang Tribe of the Highlands of Brazil. New York: J. J. Augustin. See also Róheim, G. (1956) The individual, the group, and mankind, Psychoanal Quart 25:1-10, p6-7; Stephens (1963:p376-7)

[145] "The sexuality of little boys is stimulated by their mothers by manipulation of the genitals before they can walk".

[146] "Even Kaingáng babies learn that the terms connected with sex have an aura of laughter and spice".

[147] Hutchinson, H. W. (1957) Village and Plantation Life in Northeastern Brazil. Seattle: University of Washington Press

[148]McCallum, C. (1999) Restraining Women: Gender, Sexuality and Modernity in Salvador da Bahia, Bull  Latin Am Res 18,3:275-93

[149] Cook, W. A. (1909) Through the Wilderness of Brazil by Horse, Canoe and Float. New York: American Tract Society. Cook, W. A. (1907) The Bororó Indians of Matto Grosso, Brazil. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution: "The girl is betrothed before reaching the age of eight or ten, and married at from ten to fourteen or even younger. She becomes betrothed by her would-be husband presenting to her parents a specially fine fish, or some animal whose flesh is much esteemed, he of course having made known in some way what he wishes in return for such a present. When he would take his betrothed to himself he makes a second similar present to her parents and they deliver her to him in his hut. Parents try to betroth their daughters while still young. We saw no large families, the largest number of children any one mother had being three. Extremely early marriage and the fact that the wife is driven to the baehytu whenever she displeases her lord may be reasons for small families".


[151] Op.cit.

[152] Crocker, Ch. (1969) Men's house associates among the Eastern Bororo, Southwest J Anthropol 25:236-60

[153] Baldus, H. (1937) The social position of the woman among the Eastern Bororo, Brasiliana 101:112-62, 323-30

[154] Colbacchini, A. (1942) The Eastern Bororo Orarimogodogue of the Eastern Plateau of Mato Grosso. Rio de Janiero,

Brazil: Companhia Editora Nacional

[155] Martius, K. F. P. von (1844) Das Naturell, die Krankheiten, das Arztthum und die Heilmittel der Urbewohner Brasiliens. Munich: C. Wolf

[156] Bloch, I. (1933) Anthropological Studies in the Strange Sexual Practices of All Races in All Ages. New York: Anthropological Press

[157] Greenberg, D. F. (1988) The Construction of Homosexuality. Chicago & London: Chicago University Press

[158] Nimuendajú, C. (1939) The Apinayé. Washington: Catholic University of California; Nimuendajú, C. (1946) The Eastern Timbira. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press

[159] Ford, C. S. & Beach, F. A. (1951) Patterns of Sexual Behavior. New York: Harper & Row

[160] Gregor, Th. (1977) Mehinaku. Chicago & London: Chicago University Press. See also Fisher, H. E. (1992) Anatomy of Love. New York & Lonfon: W. W. Norton & Co., p267-9

[161] Gregor, Th. (1995) Sexuality and the experience of love, in Abramson, P. R. (Ed.) Sexual Nature, Sexual Culture. Chicago & London : Chicago University Press, p330-50

[162] Grünberg, G. (1970) Beiträge zur Ethnographie der Kayabí Zentralbrasiliens, Archiv f Völkerkunde24:21-186

[163] Murphy, R. F. & Quain, B. (1955[1966]) The Trumaí Indians of Central Brazil. Seattle & London: University of Washington Press. See also Gregersen (1983:p273)

[164] Wagley, Ch. & Galvão, E. (1949) The Tenetehara Indians of Brasil. New York: Colombia University Press

[165] Wagley, Ch. (1977) Welcome of Tears: The Tapirapé Indians of Central Brazil. New York: Oxford University Press

[166] Kamenetzky, S. (1997) Argentina, in Francoeur, R. T. (Ed.) The International Encyclopedia of Sexuality. New York: Continuum, Vol. 1. Quoted from the online edition

[167] Geldstein, R. N., Pantelides, E. A. et al. (2001) I Didn't Want to But... Sexual Initiation under Coercion in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area. Paper for the XXIVth General Population Conference in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, August 18-24

[168]Necchi, S. & Schufer, M. (1999) Adolescente varón: iniciación sexual y anticoncepción, Arch Argent Pediatr 97,2:101-8

[169] Anderson, J. L. (1997) Che Guevara. A Revolutionary Life. New York: Grove Press

[170] Henry (1941: [1964:p18,n]), op.cit.; Henry, J. & Henry, Z. (1942) Rorschach Analysis of Pilagá Indian Children, Am J Orthopsychia 12:679-712; Henry, J. & Henry, Z. (1944) Doll Play of the Pilagá Indian Children. New York: American Orthopsychiatric Association, Research Monographs  No. 4. Reprinted in 1974, Random House; Henry, J. (1949) The social function of child sexuality in Pilagá Indian culture, in Hoch, P.H. & Zubin, J. (Eds.) Psychosexual Development in Health and Disease. New York: Grune & Stratton, p91-101; Henry, J. & Henry, Z. (1948) Doll Play of the Pilagá Indian Children, in Kluckhohn, C. & Murray, H.A. (Eds.) Personality in Nature, Society and Culture. New York: Knopf. 2nd edition, 1953, p292-307; Henry, J. (1949) The Social Function of Child Sexuality in Pilagá Indian Culture. Paper presented at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Psychopathology Association, NY.; Henry, J. & Whiteborn, J. (1952) Child rearing, culture, and the natural world, Psychiatry 15,3:261-72, see p265; Róheim, G. (1945) Book review: Doll Play of Pilagá Indian Children, Psychoanal Quart 14:549-51; Róheim, G. (1952) The anthropological evidence and the Oedipus complex, Psychoanal Quart 21:537-42; Kardiner, A. (1944) Book review: Doll Play of Pilagá Indian Children; Henry, J. & Henry, Z., Am J Sociol 50,3:256-7. See also Money and Ehrhardt (1973/1996:p139-41); Stephens (1962:p22-4, 26-8, 34-5); and Schwartzman, H. B. (1978) Transformations: The Anthropology of Children's Play. New York & London: Plenum, p150-2

[171] Fock, N. (1963) Mataco marriage, Folk 5:91-101

[172] Karsten, R. (1932) Indian Tribes of the Argentine and Bolivian Chaco: Ethnological Studies. Helsingfors: Akademische Buchhandlung

[173] Métraux, A. (1939) Myths and Tales of the Matako Indians (the Gran Chaco, Argentina). Gothenburg, Sweden: Walter Kaudern

[174] Hilger, M. I. (1957) Araucanian Child Life and its Cultural Background. Washington : Smithsonian Institution

[175] Faron, L. C. (1968) The Mapuche Indians of Chile. New York [etc.]: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

[176] Faron, L. C. (1961) Mapuche Social Structure.Urbana: University of Illinois Press

[177] Hyades & Deniker (1891) Mission Scientifique du Cap Horn, 1882-1883. Paris. Vol. 7, p171 ; Parsons (1906:p69)¨

[178] Hyades & Deniker (1891 :p188) ; Parsons (1906:p122), op.cit.

[179] Op.cit. Cf. Cooper, J. M. (1946) The Ona, in Steward, J. H. (Ed.) Handbook of South American Indians. Vol. 1. The Marginal Tribes. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 143, Vol. 1. Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, p107-25

[180] Gusinde, M. (1931) Die Feuerland-Indianer, Band I: Die Selk'nam. Mödling bei Wien: Verlag der Internationalen Zeitschrift "Anthropos"

[181]Gusinde, M. (1946) Uhrmenschen im Feuerland. Berlin [etc.]: Zsolany

[182] They deal with overly forward behaviour as follows: "There is certainly not missing in Tierra del Fuego a bold rascal who is strongly attracted to girls; at the same time one or another is to be had for his purposes. First there begins between the two a still inconspicuous approach, then they see each other often, know how to meet each other repeatedly in the camp, and exchange the meaningful glances of a beginning infatuation, until they finally try to come together secretly. If they succeed, they enjoy touching each other. It does not come to grosser improprieties, however, because the girls always remain shy and timid. If, however, an adult should observe such behavior between ten- or fourteen-year-olds, he is not satisfied with separating the two and sending them to the huts, but tells the parents and other adults about it. Blows may even rain on the boy for such a mistake, depending on whether the father has already frequently admonished or punished him; for the girl there are serious words that aim at sensitive shame. From now on the vigilance of the camp has been called up over those little affecters of secrecy, and a repetition of their attempts is forestalled. The adults show a special strictness about eliminating such disorders; never do so many blows fall as when a boy is again found secretly with a girl. I often asked: why so much seriousness and excitement over such an occurrence? Each time they behaved as though they could not believe the sincerity of my stupid question. Briefly and to the point, I was given in answer: "It is not good if a boy and girl come together secretly. Our forefathers were much stricter than we are today. The bad example of the whites has made us negligent. It would be better if we went back to the earlier strictness. The way we let children approach one another nowadays is not good for them! ..." ".

[183] Gusinde, M. (1937) Die Feuerland-Indianer, Band II: Die Yamana. Mödling bei Wien: Verlag der Internationalen Zeitschrift "Anthropos". "Scherzend schlagen Sie sich aufs Gesäß und steifen flüchtig mit der Hand über die Geschlechtsteile, oder sie besprtizen diese Teile mit Wasser und Zeigen mit den Fingern darauf".

[184] Gusinde, M. (1974) Die Feuerland-Indianer, Band III/I: Die Halakwulup. Mödling bei Wien: Verlag St. Gabriel

[185] Chapman, A. (1982) Drama and Power in a Hunting Society: The Selk'nam of Tierra del Fuego. Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press

[186] Lieutenant Musters (1872) On the Races of Patagonia, J Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 1:193-207, at p196

[187] Eggleston, E. (1998) Use of Family Planning at First Sexual Intercourse among Young Adults in Ecuador, J Biosoc Sci 30,4:501-10

[188] Karsten, R. (1935) The Head-Hunters of Western Amazonas. Helsingfors: Centraltryckeriet

[189] Stirling, M. W. (1938) Historical and Ethnographical Material on the Jivaro Indians. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office

[190] Alschuler, M. (1964) Tha Cayapa. PhD Dissertation. Cited by Murray, S. O. (1987) Sentimental effusions on genital contact in Upper Amazonia, in Murray, S. O. (Ed.) Male Homosexuality in Central and Latin America. New York: Gay Academic Union, p139-51, at p141

[191]Altschuler, M. (1971) Cayapa personality and sexual motivation, in Marshall, D. S. & Suggs, R. C. (Eds.) Human Sexual Behavior: Variations in the Ethnographic Spectrum. New York: Basic Books, p38-58. Also Duerr, H. P. (1988) Nacktheit und Scham. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp. Vol. 1 of Der Mythos vom Zivilizationprocess. 2nd ed., p201

[192] Nencel, L. (1994) The secrets behind sexual desire: the construction of male sexuality in Lima, Peru, Etnofoor 7,2:59-75

[193] Chirinos, J.L., Brindis, C., Tye, S. & McCarter, V. (2001) Differences and similarities in sexual and contraceptive knowledge, attitudes, and behavior among Latino male adolescent students in California, United States and Lima, Peru, Cadernos de Saude Publica / Ministerio da Saude, Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz, Escola Nacional de Saude Publica 17,4:833-42

[194] Chirinos, J. L., Salazar, V. C. & Brindis, C. D. (2000) A profile of sexually active male adolescent high school students in Lima, Peru, Cad Saude Publica 16,3:733-46

[195] Mahler, K. (1997)Increased Risk of STD Infection Among Peruvian Women Linked to Their Partners' Sexual Practices, Int Fam Plann Perspect 23,1:39-40

[196] Magnani, R., Seiber, E., Zielinski Gutierrez, E. & Vereau, D. (Aug., 1999) Correlates of Sexual Activity and Condom Use among Secondary School Students in Urban Peru. Washington, DC: FOCUS on Young Adults, Pathfinder International

[197] Whitam, F. L., Daskalos, C., Sobolewski, C. G. & Padilla, P. (1998) The emergence of lesbian sexuality and identity cross-culturally: Brazil, Peru, the Philippines, and the United States, Arch Sex Behav 27,1:31-56

[198] Loli, A. (1986) La Sexualidad en la Adolescencia: Un Estudio Peruano. Servicio Médico Materno-Infantil abd the Pathfinder Fund, Líma. Reported under "Pregnancy Rates High Among Urban Teenagers in Peru, Study Shows",Int Fam Plann Perspect 13,1:30

[199] Aller-Atucha, L. M. (1990) Practicas de iniciacion sexual y anticoncepcion en un grupo de jovenes limenos, Peru, Rev Latinoam Sexol 5,2: 155-77

[200] Gillin, J. (1948) Approaches to marriage on the North Peruvian coast, Marriage Hyg 1:160-4

[201] Gillin, J. (1949) Marriage among the Mocheros, Marriage & Fam Living 11,2:70-1,92

[202] Tessmann, G. (1930) Die Indianer Nordost-Perus. Hamburg: Friederichsen, De Gruyter & Co.  Tessmann should be noted for his systematic inclusions on early sex life, for instance on the Ucayali Indians (1928:p208-9), the Bafia (1934:p225-7), the Baja (1934, I:p204; 1937, II:p112), Bubi (1923:p166-7), and the Pangwe (1913, II:p251-3).

[203] Tessmann, G. (1928) Menschen ohne Gott: Ein Besuch bei den Indianern des Ucayali. Stuttgart: Strecker & Schröder

[204] Fejos, P. (1943) Ethnography of the Yagua. (Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology 1) New York: Viking Fund

[205] Siskin, J. (1975) To Hunt in the Morning. London [etc.]: Oxford University Press

[206] Bergman, R. W. (1980) Amazon Economics: The Simplicity of Shipibo Indian Wealth. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Published for Dept. of Geography, Syracuse University by University Microfilms International

[207] Roe, Peter G. (1982) The Cosmic Zygote. New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press

[208] Tessmann, G. (1928) Menschen ohne Gott: Ein besuch bei den Indianern des Ucayali. Veröffentlichung der Harvey-Bassler-Stiftung Völkerkunde. Vol. I. Stuttgart: Verlag von Strecker & Schröder

[209] Olson, R. L. (1936) The Quinault Indians. Seattle, Wash.: The University of Washington. Yet: "Young men ordinarily did not contemplate marriage until the all-important supernatural power had been acquired, but girls were regarded as fit for marriage as soon as they had completed the five months of seclusion. From that time until marriage the girl was closely watched lest she have affairs and become pregnant. Marriage was largely regulated by the parents, yet the wishes of the young were seldom violated". CF. Storm, op.cit.: "Having gone through her rituals of several months, the girl was ready for marriage".

[210] Eakin, L. (1980) Bosquejo Etnográfico de los Shipibo-Conibo del Ucayali. Lima: I. Prado Pastor; Eakin, L. (1986) People of the Ucayali: The Shipibo and Conibo of Peru. Dallas, Tex.: International Museum of Cultures

[211] "The travellers Reich and Stegelmann state that only the hymen is severed from the labia minora so that the clitoris is set quite free. It would be most natural to assume that the "circumcision" in question consists only of this operation. Tessman, however, is positive that not only the hymen but also the labia and the clitoris of the girls are severed, which seems too cruel an operation" (Roe, p324-5; cf. Karsten, p157-8).

[212] "[…] los ritos de pubertad para la muchacha se practicaban hasta hace poco. El rito se cumplía poco después de la primera menstruación, y era considerado como una preparación para el matrimonio. El aspecto físico del rito consistía en una subincisión genital y la penetración del himen; en muchos casos incluía una clitorectomía o una labioectomía".

[213] DeBoer, W. R. (1979) The making and breaking of Shipibo-Conibo ceramics, in Kramer, C. (Ed.) Ethnoarcheology. New York: Columbia University Press, p102-38

[214] "[…] the shërvenante, is a solid object, rectangular or oval in shape, which is inserted in the vulva [sic] of a young girl after she has undergone the clitoridectomy which is part of the traditional puberty ceremony. The shërvenante is made for the ceremony and discarded in village midden […] after a short period of use by the girl".

[215] Karsten, R. (1955) Los indios Shipibo del rio Ucayali, Rev Mus Nac Lima-Perú 24:154-73

[216] "En las tribus del Ucayali, la circuncisión de las jóvenes puede ser explicada esencialmente como un preliminar del matrimonio. Los órganos de generación forman parte crítica del cuerpo que están particularmente expuestos a los enemigos invisibles que el salvaje teme. La primera relación sexual de la muchacha, o la defloración, está particularmente llena de peligros; la herida que se provoca puede servir de entrada a los demonios malignos y la eliminación del himen y de ciertas otras partes de los genitales es una precaución para impedirle a la joven misteriosos peligros. Según las afirmaciones de algunos viajeros, la anciana que realiza la operación no sólo frotaba ciertas hierbas medicinales en las partes heridas, sino que después de un momento introducía un pene artificial, hecho de arcilla en la vagina de la doncella, de las mismas dimensiones del órgano del prometidc de la muchacha. Los indios a quien pregunté este detalle negaron la existencia de tal práctica, y tal vez no ocurra en forma regular, por lo menos en nuestros días, pero si aún existiera indicaría claramente el verdadero propósito de este rito".

[217] Hern, W. M. (1977) High fertility in a Peruvian Amazon Indian village, Hum Ecol 5,4:355-68

[218] Abelove, J. M. (1978) Pre-Verbal Learning of Kinship Behavior among Shipibo Infants of Eastern Peru. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University Microfilms International. 2000 copy

[219] Johnson, A., Online manuscript entitled Matsigenka Ethnography. Chapter 3: Becoming Matsigenka: Development of the Self, p98. Cf. ([2003]) Families of the Forest. Berkeley: University of California Press, in press.

[220] Huxley, M. & Capa, C. (1965) Farewell to Eden. London: Chatto & Windus

[221] Kesinger, K. M. (1995) How Real People Ought to Life. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press

[222] Op.cit.

[223]Morris, J, Young, M. & Jones, Ch. (2000) Self-Esteem and Adolescent Sexual Behavior Among Students at an Elite Bolivian School, Int Electr J Health Educ 3,1. At

[224] Holmberg, A. R. (1950) Nomads of the Long Bow: The Siriono of Eastern Bolivia. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. 1969 reprint

[225] Tschopik Jr, H. (1951) The Aymara of Chucuito, Peru. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 44,2: Vol. 1, Magic . New York: American Museum of Natural History, p167A. See also Tschopik, H (1946) The Aymara, Bull Bureau Am Ethnol 143,2:[p550]

[226] La Barre, W. (1948) The Aymara Indians of the Lake Titicaca Plateau. Menasha, Wis.: American Anthropological Association. Memoirs American Anthropological Association 68, vol. 50, no. 1,, pt. 2

[227] Service, E. R. & Service, H. S. (1954) Tobatí. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

[228] Remez, L. (1991) Paraguay Survey Shows Moderately High Fertility and Low Child Mortality, Int Fam Plann Perspect 17,3:117-9, at p117

[229] Müller, F. (1935) Beiträge zur Ethnographie der Guarani-Indianer im Ostlichen Waldgebiet von Parguay, Anthropos 30

[230] Métraux, A. (1948) The Guarani. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office [op.cit.]

[231] Schaden, E. (1962) Fundamental Aspects of Guaraní Culture. Sao Paulo: Difusao Européia do Livro. Ms thesis

[232] Francoise Hall, M. (1971) Family Planning in Santiago, Chile: The Male Viewpoint, Stud in Fam Plann 2,7:143-7

[233] Murray, N. J., Zabin, L. S. Et al. (1998) Gender differences in factors influencing first intercourse among urban students in Chile, Int Fam Plann Persp 24,3 :139-44+152

[234] Herold, J. M., Solange Valenzuela, M. & Morris, L. (1992) Premarital Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use in Santiago, Chile, Stud in Fam Plann 23,2:128-36

[235] Francoise Hall, M. (1971) Family planning in Santiago, Chile: The male viewpoint, Studies in Fam Plann  2,7:143-7, at p146

[236] Fernandez, L., Bustos, L., Gonzalez, L., Palma, D., Villagran, J. & Munoz, S. (2000) [Beliefs, attitudes and knowledge about sex education], Rev Med Chil 128,6:574-83

[237] Gramegna, G., Blumel, J. E., Roncagliolo, M. E., Aracena, B. & Tacla, X. (1998) [Patterns of sexual behavior in Chilean women], Rev Med Chil 126,2:162-8

[238] Vizcarra, M. B. & Balladares, E. (2000) Conducto sexual infantil en estudiantes unviersitarios: Un estudio retrospectivo, Psykhe 9,1:47-52

[239] McCall, G. (1981) Rapanui. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Second ed., 1994

[240] Métraux, A. (1957) Easter Island. Transl. from 1957 French. orig. Bristol: A. Deutsch