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According to observations by Kloos-Andriaansen (1974:p63-74)[1], 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)[2]; 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[3]; Lamur et al., 1990:p25[4]; Distelbrink, 1994:p143)[5]; the same would be true for teachers (as cited by Tiemersma, 1995:p15)[6]. 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)[7], 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)[8]. The arrangement of domestic space leaves little room for privacy so that children observe parental activities from early age (Helman, 1977b:p133)[9]. Winkel earlier wrote on the erotic transgression between women and girls (1992)[10]

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)[11], 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)[12] 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.










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

Last revised: Sept 2004


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

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

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

[4] 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]

[5] 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]

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

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

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

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

[10]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

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

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