Growing Up Sexually




IndexAmericasCaribbean, Middle / Central AmericaMexicoTepoztlán





Redfield (1930:p139n2)[1] found no information on sex instruction or early sex experience. Lewis (1961)[2] did. “The questions we asked about the sex play of children received a blanket denial from parents, who maintained that their children were innocent and knew nothing of life. But from the life stories we gathered, it was clear that sex play does occur secretively and in games” (p74). “In the past girls when girls married before puberty, it was widely believed that menstruation was caused by sexual intercourse. This belief has still not been entirely eradicated” (p78). Although denied and un-remembered, children might observe parental sexual intercourse (Lewis, 1951:p326)[3]. Specifically, (p291): “Sexuality is discouraged from childhood on; sex is a taboo subject within the home. Infant sexuality, masturbation, and sexual play among children, as well as curiosity concerning the bodily functions, is forbidden and punished. It is one of the more important obligations of the parent to keep the children “innocent”, or, as they say, “to keep their eyes from being opened”. The separation of the sexes for work and play begins from about age seven to ten and is strictly enforced at puberty. […] Girls are unprepared for menstruation […]”.










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] Redfield, R. (1974) Tepoztlan: A MexicanVillage. Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press

[2] Lewis, O. (1961) Tepoztlan: Village in Mexico. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston

[3] Lewis, O. (1951) Life in a MexicanVillage: Tepoztlan Restudied. Urbana: University of Illinois Press