( 1898, I:p21)
stated that the hymen in Annamite girls is often wanting at age ten, while
before it is seen to be intact. An explanation might be that “[…] the little
Annamite girls are deflowered, after ten years of age, by little boys with
whom the play, and repeat together the lessons which their parents have
unconsciously taught them, on account of the forced promiscuity of the family
in a little thatched house […]”. In the villages around
Among the Sedang (
Dr. Nguyen (2000) writes: “In contrast to what is popularly portrayed in American movies and television shows, in Vietnamese culture there is no tradition of a coming-of-age “birds and the bees” talk between parents and their children. Because explicit discussions about sex are taboo even within close-knit Vietnamese families, most Vietnamese adults learned about sex when they were growing up from peers and not from their parents, school, or the media. For this reason, parents who are less acculturated may be more resistant to public school-based sexual education”.
Rydstrøm (2002:p4-5) notes for local Vietnamese:
“The fact that a son is bound up with significant symbolic meaning, is inseparable from a local recognition of a boy’s body in biological terms, that is to say, his genitals (i.e. the Phallus). In Thinh Tri, the body of a little boy is generally a matter of common interest and concern. For example, a little boy is usually fondly called a thang cu, which means ‘penis boy’ (lit. male penis). The genitals of small Thinh Tri boys receive a great deal of attention by being commented on, joked about, or even grasped. The local ways in which boys’ genitals are paid attention to are in sharp contrast to the fact that girls’ genitals do not receive any special attention. The widespread concern in Thinh Tri with respect to boys’ genitals is related to the symbolism of blood, which does not mean the same with regard to females and males. Despite blood being acknowledged as a ‘vital life force’ (khi huyet) of both the female and male body, it is basically perceived of as a female energy. Its complementary male vital life force is ‘semen’ (khi), which is said to be the substance of male energy. This energy is thought to guarantee the continuation of the blood of a male’s patrilineage […]”.
Indeed, in a 1998 study it was found that
“[m]others rarely told their daughters about menstruation so many young women were terrified the first time they menstruated. Because of the restricted education most girls received at the time, they were in a constant state of fear. Some people thought that it was possible to get pregnant from kissing or from swimming in lakes and ponds with men, since sperm could swim into a woman. Interviews with men show that families played no role in the sex education of men and that everything they knew was through friends or older acquaintances (Interview No. 1, male, born 1960). Unequipped with the necessary knowledge about sexual relations, love and sexuality, girls were often confused and worried as they entered into their first love relationship. One woman told of breaking up with her first boyfriend because when they were together he wanted to open her blouse”.
D. F., Growing Up Sexually.
Last revised: Sept 2005
 Jacobus X ( 1898) L’Amour aux Colonies.
 Child Workers in Asia 12,3(1996) Boy
 Matignon, J. J. (1883) Superstition, Crime et Misere en Chine.
 Proschan, Frank (2002) "Syphilis, opiomania, and pederasty": Colonial constructions of Vietnamese (and French) social diseases, J Hist Sexuality 11,4:610 et seq., n3
 Devereux, G. (1961) [Lecture notes], as cited by Lebar et al. (1964:p147), op.cit.
 Forrst, D. V. (1982) The eye in the
heart: Psychoanalytic keys to
http://ethnomed.org/ethnomed/clin_topics/vietnam_hiv_final.html. Online in Januari 2002
 Rydstrøm, H. (2002) Sexed bodies, gendered
bodies: children and the body in
 Girls could be referred to as a con/cai him (lit. child/ female vulva; i.e. vulva girl), but I never registered an occurrence of this term. In my observations, a little girl’s genitals are only commented on with respect to hygienic matters. Besides such comments, I have not recorded any talk about girls’ genitals; they do not appear to be a matter of conversation in daily family life. [orig. footnote]
 Thu Hong, Khuat
(nd ) Study on Sexuality in
Vietnam: The Known and Unknown Issues [http://www.undp.org.vn/projects/vie98006/Aware%5CSexRevie.txt]. Cf. Thu Hong,
Khuat (January, 2003) Adolescent
Reproductive Health in