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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 cross cultural perspectives

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University of Ottawa
Lisa Henry

Lecture2: crossculturalperspectives • Asociological perspective • For exam: what aresexual norms in those pre-history societies (thatwe'll be looking at, three of them... ) • Peopleoften apply an ethnocentric "you" for other cultures, and sexuality • Ethnocentric: ○ Ourway is the only way ○ Ourway is the best way; valuejudgment about one's culture being best,other need to match up to that point of reference ○ InNorth america,very euro-centric p.o.v ○ Cross-cultural toget better understanding of diversity of sexual norms, and the universality (how they arethe same)  Eg tanzania and polygamy □ 2forms of polygamy □ "poly"=many □ Gyny/andry (many women, or many men) □ Polygyny fairlycommon; one wifemany husbands less common and often involves marrying brothers □ Marriagein many places arefor socioeconomic reasons □ 853cultures are monogamous, so polygamy unusual • Why study? ○ Provides insightinto...  Ethnocentrism  Diversityanduniversalism ofsexual norms ○ Illustrates theimportance of learning in shaping human sexual behaviour (as opposed to biol. Determinism)  Permissive->restrictive continuum □ Wayto classifycultures □ Continuum socan getsemi in middle □ Permissive:characterized by positive and tolerant attitudes towards the freedom of sexual expression.  Thesecultures understand human sexualityas very natural part of human development; seeas normal, natural and part of development  Noculture offers a 100% complete freedom of expression;always somekind of rule! Might be less, or more slack.Butthere is no free for all.Always somekind of shaping and limitation to sexual expression □ Restrictivesocieties:will seektocontrol and restrain sexual expressionvery rigidly  ingeneral, the societies areignorant of the role, or someaspects ofsexualityin development  Eg maynot know link between menstruation adn conception; may givemenstruation a whole different meaning ifdon't know how to make a baby  Orseetheseaspects as being negative,not good. Some negativep.o.v □ Semi: certain tolerance of expression, but a fewmore rules andregulation compared to permissive. Lineis fairlyclear, andregulation compared to permissive. Lineis fairlyclear, peopleknow when they've crossedthe line  Canada:semi-restrictive,maybe a hair permissive  Lowanxiety ->high anxiety continuum □ Does societyharbor a lot of anxiety? Fears,taboos (eg we don't talkabout those things here), banning... Bodies arethe sameacross cultures... So what makes up the huge differences?Sociocultural influences  Thelearning! ○ Demonstrates how "sexual normalcy" is a relativeconcept ○ Demonstrates how cultral attitudes, customs and beliefs about sex andsexualityassigning MEANINGto the indiv's sexual behaviour  Good? Bad? Mean you're an adult now?  Meaning is assignedthrough language,socialization ○ Is essential toanalyzing sexuallyrelatedproblems in the world and is keyto finding solutions  Eg aidsepidemic  Important to understand context, norms creating that context, tounderstand the problem  Eg riskfactors in N.A (many partners is inlist),in africa (being a female,married to 1 man is a risk factor)... Power btwn men and women, education... Even condoms areconsidered a western things attimes... Notion of sexwith a young girl will cure... WHO has hadto tell everyone to have sexor marrying girls under 9...whole different context. Can;t apply colutions that work in1 soceityinanother w/o understanding it. ThreeCultures • TheMangaians(note,info inspired by pages 10 and 11)  Infotaken from the 1960's!Snapshot of what was going on there atthat time. Neglects many influences over time.  Studied by: Marshall (note, don't freak out over these names and years)  Sexregular subjectof conversation □ From earlyage,boys and girls encouraged to engageinsex- playand masturbation  Around 12/13/14, puberty time, boys and girls instructed, usuallybyan adult, in sexual techniques (taught techs)  Males underwent a form of genital modification □ Superincision  Highlysoughtafter, allowed entry into the "pleasure period"  TheExpert inserted har dpiece ofshell under foreskin toprotect glans,madeincisionall the way up the top ofthe shaftto where the penis met the body.  Endresult, scarand a kind of flapped open foreskin. Not removed, but flaps open revealing tip of penis andcreating a scarup to the pubic area.  Getto run into ocean after itis done, then Fill up with herbs,plants, etc.banaged and are put into seclusion  Nocontact with girls,and instructed in sexual techniques from the expert. Special diet too.  Taughtto hold offorganasmso femalewould orgasm 2to 3 times first. Taught caressing,oral stimulation, breastand genital stimulation.  Firstsexual experienceafter seclusionis with an experienced woman. Intercourse movements will rip offscab,after which he canfind partners of own age  Girls around same ageinstructed by adult female.Not mother. □ Howto make pelvic and vulvar movements to experience pleasureand organsm □ Mosterotic part of a woman, to mangaians,is the mons venus(pubic area) □ After learning techniques, in pleasure period and find partners of their age.  Sexlikea game, no emotional attachment; encouraged to have many different partners, everyone found a partner  Upuntil 30, men have 2-3orgasms a day (holding back to females have2-3for every one)  From 4-8and older: 2/3 times per week with 1orgasm each  Tatooof genitals signofpride of many partners  At20 years old, allowed to marry, usuallyfor love  Unaware oflink btwn menstruation and pregnancies! □ Believedbabies form sexwith sameperson a lot □ Encouraged multiple partners □ Arrival of baby positive impact of their sexlife □ Halfofcouples married when girl pregnant or after giving birth (13% born "illegitimate"-N.A term) □ Nostigma to unwed mothers □ Decisionmadewith dad about who she would marry to helpraisedchild, man happy to raiseas own, no issues  Emphasis placedon lengthy and enjoyable sexual experiences, andthe movement in and out of intercourse  Looked down on virginity,because they don't know how to provide sexual pleasure  Believedabstinencecausedphysical harm  1%virgins at marriage; only chief's daughters  5%divorce rate!!!  Nohomosexuality?  PERMISSIVE  LITTLE ANXIETY • TheislandersofInisBeag ○ OffcoastofIreland ○ Messengerandwife, 1950's and 60's ○ Pop'n 350 ○ Roman catholic ○ Sexshrouded with feelings ofguiltand sinfulness ○ Talksotaboo, even saying "she's pregnant" is taboo ○ Noformal education of sexualityor sexed. Boys generallymore informed than girls,but knowledge from older ○ Boys generallymore informed than girls,but knowledge from older boys,adults,or from watching animals! ○ Mothers taught daughters that they would have to submit to husbands animal craving to in order to obey god's injunction to be fruitful and multiply ○ Genders segregatedquite a bit before marriage ○ Arranged marriage, by church, using records of who was related to prevent inbreeding  For socioeconomic reasons □ Nolove, attachment, caring,etc. □ Nocourtship period □ Nopremarital sex  Meanage= 36(men) and 25 (women)  Relativelylate! ○ Didnot believe femaleorgasm was normal  Women finding pleasurein sex,especiallyorgasm,viewed as deviant  Men believedsexual activitywould drain their strength, sodidn't happen much ○ Strict nudity taboos (on an island),only babies could wash naked (oncea week)  Washinwater wearing peticoats (long underwear) washing anything not covered by long underwears ○ Intercourse initiated by husband, onvolving short period of kissing on mouth, touching/groping womans butt, then to intercourse in missionaryposition, ending inmans ejac and him falling asleep  All whilewearing their underwear!  Couldn'tsleepnaked together  All inatmosphere of tension and guilt ○ Average7children per couple ○ Didn'tlearn how to swim becauseof nudity taboo (and fishermen!) ○ Menstruation traumatizing (no one talked ofit)  Menopause understood to causeinsanity,to point middle aged women retired to bed and stayedaway from social situations until death □ Menopause symptoms considered signs ofinsanity ○ RESTRICTIVE ○ HIGHANXIETY ○ Church was involved in every singlething. Lifeinvading. ○ Traditional dance says a lotabout norms... Traditional irishdance all in theknees and feet, body stiff,diverts attention awayfrom torso... • TheMehinaku ○ PERMISSIVE ○ HIGHANXIETY ○ Thomas Greggor and wife, 60's and 70's ○ Central Brazil ○ Openabout sex,express very little shameabout it  Parent's openly joke in front of children  Veryfew mysteries  Matter of factattitude toward sexuality Central inactivites and preoccupations, and symbolism,  Central inactivites and preoccupations, and symbolism, mythology □ Much of genital knowledge acquired in course of sexual playand curious investigation,but some more systematicallytaughtto children in myth □ Mademany analogies between food a sex ○ Byadolescence,havehad sexual experience. Play between kids well tolerated ○ Around puberty and firstmenarchy, both sexes gointo seclusionfor a fewyears.  Boys takemedecines, strictdiet because women are viewed as dangerous for them atthat time  Young women learn that they are dangerous for men while having period □ Not allowed to have pregnancy out of wedlock somarried shortllyafter seclusion ○ Arranged socioeconomic marriages, not out of love ○ Lovetoward spouse seenas being in bad taste  Married adults participate insystem of extra-marital sexualityof having affairs (allowed!) □ Hecounter 37 adults having 88affairs! □ Men motivated by sexual desire,women by social contact andgifts □ 2-14lovers atone time! Sexually attracted to eachother ○ Pleasuretempered by anxietyof intercourse □ Men: make illm stunt growth, sapvitality as wrestlers, attractdangerous spirits,impair skills andhunters and fishermen □ Men don't engagein foreplay or touch partner's genitals  Vagina,menstruation, secretions all dangerous!  Cancontaminate food, leadto paralysis  Nosexduring menstruation, pregnancy, or 1 year post-partum (post-partum taboo) □ Mostcommon position is whole seated(missionary leaves vulnerable to insects,unnattra
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