PSYC 5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Premarital Sex, Permissive Society, Human Sexuality
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Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality
The People of the Irish Island of Inis Beag
● Studied by John Messenger during the 50s-60s.
● The actual name is Inishee island.
● Restrictive society with high anxiety.
● Population of 350, mostly Roman Catholics.
● Sex was a taboo. It was surrounded by feelings of sin and shamefulness.
● There was no formal sexual education.
o Generally, boys were more educated than girls, but their knowledge came from older
boys or watching animals.
o Mothers taught their daughter that they would have to submit to their husband’s animal
cravings in order to obey God’s injunction to be fruitful and multiplied.
● Marriages were arranged by the church. There was no period of courtship, no dating, and no
o The average age for marriage was 36 for men and 25 for women.
o Marriage was an arrangement for economic reason and to reproduce. Conjugal love
● They did not believe it was normal for women to orgasm and any women who received
pleasure from sex was seen as deviant.
● The women did not have to be concerned with frequent intercourse because the men
believed they wouldn’t have enough physical strength.
● Because of taboos against nudity, men and women kept their undergarments on.
● Sexual interactions were always initiated by men. They involved short periods of kissing
and touching the women’s buttocks, intercourse in missionary position, ending with the
man ejaculating and him falling asleep.
o There was an atmosphere of tension and guilt by both sexes.
● The average number of children per family was 7.
The Mehinaku Indians of Central Brazil
● Studied by Thomas Gregor during the 70s and 80s.
● They were a primitive society.
● Permissive society with high anxiety.
● They were very open about sex and expressed little shame in sexual desire.
o Parents openly joked about sex around their children.
● Sex is central in their activities and their symbolism.
● By the time children enter early adolescence they have already had several sexual
experiences through sexual play.
● Children learn about sex through tales and myths.
● Around puberty, boys and girls are secluded. During this period, boys will be put on a
certain diet and take medication and women are deemed as dangerous. After a couple years
of seclusion, the girl will get married.