Chapter 4: Youth and Sexuality
Waiting and Watching
Giving (caring, generosity) communicates a person’s plans and desires and attempts to control
others by forming a debt obligation to return a gift, maybe bigger, or sometimes no gift at all.
Feelings can’t be expressed publicly (harsh words fights), giving gifts used instead, such as
Thoughts about gifts are private, waiting and watching is part of deducing intention = control
Young people use their sexuality as gifts to control others, its “written on their bodies”
Their encounters don't last long adolescent girls live in a house & boys in one = freedom for sex
During adolescence, youth are watched by older villagers who evaluate their potential as
productive adults BUT they have great freedom for their own endeavors.
Known as small boys/girls till 30 years old
Known as adults when married with children and committed to economic and political endeavors
Youth planning for sexual encounters such as love messages involving sexual metaphors. If a girl
and boy make eye contact, they are interested in sex male & females are both dominant.
Many events allow youth interaction, even during mourning bright clothes, laugh, tease.
Disapproval of being too proud about one’s beauty over competitive. BUT magic spells in secret
are approved of. Compliments must be returned so one doesn’t become too proud.
Modesty: winners pretend they lost, host team always wins, yam competition winners say modest
phrases “I’m only a small boy, I don’t know about yams”. OR fights can break out
Sexual attraction man gives woman betel nuts & tobacco + other gifts to continue the sexual
bond BUT a woman can tease the man and not give in sexually love magic
Access to magic spells is limited since traditional spells used NO new ones
Youth give their older kin food, tobacco and money in large sums to learn all the magic they know.
Youth learn a few lines at a time, so often spells are incomplete and lost when older kin die.
Married women learn spells from lovers from another island who wants to give her more. On kula
trips, they buy spells. Today, literate people record spells and keep them hidden and locked up.
Beauty magic used on coconutoils to heighten visual and olfactory effects of the body creating
erotic feelings on skin, flowers, herbs for the body decoration
Beauty magic used while a white shell is passed over the person’s face to take on the shell’s
qualities. used by women on their brother’s children NOT young people.
When people reach mid-teens relationships get more serious which lead to marriage
Gifts and beauty magic not enough for marriage person’s mind is inviolate (unchanged) thus
powerful spells are practiced by some adults who are paid for the service BUT it can destroy one’s
mind (no eating, listening, just waiting for love) powerful spells are cast on betel or tobacco
Spells may fail: not strong enough not paid enough, on purpose for more payment, or chanting was
not long enough. In all cases, more payments = success.
Spells may becounter-acted: person’s longing for love is too much other spells stop it, woman
refuse betel nut containing love magic
Adolescent lovemaking allows them to enter adult world without problems as they learn to
influence others without letting others gain control of oneself.
Choosing One Lover When young women and men meet repeatedly, while rejecting affairs, it is believed strong love
magic is used and the relationship is