Friday, January 22, 2010

The TGIF Sex Blog [Sex and Culture]

¡Hola! Everybody...
Yesterday was a bad day for democracy... Soon, our legislators will be wearing the logos of their corporate masters, much like athletes do.

However, today is Friday and that means we talk about sex...

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-=[ Cross-Cultural Sex Practices]=-

Until recently, you lived your whole life culturally isolated. Today, the world is a lot smaller -- technology allowing us access to information about different cultural practices. I am passionate about cultural studies and I’ve always been fascinated by the vast range cultural expression. Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of human sexuality. While many people in the West still think sex in something you do in the dark and only in one sexual position, even a cursory glance at the history of sex gives us a different picture.

We often mistake our cultural as the norm or of a higher moral standing when, in fact, they aren't. Moreover, those who are most rigid in their thinking are those who would be most rigid in any cultural upbringing. So it follows that if homophobic American men were raised in a culture in which engaging in recipient anal sex was considered manly, these very same men would be competing about who could take it up the ass best. LOL! I’m not joking. Think about it: if you’re narrow-minded and intolerant in one cultural context, why wouldn’t you behave in the same way in another cultural context?

Whatever muthafuckas...

When I first started seriously studying sex, I was fascinated by the broad range of sexual expression. I came across many different accounts from many different cultures. For example, in one Papuan tribe, young men are made into “boy brides” as part of a coming of age ritual. When boys reach their pre-teen years, they are taken away from the general population to live separately with older men. During that time, the boys are made to play passive roles, sometimes even performing homosexual acts with their “husbands.” When the boys are deemed ready (i.e., to become men), they are reintegrated with their tribe and married to the daughters of their “husbands.” The homosexuality has no bearing on the boys’ sexual orientation, nor is there any stigma associated with it.

Ever since the first reports of lush tropical paradises of the flesh inhabited by beautiful people, the South Seas have stirred the sexual imagination of the West. While the fantasy distorts the genuine sexual practices of that part of the world, it is true that many of the sexual practices found in the Pacific and the Americas differed greatly from the Christian/ Judeo sexual mindset.

Sexual promiscuity, for example, was tolerated. Native women would swim out to the boats naked delighting early explorers. However, further study shows that this sort of uninhibited sexuality was part of a strategy to keep the white foreigners peaceful. Only women who had a reputation for sexual looseness were allowed to participate in this particular form of sexual diplomacy.

A Tahitian society traveled about the Polynesian islands as singers, dancers, athletes, and sexual exhibitionists. They were permitted promiscuous relationships wherever they went. Early Westerners failed to grasp that this group represented a religious institution and much of their sexual behavior had a religious justification; after all, the society was based on a Goddess of fertility.

The Polynesian Islands is the area par excellence of public copulation, erotic festivals, and sex expeditions. While sex practices unfortunately disappeared with the onslaught of Western colonialization, ceremonies involving sexual license had been commonplace. Naked dances occurred on Easter Island and the Marquesas, for example. At the close of feasts, Marquesans would hold public group-sex displays. The women taking part would take pride in the number of men they serviced. One anthropologist recalls a nice old lady who boasted about having made the entire crew of a whaling boat happy.

Most of Asia had their unique sexual customs. In a previous post on cunnilingus, I wrote about a tradition reportedly started by the Tang Dynasty empress Wu Hu. It is said that she required, by royal decree, that all government officials and visiting dignitaries publicly perform cunnilingus on her. In Mongolia, among the Mongour, certain “fake” marriages occur. If a daughter is offered to a guest (as ritual hospitality sex) and she gets pregnant, she is married to a belt, which must be left behind by the guest. The belt is simply symbolic of the man, who may never return. Similarly, in Mongolia, if a woman becomes pregnant outside of sex hospitality, she is formally married to a prayer rug.

I guess what I’m trying to convey in what is a short (and inadequate) piece, is that sexual expression varies greatly across the human condition. And before you start giggling, or wagging the morality stick, please remember that someone from another culture would deem your own sexual practices just as funny and just as immoral.



PS: Sex is good for you. Try it...


  1. It's also interesting to note that only among Judaic-Christian societies do we find the concept that there is something inherently wrong with sexual pleasure, which it often sees as degrading, corrupting and tainted.

    Western religions have spent millenia inflicting shame, guilt, repression and punishment upon human sexuality - especially upon women's sexuality.

    For example, the historic witch hunts... in which thousands of women were tortured and burned... church writings reeked of revulsion to female sexuality.

    I find Shiva followers who pray over models of his erect penis a much healthier form of worship. 

    In fact, I have a little battery operated model on my bedside table Altar to Hedonistic Pleasure.  *grin*

  2. "It's also interesting to note that only among Judaic-Christian societies do we find the concept that there is something inherently wrong with sexual pleasure, which it often sees as degrading, corrupting and tainted."

    Good point. It's also interesting to note that socieites that deny Eros are often the most violent. Christiiona insitutions have waged an anti-sex agenda for thousands of years. I think it's mostly because sex is a powerful vehicle for self-realization and what would happen to the Church if people actually took responsibility for their oiwn spiritual evolution?


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