Test 3 - Sociocultural Anthropology What Does a Global...

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Sociocultural Anthropology 03/09/2016 ° What Does a Global Perspective Tell Us About Human Sexuality? Our understanding of sexuality can be significantly impacted by taking a larger global perspective. While Western cultural notions about sexuality have had a huge impact on the world, particularly due to the expanding influence of movies and television, many cultures around the world hold significantly different views of sexuality. ° Cultural Sexual Behaviors Human sexual activity is patterned by culture—Cultural variation in sexual behavior Culture patterns habitual responses of different people to different parts of the body Cultures vary in what is considered erotic o Before the Tahitians learned to kiss from the Europeans, they began sexual intimacy by sniffing o The Trobriand Islanders inspected each other for lice if they felt fond of each other o Differences in greeting customs (bisous, hugs) ° Sexuality and Culture Sexual norms affect sexual behavior Cultures differ in: o Age that sexuality begins and ends (e.g. !Kung) o Ways people make themselves attractive (e.g., clip on Wodabe of Niger) o Importance of sexual activity (Guadeloupe vs. US) ° Wodaabe Gerewol Ceremony Male beauty contest=dress up to try to attract a wifeduring that period, women can hook up with other men, even if they are married and choose to stay with that guy. Guys can take on more than one wife. Islamic society. Not our idea of appropriate Islamic practice. Polygyny. ° Homosexuality and Culture Adolescent boys in several parts of Papua New Guinea traditionally had homosexual relations with older men as part of initiation (ritual insemination) but enter homosexual marriages as adults.
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Also in US, we expect someone’s sexual orientation to be fairly consistent throughout lifetime (But consider gay rehab) In the United States, consistent heterosexuality is considered (by many, but certainly not all) essential to masculine identity ° Gebusi Sexuality: An Overview Male initiation of young men involves ideally refraining from sex with women, but also engaging in receptive oral sex with older men In practice, there is more variation Homosexual behavior among women was viewed as unthinkable ° Gebusi Sexuality: Ideals Wa kawala—“child becoming big”, initiation Male initiates expected to refrain from sex with women Sexual trysts took place between teenage boys and young initiated men, insemination Adult men not expected to engage in “homosexual” behavior, but did engage in joking, homosocial behavior ° Gebusi Sexuality: Variation in practice Certain initiates paired up Uninitiated males (including initiates) sometimes had illicit sex with (usually older) women Some males even chose to forgo initiation and marry a woman ° Gebusi Sexuality: Women Seemed not to care if their husbands had sex with teenage boys or initiates But, were angered if husbands interested in other women
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