Skip to comments.Where Masturbation and Homosexuality Do Not Exist
Posted on 12/06/2012 12:18:57 PM PST by Mrs. Don-o
Barry and Bonnie Hewlett had been studying the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for many years before they began to specifically study the groups' sexuality. As they reported in the journal African Study Monographs, the married couple of anthropologists from Washington State University "decided to systematically study sexual behavior after several campfire discussions with married middle-aged Aka men who mentioned in passing that they had sex three or four times during the night. At first [they] thought it was just men telling their stories, but we talked to women and they verified the men's assertions."
In turning to a dedicated study of sex practices, the Hewletts formally confirmed that the campfire stories were no mere fish tales. Married Aka and Ngandu men and women consistently reported having sex multiple times in a single night. But in the process of verifying this, the Hewletts also incidentally found that homosexuality and masturbation appeared to be foreign to both groups.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
...A woman who is already pregnant will see having intercourse as contributing to the health of her fetus. While the Aka and the Ngandu live in the same general region, an area in central Africa marked by tropic forest, their cultures are distinct. The Aka are foragers and, according to the Hewletts, "gender egalitarianism among the Aka is about as pronounced as human societies get." Women may hunt, even on their own, and often control distribution of resources. The Ngandu, by contrast, are slash-and-burn farmers with stable locations and significant gender inequality, with men typically dominating over women.
What the Aka and Ngandu have in common, besides geography, is this: In both cultures, men and women view sexual intercourse as a kind of "work of the night." The purpose of this work is the production of children -- a critical matter in an area with a very high infant mortality rate. Semen is understood by the Aka and Ngandu to be necessary not only to conception, but also to fetal development. A woman who is already pregnant will see having intercourse as contributing to the health of her fetus.
The Aka and Ngandu speak of sex as "searching for children." That's not to say they don't enjoy having sex. Clearly they do. The Hewletts relay a song a group of children invented after stealthily watching two lovers having sex. In the song, the man asks, "How do you want it?" and the woman answers, "Oh, I want it big." The man asks again, and the woman answers, "Oh, I want it long." The song then enters a refrain with the man thrusting and asking his partner, "Did you come?"
But while the individuals the Hewletts interviewed -- like the song -- made it clear that sex is pleasurable for these folks, and something that brings couples closer, they also made clear that babies are the goal of sex. Said one Aka woman, "It is fun to have sex, but it is to look for a child." Meanwhile, a Ngandu woman confessed, "after losing so many infants I lost courage to have sex."
Is the strong cultural focus on sex as a reproductive tool the reason masturbation and homosexual practices seem to be virtually unknown among the Aka and Ngandu? That isn't clear. But the Hewletts did find that their informants -- whom they knew well from years of field work -- "were not aware of these practices, did not have terms for them," and, in the case of the Aka, had a hard time even understanding about what the researchers were asking when they asked about homosexual behaviors.
The Ngandu "were familiar with the concept" of homosexual behavior, "but no word existed for it and they said they did not know of any such relationships in or around the village. Men who had traveled to the capital, Bangui, said it existed in the city and was called 'PD' (French for par derriere or from behind)."
Given all this, the Hewletts conclude, "Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group."
The finding with regard to homosexuality is perhaps not that surprising. As the Hewletts note, other researchers have documented cultures where homosexuality appears not to exist. If homosexual orientation has a genetic component to it -- and there is increasing evidence that it does, in many cases -- then it would not be surprising that this complex human trait (one that involves non-procreative efforts) would be found in some populations but not others.
Moreoever, sexual behavior -- whether homosexual, heterosexual, or any other type -- is never simply genetically determined in humans. Humans are born with sexual potentials that will manifest differently in different cultural settings. So, about heterosexuality, the Hewletts note that Western cultures' valuing of sleeping through the night probably limits Western heterosexual couples' interest in having sex multiple times between dusk and dawn. In our culture, the work we have to do by day may overtake "the work of the night."
It's also worth noting that Western science specifically distinguishes between three components of sexuality: desire, behavior, and identity. While the Hewletts' research suggests that homosexual behavior and identity are foreign to the Aka and Ngandu, it's entirely possible that homosexual desire does exist in these groups, at least for some of their members (so to speak). A culture that recognizes such desires -- and especially a culture that does not condemn them -- and especially one that involves large groups where homosexually-inclined people can find each other -- is the type where such desires will become openly apparent.
When I put this to the Hewletts, they replied that indeed, the desire may exist in some individuals in these groups, but we simply do not know. They added that although the Aka and Ngandu live in small groups, "They travel extensively and our studies suggest each person knows about 400-500 individuals," which means that, theoretically, a person with homosexual desires might find another person with the same. But in a culture in which the general idea of a desire doesn't exist, such a desire might remain unarticulated, even if two people who share it find each other.
The absence of masturbation among Aka and Ngandu men and women may be more surprising, and perhaps also harder to explain. Recall that the Hewletts did not find that masturbation is "frowned upon or punished," but rather that there is just no general conception of it. This finding recalls a much-discussed 2010 Behavioral and Brain Sciences paper called "The WEIRDest people in the world?" in which the authors argued that far too many sweeping claims about "human nature" are drawn exclusively from samples of Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies.
Studies of small-scale, rural, non-Western cultures like the Aka and Ngandu paint a more complicated picture of human variation. The Hewletts remark that, "the Western cultural emphasis on recreational sex has ... led some researchers to suggest that human sexuality is similar to bonobo apes because they have frequent non-reproductive sex, engage in sex throughout the female cycle, and use sex to reduce social tensions." But, the Hewletts suggest, "The bonobo view may apply to Euro-Americans (plural), but from an Aka or Ngandu viewpoint, sex is linked to reproduction and building a family." Where sex is work, sex may just work differently.
Where sex is natural, sex may just work naturally.
Anthropologists don’t have a good track record getting the streight poop on this topic from “native” people.
The tribes call sex the ‘work of the night.’
“Look, honey, we gotta go to work...every night.”
Now the term “gettin’ busy” means so much more.
On the other hand, these particular anthropologists don't seem to be pursuing the "primitive people are polymorphously perverse like the peaceful loving bonobos" line. And it should be more-or-less verifiable as to whether they have words for homosexuality and masturbation in their vocabularies. Reportedly, they don't.
Our culture throws sex at us so we can accept it as “natural” but they pervert it and encourage the unnatural.
As I have told my children and now my grandchildren, sex is a wonderful thing when used as God planned it.
Just from the people I know who are promiscuous, it is almost impossible to understand the sheer wonder and beauty of a life commitment with one sex partner.
*Trick question (neither) -- Kenyan 'Mo
***The tribes call sex the work of the night.***
And I got old enough my body retired me! ;-(
lol - sorry man!
Given all this, the Hewletts conclude, “Homosexuality and masturbation are rare or nonexistent [in these two cultures], not because they are frowned upon or punished, but because they are not part of the cultural models of sexuality in either ethnic group.”
The finding with regard to homosexuality is perhaps not that surprising. As the Hewletts note, other researchers have documented cultures where homosexuality appears not to exist. If homosexual orientation has a genetic component to it — and there is increasing evidence that it does, in many cases — then it would not be surprising that this complex human trait (one that involves non-procreative efforts) would be found in some populations but not others.
So, they’re saying that homosexuality has a genetic component, but they can’t find it here, so it doesn’t exist here. But it does in others.
It’s a choice. You don’t choose the eye color, hair color, etc, you’re born with (but can change it afterward, obviously with contacts and hair dye), but I believe you do choose to be gay or not.
Wait about 2 minutes, then watch for militant feminazis to condemn this study.
actually it is becoming more and more obvious there is no genetic component. that is one of the reasons the homosexuals have gone silent on the issue.
Well... This will never get out..cause it doesn’t fit the adjenda.
The Ngandu “were familiar with the concept” of homosexual behavior, “but no word existed for it”
May I be the first to suggest: “Ewwwww”
I just love writers who substitute their opinions for the actual research. The people who actually did the work found nothing that even remotely resembled that "possibility", and said so multiple times, yet the author of the article ignored them completely to posit their own opinion.
Perhaps in a culture where women do not “defraud” their husbands, as the Apostle Paul put it, perversion is naturally kept at bay.
The Ngandu “were familiar with the concept” of homosexual behavior, “but no word existed for it and they said they did not know of any such relationships in or around the village. Men who had traveled to the capital, Bangui, said it existed in the city and was called ‘PD’ (French for par derriere or from behind).”
Pédé is short for pédéraste.
i am starting the rumor that they have found the gene for homosexuality, but are afraid to publish it for fear couples will abort babies that are found to possess it.
that would be the ironic end of the pop culture war...
“Anthropologists dont have a good track record getting the streight poop on this topic from native people.”
Yes, or reporting unbiased results.
lol. We always can dream:
I`m back in the saddle again
Out where a friend is a friend
Where the longhorn cattle feed
On the lowly gypsum weed
Back in the saddle again
Ridin` the range once more
Totin` my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again
Rockin` to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way
Back in the saddle again
I’m curious if the good Doctor Barry S. Hewlett, American Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University might be a descendant of one of my most admired people, William Reddington Hewlett, co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company.
I don’t believe it.
You see, women get pregnant and don’t want sex sometimes. And if you get pregnant while breastfeeding, your milk dries up and the kid dies of Kwashiorkor (protein deficiency because the replacement foods are mainly carbohydrate).
Some Bantu tribes allow variations of sex to prevent these problem...and the article doesn’t even mention these things...nor do they mention that other Bantu tribes forbid vaginal intercourse while pregnant or while breast feeding....(again, they may allow sex, but not vaginal intercourse)...
Maybe the writers had an agenda, or the folks told them what they wanted to hear, which is how some folks get rid of those nasty anthropologists who ask personal questions.
(Margaret Meade was looking to justify her adultery, so wanted stories of promiscuity and got them; and some Native Americans laugh at these anthropologists and told them really crazy stories, some of which are still found in scholarly books. They think it’s a big joke on the white man)...
What a fascinating article.
Will ping out perhaps tomorrow or tonight.
So does being "sore in the mornin'" after all that "work of the night."
As for breastfeeding, if you do it on-demand and especially at night by co-sleeping with the baby, isn't that supposed to keep the mother anovulatory for 18 months+? If the nursing moms are as anovulatory as they ought to be, sex in any form shouldn't matter, because the lactational effect will prevent too-closely-spaced pregnancies. The #1 priority would be to keep the moms well-nourished and well-hydrated so the lactation benefit is optimal. Or so it seems to me.
But you're the doc. What do you think?
That was my point - and I agree. For years it’s been a rallying cry “we’re born this way”, “we were made this way”, “God made us this way”. But it’s bull poop. You may be influenced by your environment, but it’s a choice - period.
Yup. Unfortunately American women (at least) tend to withhold sex from their husbands as a retaliation, as a weapon, or just for “fun”. I’m dealing with that now; even through multiple lessons from our pastor. It just makes one hyper-masculine, and frankly, extremely frustrated.
those studies are a bunch of nonsense, usually based on tiny samples that don’t represent the majority of patients.
They also assume that eclampsia/preeclampsia is purely an immune problem, but the syndrome has several variations...and is more common in areas where people are malnourished or high risk: women having first babies have a higher rate, as do women with high blood pressure or with twins.
homosexuality is a continuum, and nearly every culture has one to two percent of “gays” and a lot of bisexuals who could go either way.
In many African tribes, homosexuality is taboo, so no one will admit it.
But I had read that one of the reasons why women having ther first babies suffer from it at an higher rate, is that they have not had much exposure to their husband's semen before their pregnancy. (For instance, I had a C-section for PIH, and I had gotted pregnant just 6 weeks after our wedding.) Women who use condoms as a contraceptive before they become pregnant, also have a higher rate of preeclampsia, and possibly for the same reason: the condom prevents contact with their husband's semen, and thus they have not had the frequent exposure which is protective by lessening the risk of a preeclampsia immune reaction.
Or so they say.
OTOH, I was also told (this was 24 years ago) that not getting enough protein during pregnancy was a risk factor, and I was encouraged to try for 100 g protein daily. Man, that's a lot of protein! --- and, as I mentioned, I still developed PIH, resulting in the doctor's recommendation of a C-section (and he was a conservative, as-natural-as-possible OBGYN who had a reputation for resisting C-sections unless there was a clear indication.)
that part about blood flow to the uterus could explain why it is more common in first babies (where the uterus has never been "stretched" before) and in moms with twins.
When I was in medical school, it was most common with Southern women, and this was felt to be due to lack of protein in the diet.
Whenever the paper has a "new" theory, I am always skeptical.
I am happy your doc insisted on giving you a Caesarian. The way to keep pre eclampsia from going into the full eclampsia (seizures) is to deliver as quickly as possible, and usually this means a C section.
If you follow "Downton Abby", one of the girls dies of eclampsia and the BBC series "Call the Midwife" also had a eclampsia death.
but no word existed for it
Just like it used to be here:
“The love that dare not speak its name.”
(Now they won’t shut the hell up about it!)
For real. C-section in my case resulted in healthy baby, healthy me!