Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Homosexuality (A brief cross-cultural survey) 1

Name, Place, Time (Principal sources)Remarks
Cultures with Male Serial Bisexuality
Azande, C Africa, to circa 1900. (Evans-Pritchard: 1970)Male-male marriages are recognised between soldiers and recruits. Marriages are dissolved when recruits become soldiers and themselves take young male-wives. Men, once they were married to women, were expected to prefer heterosexual relations, but throughout life homosexuality was considered a sensible alternative when heterosexual relations were impossible, inconvenient, or as they often were, taboo. The usual form of relations was intercourse between the thighs. Azande knew some men preferred homosexual relations, and such was said to be the case with certain chiefs and military leaders. Male-male marriage was forbidden by European missionaries, but homosexual activities persisted in other forms without sanction.
Dahomey, Benin W Africa, 1931. (Herskovits. v. I, pp. 239-242, 288-289.)Typical example of male serial bisexuality in that homosexual relations among young males and young men are tolerated in a period of sexual segregation, whereas homosexuality between married adult males is strongly condemned. However among the Dahomey adult homosexual relations between those who were lovers in youth may have been concealed in a tradition of "best friendships."
Fang, W Africa, circa 1905. (HRAF FH9 FANG 2:TESSMANN 23 E-2 (1904-1909) 1913)Young men are generally bisexual and no significance attaches to the roles they assume in their homosexual relations. Fang tolerate, but do not approve of youthful homosexual relations. Homosexual relations between men of marriageable age is supposed to be taboo. However, homosexual intercourse is supposed to be a wealth-producing medicine which benefits the partner in the inserter role, although invoking this medicine is supposed to entail a risk of disease. Adult men found in homosexual relations claim not to be homosexual, but only to be practicing the wealth-producing medicine.
Great Britain,to present.Childhood sex play is not tolerated by the English. However at a young age young males of high-status families are sent to sexually segregated compounds called "public schools." Younger young males act as pages, called "fags," to the older young males. Younger young males are often cast in the insertee role in homosexual relations. Additionally, many male-male romances have been reported, although some of these may not have been consummated. In adulthood men are supposed to be completely heterosexual and to resent any allusion to their youthful homosexual relationships. Yet relationships formed in the public schools retain some importance throughout life and this is known as "the old school tie."
Greek, circa 500 BC (Dover.)Homosexuality in the social approved form consisted of intercourse between the thighs in which the inserter was a mature man who sought the relation with a young man. The youth was supposed to be indifferent to the sexual aspects of the relationship and he was not supposed to derive sexual pleasure from the relationship. The youth was supposed to benefit from the patronage of the older man. Anal intercourse was known and was not forbidden, but citizens were not supposed to prostitute themselves in the insertee role.
Houston, Texas, circa 1960. (Fictionalized account by native informant: Eighner [1985] See also: Reiss.)Childhood sex play is not tolerated. From puberty to about age 16, some young males may engage in a practice they call "queer rolling." The stated purpose of this activity is to attract and then rob older homosexual males, but in fact this never actually occurred to the knowledge of the informant. The young males were fellated by the older males and sometimes accepted money for this activity. The plan of robbery served only as an excuse for violating strict taboos on all forms of male homosexuality. Among the initiates, young males admitted deriving pleasure from the men and often said the "faggots" (adult fellators) performed oral sex better than women. Boys would admit to agreeing to meet men again. Cash payments, if any, were token amounts, although sometimes exaggerated by the young males. Sexual contact between the young males was taboo, although group masturbation was not unheard of. Signs of affection between the men and the young males were strictly taboo.
Ik (pseudonym), Kidepo Valley, Uganda, near Sudan-Kenya border, 1964-1967. (Turnbull, p. 254. Better explained: Tripp, p. 68.)Young men may masturbate each other, even in public, provided they do not exchange signs of affection. Turnbull ascribes the lack of affection to the famine the Ik are enduring, but in fact, this is one of the requirements of the native form.
Japan, from at least 1500s to circa 1865. (Childs.)Intergenerational love common among monks and in the military. In the former case men were supposedly homosexual or celibate through their lives. Adult samurai might be bisexual.
Kaluli, Papua, 1976 (Schieffelin. pp. 124-126.)Like the Keraki. Monogamous relationship between an initiate and his sponsor is noted.
Keraki, Papua, 1936 (Williams, F.E.)Sodomy to imbue initiates with masculine characteristics. Similar to fellatio among the Sambians.
Mohave, SW United States, to present. (Devereux. Williams, W.L. pp. 89-90, 96-98, and passim.)Very general bisexuality thought unremarkable from early childhood to early 20s. Virtually all forms of homosexual relations occur. Men are expected to become heterosexual and to marry women, but adult males may marry or have sexual relations with berdaches who are men in a nonmasculine role, and this is not considered homosexual. Mohave berdaches tend to have insisted on assuming the insertee role in homosexual relations.
Moslem cultures of Asia minor, N and E Africa. (Edwardes. Cline.)Intergenrational male sex tends to be the rule and after heterosexual marriage men continue to have homosexual affairs throughout life. In some societies, men brag as openly about their homosexual affairs as about their heterosexual ones. Although homosexuality is forbidden by the Koran and the death penalty is prescribed, rigid segregation of the sexes may encourage homosexual practices among parts of the male population who might not otherwise participate.
Mossi, C Africa, Tauxier pp. 569-70 in the French; HRAF FA28 MOSSI 6:TAUXIER, 106.Soroné are cross-dressing pages, young males [at certain young ages] who are concubines of important men from village dignitaries to the paramount chief. When they come of age they assume masculine roles and marry women given to them by their patron. The first born children of these unions become soroné or wives of soroné.
Nama aka Hottentots, SW Africa. (HRAF FX13 HOTTENTOT 2:SCHAPERA E-4 1930, pp. 322, 242-243.)Although homosexuality is well accepted throughout life, young males form especially intense relationships sealed by soregus (water sharing), a bond in some respects more sacred than marriage. Mutual masturbation is said to be the most common form of homosexual relations, but anal intercourse is not unknown.
Nashville, Tennesee, 1958 (Reiss.)Adolescent males who define themselves neither as career prostitutes nor as homosexuals offer themselves to be fellated for money by (usually) older males who are identified as homosexual provided this activity can be excused as a money-making enterprise, the youth are never cast in a feminine role (at least not in view of their peers), and affection is not overtly expressed by either party. Norms of the relationship of the youth to the older males are enforced with the threat of violence. The youth eventually pursue adult careers and cease this activity.
Nkundo, C Zaire, circa 1930. (HRAF FO32 MONGO 2:HULSTAERT M-5 1938, p. 86.)A sketchy and homophobic report suggests a fairly typical pattern. However, it is reported that in the past the younger partner took the inserter role in anal intercourse, which is unusual.
Nyakyusa, N shore of Lake Malawi aka Lake Nyasa, SE Africa, circa 1936. (Wilson. HRAF FN17 NGONDE 1:WILSON E-5 1951, 197.)During the homosexual period no role divisions appear among the young males and young men. Younger young males and young men exchange roles freely in anal intercourse and intercourse between the thighs. Mutual masturbation is popular. Oral sex is taboo. Boys establish villages, often laid out to reflect their relationships. Eventually the young men marry and their wives move into the village. Homosexuality involving married males is considered witchcraft and is punishable by a cattle fine. Enough cases come to light to suggest that a number of men persist in homosexual relations beyond the prescribed period.
Sambia (pseudonym), New Guinea highlands, 1974-1976 (also 1938). (Herdt.)95%+ of young men fellate older males, but only during daily secret rituals. The beginning of the fellating period is 7-10 years of age; fellated period begins at puberty and continues until about age 25. Males in this period must avoid all contact with females. Fellators do not assume the roles of women. There is a strongly marked sexual antagonism, "misogyny." Initiates are segregated in men's house, but homosexual relations do not occur there. Young children may play together freely regardless of sex. 5% or less of married males continue to be fellated, but this is socially disapproved. Married men as fellators of youths are strongly condemned, although this is known to occur occasionally.
WaTutsi (dominant ethnic caste of traditional Ruanda), C Africa, mid-20th century. (Maquet.)Homosexuality described as "general" in the Tutsi and Hutu castes, especially among young men at court. Men of marriageable age were expected to become exclusively heterosexual, but blood brother relationships and cross-caste patronage relationships may have served as cover for adult homosexual relationships.
Zulu, S Africa, to 1897. (Morris. pp. 35-36, 46, 51-52, 54, 66, 107-108, 117, 279-281, 287-288, 587.)In martial traditions similar to the Azande. Contrary to events depicted in a popular motion picture, Shaka was avidly homosexual and some of his political decisions were said to have been made to extend his enjoyment of barracks homosexuality.


c'est moi said...

very enlightening & very interesting!

Anengiyefa said...

Thanks C'est moi. Its in three parts and I intend at the end to provide references. I think its imoportant that the correct information is diseminated, don't you agree? Thanks for the comment.

visa casino said...

The authoritative answer, curiously...