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Note: An earlier version of this chapter first appeared in J. Feierman Ed. Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions. Anthropological studies of human sexual behavior traditionally are difficult to conduct and to interpret. Usually this is because so much of any sexual behavior is private and must be understood through reporting by others rather than through direct observation.
Sexual behavior between adults and nonadults or between unusual partners is especially difficult to study but an understanding can be facilitated if one looks at such behavior across time, species, and societies. What it currently lacks in cultural purity, as a consequence of long association with foreigners, is partly compensated for by plus years of contact and recorded observations.
This chapter presents a wide range of sexual behaviors in the context of a non-Judeo-Christian and non-Western society; a society that saw sex without guilt, shame or sin. Two introductory notes of caution must be given. The first concerns the research methods. Contradictions that arose between research sources, i.
While the majority of these have disappeared, some practices continue to some degree into the 21st century. The kapu system was officially abolished in November Kuykendall,Vol. Under the kapu system, there were forms of bondage and slavery, human sacrifice Valeri,and infanticide Malo,p. While adult females were afforded many rights and some had great status, it was kapu for them to eat certain foods; they could be put to death for eating pork, certain kinds of bananas or coconuts, and certain fish Malo,p.
Furthermore, in certain circumstances upon threat of death, adult males and adult females were not allowed to eat together, although they could have sex together. Religious laws controlled eating more than they controlled sex. I and 2; Suggs, ; and Valeri, Warm climate often dictates less clothing. The basic dress was a malo loin cloth for adult males and a leaf or tapa bark skirt for adult females. The female breasts were not covered. Very young children went uncovered. A tapa robe might be added for protection against the cold or sun Handy,P.
Adult males and adult females engaged in all water sports without clothes. They dared not wear wet clothes on land, because to do so in the presence of royalty was a crime punishable by death Malo,p. Individuals who were slated for sacrifice or who were banished were stripped naked.
A dream of nudity, it was claimed, was a portent of death. Nudity as a ceremonial condition could be a of submission or of reation, or it could be an appeal for forgiveness. One who had wronged or angered another might disrobe and follow the injured individual asking forgiveness. Nudity also was a of respect.
Consider this quotation from Kamakaupp. She was his niece and of so high a taboo that he had to take off his malo before he came into her presence, but he desired above everything to have children of the highest rank. Ceremonial nudity also could be a of respect extended not merely to the Highest Chief or Chiefess but even to their bearers or possessions. Ceremonial nudity with prayer was also used to avert sorcery. One person stayed at the doorway to the hale house and prayed. The others prayed while they walked around the house.
After the fifth time around, the one at the door poured water over the he of the others, and the ceremony ended Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, It was common for whole families to bathe and swim together nude in a formalized but also sociable manner, and often, baths or swims occurred several times a day. On the basis of these examples, therefore, it can be seen that nudity was ritualized in many aspects of society. In fact, an individual seen nude out of a ritualized context was considered to be pupule crazed with grief, not lustful Pukui, Haertig, and Lee,pp.
See Eibl-Eibesfeldt, The genitals were considered holy and were appreciated as being good. They were treated with respect and worship, and ostensibly. Also, it was believed that the genitals possessed mana spiritual powerand this belief was expressed with clarity in the traditional woodcarvings of the powerful gods, whose genitals were shown to be prominent.
These carvings are the penis stone named after Kauleonanahoa Ka-ule-o-Nanahoa en hawaianoa noted chief of the island, and the vulva stone named after Kawahuna, his wife. Both of these stones stand head high or taller. Throughout the islands, rocks configured into the shape of male and female genitals or identified as being male or female rocks were not uncommon Pukui, Haertig, and Lee,p. They were and still are used as totems to enhance fertility and sexual prowess Summers, All of these kinds of formations, possessed of great mana, were used to enhance fertility and sexual ability.
Within the culture, genitals were addressed in song and story. Subincision of the foreskin was practiced, and ostensibly, to prepare for this practice, the penis was blown into daily starting from birth Handy and Pukui,p. The blowing was said to loosen and balloon the foreskin and separate it from the glans, so that when the time of subincision came, the skin was quickly and easily slit. The blowing continued daily until the infant was old enough to urinate in an arch, wetting the blower, then it was done less often, perhaps three times a week until the young male was 6 or 7.
Therefore, the same term might refer to a blood relative, a non-relative, or a neighbor. The penis-blowing procedure was said to guarantee health and efficient coitus Pukui, Haertig, and Lee,p. Even after his wife and mother-in-law put the procedure in its cultural context, he was not placated. When a young male was 6 or 7, penile subincision was performed by a specially trained kahuna priest. The mons was rubbed with kukui candlenut oil and pressed with the palm of the hand to flatten it and make it less prominent.
The molding continued until the labia did not separate. This practice often was done orally by the caretaking adult females Suggs,p. Danielssonp. The buttocks of infants, males more than females, were molded so that they became rounded and not flat Handy and Pukui,p. It was seen as being an appropriate aspect of adult care of nonadults, a necessary chore. The practices were for the social benefit of the child, not for the erotic pleasure of the adult. Until the age ofyoung males and females played together.
Between 4 and 6, young males went to live in the hale nua, where, through observation, they learned sex roles and sex-related expectations from adult males. Similarly, young females learned from the older women, with whom they remained. They were taught to look forward to sex and appreciate its pleasures. Both sexes heard the sex-positive conversations, songs, and stories of their elders and learned accordingly. By the age of puberty sexual exploration with same-sex age mates was actively encouraged. In regard to sex, Valerip.
Sex training was direct and firsthand. Young individuals learned of coitus and sex play from instruction, direct observation, and practice.
As they slept in the family house hale noathey observed their parents having coitus. His daughter may receive and make love with each of her varied nightly suitors in the same room But under most conditions, all of this takes place without social notice: everyone seems to be looking in another direction. The young observed dogs, pigs, and other animals mating, and these activities were discussed openly with parents or other adults. Parturition was not a secret event and was well attended by the young and by adults, all of whom observed traditions that included the washing and burying of the placenta and, usually, the disposing of the umbilical cord Pukui, Haertig and Lee,p.
With variations depending upon rank, region, and social circumstances, the young individual learned the lore of kapusocial restraints and preferences, and attitudes toward both sex for procreation or love and sex for fun and pleasure. Each kind of sex was appreciated for its own value Pukui, Haertig, and Lee,p.
Individuals of both sexes were expected to initiate and participate in coitus at puberty, although sexual activity, play, instruction, and so forth occurred much earlier. This activity occurred without adult disapproval, and it was considered to be an introduction to adulthood. Casual intercourse before adolescence was not an uncommon experience both for males Handy and Pukui,p.Sex in polynesia
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Title: Sexual Behavior in Pre Contact Hawai‘i: A Sexological Ethnography