Attainment of Adulthood

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Marriage marked entry into adulthood for both females and males. As previously noted, both boys and girls engaged in sexual experimentation with a large number of partners throughout late childhood and early adolescence, although according to the Yuqui pregnancy rarely resulted from these childhood liaisons, perhaps attributable to the young age of the girl. However, because of frequent premarital and postmarital sexual activity with multiple partners, many Yuquiwomen were uncertain of the paternity of their children. In this regard, the Yuqui believed that a fetus would not develop properly if the women did not have many sexual partners during pregnancy. According to the Yuqui the semen from many men helped the child grow and develop in the womb. In the past, paternity was not of great concern to anyone. With exposure to the norms of the outside world, however, issues of actual paternity can now cause considerable strife in the group.

The Yuqui attributed conception to sexual intercourse. Nonetheless, they also believed that the spirit of a child came from another human, most often a deceased Yuquiwho was seeking reincarnation. For this reason, the names of Yuquidead might be given to children who, at birth, were thought to resemble deceased relatives, hence overriding the proscription against speaking the names of the dead. In another case, Abadn ("little Ab", [Aba = non-Yuqu; -dn = diminutive]) was given her name because at about the time of her conception, her mother saw a Bolivian hunter in the forest and believed that his spirit jumped into her body.

Incest rules did exist, but were frequently broken and only mild sanctions were levied (see above) if the offending couple were caught or suspected of having sex.

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Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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