Sexuality

A widespread view held by men and women alike is that men love to have sex and as many orgasms as possible (Gutmann, 1996, p. 143). Women are often perceived as not having sex for their own pleasure. Instead, they are thought to agree to it in exchange for something else, like affection, upkeep, or money (LeVine, 1993, p. 89; Prieur, 1998, p. 81). Also, women's menstrual blood may be viewed as polluting (Gutmann, 1996, p. 122). This logic is sometimes applied to excuse male infidelities.

The wife is expected to be devoted to her husband, whereas the husband may be unfaithful. Although this perception is changing, many women still knowingly tolerate extramarital affairs by their husbands as long as they fulfill their economic role as provider for the family (LeVine, 1993, p. 195). Men may even maintain more than one family, an institution called casa chica or small house (Finkler, 1994, p. 59).

Before marriage, young men generally have had sexual experiences, sometimes with prostitutes. Unlike young boys, adolescent girls are often unaware of how their bodies function. They are frightened when they start menstruating; they do not know how to use contraception and are thus at risk of becoming unwillingly pregnant (LeVine, 1993, p. 66).

Talking about sexuality seems to be very common in the working class. Men and women alike joke and tease each other using ambiguous and sometime openly vulgar expressions (Gutmann, 1996, p. 142; Prieur, 1998, p. 65).

To define homosexuality (and also heterosexuality), the way that intercourse is practiced is crucial. Being masculine implies being the one who is active and penetrates. Conversely, being feminine means being passive and penetrable (Carrier, 1995; Melhuus, 1996, p. 240, 1998, p. 359; Paz, 1961; Prieur, 1996, 1998). Thus, the one who penetrates is not regarded as homosexual. He is viewed as a man regardless of the sex of his partner. The one who is being penetrated is viewed as feminine (Prieur, 1996, p. 86).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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