Sex is good, mainly because it results in children but also because it brings pleasure. It should not be misused in adultery or rape; nor should children be born out of wedlock, for then they do not have the fathers and fathers'
relatives that are so important in Hopi life. However, there is no particular value on virginity, and the ideal feminine beauty is the young mother, not the virgin.
The general attitude toward sexuality is relaxed. No one ever mentioned masturbation to me as a problem in child-rearing, nor did anyone ever remark on adolescent homoerotic play. Women are expected to cover their bodies more than men, but there is no reluctance to breast-feed in public. Men speak rather lasciviously about the Marau dancers, who wear knee-length skirts and thus expose their legs, and sometimes young women are shy about participating because of this.
Homosexuality is regarded as odd and somewhat ridiculous, but not in itself evil or disturbing. The few individuals who have made attempts at cross-dressing are socially accepted but privately laughed at.
For all the gossip and joking about sex that both women and men relish, Hopi life gives little opportunity for much privacy in which to enjoy it. Families sleep together in one room, and couples wait until they think that everyone is asleep before they make love quietly. Suspicions are aroused if any man and woman who are not spouses or close relatives are alone together, and there is little opportunity for this to occur. Nevertheless, there is gossip about men visiting women after dark when husbands are believed to be in the sheep camp or otherwise away from home. (How they eluded others in the household was never explained to me.)
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