Sexuality

The topic of sex rarely comes up in everyday conversation with people of the opposite sex, except when people are drinking. While people do not approve of blatant bawdy behaviour, they do not express disapproval of sex or conversations about sex. Btsisi' myths of the origins of sex highlight the fact that sex is fun, and divine intervention was involved in making it easier. Btsisi' do not view sex as debilitating, nor do they perceive women's sexuality as threatening to men. Women seem to dislike sexual activity more than men, but this is because they fear pregnancy. While some women use birth control, not all do. Women who do use contraception say that they enjoy sex. Sexual activity among married couples is limited to no more than once a night otherwise, couples say, "they would be too tired in the morning." Both men and women remain fully clothed during sexual activity.

Extramarital activity occurs often. Men and women are both equally involved in extramarital activity. Men are the primary initiators of sexual activity, verbally alluding to or suggesting a liaison. If women are interested in a man they will attempt eye contact through winking or using other suggestive facial poses. Extramarital relationships do result in conception, which sooner or later becomes public knowledge, even if it is 20 years later. To accuse a spouse of adultery requires "catching" him or her in the act. Hearsay is unacceptable. If caught, the offending parties do not deny the act and give the wronged spouse "evidence" of the wrongdoing. The affronted spouse, whether the husband or wife, has the same rights. The accused lovers have the same rights and obligations. Adultery is insufficient cause for initiating a divorce unless the offending spouse is "caught" at least three times. The wronged spouse can then receive a divorce without being fined; if the injured spouse wishes to leave the marriage without catching his/her spouse three times, he/she will have to pay a fine to the elders.

Notions of modesty have changed with the encroachment of the outside world, especially with Malay morality. Traditionally, Btsisi' women did not wear clothing on their upper body. Today they do. During daylight hours, women no longer walk around their homes wearing just brassieres and sarongs. With more outsiders coming and going in villages, women have altered what they consider modest. Women will no longer even breast-feed outside the village, believing that the Malays will consider this immoral.

Little information is available concerning Btsisi' views on homosexuality; there are no ethnographic examples in the literature. While people seem willing to talk about children born out of wedlock and adulterous relationships, Btsisi' never speak of homosexuality. Cross-dressing is also a topic that is not discussed.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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