Sexuality

Orang Suku Laut attitudes towards the body, nakedness, and physical characteristics are uncomplicated.

Sexual intimacy, genital area, sex-specific physical characteristics and pecularities (e.g., penis length, breast size, or abnormal number of testicles) are popular topics, which are discussed uninhibitedly either jointly among men and women in the presence of children, or in exclusively male or female circles, in a purely factual manner or through suggestive jokes. Also, infants are not treated like asexual beings. Grown-ups tend to pat the babies' bottoms and to sniff and kiss them everywhere.

Further, in a way, nakedness is no taboo. Children of both sexes normally walk around naked up to the age of about 6. Males often wear short trousers only, and females are from time to time seen wearing nothing but brassieres and sarongs, or stripped to the waist. Sometimes, owing to the crampedness of houseboats and pile-dwellings and the absence of toilets, one can observe people while relieving themselves. However, normally people try to do so in a discreet way, and if not, this is commented on with disapproval.

In the Orang Laut view, sexual intercourse is natural. It is healthy and, of course, it is for reproduction. It legitimately takes place within the bounds of marriage and in the intimate space of the houseboat or pile-dwelling. Extramarital relations for both males and of females are regarded as inacceptable, and in fact hardly occur.

Premarital sexual intercourse is the exception. In former times, children were engaged before sexual maturity and were married with the beginning of puberty at the latest, so that the "problem" of premarital intercourse did not arise. Even today, many males and females are already married at the time of sexual maturation and therefore can satisfy their sexual desire within the accepted bounds of marriage.

As already mentioned (see "Cultural Construction of Gender"), cross-sex identification and cross-dressing are almost irrelevant in Orang Suku Laut society. If male or female homosexuality does occur, the couple behave extremely discreetly.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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