Unique Sex, Courtship And Marriage Practices
3500 year old fragment of an erotic scene. Found in an Eyptian tomb. Source see below.
I don’t like using the word “normal” when referring to sex, courtship, and marriage. “Normal” tends to mean something different to each and every one of us because it’s what we’re taught is “right” almost from birth. What’s “right” depends so much upon era and culture, and as soon as we apply our current mores to those practices, words like “immoral” and “obscene” start to rear their heads. We have to remember that not so long ago, those same words were applied to flapper dresses, the bikini, mini skirts and the birth control pill.
I prefer the word, “unique”, to describe some of the more interesting sex, courtship, and marriage customs of the past and current world. These are that and then some.
In ancient Egypt, it was believed that the Nile river, the source of life for people living on its banks, was the result of an ejaculation by the Creator. Since the pharaohs were living gods, they masturbated into the Nile to keep it flowing. During the festival of Min, everybody got into the act, well, men did anyway. They celebrated by masturbating in public and that was considered not only “normal”, but reverent.
Try choking the chicken at the mall someday and when you’re arrested, claim you’re just exercising your freedom of religion by celebrating Min. Yep, that’ll work out just fine.
Some practices might be nice if they were more widespread. If we just got a little less up-tight about how, where, when, and why we get down to the old blanket boogaloo, the world would be a better place. Well, at least it’d be happier.
Take the custom of the Wodaabe, a tribe in Niger. First marriages are always arranged by their parents when the lucky couple are still infants. That’s a real bummer, you’d think. I mean, a guy could end up marrying a gal with bitty boobs and too much ass, and a girl could be saddled with some guy missing his front teeth and with not much in the way of a joy stick.
Not to worry, though. Once a year, the Wodaabe throw a party called the Gerewol festival. The men all fix their hair, paint their faces, put on their best duds, and then stand in a line. The women walk up and down the line and choose the guy they like best. If the girl and her new guy get away without the first husband stopping them, they’re considered married by the tribe. If for some reason she’s not happy with hubby number two, there’s always next year.
It’s kind of like what happens in any bar on a Saturday night, except in reverse and the women in bars aren’t married and the guy doesn’t automatically get to keep the girl. Well, there was this one married woman once but I didn’t bite. She did, but not very hard.
In Mangaia, and island in the South Pacific, sex is considered just a normal body function, and both sexes are encouraged to have as many partners as they can. Unfortunately, sex for humans isn’t instinctive like it is for animals, not even how and when to insert Tab A into Slot B.
Once the guy figures out how to get plugged in, he pretty much runs on automatic, but girls need some encouragement and special handling. Until the guy figures out how to do that, they may both take the same trip but not arrive at the same place at the same time.
The Mangaia islanders have that covered too. It is the custom there for an older woman to take a young man under her wing and teach him the finer points of pleasing a woman. That must be like learning how to drive in a Ferrari instead of a Honda Civic.
When guys are adolescents, well, really, from then on until the old poker won’t poke any more, we’re biologically programmed to constantly search for a woman to poke. Once we reach our twenties, finding that someone gets a lot more expensive, but a whole lot easier. Before that, most of us have to contend with a father with an extremely narrow view of what his daughter should and should not do, and he’ll explain that to you in very easy to understand words. Some dads even punctuate those words with the shotgun or baseball bat they’re holding at the time.
The Kreung tribe of Cambodia have a more practical point of view. Instead of running himself ragged trying to keep horny guys away from his daughter, her father builds her a hut some distance from the main house. It’s her own little love nest and she can entertain as many guys as she wants without her parents listening at the door for any sounds that might indicate she’s having much too good a time to just be playing Scrabble.
Marriage traditions are unique as well, and our mostly European ceremony is unique compared to other cultures. It would be a lot simpler to just tie our wrists together with a rope and have us jump over a broom like it was done in the middle ages. In some Native American cultures, we’d bring a dead deer to the object of our affection. After she cooked up a nice venison roast and gave it to us to eat, we’d be man and wife and ready to get on with the deflowering.
Let’s face it, weddings are great for girls but a pain in the ass for guys. Women love any excuse to dress up and look beautiful so weddings make them happy. They usually cry at weddings too. Well, the bride doesn’t, but all the other women do. They say they cry because they’re so happy. That’s confusing to us guys because they also cry just because you forgot it’s the eighteen-month anniversary of the first time you held hands and you didn’t buy them a card.
We guys have to wear a suit with suspenders and an item called a cummerbund. What the hell is a cummerbund for anyway? All it does is cover up half of your fly so when you have to take a leak you have to take the damned thing off and then remember if the pleats go up or down when you put it back on.
Anyway, once we’re standing up there with the preacher, we’re suppose to get all serious and say a bunch of promise words to our wife to be. At least it used to be that the words were already chosen so all you had to do was repeat what the preacher said.
Nowadays, you’re supposed to make up your own words. That’s easy for girls. They’ve been thinking about them since they were twelve years old. It’s hard for us guys, well, hard to make up appropriate words anyway. I mean, it just wouldn’t do to say what we think is going to happen.
“I promise to love, honor, and cherish you except on Monday nights during football season and on Saturdays when I play golf and during any play-offs of any sport and the opening days of bass and deer season. If you’re sick, I’ll wash the dishes just a soon as I can’t find a clean fork or plate, and I’ll always raise up my feet so you can vacuum under the sofa unless I’m taking a nap and won’t have to.”
No, we have to come up with some of the sticky sweet romantic stuff women love to hear when all we’re thinking about is the sticky stuff that’s gonna happen just as soon as we get to the hotel.
After the ceremony, you have to stand around while somebody takes your picture about a thousand times. You have to be smiling even though your new mother in law is looking at you like you’re some sort of maniacal, perverted, sex fiend who’s just kidnapped her precious little darling. Then, you and your bride go to the reception.
Every body else gets to get comfortably buzzed at the bar. You have to stay sober in order to lock arms with wifey over a glass of champagne and share a piece of wedding cake, and then open the gifts and find out you’re now the proud owner of four toasters and three steam irons. You always get girl stuff as wedding presents. Nobody ever gives a couple a set of matching stadium coats with personalized pocket flasks or his and hers fishing rods.
Girls, you know I’m kidding…don’t you? We guys aren’t like that at all, well except for that sticky stuff in the motel thing. Honest…we aren’t. We sort of like weddings, even our own…as long as there’s shrimp and the booze is free.
I guess we don’t really have it all that bad. In Borneo, it’s worse. It’s a tradition among the Tidong people of Borneo that the bride and groom can’t use the bathroom for three days after the wedding. At some time in the past, the Tidong came to the conclusion that answering Nature’s call during that three days would result in all manner and sorts of horrendous problems in a marriage, and they’re very serious about it.
Family members keep watch 24/3 to make sure neither of the happy couple sneaks out for a visit to the nearest privy. They also feed them and give them water, but not very much of either, so I suppose the hunger pangs and parched throat sort of overpower that “I really, really, really gotta go” feeling. I wonder how they manage to consummate the marriage with their legs clamped tight together, and I don’t even want to think about enduring “dutch ovens” every night for three nights. I guess they figure the couple who farts together stays together.
Image by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, digitally altered, cc0