Sambia or sexual relativity.
The fight for the recognition of sexual diversity has required 200 years to bear its first fruits in legislation. However, once equal rights have been achieved, we must continue working to get this same social equality spread across the globe, last over time and make humanity happier. In order to achieve these aims, it is necessary to know sexuality in an accurate way and to its full extent, and spread this knowledge so it serves to get rid of the prejudice that humanity has dragged since the emergence of monotheistic religions. A good way to do it is through compared sexuality. How is sexuality in the rest of the animal kingdom? How is sexuality in other human societies? Today we’ll talk about of the Sambia.
With this analysis and subsequent comparison we will be able to separate realities and prejudices, and come to realize that sexuality is only a cultural construct and not a unique and universal reality. So today let’s talk about the Sambia tribe, from Papua New Guinea. This tribe have a completely different point of view on sexuality, and so their sexual behavior is radically different. We would like to propose a viewing test. Watch this piece of documentary and try to describe what you see. Although it is narrated in German, it is not necessary to understand the language in order to see what they are doing. In this excerpt, you will get the chance to watch the Sambia ‘in action’ before (and after) learning about the keys of their culture. The video is short, so you can do the test.
The Sambia and semen.
The Sambia tribes inhabit the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea with a population of about 2,500 inhabitants spread over a vast area of jungle. In these tribes, as in other societies of Melanesia, semen is a scarce, essential and vital element for its members, both male and female.
In the Sambia culture, the spirits of ancestors are transmitted through semen. Also, with semen, life is created, and the body develops and strengthens. The age of individuals is what creates a social hierarchy in which women are demoted because they wear out the semen of men, and where children should eat sperm to produce sperm. Women mature naturally because their bodies contain an organ of menstrual blood that accelerates their development.
All this seminal circuit occurs through practices that we would consider not only homosexual but paedophile too (because boys are initiated by adults when they are 7 or 8). For these tribes, though, it is a vital ritual of extreme importance and necessity in which semen passes from one individual to another through breastfeeding (equating the breastfeeding of newborns to fellatio performed to adults), anal intercourse and genital intercourse with procreative purposes. Masturbation, as we understand it, does not occur because it implies a waste of semen.
Sex functions in the Sambia tribes.
The sexual behavior of Sambia, derived from their culture, can be classified into several categories:
1) Erotic game: aims to achieve orgasm to use semen, although the receiver takes semen for growth.
2) Procreation: heterosexual contact, genital to genital, that produces the birth of descent; also fellatio to prepare the woman’s body to produce breast milk.
3) Growth: human growth is a result of the ingestion of semen, breast milk, and some plants. The male growth is a result of inseminations during his childhood. This semen is distributed through the body and makes skin, bones and skull mature. Semen also is accumulated in the genitals of the young person and makes body hair and the penis develop and grow, so he may have subsequent sexual contacts.
4) Strength: semen masculinizes the body of men. Strength is a product of the father’s semen transaction with other men, which he then will use to feed his wife, whose body, in turn, has a natural capacity for storing the fluid and produce breast milk that will make the child grow strong.
5) Spirituality: the most important family spirits and the soul itself are inherited from the father through semen.
Sambia sexuality and sexual relativity.
If we had to classify the sexual behavior of Sambia in the Western categories of heterosexual and homosexual, it would be quite difficult because the cultural difference is enormous. Even if we classified them all as bisexual, we would not be sticking to any truth. However this is not the most interesting point.
What if a Western newborn child was brought up by a Sambia tribe? What if a Sambia child, for any reason, was brought up from birth in USA by an american father and mother? Isn’t human sexuality diverse? Are we going to continue to believe that any non-heterosexual behavior is wrong and unnatural? Are we going to continue to think that sexuality is a unique reality? Sexuality is plastic, pliable, throughout nature.
As you can see, a person’s sexual orientation depends, at least in part, on the society in which people develop and live. This way, sexual behavior can no longer be classified as abnormal or unnatural. It is not surprising therefore that the gene of homosexuality has not been found, nor it is strange that the sexual behavior of an individual may change according to life experiences. We can thus speak of a biological system of sexual desire orientation, mouldable by the social environment, with an outcome of not just two colors, black or white, but of infinite colors.
Source: Ritualized homosexuality in Melanesia. Gilbert H. Herdt - 1993 - Wikipedia: Gilbert H. Herdt. - Final translation by Ruth Carballo Gallego.