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Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:59 AM

Where Masturbation and Homosexuality Do Not Exist

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/where-masturbation-and-homosexuality-do-not-exist/265849/


Aka father carrying his daughter while out on a hunt


Barry and Bonnie Hewlett had been studying the Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa for many years before they began to specifically study the groups' sexuality. As they reported in the journal African Study Monographs, the married couple of anthropologists from Washington State University "decided to systematically study sexual behavior after several campfire discussions with married middle-aged Aka men who mentioned in passing that they had sex three or four times during the night. At first thought it was just men telling their stories, but we talked to women and they verified the men's assertions."

In turning to a dedicated study of sex practices, the Hewletts formally confirmed that the campfire stories were no mere fish tales. Married Aka and Ngandu men and women consistently reported having sex multiple times in a single night. But in the process of verifying this, the Hewletts also incidentally found that homosexuality and masturbation appeared to be foreign to both groups.

While the Aka and the Ngandu live in the same general region, an area in central Africa marked by tropic forest, their cultures are distinct. The Aka are foragers and, according to the Hewletts, "gender egalitarianism among the Aka is about as pronounced as human societies get." Women may hunt, even on their own, and often control distribution of resources. The Ngandu, by contrast, are slash-and-burn farmers with stable locations and significant gender inequality, with men typically dominating over women.

What the Aka and Ngandu have in common, besides geography, is this: In both cultures, men and women view sexual intercourse as a kind of "work of the night." The purpose of this work is the production of children -- a critical matter in an area with a very high infant mortality rate. Semen is understood by the Aka and Ngandu to be necessary not only to conception, but also to fetal development. A woman who is already pregnant will see having intercourse as contributing to the health of her fetus.

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply Where Masturbation and Homosexuality Do Not Exist (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
The Magistrate Dec 2012 #1
snooper2 Dec 2012 #3
The Magistrate Dec 2012 #14
closeupready Dec 2012 #19
Enrique Dec 2012 #2
sadbear Dec 2012 #6
DetlefK Dec 2012 #4
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #13
DetlefK Dec 2012 #22
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #23
Sheldon Cooper Dec 2012 #27
seabeyond Dec 2012 #29
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #5
xchrom Dec 2012 #7
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #9
FSogol Dec 2012 #8
Ikonoklast Dec 2012 #28
Jeff In Milwaukee Dec 2012 #30
Ikonoklast Dec 2012 #35
Jeff In Milwaukee Dec 2012 #38
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #10
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #12
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #18
slackmaster Dec 2012 #11
gollygee Dec 2012 #16
slackmaster Dec 2012 #17
gollygee Dec 2012 #15
closeupready Dec 2012 #20
Aerows Dec 2012 #26
JohnnyLib2 Dec 2012 #21
La Lioness Priyanka Dec 2012 #24
Aerows Dec 2012 #25
Whovian Dec 2012 #31
Zorra Dec 2012 #32
closeupready Dec 2012 #36
Lex Dec 2012 #33
ismnotwasm Dec 2012 #34
seabeyond Dec 2012 #37

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:04 AM

1. One Suspects, Sir, Close Observation, Rather Than Questioning, Might Give Other Results....

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:10 AM

3. you can tell from this one article and some initial conclusions they aren't doing their job right?

You may just be the best damn judgie in the WORLD!

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Response to snooper2 (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:27 AM

14. Suspicion Is Not Certainty, Sir

The article, however, refers only to interviews, and people's replies on sexual matters are notoriously unreliable. People are apt to state their behaviors jibe with the norms of their culture, whatever they might actually be. The record of anthropologists' reports of various primitive idylls, regarding both sex and violence, has been pretty poor; the stories generally do not age well, as more numerous and more varied examinations follow up the initial claims.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:38 AM

19. Very excellent point, "stories generally do not age well"

That is for damn sure.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:08 AM

2. this research will be exploited by the anti-gay folks

expect the RWers to show a sudden interest in the Aka and Ngandu people.

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Response to Enrique (Reply #2)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:13 AM

6. I wonder how they'll reconcile the Aka and Ngandu not being Christian.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:11 AM

4. Male homosexuality is a genetic trait, so their lack of it is no big deal.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:27 AM

13. But not female?

Wouldn't female homosexuality and bi-sexuality also be genetic?

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:59 AM

22. re

AFAIR only male homosexuality has been traced down to a genetic mechanism so far.
The root is a gene of the mother that increases her fertility/attractiveness. (So, if you absolutely don't want a gay child, get an ugly wife.) The gene has the side-effect that about 10% of her male offspring turns out homosexual. From an evolutionary point of view, the usefulness of the increased fertility obviously outweighs the sacrifice that some of those sons are less likely to have kids themselves.

Of course it's reasonable to assume a similar genetic side-effect being responsible for female homosexuality and bi-sexuality (and transgender), but I don't remember hearing or reading about anything conclusive.




Behold the mighty google:
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2008/06/sexual_antagonism.html
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/user/scotts/bulgarians/nature-nurture/lesbian.html

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #22)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 01:52 PM

23. Thank you!!!!!!

This is why I love DU, smart people- Someone here always has an answer I often DU on little breaks at work and don't have the time to go looking.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #22)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 02:30 PM

27. Huh. My mother was, and still is, quite attractive.

She has five sons, one is gay. Interesting. The gay one is also fourth out of the five, and I think I read somewhere that gay men tend to be further along in the birth order when there is more than one son involved.

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Response to Sheldon Cooper (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 02:54 PM

29. MIL wasnt attractive. daughter, then four boys. last two gay. i read fruther along

the birth order, also.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:12 AM

5. I wonder where they are on the human family tree

Maybe if they have been cut off from outsiders for a very long time and it's a small population, maybe they are right in that there are no LBGT people among their members. Perhaps the gene pool there is very small?

As for the masturbation.... I can understand that if they are having THAT much sex everyday.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:13 AM

7. that first question that popped into my mind was: EVER? nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:19 AM

9. Well, I suppose it could be possible

If it's a group that rarely, if ever, bears children with people from outside their own gene pool and that gene pool is small enough.

There is alot we are still learning about genetics.

I would love to know what a geneticist thinks about this!

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:16 AM

8. Actually, studies show that people who have frequent sex masturbate more than people who have

occasional or infrequent sex.

Sorry, I've got to go. I'm teaching a class in masturbation and if I'm late, they'll start without me.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 02:45 PM

28. Come on now. How hard is it to teach masturbation?

I think you're pulling a fast one on us.

You must think we're all a bunch of stiffs.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #28)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 02:56 PM

30. There we go...

There's that 7th-grade sense of humor that I love so much here at DU.

Naw. I'm not serious. I'm just jerking you around.

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Response to Jeff In Milwaukee (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:27 PM

35. Please stop. Just...stop.

For your own good.














You'll go blind if you don't.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #35)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:15 PM

38. I can't help myself...

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go shave my palm.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:21 AM

10. So these people asked members of an African tribe whether or not they masturbated.

Presumably using some kind of sign language or gestures since apparently they would have no word for "masturbate".

And the tribal members indicated that they did not. So the conclusion was that masturbation does not exist in this tribe.

OK. I'm convinced. But I think the next level of proof requires secret video surveillance technology wired into the huts. Especially those where the 14 and 15 year old boys are living.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:26 AM

12. Perhaps they are very open about talking about sex

and think of it as just one more natural part of being human.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #12)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:34 AM

18. If some foreign researchers came to my town and started asking people whether they masturbated,

I don't think the responses would be especially forthright. Perhaps we Americans are just too uptight about this kind of thing.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:23 AM

11. Conspicuously absent is any mention of the life expectancy of those people

 

The man in the photo appears to be is in his early 30s at the most.

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Response to slackmaster (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:29 AM

16. I would say "at most" to that.

He looks about 20 to me.

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Response to gollygee (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:34 AM

17. I agree. Probably closer to 20 than 30 but it can be hard to tell with someone in such good shape.

 

When I was that age having sex multiple times per day was something that actually happened. Sometimes.

At my present age of 54, not so much.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:28 AM

15. With so much emphasis placed on childbearing

due to infant mortality, it might be that people who are gay choose to put that desire to procreate ahead of their personal romantic feelings.

And I agree with someone above who said they might not have a word for masturbation, or even that might be frowned upon for reasons related to the emphasis on childbearing as well. There have been beliefs at some times in history that masturbation makes people (or men anyway) less fertile.

I guess I can see so many possibilities for why this could be a communication issue or misunderstanding, or a cultural issue related to the strong emphasis on childbearing, that I'm open minded to it but not convinced.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:40 AM

20. Naturally, it wouldn't matter to me if I was the only gay person in the world.

I love being gay and wouldn't ever change that, for any amount of money in the world.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #20)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 02:03 PM

26. I couldn't change it

I love women, and I couldn't stop looking at them if my life depended on it, and in many cultures, including our own in certain dire circumstances, it would.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:40 AM

21. I like these sentences, near the end of the article.

" This finding recalls a much-discussed 2010 Behavioral and Brain Sciences paper called "The WEIRDest people in the world?" in which the authors argued that far too many sweeping claims about "human nature" are drawn exclusively from samples of Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) societies.

Studies of small-scale, rural, non-Western cultures like the Aka and Ngandu paint a more complicated picture of human variation. "

I also wonder at what age pairing off and intercourse begins--e.g. 10, 11, 12?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 01:57 PM

24. wouldn't it be possible that in isolated communities a particular gene does not express?

someone with a better grasp on biology/genetics should weigh in on this

(assuming that homosexuality is genetic)

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 02:01 PM

25. No masturbation and no homosexual tendencies

I believe that like I believe in unicorns. Unicorns that shit supply side economics that work. Unicorns that found WMD's in Iraq.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:02 PM

31. And we should conclude

 

that a small group of humans disenfranchised from the rest of civilization while relying on the limited logic afforded by their experience has bona fide evidence of the way things should be.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:04 PM

32. The author of the article, Alice Dreger, is considered a transphobe

by many transgender folks.

I don't know much about her and don't have time to research now but I am very skeptical about her motivations and assessments regarding LGBT folks.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #32)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:30 PM

36. If true, then it's possible she frowns on gender role nonconformity

That is typically the case with such people.

As such, it would be predictable if she sought data reinforcing her bias/prejudice.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:09 PM

33. "homosexuality and masturbation *appeared* to be foreign to both groups"

Appearances can be quite deceiving, to say the least. Especially when dealing with matters of sexuality and an outside observer.



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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:16 PM

34. If this is true

How very sad.


Many early cultures had special and honored places for their 'two- souled' people. Gayness is of great benefit to society as well as a positive product of evolution. I suspect the tribal members weren't as forthcoming as the author indicates, but I don't have time to research right now.


I also suspect a strong language barrier. What we consider masturbation might differ both in language and practice

And while the author takes pains to state that 'women hunt' it doesn't say what happens to his 'two or three times a night' sex after childbirth. Also not addressed is orgasm for women.


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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #34)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 03:38 PM

37. i did not even get that it was "his"

two or three nights. as it said, ya, sex is fun.... but if thinking it is part of keeping a fetus healthy i am thinking their is a lot of drudge work in that also. again? but i am tired? hey, 2am feeding for the fetus, what can you say.

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