Please Sign In or Create an account
Indigenous Concepts of Sex and Sexuality: Lessons Learned about Contraception, Sexual Pleasure, and Sexual Identity, from the Bedouins, Incans, and North American First Nations

Indigenous Concepts of Sex and Sexuality: Lessons Learned about Contraception, Sexual Pleasure, and Sexual Identity, from the Bedouins, Incans, and North American First Nations

Introduction & Objectives: Pavlov wrote “If you want
new ideas, you should read old books”. Indigenous
peoples had concepts of sex and sexuality that continue
to have profound implications for what we assume to
be our “advanced” understanding of sexual physiology,
reproductive technology, and cultural attitudes toward
sex and gender.
Approach: Showcased here are three “lessons” about
sex and sexuality from ancient and present-day indigenous
cultures that challenge our assumed superiority
about sexual knowledge and technology.
Sources: Analysis of ancient texts (e.g., Laoun
Papyrus from Egypt), artifacts (the “Little Man” form
Peru), and present day concepts (“Two Spirited” concept
of gender).
Findings and Discussion: The first lesson comes
from the ancient Bedouins of the Middle East who
invented the first intrauterine devices (IUDs) thousands
of years before modern IUDs and steroid contraceptives
liberated women’s sexuality and sexual behavior from
the cyclic tyranny of their hormones and eggs. The
second comes from the Incans of Peru who invented an
ingenious dildo that far surpasses the capabilities of
most of our modern versions in terms of ease of control
and full clitoral stimulation, factors that are important
for sexual pleasure. The final example comes from the
First Nations of North America (from the Algonquins
to Aztecas) who posited a “two-spirited” (third) gender
that is not bisexual on the Kinsey Scale and is different
from the postmodern concept of non-binary and genderqueer.
These historical advances give us provocative
glimpses into the sophisticated way that indigenous cultures
understood sexual and reproductive physiology
and tell us much about what they knew and accepted as
“normative” in terms of sexual health, sexual pleasure,
and sexual identity.
Keywords: Endocrinology, Physiology, Culture
Conflict of Interest and Disclosure Statement: Scientific
Advisory Boards: AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Emotional
Brain LLB, Ivix Ltd., Palatin Technologies, Viscuris