Many cultures around the world have different rituals, traditions and beliefs. These different rituals are most commonly seen with the many different religious ceremonies performed when a child is coming of age and when a man decides to take a wife. To the Etoro tribe of South-Western Papua New Guinea, Women are seen to waste the life force if they do not get pregnant after sexual intercourse.
The Etoro, or Edolo, are a tribe and ethnic group of Papua New Guinea. Their territory comprises the southern slopes of Mt. Sisa, along the southern edge of the central mountain range of New Guinea , near the Papuan Plateau. They are well known among anthropologists because of ritual acts practiced between the young boys and men of the tribe. One of these ritual act is that The Etoro believe that young males must ingest the semen of their elders to achieve adult male status and to properly mature and grow strong.
The Etoro also believe that they each contain a certain amount of life force, the highest concentrations of which are contained in semen. This life force passes to others through sexual relations. Women are seen to waste the life force if they do not get pregnant after sexual intercourse. As people get older, and their bodies weaken, this is attributed to a depletion of their life force.
Etoro men men marry and have heterosexual relations with their wives. But the fear that heterosexual sex causes them to die earlier means that heterosexual relations are focused towards reproduction only.
The Etoro and some other societies of the Trans-Fly River region in southern New Guinea provide an extreme example of the social acceptance of male homosexuality. Apparently, Etoro men also engage in homosexual acts and most also marry and engage in heterosexual acts with their wives. However, heterosexual intercourse is prohibited for up to 260 days of the year and is forbidden in or near their houses and vegetable gardens. In contrast, homosexual relations are permitted at any time.
The Etoro believe that homosexual acts make crops flourish and boys strong. Etoro men and women mostly live apart so that social contact between them is generally limited and often hostile. Not surprisingly, their birth rates are low. To compensate for this problem and to avoid depopulation, they allegedly have stolen children from neighboring societies and raised them as their own.
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