Sex Traditions, Taboos + Practices From Around The World
The world is a weird and wonderfully sexual place. And here at Moody, we love the weird and wonderfully sexual.
But sometimes we're guilty of getting caught up in our very western understanding of sex, so here's a little reminder that sex as a tradition, ritual and practice can look very different depending where in the world you're from.
Sexy times outside of marriage in Indonesia
Ever heard of a ‘hall pass’? Well, Indonesians take it kinda literally during Pon Festival. In the Sragen Regency sits Mount Kemukus (or Sex Mountain, as it’s been called). At the top of Mount Kemekus is a shrine to legendary Prince Pangeran Samodro, the son of a Javanese king, and his stepmother Nyai Ontrowulan. It’s said that the two of them ran away together and did all sorts of naughty things on the mountain.
Nowadays, pilgrims climb Mount Kemekus to perform a ritual that involves prayer, flower offerings, bathing in a sacred spring and finding a stranger to bang. Not once, but seven times over the course of a year. So it’s technically not a one night hall pass, it’s more a committed hall pass. It’s believed that if you do something more shameful than running away with your stepmother, like adulterous sex, then you’ll be blessed with all sorts of good fortune.
Sex education in Chattisgarh
In Chattisgarh, India you can find the Muria people. And the Muria people are an interesting bunch because they’re super sexually progressive in the way they educate their young folk. Like, they have mixed-sex dorms where kiddos (not literal children but adolescents) are encouraged to get in and practice pre-marital sexy times.
This dorm room situation happens during a festival called Ghotul. At some Ghotuls, they even discourage emotional attachment between partners. This is an event that’s all about education and experience. They take pregnancy precautions (by drinking a natural liquor) but if a woman falls pregnant her baby is adopted by the whole village.
Pleasure mentors in the Cook Islands
This is another sex education culture, and we’re very into it. In Mangaia when a boy turns 13 he’ll be taken away from the village by an older man who spends two weeks passing on all his sex wisdom. But this is not your regular apples and oranges chat, or bananas on condoms situation.
No, according to one journal, there is “a heavy focus on one’s partner achieving orgasm multiple times.” The gals in Mangaia don’t get the same kind of workshop but they are encouraged to explore their sexuality and take multiple partners before marriage.
Try before you buy in Iran
This is not common practice all over Iran, but for some young Shia muslims the traditional practice of temporary marriage or nikah mut-ah allows them to really get to know each other in a culture that doesn’t encourage ‘dating’ in the same way as the west.
Basically nikah mut-ah is when a man and woman come together as ‘husband and wife’ for as little as a few days to a few months. They draw up a contract, agree to the terms and settle in for a limited period of bonding before (and if) they choose to tie the knot.
The Tibetan Kingdom of Women
We’d all love women to run the world, and in Mosuo society they do. Theirs is one of the last strictly matriarchal cultures and they still practice their traditional customs. Like, in Mosuo marriage is not considered a life achievement (how refreshing!). Instead, Mosuo people have what’s called a ‘walking marriage’.
This is where women have the freedom to choose their lovers – as many as they like. Men receive a night-time invitation to the woman’s house and then they go back to their own place during the day. There’s no expectation for men and women to live together. It’s all just casual and consensual.
Blessed periods in India and Bangladesh
In Baul culture, a religious sect in India and Bangladesh, period blood is considered sacred. They even celebrate a woman’s first cycle by drinking her blood with camphor, milk and sugar. They believe spiritual completion involves “four moons” – menstrual blood, seed, urine and faeces. So, women have all of these but men are missing the blood moon.
Another way for men to absorb the blood moon is through period sex. But the ritual specifically involves the man refraining from ejaculating while the woman orgasms and sends her energy and blood into him. This period positivity, in a world where menstruation is normally taboo, should be celebrated.