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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:58 am 
Sumerul
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I recently came across this discussion about the Romans' attitude towards sex, which I found an interesting read as it differs quite a bit from current cultures. So I thought that would make a nice starting point for those with concultures to discuss their conculture's attitude and practices.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:00 pm 
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The ʔuuleo, a Western people in the Akana setting, aren't particularly... enlightened, when it comes to gender relations in general, though their culture isn't quite so nightmarish as that of the speakers of Proto-Western. They believe that men possess a sort of immaterial substance called ʔụk, roughly translatable as "strength" or "power", which grants them qualities not possessed by women or most animals. These qualities are believed to include not only physical strength, but also agression, ambition, and the ability to be both leaders and warriors.

When it comes to sex, this belief governs which partner is expected to take on the "aggressive" role as opposed to the "passive" role. Prototypically , the male, brimming with ʔụk, is on top, while the woman, who lacks ʔụk, is on the bottom. When it comes to sex between men, the man on top is seen as demonstrating that he possesses more ʔụk than the man on bottom. This isn't necessarily a source of embarrassment for the "weaker" partner; if a high-status man or a war leader tops a lower-status man, that conforms to the expectations of their relative social roles. If, however, a leader were found to be allowing other men to top him, it would call his ability to lead into question. Similarly, pederastic relationships between males are considered acceptable (though they aren't such an institution as they were in, say, classical Greece), since a young boy isn't considered to have any ʔụk until he receives it from his ancestors during a formal rite of passage.

Women having sex on top, however, is a more complex issue in the eyes of the ʔuuleo. A woman who exhibits the qualities associated with possessing ʔụk, for instance one who commits murder, tries to order other people around, or has sex on top, is believed to be under the influence of one of the seemhŋ. Seemhŋ are believed to be the souls of men who died of disease or starvation, or whose bodies were allowed to be eaten (usually by animals) after they died. They retain the ʔụk that they possessed in life, but lack any of the benevolent qualities of the men they once were, and thus they go around causing trouble, which includes sharing their ʔụk with women in order to create social chaos.

That being said, the ʔuuleo view of women with masculine traits is more ambivalent then one might assume. An unmarried young woman or a widow who is believed to have consorted with a seemhŋ is considered unmarriageable and potentially dangerous, but depending on the circumstances may actually be allowed to more or less take on the role of a low-status man, including an expectation to take part in armed conflicts with other groups. Such women, though rare, are regarded as visible proof of supernatural intervention in the world, and are often much feared by their enemies. On the other hand, they are usually shown no mercy in battle.

Married women who take on a masculine role in sex, however, are treated much more harshly. For a wife to consort with a seemhŋ is considered a terrible betrayal of her husband, and women who are believed to have done so are most often cast out of the community, where they are likely to die in the wilderness.

In either case, a man topped by a woman is likely to become the laughing stock of his village, and will be unlikely to ever find a wife or rise above the lowest tiers of social status.

It's also worth noting that people possessing ʔụk are believed to be able to cause harm to others by simply thinking ill of them or looking upon them with jealousy. "Masculine" women are particularly likely to be blamed for unexpected misfortunes that befall those around them, and to be punished accordingly.

As for sex between women, lesbian encounters aren't generally considered "real" sex in ʔuuleo culture. Female friends taking comfort with one another is considered perfectly innocent and ordinary, though women who seem particularly interested in that sort of thing are naturally still expected to get married and bear children for their husband.

Speaking of which, sex outside of marriage is very much frowned upon among the ʔuuleo, and is seen as a valid justification for violence among men. An unmarried woman's male relatives are expected to protect her, both from physical harm and from inappropriate sexual advances, and for one's daughter or sister to be deflowered before she's married is considered cause for shame. Because women aren't thought to be capable of resisting such advances, the blame falls squarely on the male partner. Depending on the circumstances, such as the age of the female partner, the relationship between the two households, and the relative status of the individuals involved, the man may be allowed to marry the woman and thereby escape punishment. Otherwise, the woman's relatives are considered justified in retaliating against the man, often by killing or maiming him. Once a woman has been married, her husband takes on the role of protector, and is fully expected to try and kill anyone who has sex with his wife.

The main exception to all of this is if the woman was found to have taken on the "masculine" role in the encounter, in which case the consequences for the male partner are usually purely social rather than violent.

EDIT: I should clarify that only heterosexual sex outside of marriage is generally considered a taboo among the ʔuuleo. As I mentioned, the ʔuuleo wouldn't usually consider anything two women can do alone together to even be sex, and men are generally allowed to fool around with each other regardless of their marital status. Part of the reasoning behind this is that same-sex intercourse doesn't run the risk of producing illegitimate offspring, but it also has to do with the fact that "normal" women aren't really considered to have any agency when it comes to sex, being the "passive" partner. Thus, when a woman has sex with anyone other than her husband, it's basically viewed as rape. An unfortunate corollary of that is that nothing a husband does to his wife is considered rape, though if a husband kills or seriously injures his wife, her male relatives may choose to retaliate.

It's also worth noting that a fair number of ʔuuleo women, particularly older ones with a good deal of life experience, regard some of these beliefs as rather silly. Generally, it behooves them not to state this opinion too loudly, particularly around a priest.


Last edited by CatDoom on Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:10 pm 
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Sexual mores in the Maja Empire are in many ways more open than in our societies, but in some ways not so much. It is probably also worth mentioning that the society I am talking about here is more technologically advanced than us.

So, the first thing to say is that sex, in modern Maja culture, is one of the Two Hands That Hold Up The World, which are basically the two primary preoccupations of Maja culture. The other one is fighting. The Maja recognize three parts of good relationships: friendship, sex, and romance. The ideal relationship has all three in equal measure. There are two versions of this kind of relationship: baraj and soderat. The primary difference between them is that the people in a baraj expect to - or already - have children, while those in a soderat do not. A related difference is that those in a baraj who currently have one or more children are legally required to stay together until their youngest child comes of age - unless, of course, some kind of problem like abuse comes up. Soderati can break up at any time. Unlike our concept of marriage, these relationships do not involve ceremonies marking their beginning and court cases marking their end (except, of course, as mentioned above re: abuse). Only baraji with children are required to register with the government. Soderati have no legal status. Any economic benefits that might come with marriage in our society are not tied to baraji and soderati. Such things are handled seperately, and can be claimed by anyone living together for an extended period of time, regardless of what variety of relationship they have.

The other varieties of good relationships have one or two of the parts, instead of all three. A yanloyuneg is a relationship with friendship and sex, what we might call 'friends with benefits'. This sort of relationship is more common among the Maja than it is with humans. A kazenscin is a purely sexual relationship. The partners come together to have sex, and that's about it. They don't usually last long, but when they end, it's usually on cordial terms. Then there is, of course, friendship, the Maja word for which is panoyuneg - yanloyuneg, above, is a portmanteau of yanlakai, 'sex', and panoyuneg. Lastly, there is the catyanar, 'half-love' - or more derogatorily, dorfusyanar, 'stupid-love'. Such a relationship has only romance and sex, but not friendship, and is not looked upon well. The idea is that without the firm bedrock of friendship, the passions of romance burn out quickly and explosively. Relationships that end turbulently are usually looked upon in hindsight as catyanari, though they may have been thought by the partners involved to be baraji, soderati, or yanloyunegi before the break-up. Notably, there is no relationship category for a friendly romance without sex. In the Maja conception, the idea is an absurdity - romance entails sex, though sex does not necessarily entail romance.

Another important concept in Maja sexuality is the nalar, which is a derogatory term we might roughly translate into English as 'whore'. While the term does cover actual prostitutes, it also covers other situations where sex is being traded for something. In Maja culture, trading sex for things is looked upon very badly - sex acts are for pleasure or procreation, not for making money or gaining social status. Notable examples of acts that will get you branded as a nalar are having sex with your boss to get a promotion (your boss will also be a nalar here) and performing sex acts for an audience, whether live or on video, whether or not you're getting paid. Both of these things are illegal in the Maja Empire - and yes, to specify, that means that live-action pornography is illegal. There is even a popular misconception that all forms of live-action porn are connected to child porn. The illustrated, animated, interactive, and written pornography industries, however, are perfectly legal and do quite well, as none of the people involved in the creation of such works are actually having sex with anybody to make them.

Homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, etc. are perfectly acceptable in Maja society. Nobody makes a fuss about them. Transgender people are usually fine, as long as they are transitioning to male or female. People who identify as anything other than those will get some trouble from the more conservative elements of Maja society. This actually comes from ancient inheritance traditions, which were bilateral. The last remnant of this system is the inheritance of surnames - sons get their father's surname, while daughters get their mother's. It is thus not much of a problem for, for example, an MTF person to change from their father's surname to their mother's. But the conservatives get in a conniption about nonbinary people, as there are no proper surnames for them, and if they get to have whatever surnames they want, then everyone can, and then lineage will be nigh-impossible to track and then society will fall apart, blah blah blah. The rest of society typically doesn't care about such nonsense, however. No, the ones who get the shortest stick in Maja society are asexuals. As stated earlier, sex is an incredibly important part of Maja culture. To most Maja, then, someone who isn't participating in it must have something wrong with them. As such, asexuals face a hell of a lot of discrimination, possibly even more than in our societies, depending on context. Most Maja don't even know asexuality is a thing - if you described it to them, they would probably find the notion absurd. Aromanticism, if not coupled with asexuality, would be considered OK, if a bit odd, and maybe even somewhat sad, as such a person would be considered to be incapable of forming a baraj or soderat.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 10:52 am 
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Here's the deal for Kotanians:

Before I delve into the specific types of and attitudes towards sex, some biological background is in order. Kotanians, like all primates and most mammals* and birds*, show very little sexual dimorphism. Also, what could be considered the male sex since conception involves penetration by the male, and what could be considered female since the offspring grows inside the female body, diachronically the male penis is a female ovipositor, and the female womb a male breeding pouch**. This entails that the male actually produces the larger gamete, and in limited quantity ("egg"), while the female produces the smaller gamete, in a larger quantity ("sperm"). Also, vertilisation is only possible when the female ejaculates, for which she needs an orgasm, which is not possible when she is involuntary penetrated (which also is as good as impossible biologically), so rape by force is not possible.

There are two types of sex, penetrative and non-penetrative. Non-pentrative sex entails stimulating the sexual organs, akin to kissing***, while penetrative sex also involves penetration by the male. Note that this is a concious act, and does not add extra stimulation or pleasure, meaning that impregnation is a concious act, not an accidental by-product of sex in general.

In Kotanian society****, people typically chose someone to live together with, or bond strongly with, sometime after reaching adulthood. This is what could be a called a romantic relationship. These usually last for life, but either by arangement or circumstances may not. Typically a Kotanian will bond with someone of the opposite sex, though same-sex bonding is not uncommon. A romantic relationship is typically also a sexual one, though not necessarily.

Since there is very little sexual dimorphism, the physical act of having sex is, like kissing, not different between members of the opposite sex and members of the same sex. There is still a notion of heterosexuality though, and of the various grades between exclusive heterosexuality and exclusive homosexuality. Where one places on this spectrum is seen as fluid and a matter of personal preference; in no way is a part of the spectrum frowned upon or stigmatized. Transsexuality does not exist in Kota. The lack of sexual dimorphism and lack of gendertypical roles in society renders the concept moot.

Romantic relationships do not necessarily align with the position on the homo/heterosexual scale. In fact, for romantic relationships there's also a similar scale. E.g. someone may be prone to chose a same-sex romantic partner, but places themselves towards the heterosexual end of the spectrum. In case the romantic partner does not match the prefered sex partner, other arangements may be made. One of these are triads, where e.g. two male romantic partners have a single female they have sex with (either together or separate). This partner may or may not be living with them, but is typically not considered a romantic partner (though they may be). Another solution may be to have single or multiple sexual relations outside the romantic relationship, for one or both romantic partners (e.g. the exclusively heterosexual partner may have sexual relations with their opposite sex bisexual partner, who also has homosexual sex outside the romantic relationship). In general, when romantic and sexual preference largely overlap, romantic partners are assumed to keep sex between them, though this is a general rule, not something enforced by law or society.

There is no taboo against non-penetrative sex in public. It is seen akin to kissing, i.e. it is acceptable in some circumstances, but not in others (sex in the park while relaxing is ok, sex during a board meeting is not). Children may immitate adults, but don't yet have fully developed genitalia, and therefore do not enjoy the act physically. On the onset of puberty, the genitals fully form, and sexual experimentation starts. During this period, it is common to have sex with many different partners, both of the opposite and same sex, and during this period both the romantic and sexual identity develops.

Group sex is not common, though in some cultures, there are rituals that involve many people at once and sex with multiple partners. The average city or town culture does not typically involve group sex though. That's not to say a group of friends couldn't indulge in casual sex when the situation so arises.

*Note that these are sister classes in Ilyan biology, having a single common ancestor.
**This goes for all birds and mammals; there is no amniotic egg on Ilya, birds also viviparous.
***I'm not sure whether Kotanians kiss, so references to kissing are references to *humans* kissing, in Western culture.
****Kota is a large land mass, on which 350M people live, having many different cultures. It is also a fairly homogenous, technically advanced society, so what I describe here holds for the large majority.

I'll get to Sajiwans when I have some more time.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:36 pm 
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jal wrote:
Here's the deal for Kotanians:

Before I delve into the specific types of and attitudes towards sex, some biological background is in order. Kotanians, like all primates and most mammals* and birds*, show very little sexual dimorphism. Also, what could be considered the male sex since conception involves penetration by the male, and what could be considered female since the offspring grows inside the female body, diachronically the male penis is a female ovipositor, and the female womb a male breeding pouch**. This entails that the male actually produces the larger gamete, and in limited quantity ("egg"), while the female produces the smaller gamete, in a larger quantity ("sperm"). Also, vertilisation is only possible when the female ejaculates, for which she needs an orgasm, which is not possible when she is involuntary penetrated (which also is as good as impossible biologically), so rape by force is not possible.


NB. rape does not actually require fertilisation. Many rapes, by force or otherwise, are not carried out with the intent to impregnate.

NBII. orgasm is not in fact impossible from forceable rape (particularly for men, but it also occurs with women) - the presence of orgasm doesn't stop something from being rape. It may of course be different for your species (though it seems rather unlikely, since it would require dumb biology to fully accurately calculate the sociological and psychological context of its sensations in all cases), but if so you should probably point that out.

NBIII. in earth species, ejaculation and orgasm are distinct things, and either can occur without the other. It may of course be different for your species (though it seems implausible that no anorgasmic sexual dysfunction could occur at all), but if so you should probably point that out - especially because it seems odd in the context of your 'the females are actually males' thing. You're using terms like 'ejaculate', but really you're just talking about egg release - and there are plenty of earth species in which the female has some level of control over egg release - this may or may not have anything to do with orgasm. It's also worth pointing out that the evolutionary purpose of these systems is not just to make things nice for the female, but to perpetuate the genes. One might expect, for instance, that females of a species in which egg release was determined by context might actually become more fertile when raped - not just because the body may find it hard to distinguish between 'violent rapist' and 'strong healthy male who will yield good progeny', but more importantly because sensations of fear and pain may trigger the body's "may be going to die, let's see if we can produce a baby before we go" instinct...

[I'm a bit baffled by why you describe non-penetrative sex as 'akin to kissing'. We do have non-penetrative sex on earth, you know, and it's not generally considered that akin to kissing...]

While we're at it: I don't see how you can regulate that people won't find penetrative sex pleasurable. Given that a) the whole of evolution will conspire to find ways to make penetrative sex more pleasurable than non-penetrative sex, since if that weren't the case they would have died out long ago; and b) contextual cues influence satisfaction from sex. So for example, among human men, there is a great fondness for penetrative sex - it is generally considered preferable to, say, using a machine designed to simulate the experience. I'm not sure how your species would be able to avoid this.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 6:06 am 
Sumerul
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Salmoneus wrote:
NB. rape does not actually require fertilisation. Many rapes, by force or otherwise, are not carried out with the intent to impregnate.

Yes, I meant to write "so impregnation through rape by force is not possible".

Quote:
NBII. orgasm is not in fact impossible from forceable rape (...) It may of course be different for your species

It is. We're talking aliens here, with alien biology.

Quote:
(though it seems rather unlikely, since it would require dumb biology to fully accurately calculate the sociological and psychological context of its sensations in all cases)

First, the sphincter that closes the entrance to the womb is rather strong, and cannot easily be forced open. Secondly, the male penis/ovipositor is rather weak, and definitely cannot force the sphincter open under normal circumstances. Thirdly, for an orgasm to occur, both man and woman need to be properly stimulated, which is difficult when they are forced to undergo the (attempt to) stimulation. Sure, impregnation by forced rape may be possible under very specific circumstances, but it's highly unlikely to occur.

Quote:
but if so you should probably point that out.

I don't think I should when describing things in broad terms without going into minute details.

Quote:
You're using terms like 'ejaculate', but really you're just talking about egg release

No, I mentioned ejaculation only once, in the context of the *female*, and it actually entails the release of sperm. It's the male that releases the eggs via their ovipositor/penis.

Quote:
It's also worth pointing out that the evolutionary purpose of these systems is not just to make things nice for the female, but to perpetuate the genes. One might expect (...)

Well, one might expect, but although there are Earth species that require a sensation of pain (e.g. various species of large cats), surely not all do. I don't see why Ilyan species would be expected to be different.

Quote:
I'm a bit baffled by why you describe non-penetrative sex as 'akin to kissing'. We do have non-penetrative sex on earth, you know, and it's not generally considered that akin to kissing...

Yeah, but you know, I'm talking about aliens.

Quote:
While we're at it: I don't see how you can regulate that people won't find penetrative sex pleasurable.

Regulate? You mean "I don't see how it could not have evolved"? One can only guess of course, but in this case I assume that non-penetrative sex evolved as a kind of bonding thing, and actual procreation being a side-effect of the bonding.

Quote:
Given that a) the whole of evolution will conspire to find ways to make penetrative sex more pleasurable than non-penetrative sex, since if that weren't the case they would have died out long ago;

That's quite a bold statement. I'm pretty sure that most sexual reproducing organisms on Earth do not perceive any sensation of pleasure, and yet they haven't died out.

Quote:
b) contextual cues influence satisfaction from sex. (...) I'm not sure how your species would be able to avoid this.

I'm not sure whether you're being disingeneous or just lack any type of imagination. However, they don't "avoid" it at all. In fact, the contexual clues are of paramount importance for getting an orgasm, for example (see the rape discussion above).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 1:10 pm 
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jal wrote:
Quote:
Given that a) the whole of evolution will conspire to find ways to make penetrative sex more pleasurable than non-penetrative sex, since if that weren't the case they would have died out long ago;

That's quite a bold statement. I'm pretty sure that most sexual reproducing organisms on Earth do not perceive any sensation of pleasure, and yet they haven't died out.

That is a bold statement as well, and prima facie makes less sense to me than Sal's. Pain and pleasure are the main steering engines of nature to make animals to avoid or seek out things. What, if not some kind of positive stimulus, would be the mechanism that makes animals have sex, if not pleasure or satisfaction? (I really don't know and I'm curious.)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:36 am 
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The Woorlom have vír pleasurable contact, which is everything from holding hands (lómvír) to penetrative sex (wumvvír), and the sskóhoiþ or sskíþ, which is a session of intercourse for the explicit purpose of creating a child.
Vír is really only regulated when it's wumvvír involving both men and women; it's not allowed when the woman is menstruating, or a week after, nor if she hasn't done the proper rituals at temple (which include the consumption of contraceptives or abortifacients). Because of these taboos, it's generally not done outside of a sskíþ, since women don't like the hassle and men don't want to risk an accusation of rape.

A sskíþ is the end result of a courting session that might've lasted months or years; it is usually done many times. The popular version is of the two entering the man's clan home decorated in red and white, while the rest of the family is away; they make their way to a bedroom, where the man proceeds to stimulate himself to near climax, and then woman joins him, until he finally passes on the creative essence borrowed from his mother. The woman is serious during these first moments of contact, not seeking any pleasure until the second or third round. Finally, they leave the house together; the woman is congratulated by other women, and the man by other men; superstition holds that the longer a pair has to try to conceive, the harder one must celebrate with them.
It's not uncommon for all that to be a total mood-killer, so many sskíþ consist of the two talking for a half hour, having already had sex, or planning to do it later.

While the Woorlom don't have any words for it, heterosexuality, asexuality, etc, they consider homosexuality to be the default.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:41 am 
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hwhatting wrote:
jal wrote:
Quote:
Given that a) the whole of evolution will conspire to find ways to make penetrative sex more pleasurable than non-penetrative sex, since if that weren't the case they would have died out long ago;

That's quite a bold statement. I'm pretty sure that most sexual reproducing organisms on Earth do not perceive any sensation of pleasure, and yet they haven't died out.

That is a bold statement as well, and prima facie makes less sense to me than Sal's. Pain and pleasure are the main steering engines of nature to make animals to avoid or seek out things. What, if not some kind of positive stimulus, would be the mechanism that makes animals have sex, if not pleasure or satisfaction? (I really don't know and I'm curious.)

Well, jal didn't actually mention animals, just sexually reproducing organisms - plants reproduce sexually and presumably do not experience pleasure as a stimulus to do so. Having said that, it was presumably just pointing out the inaccuracy of sal's sweeping statement; they don't really seem relevant to the discussion - plants don't seem to have a choice between equivalents to penetrative and non-penetrative (ie reproductive and non-reproductive) sexual behaviour. (Although on second thoughts, perhaps plants only have the equivalent of non-reproductive behaviour; they make a flower and then leave it open for wind or insects to carry pollen and maybe fertilise/be fertilised - it's essentially a form of masturbation where you might impregnate/get pregnant as a side effect.) Plants produce flowers automatically during the correct environmental conditions, and insects/wind mediate fertilisation. A similar alternative to pleasure doesn't seem applicable to jal's species, although I think he's right that non-penetrative sex could be more enjoyable without it meaning (as sal implies) that the species would die out. After all, assuming that for humans penetrative sex is more pleasurable, we still also have non-penetrative sex. This is just the reverse situation. So long as the frequency of the less pleasurable penetrative sex is enough for reproduction it wouldn't be a problem.

To answer hwattings question about what else could stimulate sex, it could be a salmon-up-the-stream, pon farr type instinctual behaviour, lacking in the feeling of pleasure but impossible to resist (I'm not saying we know what salmon feel, just that it might be a non-pleasurable urge). It could also be aggression - impregnation could be always by rape. There are insects where "traumatic insemination" occurs: the female's vagina is blocked or otherwise shaped so as to deter fertilisation, so instead the male inserts his penis directly through her abdomen wall (sometimes fatally wounding her in the process) and injects sperm into the cavity, where it makes its own way round the body to fertilise eggs. The female presumably gets no pleasure from this, although the males might, but then again the males might experience it as aggression rather than pleasure.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:31 am 
Sumerul
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hwhatting wrote:
That is a bold statement as well, and prima facie makes less sense to me than Sal's. Pain and pleasure are the main steering engines of nature to make animals to avoid or seek out things. What, if not some kind of positive stimulus, would be the mechanism that makes animals have sex, if not pleasure or satisfaction? (I really don't know and I'm curious.)

Well, for one, we have many organisms (plants have been named, but don't forget the "lower animals" like jellyfish, sponges) that don't have a nervous system to speak of, so are literraly incapable of feeling anything beyond direct stimulus of their sensory organs. "pleasure" is, imho, a higher cognitive function, akin to "pain", and I'm pretty sure that e.g. arthropods and molluscs have a brain that's to simple to feel either. That's not to say they don't have an instinctive urge to reproduce, but I don't think the "reward", if it can be called that, is "pleasure". It's more the pon-far think also mentioned - pure instinct.

Mâq Lar wrote:
So long as the frequency of the less pleasurable penetrative sex is enough for reproduction it wouldn't be a problem.

Indeed. Humans have far more sex than needed for reproduction, the fact that we typically have penetrative sex is more a result of our biology than the urge to reproduce.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:13 am 
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Jal, Mâq Lar: Thanks!
You're right, I didn't think about organisms that don't have active sex and just procuse pollen etc. to be dispersed by wind, currents, or other animals.
For me, satisfaction of an urge (like eating or drinking when you're hungry or thirsty, or releasing your aggression by hitting someone or something) would count as pleasure, but I accept that other people may have a narrower definition of that term.
It is clear that any urge can be decoupled from pysiological necessity - e.g. also eating or drinking more (or different things) than your body actually needs.

Mâq Lar wrote:
To answer hwattings question about what else could stimulate sex, it could be a salmon-up-the-stream, pon farr type instinctual behaviour, lacking in the feeling of pleasure but impossible to resist (I'm not saying we know what salmon feel, just that it might be a non-pleasurable urge). It could also be aggression - impregnation could be always by rape. There are insects where "traumatic insemination" occurs: the female's vagina is blocked or otherwise shaped so as to deter fertilisation, so instead the male inserts his penis directly through her abdomen wall (sometimes fatally wounding her in the process) and injects sperm into the cavity, where it makes its own way round the body to fertilise eggs. The female presumably gets no pleasure from this, although the males might, but then again the males might experience it as aggression rather than pleasure.

Very interesting. I knew of species where the male dies in the process, but not about cases where the female dies. I assume that sufficient females survive to lay eggs? Or do the eggs / larvae develop in the dead body of the female?
In any case, I have a hard time imagining intelligent, social beings evolving from organisms where one of the partners dies during sex (not that anyone suggested it, I'm just speculating). I could imagine that intelligent aliens could have a biology with moments of "heat" and not much sex besides that - humans and primates have turned sex into an instrument for bonding, but I don't know how necessary that is - do e.g. pair-bonded birds have sex after the bond is formed, or while they raise their hatchlings? What about other intelligent, social animals, like whales or dolphins?


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:31 am 
Sumerul
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hwhatting wrote:
Do e.g. pair-bonded birds have sex after the bond is formed, or while they raise their hatchlings?

Yes, though a quick Google doens't turn up much, I recall reading that e.g. lovebirds frequently mount even outside breading season.

Quote:
What about other intelligent, social animals, like whales or dolphins?

I think at least dolphins do so, and bonobos are famous for it, of course.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:05 am 
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http://www.frathwiki.com/Moonshine_Ethn ... and_Family

In a nutshell: women are taller than men, and dominate men completely in all areas of society. After a hard day's work, the men go to bed with women and get dominated even more. Male homosexuality is common, but it is almost a mirror of heterosexuality, and male homosexual relationships that do not have a distinct "top / bottom" (harč / pap) setup are stigmatized even by other homosexuals. These "homosexuals" are often attracted to women, however, and can even be married to a man and a woman at the same time. But they cannot be married to both each other and to the same woman: "triangle" marriage is illegal.


Not my primary conculture, but probably my most uniform conculture. And the female domination trait is the most "alien" characteristic to Earthans of all of my other concultures anyway.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:10 am 
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hwhatting wrote:
Very interesting. I knew of species where the male dies in the process, but not about cases where the female dies. I assume that sufficient females survive to lay eggs? Or do the eggs / larvae develop in the dead body of the female?

It's only sometimes fatal. I don't know if the eggs can be fertilised or survive, but I'd imagine not.

jal wrote:
Yes, though a quick Google doens't turn up much, I recall reading that e.g. lovebirds frequently mount even outside breading season.

That's the time of year when they work in fish and chip shops, I assume? :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:21 pm 
Sanno
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jal wrote:
I recently came across this discussion about the Romans' attitude towards sex, which I found an interesting read as it differs quite a bit from current cultures. So I thought that would make a nice starting point for those with concultures to discuss their conculture's attitude and practices.


JAL


I'm trying to answer this question, but unfortunately it turns out to be a rather big question that will take me a while to decently address. However, here's a first taste, dealing with the Là beliefs about sex and conception.

--------------

Mainstream Là theories hold that both the substance and the form of the child issue solely from the mother. The mother’s sexual partner has no essential role in this process.

This raises two questions: why do women need to engage in sex in order to have children; and why do men desire to engage in sex, given that the children thus begotten are not truly theirs?

In answering the first question, Là theoreticians largely concede that coitus is generally a prerequisite of childbirth, although some theoreticians do continue to hold that this causal link is spurious, and that pregnancy may be possible in rare cases without sex (or where the only sex has been with women, animals, eunuchs, etc.). Popular belief agrees with this minority: while all agree that, all else being equal, sex makes pregnancy more likely, most believe that pregnancy is possible without sex on rare occasions. All agree, however, that pregnancy is impossible without prior rupture of the hymen, and most agree that prior penetrative sex of some kind, at some time in a person’s life, is likewise required.

In explaining the nature of conception, modern Là theoreticians employ the model developed several centuries ago by the monk Kulàrandrang the Birth-Sage, which likens the womb to fertile earth, and the egg to a hardy seed that opens itself to the earth only when subjected to fire. In the case of humans, this ‘fire’ is strongly associated with orgasm, which is therefore believed to be central to conception. The exact details are debateable. In general, there are two main schools: those who follow Kulàrandrang in seeing orgasm as the body’s release of heat and energy, which is then concentrated in the womb to produce an intense flash that opens the seed and results in conception (i.e. those who see orgasm as the cause of conception), and the more modern theoreticians (who have displaced but far from eradicated the older school) who believe that the woman’s experience of orgasm is only a sensation of the underlying phenomenon of conception, that the intense heat of conception is experienced by the woman as orgasm (i.e. those who see orgasm as the result of conception).

The problem inevitably then arises of orgasms that do not lead to conception. Kulàrandrang stressed that the germinating heat of orgasm could only open a seed that was ready and well-planted in the womb, and further that defects in the seed, or in the prevailing conditions in the womb, could lead to immediate failure of the seed. The modernists, on the other hand, question the unity of the orgasm-concept, suggesting a distinction between true conceptive orgasm and ‘apparent’ orgasm that mimics the appearance of conceptive orgasm to a greater or lesser extent (often assumed to be less pleasurable, although it is conceded that in some cases it is difficult to tell the difference). The two schools therefore take different approaches to infertility: the traditionalists stress the mechanics of the ovulatory cycle and medicines designed to increase the receptiveness of the womb and the fecundity of the ovaries, while the modernists emphasise the psychological dimension, warning that not everything a woman finds pleasurable is a true, conceptive orgasm, and enjoining the woman’s partners to greater efforts to mentally and physically please her. Needless to say, in practice most would agree on the importance of both aspects, to varying extents: even the traditionalists agree that conception is impossible without orgasm (they just believe that orgasms are more common and easier to achieve) and even modernists agree that the seed and the womb must both be healthy (they just believe that a higher baseline level of fertility obtains, and that most problems with conception, as distinct from later miscarriage, are not due to physical defects).


It is acknowledged by experts in the field that some women may conceive without experiencing orgasm – though this is considered rare. In these cases, it is believed that orgasm does occur, but is simply concealed from the mind, and hidden by the body. This may occur for either physical or psychological reasons. Most often it is believed to occur in cases of rape, in which cases it is theorised that the woman’s body sometimes refuses to show signs of pleasure, even to the woman herself, so as to maintain the woman’s dignity, and so as not to encourage or mislead the rapist. However, it is known that this common physical response (or non-response) does not occur in all cases of rape.

Turning to the male, there are also three theories to explain why coitus dramatically increases the chances of conception. The earlier, traditional theory holds that semen is an aphrodisiac, which both amplifies female desire and encourages female orgasm, particularly when injected into the womb. Kulàrandrang did not challenge this theory directly, but he further speculated that semen might contain certain nutrients that nurtured growth in the seed; some of his followers have emphasised this aspect to the extent of making it the primary function of semen, and the primary explanation for why conception was less likely without coitus. A third, later theory, while again not denying the aphrodisiac qualities of semen, does downplay them, and suggests that semen instead acts as a sort of solvent, helping to crack open the case of the seed. In recent times, the original aphrodisiac theory is favoured by hardline modernists, and by the populace at large, while the solvent theory has become the default view among the experts. The nutrient theory is held by hardline traditionalists, but recently has experienced a resurgence, due to new scientific experiments. Crucially, the nutrient theory, unlike its rivals, places the role of semen shortly after conception, rather than during conception; and certain indelicate but scientifically interesting experiments now purport to have demonstrated that injection of semen into the womb immediately after orgasm can result in pregnancy. As a result, this theory may now be considered the favoured option of those invested in cutting-edge theory, although these experiments are not without their critics – in particular, some believe that the women were simply undergoing an occulted orgasm on introjection, analogous to those that result sometimes in pregnancy in rape victims, perhaps as a result of the unnatural circumstances of the experiments. It must also be observed that most theoreticians are willing to consider that all three theories may have elements of truth in them, though the relative proportions of truth are still debated.

The next fundamental question asks why men are interested in sex. Women clearly have learnt that sex increases their chances of conception, and women are believed to have an inherent drive to reproduce. But as the man does not reproduce, why is he so keen on the whole business?

There are three main theories here, although on this question there is little disagreement per se – rather, the explanations are regarded as complementary.
The first theory is that sex is enjoyable, and sought out for its pleasure value. There are obviously many reasons why people might find sex pleasant, but the core of this issue is the mystery of the male orgasm: as the orgasm is a part of the female reproductive process, why do males appear to have them at all? The answer has two parts.

Firstly, it is often denied that males have orgasms at all. It is observed that the pleasure accompanying male ejaculation is brief and isolated, compared to the potentially enduring and/or rapidly repeatable orgasms of females (the question of whether multiple orgasms signify multiple conceptions (most of which then fail, possibly by immediate cannibalism within the womb), or are merely the experience of a single process of seed-cracking that in some women is prone to occur in distinct stages or waves, is a vexed one among followers of the modernist theory of conception); and most concede that the pleasure women appear to experience is far greater than that experienced by men. Male orgasm is therefore considered only a shadow or imitation of the real orgasm. Modernists further link this to the two types of orgasm experienced by women, suggesting that non-conceptive orgasms among both men and women are only imitations of true orgasm.

Secondly, the cause of these pseudo-orgasms is located in embryonic development. Some theorists argue that the male pseudo-orgasm is vestigial, an echo left over from the female embryo (all embryos are believed to begin female, and some then become male in the womb). The more common theory, however, is that the body of the mother intentionally, for the good of her sisters and daughters, imbues the male with a simulacrum of her own capacity for sexual pleasure, precisely in order to encourage men to have sex (including by deluding ignorant men into thinking that their share of orgasm may signify a significant role in procreation).

In addition to the man’s own pleasure, it is then believed that men are lead into sex by empathy and the desire to please: knowing not only how pleasurable sex is for women, but how important childbirth is to them, men are eager to serve them in a sexual function. Rape is often therefore considered the product of a mental disordering: a case of a means (sex) employed even in cases that contradict the proper ends (female pleasure) of that means. [Regardless of its possible psychological causes, rape is condemned for these reasons under the Là theories of aesthetics]

Finally, the male desire not only to have sex but to impregnate women is believed to, in part, be rational. This is because although the child is solely the product of the mother, in both substance and form, the child may develop in the womb in different ways depending upon its environment, including the moods of the mother – this is why children are not identical to their mother. It is widely believed that the mother, thinking frequently about her lover, actually moulds her child’s form in the womb, pressuring it to conform to features of its father’s form. Men therefore naturally wish to seduce women and help them become pregnant, as the child will bear elements of the father’s form – even though he has had no direct causal role in this resemblance. It is important to note that Là metaphysics stress the corporeality and transience of bodily substance, while animacy is considered unitary and without characteristics: it is form, therefore, that gives each thing its identity, and therefore for a child to have a similar form to a man is in a literal sense a sharing of elements of identity.

For these reasons, women who give birth to boys are often thought of as selfless or more greatly in love, because they have dwelt on the man so much in their mind that their child has become manly. However, it is recognised that the primary reason for boys is because they will grow up to be useful to women, and hence there are reasons other than love that may determine the sex of children. On the one hand, the need to propagate the female line is paramount (a woman so in love with her husband that she can produce only sons is a beautiful tragedy); on the other hand, it is observed that powerful men have more sons, perhaps because the woman’s body subconsciously is choosing to flatter the man.

Importantly, however, this element of fatherhood is not directly linked to conception. It is generally acknowledged that a woman is most likely to be thinking of the man who inspired her to conceive (women may not be aware they are thinking of him, of course – the Là believe that people may have many ‘subconscious’ thoughts they are not directly aware of without intense reflection); however, it is not uncommon for children to bear resemblance to other people. Often in stories, for example, a woman who has sex only with a jealous husband may bear children who appear to be the child of the woman’s true love, simply because she has been thinking of him. It is also acknowledged that women may be tormented by thoughts of those they are not in love with – it is therefore no surprise if, for example, a rape victim conceives a child who resembles the rapist. Moreover, although strong resemblance to the father is a sign of love, men do not generally take offence if the connection is less obvious: they instead will be flattered that the woman trusts them not to demand such superficial proofs of her affection. At least, most will say they are not disappointed. It is also worth noting that as the child continues growing, they may continue to be influenced, either by the thoughts embedded within their bodies or by their own thinking, by the men around them. Thus children often grow more like their father-figures, regardless of who was physically present with their mother when they were conceived. 

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:17 pm 
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What kind of technology do the Là have, for context?

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Ônal zeh. Ônal zeh. Ônal zeh. Ônal zeh. Ônal zeh. Ônal zeh. Ônal zeh.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:03 pm 
Sanno
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Matrix wrote:
What kind of technology do the Là have, for context?


Well, my general reference time for this world is circa our AD1600. The Là are a bit behind when it comes to the more mechanical side - in terms of clockwork, for example - but somewhat ahead in terms of medicine (for instance, they inoculate for several diseases). They also have a form of Greek Fire, and have developed a form of natural plastic.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:35 am 
Sumerul
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A few questions:
- Are the Là human? Or humanoid? Where do they live?
- "our AD1600" - what part of our world? Europe?

And on the specifics of Là conception theory:
- How do Là women get an orgasm? It seems that Kulàrandrang's school of thought is compatible with auto-stimulation, but the other school is not?


JAL


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:19 pm 
Sanno
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jal wrote:
A few questions:
- Are the Là human? Or humanoid? Where do they live?

Yes, humans. They live on an island with what could be described as a subtropical climate: hot, wet summers, mild damp winters, a lot of big storms; but vegetation is more like a temperate rainforest (pacific northwest, new zealand) than a tropical one.
Quote:
- "our AD1600" - what part of our world? Europe?

Well, primarily, although it's only a rough guide so it doesn't matter that much.
Quote:

And on the specifics of Là conception theory:
- How do Là women get an orgasm?

In the conventional way.
Quote:
It seems that Kulàrandrang's school of thought is compatible with auto-stimulation, but the other school is not?

The modernists would indeed believe it's either impossible or highly improbable that a woman would have a 'true' orgasm from masturbation alone; they believe true orgasms are ontologically distinct, and the general assumption is that orgasm from masturbation would be less satisfying.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:31 pm 
Sumerul
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Salmoneus wrote:
and the general assumption is that orgasm from masturbation would be less satisfying.

But how do they then account for the fact that a woman needs coitus for conception and/or coitus alone is in most cases not enough to get an orgasm? (Given that they are human, and a majority of human females only get orgasms by direct stimulation of the clitoris.)


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:12 pm 
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I'm not sure what the problem is. If it's that women can get pregnant without orgasm, I've addressed that. If it's that women can have orgasms without getting pregnant, I've addressed that too.
(Besides, it's not as though Masters and Johnson are conducting rigourous observations among the Là, making sure that people in the control group don't touch their clitoris...)

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:39 am 
Sumerul
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Salmoneus wrote:
I'm not sure what the problem is.

Well, the main problem is that I'm not sure how the believe came to be. It seems to me it's so much easier to conclude that some other cause and effect is happening than this one. I'm not saying it's *impossible*, just that I find it somewhat unlikely.

That said, how do women's periods integrate into the Là theories, as they are tightly coupled to (not) being pregnant?


JAL


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:14 pm 
Sanno
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jal wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:
I'm not sure what the problem is.

Well, the main problem is that I'm not sure how the believe came to be. It seems to me it's so much easier to conclude that some other cause and effect is happening than this one. I'm not saying it's *impossible*, just that I find it somewhat unlikely.

You are aware that this belief (assuming you mean that female orgasm is essentially tied to conception) is very common in human societies? Including in, for example, 17th-century Europe? The specific metaphor of fire and seeds is also drawn from reality, though I can't remember the source.
Quote:
That said, how do women's periods integrate into the Là theories, as they are tightly coupled to (not) being pregnant?

I don't know. I would assume they would use some sort of crop-rotation, fallow ground metaphor.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:21 am 
Avisaru
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I'm reminded of an anecdote from an anthropology class I took years ago. There is evidently a group of people in (if I recall correctly) Melanesia, who believe that conception is impossible unless the would-be mother wades out into the surf in order to receive some vital ingredient from the ocean (or some sort of being therein; like I said, it was years ago that I heard the story and I can't recall the details).

As I recall, these people acknowledged that sex was important to conception, but the really crucial part was getting the sea involved.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:47 am 
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CatDoom wrote:
As I recall, these people acknowledged that sex was important to conception, but the really crucial part was getting the sea involved.

This guy belives that, too.


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