By Thomas Gregor
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Extra resources for Anxious Pleasures: The Sexual Lives of an Amazonian People
The following chapters document the culture and psychology of Mehinaku gender and explain the ambivalence of men's and women's relationships. THREE Facts of Life and Symbols of Gender Kwaumuti made women so that men could have sex with them. -From a Mehinaku creation myth NATURE PROVIDES US WITH FEW TRUE OPPOSITES. THE COLORS OF THE spectrum appear to be poles apart, but in truth, all colors differ in continuous degrees of variation of wave length (hue), saturation (purity of wave length), and brightness (amplitude of the wave).
Of these, primary sexual characteristics are clearly of great significance. In a number of drawings, the artist paid closest attention to the genitals of the person depicted, evincing only passing interest in differences of form and dress (fig. 3). This pattern of using the Fig. 3. Male figure. Kuya's sketch of a man is typical of many others in that the genitals are exaggerated. There are, however, a few other clues as to gender in this picture, including the broad shoulders of the figure and the arm and knee ligatures.
Virtually all sexual affairs, therefore, are extramarital affairs. These are fraught with danger because husbands and wives are sexually jealous. To use the Mehinaku idiom, they "prize each other's genitals" and do not like to see them appropriated by an interloper. Numerous cautionary tales warn the would-be adulterer against the fury of the jealous spouse. In these Mehinaku Men and Women 31 myths, adulterous couples are beaten, dismembered, put to death, and in one story, glued together in a permanent copulatory embrace.