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Old 04-25-2014, 04:24 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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Has any primitive human culture been unaware that sex causes pregnancy?

I've heard of such, but I've seen no documentation.
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Old 04-25-2014, 05:47 PM
pravnik pravnik is offline
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Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski reported in his various writings about the Trobriand islanders that they thought conception was caused by spirits entering the woman's body as she bathed in the lagoon. They were aware that sex plays some role (they're not stupid, they can see just as well as we can that babies resemble fathers), but thought it of lesser importance. Australians aborigines share a similar belief.

Previous threads:

When did man realize that pregnancy was a direct result of sex?

When did we find out that sex = baby?

Cecil article:
When did mankind figure out that SEX = BABIES?

Last edited by pravnik; 04-25-2014 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:08 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is offline
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And what about the Trobriand islanders that bathed in the lagoon, didn't have sex, and never got pregnant? I don't think we give aboriginal tribes much credit for understanding how the world really works...
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:13 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Obviously the non-parents offended the spirits somehow so they never entered their wombs!
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:13 PM
Martian Bigfoot Martian Bigfoot is offline
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Yes. They're called "teenagers".
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:14 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by dolphinboy View Post
And what about the Trobriand islanders that bathed in the lagoon, didn't have sex, and never got pregnant? I don't think we give aboriginal tribes much credit for understanding how the world really works...
Not meant to sound snarky or a cheap shot at religion, but what about all the people who pray to god for help and never get any, but still believe god works miracles and is involved in their lives?

Or the people who survive a massive accident or disaster and thank god for it, but what about all the people who do not survive accidents or disasters?

Point is, people can believe what they want about the spiritual and supernatural regardless of whether it matches the facts of their lives.

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 04-25-2014 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 04-25-2014, 07:25 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is offline
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Originally Posted by dolphinboy View Post
And what about the Trobriand islanders that bathed in the lagoon, didn't have sex, and never got pregnant? I don't think we give aboriginal tribes much credit for understanding how the world really works...
How many people do you think were not having sex? And how many were having sex, but never got pregnant? It wouldn't be that obvious.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:35 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pravnik View Post
Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski reported in his various writings about the Trobriand islanders that they thought conception was caused by spirits entering the woman's body as she bathed in the lagoon. They were aware that sex plays some role (they're not stupid, they can see just as well as we can that babies resemble fathers), but thought it of lesser importance.
(emphasis added)
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Originally Posted by dolphinboy View Post
And what about the Trobriand islanders that bathed in the lagoon, didn't have sex, and never got pregnant? I don't think we give aboriginal tribes much credit for understanding how the world really works...
Notice: that conception was caused by the spirits -- that could mean they caused the state of pregnancy and the gentleman's necessary contribution would be the materials for them to work with.

[Speculation] All extant cultures probably would have long ago figured out that virgins are not to be expected to bear children while retaining that condition; but I could understand a belief that "the ol' in-out" would not be enough by itself because you don't get a pregnancy with every pop.[/speculation]
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:15 PM
Ranger Jeff Ranger Jeff is online now
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The cast of all the "Teen Mom" programs?
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Old 04-26-2014, 01:29 AM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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Originally Posted by dolphinboy View Post
And what about the Trobriand islanders that bathed in the lagoon, didn't have sex, and never got pregnant? I don't think we give aboriginal tribes much credit for understanding how the world really works...
The thing to remember about those who possess magical beliefs is that when something goes wrong it doesn't cause most of them to stop believing in magic. There's always some reason why the magic didn't work in this case.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:17 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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One must also always question in these studies, how much are the results due to the tribe's actual beliefs, and how much they are due to a tribal tradition of trolling the anthropologists.
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:09 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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As I said in the other thread a while ago - in general, only one thing goes in where babies come out. I don't think it took too much contemplation to hypothesize a connection. I suspect the connection was made very early in the evolution of human thought.

Especially considering, there wasn't any TV or MP3 in the stone age. Humans had a lot of time to sit and think (and make babies). Consider how detailed their knowledge of the skies was, when the only entertainment after a long shag was lying back watching the stars. They'd identified all the planets they could see, most of the brighter stars, the seasons, etc. Any culture that has spent long enough watching and observing (and passing it on through generations) to remark on events that happened only a few days a year, probably had plenty of time, observational acuity and brain power to figure out pregnancy.

The brainpower that figured out solstices and equinoxes probably wasn't thrown off by "she's starting to show but we haven't done it for months. I must be wrong..."

Last edited by md2000; 04-27-2014 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 04-27-2014, 02:29 AM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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I would assume all of them were ignorant of this at some point or another. My question would be how did anyone figure it out in the first place?
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:51 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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Like I said - only one thing goes in, only babies come out. Plus the menstrual cycle probably wasn't that hard to figure out either. Early humans had few entertainments or distractions so plenty of time to contemplate and figure out life.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:51 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Yes, but babies don't come out every time you insert a penis in vagina - some primitive groups believed it took multiple instances of intercourse to result in a baby, or that more than one man could be involved in fathering a child due to that lack of a one-to-one relationship. Not to mention that oral and anal sex aren't new inventions, I'm sure men have been inserting their sex organs into all available orifices since forever because it feels good to do so.

Menstrual cycles might not have been as regular in the past as they are today - between pregnancy, lactation, and periodic food shortages women in ancient history and earlier might go considerably longer than a month between the episodes of uterine lining shedding.
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:09 AM
Darth Panda Darth Panda is offline
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As I said in the other thread a while ago - in general, only one thing goes in where babies come out.
Have you met the internet?
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:43 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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Have you met the internet?
I don't think he's met the concept of "female masturbation". Do you think we should fight his ignorance?
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:00 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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"Generally..." means generally, not "always".

I'm going to make an educated guess here - in the stone-age days before fine glazed ceramics and smooth-polished stone, there weren't a lot of implements safe for insertion, unless cucumbers were in season. Fine-polished wood still has a risk of splinters and cave-women didn't have sandpaper at hand or polish. All such implements would take a LOT of woman-hours to construct. There were plenty of serviceable tools just walking around. We find very few such implements in the archeological record, most seem to have been for cermonial purposes. (hey, the men didn't have internet - they had to do something.)

Besides, a cursory examination on the internet suggests the majority of female masturbation does not need insertion tools - but may explain why controlling males felt the need to indulge in female genital mutilation (aka. Female circucision, removal of the clitoris).
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:17 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
"Generally..." means generally, not "always".

I'm going to make an educated guess here - in the stone-age days before fine glazed ceramics and smooth-polished stone, there weren't a lot of implements safe for insertion, unless cucumbers were in season. Fine-polished wood still has a risk of splinters and cave-women didn't have sandpaper at hand or polish.
Before there was sandpaper there was sand. And polished stones go quite a long way back. I think you underestimate female ingenuity.

Quote:
All such implements would take a LOT of woman-hours to construct.
So? A LOT of things required for life took a lot of people-hours to construct.

Quote:
There were plenty of serviceable tools just walking around.
Yeah, but there was sometimes the issue of the jerks those tools were attached to.

Quote:
We find very few such implements in the archeological record, most seem to have been for cermonial purposes. (hey, the men didn't have internet - they had to do something.)
Dildos made of wood, bone, or horn could rot or might be burned, re-purposed, etc. Clay ones might break.

A lot of stuff in the archeological record are assumed to be ceremonial... that doesn't mean they are. Sometimes it just means the people who dug it up don't know what the heck this thing was used for, so they say "ceremonial" for lack of any better explanation.
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:44 AM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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Like I said - I don't believe this never happened. Just, it was not that common compared to toaday's array of hygenic plastic implements and even household substitutes such as broomsticks. I haven't heard anthropological studies bearing out the same sort of implements being common in primitive societies in the last century or two. Knowing the typical menatility of those walking tools, I doubt they appreciated competition.

So my contention stands - the majority of the time, only one thing is observed going in, and pretty much only babies come out. I'm assuming neither gender was stupid, and quickly figured out too that (again, the majority of the time) an interruption in menstruation heralded pregnancy, so they probably also had a good idea when the cycle of pregnancy started. I seriously doubt that it took until humans started worrying about fertility of flocks to make the connection - that would likely just reinforce the observation and due to lack of monthly menstruation in other species - confuse the issue.

Similarly, they might not make the 100% connection - i.e. sometimes these virgin births hapen, but it's special event and she could be lying; certainly by the time Onan entered the biblical lore, what, about 800BC? they were well aware that it was not just insertion, but leaving that magic fluid in there. Similarly, the connection that the child looked much like the guy (or one of the guys) who contributed to the cause, probably reinforced the leson that the father had someting to do with it.

they may have been cavemen (and women) but they were not stupid.

One theory I read (all this is speculation and theory) was that the shift from "earth mother" to masculine deities was brought about by the realization that men played an important role in the creation of new life, it was not just a miracle that happened to the woman. Men, being men, took this new informaton as proof of their primacy in the circle of life and reconstructed religion around it.

Last edited by md2000; 04-28-2014 at 10:46 AM.
  #21  
Old 04-28-2014, 11:00 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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Aside from the more interesting discussion inserted into this thread I'll mention that I find it doubtful that anyone thinks sex and pregnancy aren't related. Plenty of people now believe all sorts of myths about conception, but not that sex isn't involved, and I doubt anyone going back to our early tool making ancestors could ignore the obvious connection.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:14 PM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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Aside from the more interesting discussion inserted into this thread I'll mention that I find it doubtful that anyone thinks sex and pregnancy aren't related. Plenty of people now believe all sorts of myths about conception, but not that sex isn't involved, and I doubt anyone going back to our early tool making ancestors could ignore the obvious connection.
I kind of think of those myths as the equivalent of "the moon is made of green cheese" stories. Everyone tells them, part of the folklore, but I'm sure everyone except the children know better.
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Old 04-29-2014, 06:31 PM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
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Here's a thread on sexual ignorance
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