Sambia Sexual Culture: Essays from the Field

Paperback
A collection of essays on the sexual culture of the Sambia of Papua New Guinea. Over the course of 20 years, Gilbert Herdt made 13 trips to live with the Sambia of Papua New Guinea in order to understand sexuality and ritual in the context of warfare and gender segregation. Herdt's essays examine Sambia fetish and fantasy, ritual nose-bleeding, the role of homoerotic insemination, the role of the father and mother in the process of identity formation, and the creation of a third sex in nature and culture. He also discusses the representation of homosexuality in cross-cultural literature on pre-modern societies, arguing that scholars have long viewed desires through the tropes of negative western models. Herdt asks the reader to reconsider the realities and subjective experiences of desires in their own context, and to rethink how the homoerotic is expressed in radically divergent sexual cultures.