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Freeman (1968) reports that Iban women are envious of Iban men and the mockery of males, particularly male genitalia, is one of their favorite pastimes. And he points out the aggressive nature of mockery. Swartz (1958) argues that on Truk the expression of aggression is not permitted in marital relations. However, in adulterous relations, "sweetheart relations", aggression is permitted, and it is directed not only toward one's sweetheart but also to the kin of the sweetheart by the very act of this illicit intercourse. Swartz writes (1958:482), "The refusal consciously to characterize acts as aggressive allows the sweethearts to inflict considerable bodily harm on each other. ... The pain inflicted on each other by sweethearts is now mostly limited to cigarette burns on the arm, but formerly included cutting with a knife and knocking out teeth with stones." And among the Trobriand Islanders, Malinowski reports (1932:217, orig. 1929) that "It is a general rule in all districts ... when a boy and girl are strongly attracted to each other, and especially before their passion is satisfied, the girl is allowed to inflict considerable bodily pain on her lover by scratching, beating, thrashing, and even wounding with a sharp instrument."9

Among the Rungus there is no evidence that females envy males, or vice versa, and there is no evidence of an underlying layer of aggression or antagonism with respect to the opposite sex as represented in mockery, jokes, overt statements, or the play of children. Boys do not tease girls or belittle female roles, and girls in their play do not tease boys or ridicule any of the male roles. Nor is there any association of aggression in coitus in terms of bodily injury either in cases of fornication, adultery, or marital intercourse. There is no evidence or discussion of marks rendered on a partner's body during passionate intercourse. Aggression in coitus was never a matter of discussion among the Rungus, and we have no observational data to suggest that it occurs.10

There is also no evidence of sexual antagonism or aggression in the myths we have collected, with two exceptions. These are the myth of illicit sex that results in an elongated penis, subsequently scalded when it continues to misbehave, and the ambiguous report of a woman hurt in the act of intercourse, which may or may not have been forced.

This is not to be read that spouses do not have arguments, and that these sometimes result in the woman or man being hit, although this latter case occurs less frequently. But sexual antagonism and aggression is not part of the fabric of everyday relations between the sexes.

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