FOR THE INDIVIDUATION OF THE DRIVES OF SEX AND AGGRESSION
In the context of inquiries such as this anthropologists tend to
use two major modes of explaining behavior. Behavior is the result
of child-rearing patterns, or it is explained as the product of
sociocultural models for and of behavior and their sanctions.13
The Repression, Inhibition, and Channeling of The Sexual
Sociocultural Sanctions. In Rungus society the sexual drive is
channelled into marriage. Its expression other than in marriage
is highly prohibited by a number of sanctions both formal and informal.
When cases of illicit intercourse are discovered, a village moot
is held to determine who is the guilty party or parties and how
to resolve the issue. This may take several meetings, and extended
discussions are held concerning the degree of responsibility, when
to put the two to marriage if they are unmarried, or the amount
of compensation that must be paid to aggrieved spouses, the size
of the pig that must be sacrificed to nullify the ritual heat, and
what ritual payments must be given to the headman, witnesses, and
the spirit medium who performs the ceremony to nullify the ritual
jeopardy. Thus, illicit intercourse brings into play a wide variety
of sanctions and involves the whole community in the resolution
While fornication and adultery do occur, it is our impression that
these behaviors are not a frequent feature of Rungus society. But
when they do occur, they are subject to intense scrutiny and interest
by the community. However, it is impossible to determine their prevalence
since not all instances become public knowledge.
Thus, to channel the sexual behavior of the individual into the
institution of marriage, a child as he or she matures is subjected
to a number of sociocultural conditionings, models for and of behavior,
and the possibility of jural sanctions that direct his behavior
to this end. Women are subjected to a stricter code of behavior
than men in expressing publicly any interest in sex or awareness
of it. And it is difficult to judge to what degree the sexual drive
of women, and perhaps men, is subject to repression or is only inhibited
from expression prior to marriage as a result of these sociocultural
sanctions. We will return to this issue shortly.
Location of Sexual Intercourse. The locations where sexual intercourse
may take place further elucidate the nature of the relationship
between males and females.
Sexual relations normally take place quietly at night in the sleeping
area of the longhouse compartment after the children are asleep.
If the children wake up, the parents stop intercourse as it would
put the children in ritual jeopardy if they observed it. Coitus
also takes place in the couple's field house during the day. At
no time did we ever see or hear coitus taking place. A wife will
sleep between her husband and their children.
Illicit sexual relations, when they occur, take place in the forest
during the day, as women do not go out from the longhouse at night.
A child born out of wedlock is called a lapau and is also referred
to as having been conceived in the forest. Seldom if ever is a child
born out of wedlock, however, as an unmarried couple are put to
marriage immediately when discovered. No lapau appeared in any of
our several censuses (see G. N. Appell 1969). No social stigma or
disability is associated with being a lapau. The fault lies with
the mother and father and does not accrue to the offspring.
Separation of Unmarried Females From Young Men. A young girl refrains
from being seen alone in the company of a male even before she begins
to wear a sarong to cover her breasts. This starts a year or so
before she becomes pubescent. Girls even before this age move about
in a group of several girls or with their families (see L. W. R.
Appell in this volume). Maidens group in this fashion for several
First, they are afraid of being caught or constrained by men (tabpa'an),
and propositioned or induced into intercourse. Second, they are
afraid of the jungle, particularly the primary forest, because of
it being inhabited by potentially malevolent spirits. They are also
concerned that if they go about by themselves they will be gossiped
about as encouraging sexual attentions from men or engaging in illicit
sexual relations (miagai). A maiden who does this is scolded by
her parents as they are afraid that she might meet up with a man
bent on no good or that she will become loose. Women going alone
are also afraid of the possibility of meeting up with headhunters,
although there has been no case of this since the early days of
British administration in the early 1900s when it is alleged some
of the North Borneo Company native police force did engage in this.
Married women are expected to behave in a similar fashion as maidens
for the same reasons.
Relations between Married Persons and Others. It is believed unseemly
for a married woman to spend too much time in the longhouse away
from her apartment, to go for any length of time into the forest
alone, or go to the fields alone. It is because women might be accused
of engaging in illicit sexual relations or soliciting attentions,
which would arouse their husbands' sexual jealousies (mongivogu).
A husband who also spends too much time visiting another longhouse
apartment may likely arouse jealousy in his wife and will be accused
Are There Child-Rearing Behaviors to Ensure the Segregation of
the Drives of Sex and Aggression? Can we explain the lack of Rungus
sexual aggression by the patterns of child rearing? Children are
wanted and cared for. They are nursed for four to six years if there
is no subsequent sibling. And they are closely held in sarongs to
the mother's or father's body while the parent goes on with his
or her daily tasks. Children are frequently carried in these sarongs
even while they are asleep but particularly when they are fussing
and the parent is trying to put them to sleep. This goes on until
they are two and a half to three years old and want to run about
the longhouse. But even older children, if sick, are put in carrying
sarongs to comfort them.
Toilet training is not focused on. Mothers generally ignore urinating
babies, with the exception of rinsing themselves off, and respond
to a defecating child by opening up a floor board and sitting him
over it. Children are never admonished or scolded in this, nor are
they specifically toilet trained.
The only behaviors that might be significant in segregating the
drives of sex and aggression, other than the overall patterns of
expected social behavior, are the prolonged physical contact between
parent and child and the permissive toilet training. However, we
have no evidence that these facilitate the individuation of these
drives. Nor do we have any hypotheses as to how these behaviors
might account for this.
Looking at the problem from another perspective, are there any
child-rearing behaviors that specifically focus on the problem of
keeping the drives of sex and aggression segregated? Is it perceived
that the drives of sex and aggression are being commingled as they
emerge in the development of Rungus children and young adults so
that specific child-training methods have to be undertaken to segregate
these? We saw no evidence of the drives of sex and aggression being
commingled nor any concern on the part of Rungus parents to ensure
that these drives were segregated.
Are There Any Child-Rearing Behaviors That Might Foster the Conjunction
of Sex and Aggression? Are there any stages in the development of
a child that are handled in such a manner that male aggression toward
females or female aggression towards males are fostered which later
on have to be individuated?
Parents may at times play affectionately with their children's
genitalia while they are still toddlers rubbing them, kissing them,
mouthing them, and shaking them. Occasionally older siblings do
this to their younger siblings. Sometimes young boys have their
genitalia tweaked by a male or female sibling, although by the time
they are four or five they get rather irritated by this attention.
Thus, during the early stages of child-rearing genitalia are not
given an emotional loading of being potentially dangerous.
However, the genitalia become a source of shame later on. The terms
for genitalia are relevant here. Toli refers to the penis; turoi
refers to female genitalia. But there is a general term to refer
to both male and female genitalia, kikuman. The root of this word
is ikum, which means to be ashamed, so that kikuman literally means
"that which can be shameful".
The only point in child rearing where a major crisis arises that
has relevance for the question of developing male aggression toward
females is when another child is born. At that point, the elder
child is taken from the breast and given to the father to care for.
Then for a period of several weeks the child may cry for his mother's
attention and breast, and may exhibit temper tantrums when she or
he is unsuccessful. While this is a major rejection, we found no
evidence of any specific consequences from it in later life in the
relations of men with women.
L. W. R. Appell (personal communication) argues that the social
life of the longhouse may account for the apparent lack of a significant
psychological insult from this deprivation. A longhouse is composed
of many closely interrelated families who are in continual interaction.
And the children are constantly playing together and participating
in the activities of these other families. Thus, a young infant
deprived of the breast and maternal care as the result of the birth
of a subsequent sibling sees other children treated the same way,
all through his or her life; and he or she also has other care-givers
to turn to for solace. It thus becomes a fact of social life and
not the psychological insult that might occur if this were experienced
by a child in an isolated nuclear family.
Discontinuity in Sociocultural Conditioning.14 In addition to the
discontinuity that occurs at weaning, there is another discontinuity
in the developing personhood of a woman that occurs at marriage.
She is expected to reverse her previous behavior of disinterest
in sexual matters and now engage in sexual relations.
Prior to marriage, she is to express no interest in or knowledge
of sexual matters, although in reality this is hard to achieve in
a small longhouse community where marital relations are going on
around her, where breeding dogs run in and out of the longhouse,
and where success in pig and chicken raising, in which young females
are closely involved, lies in the fecundity of sows and hens and
the sexual arousal of boars and cocks. Whatever the extent of her
knowledge, her public persona must be that of propriety itself prior
to marriage. But immediately after marriage she is supposed to engage
in close and intimate relations with a man, in which she has had
no practice at any level. Since childhood she has been expected
to avoid any close contact with males, except when groups of boys
and girls go weeding together, sit around the longhouse and gossip,
or help out in preparing and serving food and drink during religious
occasions. Furthermore, Rungus etiquette demands that a married
woman in public continue to behave circumspectly after marriage
and not engage in public discussions of sex, joke about it, or display
any behavior to encourage sexual advances. If men are discussing
sexual matters or joking about them, women ignore the conversation,
pretending not to hear what is being said. Instead they continue
to pursue their own conversations and activities.
Marriage is also a period of discontinuity for men. And a few will
refuse to engage in sexual relations with their wives for a time.
But it is more usual for the bride to express that she is not attracted
to, does not accept or desire her spouse (amu tumutun; see L. W.
R. Appell in this volume). Does this behavior represent a major
psychological cost of the discontinuity in cultural conditioning?
Some repression must surely be at work in the cases of those brides
who refuse their husbands' sexual advances. But it is difficult
to separate those situations where the problem represents repression
of the sexual drive from those where it is only a public display
of what a young bride is supposed to do, or from those where the
bride genuinely dislikes her husband and is intent in her shunning
of him to obtain a divorce.
For most women we judged the repression of the sexual drive not
to be severe. Their behavior is primarily the product of the inhibition
of public displays of sexual interest, which is rewarded by positive
sanctions for proper behavior and shaped by the threat of major,
community-wide negative sanctions for illicit behavior. An indication
of the validity of this conclusion is the ease with which sexual
topics arise in the language of even young, unmarried Rungus females
when startled (see A. A. Doolittle in this volume on latah among
the Rungus). Furthermore, we never heard any complaints from wives
over too many demands for coitus from their husbands.15 And we were
rarely asked about medicine to prevent conception. When we were,
it was by women who had six, seven, or eight children.
However, the question of psychogenetic dyspareunia and infertility
is raised by the enculturation of the female, the expected behavior
of the bride at the wedding in which she is to show no interest
in any of the proceedings, the lack of instruction for the bride
on sexual matters prior to marriage, and the resultant discontinuity
in cultural conditioning that occurs when the bride is supposed
to respond to sexual advances. We have no evidence of dyspareunia,
which may not be significant due to the inhibition on talking about
sexual matters. Nevertheless, we never heard any complaints from
men about female frigidity. This concept just did not appear in
Moreover, in a sample of 57 females 77.2% produced children prior
to or within the second year of marriage, and a further 12% had
produced children within the third year of their marriage. These
numbers are high, considering the fact that not all women have begun
to menstruate at the time of marriage. And they indicate that inhibitions
with respect to coitus are not deeply seated and that there appears
to be an absence of psychogenic infertility or even dyspareunia
as a result of the cultural imperatives with regard to fornication,
adultery, and public displays of sexual interest.
Moreover, children are wanted and appreciated. Abortion does not
occur. There is no term for it, nor does the concept arise in any
discussion of pregnancies. And husbands and wives closely depend
on each other for support and affection. In fact, sexual jealousy
is very prevalent and is a major feature of the relations between
men and women. Both sexes frequently display emotions of jealousy,
and accusations of infidelity arising from ungrounded suspicions
or even just from the fear of infidelity are common. Brides are
known to engage in these even during the period when they are publicly
rejecting their husbands and refusing to accept the role of wife.
Inhibition of Aggression
Aggression, even the symbolic expression of aggression, is highly
inhibited by various jural and supernatural sanctions which support
each other. First there is the concept of komomoli. Komomoli is
a ritual delict that occurs when the action of an individual implies
that someone has died. For example, a corpse can not be removed
for burial by way of the entry ladders at either end of the longhouse,
as it takes the corpse past other apartments implicating them in
a death. It can only be removed from its apartment out the side
of the working area where a special opening is made. Thus, if an
individual on leaving the longhouse exits through this working area
in the front of an apartment rather than by the end ladders, this
is similar to the removal of a corpse, and it is komomoli to the
members of that apartment. If a spouse starts repairing that side
of the apartment or the roofing over it while his spouse is asleep,
this suggests that she is dead and is considered komomoli. If a
spouse gets up and leaves while the other is still sleeping without
waking him or her, this is an implication of death, and causes komomoli.
Thus, there are various ritual acts and statements that occur only
when someone has died, and for a widowed spouse these are highly
elaborate. And if an individual engages in any of these ritual acts
when there has been no death, the offender must give a chicken to
the members of the domestic family that has been implicated. This
is so they can kill the chicken and put blood on their ankles along
with the proper prayers to remove the threat of an actual death
Thus, there is the possibility of expressing aggression to one's
spouse by engaging in any of these various acts and thereby implying
she or he is dead. And if this is done in anger and intentionally,
it is viewed as a very serious delict, and ritual compensation must
Kotiguras (a form of moniguras--see Table Two) involves an act
of cutting the personal possessions of an individual or those of
a domestic family. It can be roughly translated as "has been
threatened". If an individual finds his clothes cut, if fences
of the family's swiddens are cut by someone else, particularly in
anger, then the offender must give a chicken to blood the family.
If this is not done, the action of using a bush knife on the property
of another is considered a threat to the soul of the owner or owners
so that they will fall ill. If there is no way to identify the offender,
the family or the individual threatened will take one of the family's
chickens for the ritual cleansing.
Thus, there is an extensive cultural pattern of inhibiting any
acts of aggression. Acts of kotiguras and komomoli seldom occur
both because of the fine and the ritual implications.
In addition to the inhibition of expressing aggression to another
Rungus, there is an extensive cultural pattern of inhibiting illegal
sexual acts. Sex and aggression are highly segregated in Rungus
society, as we have also shown in linguistic behavior. The behaviors
of sex and aggression do not appear in the same environment. And
when there is the possibility that they might come together, there
are jural sanctions to inhibit such behavior. For example, where
the concepts of sex and aggression do begin to conflate as in the
mentioning of genitalia to give insult or to express anger toward
someone, the offended individual may sue the offender for a piece
of brassware (see above). Finally, there is an attitude towards
women whereby they are highly respected, which results in their
volition in matters of sex remaining unimpaired.