The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


How do cultures vary with regard to attitudes about female sexuality?

As with general attitudes toward sexuality, attitudes about female sexuality vary widely across cultures. Some attempt to control female sexuality is extremely widespread, however, ranging from social mores about “good girls” who “wait until marriage” (common in the United States throughout the 1960s), all the way to clitorendectomies and honor killings. Clitorendectomies, which are practiced in parts of Africa and the Middle East, involve the surgical removal of the clitoris, the part of a woman’s genitals containing the bulk of sensory nerve endings. Removal of the clitoris greatly reduces a woman’s capacity for sexual pleasure. Honor killings involve the murder of any female who brings shame onto her family through inappropriate sexual activity—whether or not she was a willing participant in such activity.


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