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Anxious Pleasures

The Sexual Lives of an Amazonian People

"Good fish get dull but sex is always fun." So say the Mehinaku people of Brazil. But Thomas Gregor shows that sex brings a supreme ambiguity to the villagers’ lives. In their elaborate rituals—especially those practiced by the men in their secret societies—the Mehinaku give expression to a system of symbols reminiscent of psychosexual neuroses identified by Freud: castration anxiety, Oedipal conflict, fantasies of loss of strength through sex, and a host of others. "If we look carefully," writes Gregor, "we will see reflections of our own sexual nature in the life ways of an Amazonian people." The book is illustrated with Mehinaku drawings of ritual texts and myths, as well as with photographs of the villagers taking part in both everyday and ceremonial activities.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. The Mehinaku and the Sexual Data
2. Mehinaku Men and Women: A Sociology of Marriage, Sex, and Affection
3. Facts of Life and Symbols of Gender
4. Sexual Relations
5. Food for Thought: The Symbolism of Sexual Relations and Eating
6. Men’s House
7. Anxious Pleasures
8. Anxious Dreams
9. Tapir Woman: Socialization and Personality Theory
10. Ears, Eclipses, and Menstruating Men: The Feminine Self in Masculine Culture
11. The Universal Male

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