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October 2021

Sexuality in Samoan art forms

Journal/Book: Arch Sex Behav. 1975; 4: 227-47.

Abstract: This article explores the manifestations of sexuality in Samona as they are revealed through songs, poetry, dance, gestures, verbal expressions, stories, and games. For each of these art forms, texts, and translations of original material are presented, as an aid to discerning the uses and functions of sexuality as they are applied by Samoans for Samoans; to this end, formulalized joking of various types is seen as the medium through which the humorous element of sexuality is expressed. Elsewhere, sexuality functions to achieve and sustain individual attention. The explicitly sexuality functions to achieve and sustain individual attention. The explicitly sexual references in duneral and marriage songs, on the other hand, constitute affirmations of social values, incorporated in long-established rites. In what is tantamount to artistic license, performance of song, poetry, and dance containing sexual elements or references that would be prohibited in other contexts is constituted as acceptable behavior. In marked contrast to nineteenth-century writings, and the opinions of the popular press, sexuality in Samoa is far from free in its modes of expression, but rather adheres to traditional formalized patterns which determine its occasions, participants, and verbal and kinetic limits. Although not indispensable as a means of personal expression, it generally provides additional opportunities for the creative and aggressive individual to demonstarate his artistic talents and therby contribute to his own social elevation. As an element of verbalized group sentiment, it is a positive assertion of Samoan values, astatement of social solidarity.

Keyword(s): Art|. Literature|. Music|. Sex|

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