Flashcards for Sex and Marriage
Topics 1-2:  Overview: Parts I-II
(19 cards)

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Copyright © 2004 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.

A socially recognized union of two or more people. (Hint: it is a universal method of regulating heterosexual intercourse by defining who is acceptable as a sexual partner and who is not. It also usually establishes social relationships that are the foundation for families and households.)


A mate selection factor that is very important around the world when romantic love is considered to be essential in selecting a potential husband or wife.

physical beauty

The two main reasons that many societies around the world prefer arranged marriages.

Marriage unites two families, not just two people and, therefore, must be considered carefully and even negotiated. Marriage is seen as being too important a decision to be left up to inexperienced young people.

The percentage of societies in the world that allow a person to have complete sexual access to everyone who might be a potential sexual partner.


The anthropological term for a rule prohibiting sexual intercourse with close relatives.

incest taboo

The kind of societies that usually are most likely to prohibit sexual experimentation before marriage. (Hint: think in terms of small-scale versus large-scale societies and those that encourage or discourage social inequalities.)

societies that have hierarchies of political officials, cities, and class stratification

The Spanish word for the Latin American ideal of men being confident, strong, dignified, brave, overtly masculine, and sexually active.

machismo (macho)

The Spanish word for the Latin American ideal of women being modest, restrained, virtuous, nurturing towards children, sexually abstinent before marriage, and passive in response to their husbands' demands after marriage. (Hint: this word comes from the Virgin Mary, whose life women are encouraged to emulate as a model of "proper" femininity.)


In traditional Latin American culture, the individual who most likely will be punished when unmarried teenagers have sex that results in a pregnancy.

the girl who is pregnant

The societies mentioned in the tutorial that do not have rules to regulate marriage partner selection.

No society lacks such rules.

The common explicit rules in North America defining who is acceptable to marry. (Hint: explicit rules in North America and other large-scale societies are usually formal laws.)

They must be of the opposite gender, over the age of consent, willing, alive, and not a close family member.

The typical kind of implicit rules in North America traditionally defining who is acceptable to marry. (Hint: implicit rules are usually social constraints or expectations of friends and relatives rather than formal laws.)

They must be within the same social class, religion, and ethnic/racial group.

The kinds of societies in which everyone is more likely to be expected to get married. (Hint: think in terms of small-scale and large-scale societies.)

small-scale societies

The four categories of privileges, rights, and obligations of a couple getting married that are most often included in their marriage agreement around the world.

exclusive sexual access, having and caring for children, sexual division of labor, and extending kinship bonds to your spouse's relatives

Common methods of preventing pregnancy even in small-scale isolated societies.

not allowing adolescents to marry (especially boys), magic, abortion, and post partum sex taboos

The general term for a prohibition against husbands and wives having sexual intercourse with each other for a period of time following the birth of their child.

post partum sex taboo

The general term for the killing of children.


The culture in which people in the distant past were occasionally forced by winter starvation to kill the individual within the family who had the least potential for bringing in food. That was usually the youngest daughter. She died so that the others could live.

Inuit (or Eskimo) of the North American subarctic regions

The long term negative effect on society of female infanticide among the Inuit in the distant past.

It reduced the number of marriageable women, resulting in increased competition among men for mates. This has been suggested as a leading cause of relatively high murder rates for Inuit men in earlier times.