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 Cross-Cultural Studies
Youth Conversing with Suitors
Youth Conversing with Suitors
Illustration from Jami, "Seven Thrones"
Persia, 1556

The study of cultures different from one's own can give insights into different ways of viewing the world and different ways of organizing society.  Just as man/boy love has been the primary form of homoeroticism throughout most of Western history, it has also been an important cultural institution in many different places around the world.  From the pederasty of the ancient Mediterranean world to the "contemplation of the unbearded" practiced in Sufi Islam, to the Chinese "passion of the cut sleeve" (named after the story of  emperor Ai, who reputedly cut off his sleeve rather than disturb the sleep of his beloved), to the insemination rituals of Melanesia, to  the two-spirit traditions of North America, man/boy love has been socially accepted in many forms.

In some societies man/boy love has been highly formalized and prescribed, while in others it has been merely an open, accepted practice free of sanctions.  The post-industrial West is unique in it's degree of intolerance toward man/boy love.

Cultural studies of sexual behavior
, including many on-line articles, are replete with descriptions of diverse manifestations of man/boy love.  The handful of articles linked below, excerpted from NAMBLA publications, is intended to supplement this rich literature.

If you'd like to submit an article for this page, please see our How to Help page for submissions info.

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