As I've mentioned in several recent posts, I've been traveling around Southeast Asia the last few months -- and one of my favorite things about travel is exploring cultural differences.
One that keeps popping up this year... is sex. Specifically, sex taboos.
It started the first week of my trip, when I canceled my plans to visit Brunei because I couldn't stomach spending money in a country that recently decided to stone its gays. (A decision Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah backtracked from a month later.) It's disgusting, backwards, cruel, and barbaric.
(See also: Sorry, but no. Not every part of every culture deserves my respect.)
Then, my first night in Java, Indonesia, I saw this sign behind the reception counter:
Image: @TheHappyTalent on Instagram
Basically, it means a man and a woman can't share a room without a proof of marriage. Good thing I was traveling with a girl that week! (Originally, I'd planned on visiting Java with a male traveler I'd met in Kuching -- however, we had a consent issue when he decided it was okay to creep over to my bed while I was sleeping in the middle of the night and start stroking my arm like some perverted, rapey stalker. Even after I made a huge deal about how we would not be sharing a bed.)
A few weeks later, I landed in Cambodia... and was almost immediately invited to a ladyboy cabaret. (I'm still expected to cover my arms and legs in the temples, though -- but I'm okay with it, because the dress code is gender-neutral.)
My "grandma dress." Image: The Happy Talent on Facebook
I've also experienced cultures like the Philippines and Bajau Laut, where girls get pregnant while they are still, themselves, children, and it's just an accepted part of society.
All these differences got me interested in this infographic, created recently by a company called Carvaka. I was surprised by Russia's lingerie ban, amused by Indonesia's masturbation ban (because, honestly? yeah, right)... and couldn't believe how many countries have laws against traveling with sex toys. Banning the sale (Hi, Alabama!) is one thing... But I'd hate to be the tourist who got hauled out of Malaysia Customs in handcuffs for a "personal device" in her luggage.
I wonder if the State Department warns about that on their website. I've been to three of the countries mentioned, and I had no clue!
Travelers, what are some sex taboos you've seen or experienced around the world -- and what did you think about it?
Also, a special note to Taiwan, who recently recognized gay marriage for the first time: WAY TO GO. YOU ROCK.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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