Sexual rituals marriage ceremonies

Sexual rituals have many types. Rites of passage Part of the rites of passage of growing up are what have been termed ‘rites of separation from the a sexual world…followed by rites of incorporation into the world of sexuality’.  These may be formal or semi-formal – ‘for some students, going to college is partly a sexual ritual, like the ceremonial dances of the whooping crane’ – or take the form of a more private induction: ‘formal and artificial…the impression that a long-established rite was to be enacted, among Staffordshire figurs and papier-mâché trays, with the compelling, detached formality of nightmare’.

Freud was particularly interested in Ethnological accounts of ‘the “ceremonial” (purely formal, ritual, or official) coitus, which takes place’ in connection with ‘the taboo of virginity’.

Wedding as orgy

Freud also noted that in ‘numerous examples of marriage ceremonies there can be no doubt that people other than the bridegroom, for example his assistants and companions (our traditional “groomsmen”), granted full sexual access to the bride’. To his followers, ‘the wedding as orgy, with the bride taking on all the men present, is the clear historical reality behind the modern jokes…and the climactic line-up or “gang”-kissing of the bride, by all the men present’.

In such a view, ‘other examples of sacred or permitted public coitus of all women with all men do survive, in similarly modified “kissing” form’, as under the mistletoe ‘to revive the dying sun at the winter solstice, when the strongest human “life-magic”, namely ritual intercourse, is to be deployed’.

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