Sexual Messages. Colors (2)

The tribes of Papua New Guinea paint their bodies, dance and exhibit their naked bodies in a sex ritual to find a couple called Tanimet.

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The tribes of Papua New Guinea made a sex ritual to find a couple. They paint their bodies, dance and exhibit their naked bodies in a ceremony known as Tanimet.

The Papuans, like so many other peoples on earth, adopted the language of colours from observing nature, above all the birds. And it is no coincidence that the island of New Guinea is home to one of the largest, decorated in bright colours. 

The common cassowary weighs sixty kilos, and those fleshy blue and red lobes convey a different message: they say “I am sexually active”. In this case, the males and the females are similar, but among birds it is more usual for the males to be the ones sporting more spectacular sexual colours. Just one example of this can be seen every year on the Galapagos Islands. 

Whichever part of the body they’re on, the important thing is to move the colours around, to show the females you are in good health, to  strengthen bonds between the couple, or simply to stimulate development of the internal sexual organs. 

The mere sight of sexual colours sets off a chain reaction and activates production of the hormones necessary for the reproductive process. 
The Indian peacocks, for example, are obliged to literally mesmerise the females if they want to copulate. 

And, as might be expected, human beings, who have excellent sight to appreciate colours - the legacy of our past as tree-dwelling fruit  gatherers - have introduced colour into our culture, stealing the feathers from the birds and imitating their dances. 

This is a ceremony called Tanimet. It is held in certain Indonesian tribes to introduce and pair up unmarried individuals of one village with those of another. 
And, naturally, colour plays a central role – this time a cultural  development, rather than a genetic one as in the case of the birds. Identical methods with the same aim in mind.

The master of ceremonies or matchmaker will witness the forming of couples, which must be accepted by both parties. As all the inhabitants of a village are related, the men have to find wives in other villages, in order to avoid endogamy. They look at each other and take each other hands, mingling and gradually defining their preferences. The ceremony can last days or even weeks.

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