Hidden Sex and the Ordinary Youth: The Dolgan Way of Maintaining a Good Family Reputation

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Aimar Ventsel


In this article I discuss sexual relations of young people in the tundra village in Russian Far East. Sexual behaviour and gender roles in this society are defined by traditions and young people are urged to follow these. Traditionally, premarital sex is not tolerated and from the first sight there is no physical space for illicit sexual relations in the village. However, young people find their own ways to pursue their interests. I show that they make use of what I call “empty physical and social space.”  Young people are creative and manage to find space for sex. Young people also make use of contradictory social norms, intricate kinship and clan structures, or certain interpretations of  “good behaviour” to have and meet the partners they wish to have.


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Aimar Ventsel

Department of Ethnology, University of Tartu, Estonia