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Childhood Association and Sexual Attraction: A Further Test of the Westermarck Hypothesis

Arthur P. Wolf
American Anthropologist
New Series, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Jun., 1970), pp. 503-515
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/672994
Page Count: 13
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Childhood Association and Sexual Attraction: A Further Test of the Westermarck Hypothesis
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Abstract

A preliminary study of household registration records from Taiwan supports Edward Westermarck's contention that intimate childhood association promotes sexual aversion. Women who are forced to marry a childhood associate bear fewer children than those who marry a stranger. They are also more likely to leave their husband by divorce or avoid him in favor of other men. This evidence suggests that the incest taboo does not prohibit what men's feelings incline them to do, as Westermarck's critics argue, but that it is instead an expression of these feelings, socially unnecessary but psychologically inevitable.

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