Sex Education in Javanese Culture: The Gowok Tradition

Sex Education in Javanese Culture- The Gowok Tradition

javaprivatetour.com – Hey there, fellow travel enthusiasts! Are you ready to embark on a unique adventure to uncover the hidden traditions of Java, Indonesia? Well, you’re in for a treat as we dive deep into the intriguing world of Javanese culture, exploring the unconventional practice of Pergowokan in the early 20th century.

But first, let’s set the stage for our journey. Imagine lush landscapes, vibrant markets, and the enchanting atmosphere of Java – a destination that not only caters to holiday seekers but also beckons researchers, journalists, and content creators alike. Java, with its rich tapestry of experiences, is a melting pot of history, tradition, and natural wonders.

Now, let’s shift our focus to a fascinating aspect of Javanese history – the practice of Pergowokan. This age-old tradition, shrouded in taboo, becomes vivid through the lenses of three captivating novels: “Gowok” (1936) by Liem Khing Hoo, “Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk” (1982) by Ahmad Tohari, and “Nyai Gowok” (2014) by Budi Sardjono.

Illustration of the figure of 'gowok' on the cover of Nyai Gowok (2014) by Budi Sardjono
Illustration of the figure of ‘gowok’ on the cover of Nyai Gowok (2014) by Budi Sardjono

These literary works peel back the layers of a tradition that was prevalent in the early 20th century, known as “gowok.” Though the exact origins of this tradition remain elusive, it is believed to have thrived in the Banyumas region of Java.

Dyah Siti Septiningsih, in her journal titled “Gowokan, Persiapan Pernikahan Laki-Laki Banyumas,” (Gowokan, Preparation for Banyumas Male Marriage) delves into the intricacies of Pergowokan. According to Dyah, gowok was a profession undertaken by women, typically aged 23-30, who imparted knowledge about sexual relationships to young men (adolescents) preparing for marriage.

The interaction between the gowok and her “students,” referred to as gowokan, was a vital part of this tradition, rooted in the traditional Banyumas way of life. The groom-to-be, known as the “guru laki,” or head of the household, underwent comprehensive training in preparation for marriage.

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The novels and Dyah’s journal reveal the steps leading up to the Pergowokan ritual. After the proposal is accepted, both the groom’s and bride’s families select a gowok for the educational process. Upon mutual agreement, the families engage in a transaction, including a dowry and additional gifts as per the arrangement.

Excerpt from the movie 'The Dancer'.
Excerpt from the movie ‘The Dancer’.

The groom is then escorted to the gowok’s residence, where he learns about married life, the nuances of maintaining a household, and the personal aspects of a woman’s body. The gowok, in essence, prepares the young man for his wedding night, ensuring he approaches the experience with confidence.

Despite its controversial nature, with Dutch colonialists viewing gowok as a demeaning tradition, it was preserved by the priyayi (nobility). Over time, influenced by the rise of Islamic culture in Banyumas, this tradition gradually faded into history, leaving behind only echoes of its existence.

Now, here comes the exciting part! If you’re a first-time traveler to Java and want to delve into its rich history and culture, look no further than Java Private Tour. Why? Well, besides having English-fluent, friendly, and knowledgeable guides, Java Private Tour offers flexibility tailored to your preferences.

Not only do they boast certified local guides, but they also provide a range of private vehicles, from sedans to buses, ensuring a comfortable and personalized experience. The professional and licensed team at Java Private Tour has even earned recommendations from foreign embassies, attesting to their exceptional service.

For you, dear wanderer, Java Private Tour is not just a tour operator; it’s your compass to navigate the cultural wonders of Java. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the past with a touch of modern comfort – because with Java Private Tour, your journey becomes more than a trip; it becomes a captivating tale of discovery. BOOK HERE to start planning your adventure today!

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