Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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Combining fieldwork research with textual analysis, this paper investigates the role of traditional Thai folk songs in teaching sexuality and sex education in contemporary Thai society. Although this mode of teaching is not formally included in school curricula, folk songs have easily lent themselves to the role of education and the transmission of cultural values. They are filled with humour, easy to remember, and do not challenge prevailing Thai moral standards. This paper shows how folk songs have long been an important way for Thai people to learn about sexual desire, the functioning of sexual organs, intercourse, sexual behaviour, courtship and reproduction, as well as the roles of husband and wife in marriage. Through a close reading of their musical composition, lyrics and symbols, the paper analyses the double role of folk songs in the transmission of knowledge about sex and the sexual body, as well as strengthening the notion of an essential Thai sense of aesthetics and way of life.

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