Have you heard about the Gunung Kemukus aka the ‘Sex Mountain’ of Central Java in Indonesia? Most probably not, because it is a tightly-held religious secret that followers are practicing since the 16th century. So, what is so strange about it? People go to the mountains for a honeymoon. You perceptual barrier won’t allow you to think beyond that, not your fault. Here is the surprise element for you. People go to this sex mountain to have sex with random strangers. Yes, you read it right ‘strangers.’

Wait, it isn’t over yet. It is not just about that one lucky blind-date. People go there to have sex not once, not twice, but seven consecutive times every 35 days for the mythical religious fortunes to work in your favor. If you are thinking, this is just some kind of tribal practice, sorry you are wrong here. People come here from far-flung areas of all social and economic strata in hope of change in fortune. According to reports, in the busy nights the footfall on this sex mountain increases to 8,000. So, it is not just a coincidence, but a well-established practice of sex with random strangers.

Here is the extra dose of surprise for you, especially if you know about the religious fabric of Indonesia, which is predominantly as an Islamic republic. In Islamic society sex out of wedlock is considered as taboo, or rather irreligious. So, how come this practice of sex on the mountain top is surviving since the 16th century? If you go the stats of unknown participants, which include married men, government servants, housewives, and prostitutes, among several others, it is more intriguing. Is it just luck, fortune or something else?

Just like other places of gender skewness, here also the followers of the ritual are heavily tilted in favor of men. There us paucity of women as compared to men. This gives birth to the commercial sex activity in the name of religious fortune.

It is a fact that all myths survive with a very story narrative. Here you have a very interesting story full of royal characters, extramarital affair, sex, treachery, sacrifice, violence, and of course unfulfilled dreams.

It is said in local folklore that in the 16th century, a young Indonesian prince named Pangeran Samodro had an affair with his stepmother Queen Nyai Ontrowulan. They were so deep and pure in their relationship that they choose to sacrifice the royal luxury and escape to the mountain. Unfortunately, they were caught when they had sex and mid-coitus they were slaughtered and buried.

The story survived because it had sex, unfulfilled dream and passion of never-ending love. To carry the story forward, people built a shrine and popularized the myth of unfulfilled passion and how one could find fortunes by having unlimited sex with random strangers on the top of the mountain. The most important aspect of the whole fortune-seeking saga is that the participants are from all religious background including Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christians. Interestingly, everyone from top to bottom knows about ongoing mountain top sex activity, which is adultery and illegal from a local law perspective but nobody comes in the way and the carnival goes on.

The contradiction of “sex mountain’ erupts like an active volcano if you try to dig a little deeper. The fortune is there but not as a heavenly gift but in terms of prostitution. People share a different kind of experiences, from turn round to just pleasure seeing, but this sex with “random stranger” at the mountain top deserves more detailed study on the specific mindset that derives pleasure in the guise of religion. It becomes more critical when local government and religious leaders prefer to overlook in the name of tradition. Thankfully, participants are now aware of the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases and they take all necessary precautions while enjoying mountain sex.

An article from WebMD talks about understanding STDs, read it.

One good thing happening now is that whole practice is slowly coming out of the religious or cultural identity and taking the shape of a sex hub. Now you have bars, karaoke, restaurants, and a small red-light district to keep religion free of the human animalistic burden.

Is there any other place in the place in the world where such practices are accepted? There are chances that there might be some if not mountain top, then must be in some other form. But what is the basic psychology behind this kind of socially acceptable activities beyond the logic of prostitution?

Sex With Stranger in Mountain

If we take some clue from the above story and practice of fortune-seeking, it leads us to three aspects namely sex, stranger and the mountain. Is there any symbolic correlation, if yes then what are those correlations?

  • Sex & the Location 

Sex is a universal reality, people enjoy intimate moment moments even in harshest of the weather conditions. The basic trigger is the essence of love, if not love then definitely the hormone-induced bodily requirement which varies from person to person. Ideally, speaking the only thing that matters for sex is the basic minimum physical comfort so that one could enjoy the moment without pain.

What about the moral or ethical comfort? You can’t have sex with your partner in the drawing-room in front of others, but the same activity will be acceptable if you are in the bedroom. So, it is relative acceptance of location for sexual activity. In relatively rigid societies, some practices flourish only because they get moral sanctions from religious authorities to have the geographical approvals. In the case of Sex Mountain, it flourished only because of the moral sanction that came from the religious fortune-seeking.

  • Sex With Stranger 

Even if you have the moral, ethical or religious sanction related to location or geography, how is it possible to have sex with a random stranger only because someone said that it brings fortune? This is not what many of the research shows, especially when it comes to women.

According to a 1993 study of Oliver & Hyde, men are much more eager for casual sex than women are and the same trend was verified in 2010 by Petersen & Hyde. In a 2013 study, Tappé et al. established it further that men are more aggressive in wanting to have sex with complete and total strangers.

The real-life test conducted in 1989 by Clark and Hatfield demonstrated that about 75% of men agreed to have sex with strangers, whereas no women i.e. 0% agreed. Same was re-established by Hald and Høgh-Olesen in 2010 study in Denmark showing that 59% of men agreed to have sex with stranger while in case of women it was 0%. Why so? What is the driving force behind this kind of choice, especially when we are saying that the world is progressively feminist? Strangely, the reason shared by most of the respondent wasn’t averseness to the idea of sex but the safety involved in the activity.

So, if women get the social, moral, ethical or religious safety net, will they be more open to having sex with an unknown partner? It is tough to deduce such inferences, as there isn’t any real-life situation to do such realistic studies.

If we take Mountain Sex as an example, this could be one of the several factors that could be the reason behind the openness towards the sex with a random stranger, not once but seven times in cycles of 35 days. However, a 2010 study by Survey and Conohan established that despite the assurance of safety from pregnancy, stigma, or disease, the majority of women shows averseness to have sex with a stranger.

It has been proven from social studies that cognitively and emotionally, men normally have a higher level of sexual fantasies involving sex with strangers and multiple opposite-sex partners as compared to women. Meaning, men will try more experimentation with a variety of bodies as compared to women.

This explains why there is an overflow of fortune seeker men in Sex Mountain then women. Of course, the demand-supply gap is demystifying the logic of fortune from sex as several men are using the same body to seek fortune.

  • Social Endorsement 

This is the single biggest factor that motivates or demotivate people to try something new or out of the box. If we see it in the context of drug abuse and social endorsement of marijuana in recent time, you could easily find the correlation between the Mountain Sex and the socio-religious sanctions. In the name of religion, one can sale even poison saying it is a remedy of all worries and people will happily buy it. Why religion has such a deep impact on the human psyche? Is it fear of unknown or just a sense of insecurity?

One simply cannot take the life-long religious learning away from someone. One can learn the art to resist the temptation to follow or not to follow some rituals or activities, but the resistance itself symbolizes that religious learning is there to burst when the situation demands. In the case of Mountain Sex, the 300+ years of religion sanctioned practice triggers people to seek fortunes through sex with a random stranger on a mountain top. The only visible solution in the contemporary world is awareness, which could be easily achieved in the era of digital penetration.

Humans are conditioned to seek pleasure through sex with an ultimate goal of recreation. There is nothing wrong in having more than one partner, but it is up to an individual how s/he manages those relationships in the short and long term. The studies indicate that women are open to having sexual relation only when they know the person because sex isn’t just about the body but emotions. You are always on a mountain of hope, with full knowledge of the fact the mountain shrinks following the eruption. Enjoy your moments!