Differing from the rapid political, economic, and social conquests, the conquest of indigenous sexuality was often a long and deeply contested arena of indigenous-Spanish encounters. The roots of what can be called the “sexual conquest” of the Yucatec Maya began with the initial missions of the Franciscan friars. The earliest friars produced vocabularies, grammars, sermons, and confession manuals as tools for their missionary effort. By analyzing these missionary creations, we can approach an understanding of the friars' views of Maya sexuality. The Maya, however, often took the missionary teachings concerning proper and improper sexual activities, and through the lens of their own cultural concepts of sexuality and sexual relations they manipulated them for their own purposes. This paper will examine how the knowledge of the “sins of the fathers” served both the missionaries and the Maya in their struggle for control over the complex nature of evolving colonial sexuality.

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