I'll second this recommendation. To build off what Snorri has already said: Personal autonomy for women was akin to modern, U. This, of course, applied to men as well as women and started from a relatively young age early teens. While such activities were acceptable in Cherokee society early on, it was a common complaint among the Euro-American missionaries that were trying to establish schools in the area. Cherokee historian James Adair also understood Cherokee women to be allowed the honor of promiscuity, noting that there were no punishments for adulterous women.
In fact, most Cherokee men wouldn't argue over adulterous women because it was deemed to be "beneath" them Louis-Philippe. Men could have multiple wives usually two and usually sisters or cousins, ie two women from the same clan. That was another thing Euro-American missionaries complained about all the time.
While pre-marital sex was fairly common, after marriage there was an expectation that sex would remain within the confines of the marriage. But, as Snorri said, there was usually no mechanism of punishing either party if they went outside the marriage, except divorce which was readily available for either partner though women were said to fight more fiercely if some extraneous lover tried to steal her husband away.
While some marriages lasted lifetimes, others lasted only weeks. While Perdue doesn't mention it in her book, I wonder if these short-lived marriages are actually a distinct class of "marriages" related to those mentioned in Barbara Mann's Iroquoian Women which is focused on the Haudenosaunee and Wendat rather than the Cherokee. I'll discuss that in another post, but here, I'll just mention that among the Northern Iroquoians there was a tradition of almost-marriages before actual-marriages, a distinction frequently lost on Euro-Americans.
Whether their Southern Iroquoian cousins shared this tradition once upon a time, I can't say. Sexual encounters would, indeed, occur in the beanfields and other places of a relatively private nature Purdue.
A slight misrepresentation of what Purdue says probably because of the rush Snorri was in. While sex in the fields certainly occurred from time to time, it wasn't a proper place for such activities as it made the future use of the fields and the consumption of the crops "problematic," to use Purdue's word. Purdue cites the "pollutiing" influence of semen and bodily fluids in general as the reason for this.
I'm not a big fan of using the word "polluting" here, as it implies a certain unclean connotation. Dalliances in the fields were blamed for the rise of post-contact epidemics, for example.