Growing Up Sexually





Index AfricaNigeria Borroro Fulani


Featured: Badjju, Nupe, Hausa, Kadara, Kagoro, Efik, Tiv, Kanuri, Ijaw/ Ijo, Bini, Marghi, Jekri, Lala, Kofjar, Ibibio, Woodabe Fulani, Borroro Fulani, Ibo[ Afikpo Igbo, Asaba Ibo], Rukuba, Irigwe, Yakoe, Igbira, Igala, Orri, Dakarkaki


Wilson-Haffenden on the Shuwalbe group of the Borroro Fulani, in Northern Nigeria (1927:p287)[1]: “Adulterous intercourse with a married woman, other than a fellow age-mate still within the years of childhood, is usually not condoned […]. Sexual relations between age-mates (married or not), however, are condoned provided the parties are still within the years of childhood, which are regarded as terminated in the case of a girl about one year from the date of reaching marriageable age, or, roughly, from the date on which members of her age-class start to give birth”. Wilson-Haffenden (1930:p114, 116)[2]: “[a] custom of permitting an element of sexual laxity, or in other words condoning sexual “play” or intercourse, between age-mates still within the years of childhood-whether betrothed or not- at certain festivals exists at the present day among the pagan Borroros, but not among the Muslim Fulani”. Among the nomadic Fulani children are betrothed at ages seven to ten in the case of girls, and from three to ten in the case of boys (De Sainte Croix, 1945/1972:p38-9)[3], a practice named koggal. Marriage follows at ages fourteen, or at puberty (girls), and seventeen (boys), with a preferred age differences of three years.















Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Wilson-Haffenden, J. R. (1927) Ethnological Notes on the Shuwalbe Group of the Borroro Fulani in the Kurafi District of Keffi Emirate, Northern Nigeria, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 57:275-93

[2] Wilson-Haffenden, J. R. (1930) The Red Men of Nigeria. London: Seeley, Service & Co.

[3] Sainte Croix, F. W. de (1945) The Fulani of Northern Nigeria. Lagos: Government Printer. Also 1972 ed., Westmead: Gregg