Growing Up Sexually





Index AfricaNigeria Ijo


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


Hollis and Leis (1989:p117[-26])[1]: “There is no prohibition of sexual play in this age group [4-6y], and informants recount tales of games in which little boys compare penis lengths and examine the anatomical difference in little girls”. Adult sex is not to be observed, but nonetheless, “when a four-year-old imitates the movements he saw his father performing the night before, adults shriek with laughter. Sex for the Ijo does not appear to be hedged with guilt and sin, compared to the dictates of the Judaeo-Christian heritage”. Parents, however, do not approve of adolescents’ petting, which appear to arise at age 15 or 16 for both sexes, since they fear pregnancy (cf. Hollos and Leis, 1986)[2]. Leis (1972:p55-6)[3]: “Parents say they regard five- to eight-year-old children as relatively sexless. Yet boys play with their penises in public with impunity while girls would be severely chastised if they touch their own genitals”. Later, the children are placed in separate beds out of fear for intercourse.













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] Hollis, M. & Leis, Ph. E. (1989) Becoming Nigerian in Ijo Society. New Brunswick (etc.): RutgersUniversity Press

[2] Hollis, M. & Leis, Ph. E. (1986) Descent and permissive adolescent sexuality in two Ijo communities, Ethos 14, 4:395-408

[3] Leis, Ph. E. (1972) Enculturation and Socialization in an IjawVillage. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston