IndexAfricaKenya → Kuria


Featured : Pokomo, Amwimbe, Kore, Kuria, Masai, N’Jemp, Ariaal Rendille, Kamba, Tiriki, Chuka, Maragoli, Kikuyu, Kipsigis, Gusii, Luo, Meru, Samburu, Tuken, Nandi; ®Iteso


Today, no sexual instruction is given to girls prior to marriage[1].


Girls learn details of what happens between a man and a woman from a classmate who is already married and experiencing the range of marital relations. Though I have not been personally privy to these conversations, as adolescents respected me, I am told that this is often the most detailed and graphic description of sexual activity girls are given. From any other quarter (e.g., grandparents, sisters-in-law, brother’s wives, and so on) the discussion of sexual activity happens after a girl is married and sexually active, rather than before, in preparation. For boys, the most frequent mentors regarding sexual behavior are peers, and reportedly, their interaction regarding these matters is primarily based on hearsay, as is the sex talk among adolescents everywhere. But as Kuria adolescents are increasingly exposed to information about sexual activity from authorities such as radio, newspapers, and political and civic leaders, sex talk increasingly involves the hazards of promiscuous sexuality and the spread of disease, particularly of HIV-AIDS, although other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, are significant ingredients of the local sexual scene.


“Parents have their daughters circumcised when they are still premenstrual because they fear their daughters becoming pregnant before circumcision, an unhappy circumstance that led in the past to the girl’s lifelong expulsion from the community. Though no one interviewed remembered this actually happening, the reason was given repeatedly, maybe because parents know that young people are sexually active before they marry” […] An interesting caveat to the information regarding sexual practices is that, though most women say they were not sexually active until their marriage and that their marriage took place at the age of eighteen, when asked at what age young women begin to have sex these days, the modal answer was at twelve years (20% gave this age, 17% each gave fourteen and fifteen each, with thirteen being the fourth most frequently given response at 15%)”.











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] Prazak, M. (2000) Talking about Sex: Contemporary Construction of Sexuality in Rural Kenya, Africa Today 47,3-4:83-97, at p89