Growing Up Sexually





Index Africa Zambia Luvale


Featured: Kaonde, Nkoya, Tonga, Ila, Bemba, M’wemba, Ndembu, Mambwe / Amambwe, Luvale, Lozi


In an effort to delay menarche, girls are told not to run around the village or lie down on their stomachs (White, 1953)[1]. Premarital virginity is not expected of girls and many have sexual relations prior to puberty (White, 1962)[2]. Unlike the Bemba, there is an obvious association of detailed sexual instruction and the puberty rituals. If not betrothed by the time of the ceremony, a young man has to be found who will have sexual intercourse with her as a finale “to remove the taint of growing up” (1962:p14) (cf. Kikuyu). Ritual intercourse is important at the end of both boy’s and girl’s ceremonies (White et al., 1958)[3]. Additional preparations include the administration of aphrodisiac herbs, intravaginal medicines, steaming of the vagina, and love potions. During seclusion, defloration (if necessary) and macronymphia is practised (White, 1953).

Prepubertal marriage is less common than in the past. When it does happen, in contrast to the past, the girls will have prepubertal intercourse with their husband.









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] White, C. M. N. (1953) Conservatism and modern adaptation in luvale female puberty ritual, Africa 23,1:15-23

[2] White, C. M. N. (1962) Tradition and Change in Luvale Marriage. Rhodes-Livingstone Papers no. 34. Manchester: MUP

[3] White, C. M. N., Chinjavata, J. & Mukwato, L. E. (1958) Comparative aspects of Luvale female puberty ritual, Afr Stud 17,4:204-20