IES: Egypt






IndexMiddle East Supra-Saharan Africa Egypt→ Nubians



Godard (1867:p85-8, cited by Jacobus X…, 1893 [1898, II:p93-5])[1] stated that “[i]n Nubia girls are married at the age of from eight to ten years, but the husband does not lie with them”. Rather, the future husband verifies virginity digitally, and performs digital dilatation himself.

Kennedy (1970:181[2]; cf. 1978[3]): “The Nubia argue that the only way to blunt the inherent sexual wildness of girls and to preserve their chastity is through this means [clitoridectomy, infibulation], though there is no medical evidence that any diminishing effect on desire is actually produced (Barclay, 1964:p238; Bonaparte, 1952:p68-73)[[4]]”. Male and female circumcision was further thought to promote general health, fertility, cleanliness (“When the child begins to scratch himself, that is the time to arrange for his circumcision”[5]), and aesthetics.










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

Last revised: Sept 2004




[1] Op.cit.

[2] Kennedy, J. G. (1970) Circumcision and Excision in Egyptian Nubia, Man, New Series, 52:175-91

[3]Kennedy, J. G. (1978) Circumcision and Excision Ceremonies, in Kennedy, J. G. (Ed.) Nubian Ceremonial Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, p151-70

[4] Barclay, H. B. (1964) Buuri al Lamaab. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univeristy Press; Bonaparte, M. (1952) Notes on excision, in Róheim, G. (Ed.) Psychoanalysis and the Social Sciences. Vol. 2. New York: International University Press, p67-83. Reprinted from Rev Franç Psychanal 12(1948):213-31

[5] A reference to “mental” cleanliness is omitted here.