Growing Up Sexually





Index Africa Kenya Samburu


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


Subincision is performed by Samburu herdboys around age seven to ten (Margetts, 1960)[1]. The boys operate on themselves, and sometimes on their peers. The operation is attributed to custom, to efforts to differentiate the male urine stream from the female (both sexes squat during micturation), and, according to five informants, to make ejaculation faster. Later, circumcision follows. According to Spencer (1965)[2], heterosexual play is punished severely, and the sexes are separated early. Homosexual practices are an every-day occurrence at the cattle posts, and are regarded as normal. Adolescent morans [warriors] have mistresses who are invited to their clubs. A very strict intergenerational avoidance is requested of the girl.













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] Margetts, E. L. (1960) Sub-incision of the urethra in the Samburu of Kenya, East Afr Med J 37,2:105-8

[2] Spencer, P. (1965) The Samburu: A Study of Gerontocracy in a Nomadic Tribe. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Also cited by Michl (2002:p251-2)