Growing Up Sexually





Index Africa Kenya Tiriki


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



Sexual intercourse before circumcision is prohibited (Wagner, 1949;[1] Sangree, 1966; Kertzer, 1978:p1092)[2].At the night before circumcision, held every five year, the initiand “is questioned in detail about any sexual activity he may have either with other people or with animals. Sodomy and sexual connexions with children animals are stringently forbidden everyone, while only males who have been circumcised are permitted to have sexual intercourse with mature females”. When he confesses, he must pay a fine, under the threat that he would bleed to death when circumcised if he had not done so (Sangree). The taboo is not paralleled for females. “[…] the prevalent Tikiri view vis-à-vis females on this score is comparable to that held in some of the rural and isolated regions of the United States, which American wags have summed up as, “If they’re big enough, they’re old enough”. Intercourse with a girl who has not started to menstruate or who has not yet developed her secondary sexual characteristics is considered a serious and dangerous deviation from the natural (luswa), and the man involved is regarded as the one primarily at fault. Other than this no regularly maintained sanctions exist regulating the time of a female’s introduction to active heterosexuality” (p65).













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] Wagner, G. (1949) The Bantu of North Kavirondo. Vol.1. London: OxfordUniversity Press

[2] Sangree, W. H. (1966) Age, Prayer, and Politics in Tiriki, Kenya. New York: OxfordUniversity Press; Kertzer, A. F. (1978) Transitions Over the Life Course: Lessons from Age-Set Societies, Am J Sociol 83,5:1081-104