Growing Up Sexually


TIV (NIGERIA) (-,-,-,-,-,-;-,-) (EHRAF



Index AfricaNigeria Tiv


Featured: Badjju, Nupe, Hausa, Kadara, Kagoro, Efik, Tiv, Kanuri, Ijaw/ Ijo, Bini, Marghi, Jekri, Lala, Kofjar, Ibibio, Woodabe Fulani, Borroro Fulani, Ibo[ Afikpo Igbo, Asaba Ibo], Rukuba, Irigwe, Yakoe, Igbira, Igala, Orri, Dakarkaki



Formerly, a Tiv boy had his first experiences with a women who would have secretly “initiated him into the secrets and techniques of sexual relations” after circumcision at puberty; the occasion would be a secret between the boy and his mother, who pressures to boy into it. Bohannan (1954:p2)[1] states that women “say that the idea of sexual relations with an uncircumcised man is repugnant”, expressing their distaste in terms of cleanliness and, mostly, fastidiousness” (Circumcision was said to take place at age 7 to pubescence). At circumcision, an eight-year-old boy would ague: “Easy, easy, many women will weep if you err”. In the past mothers would tie a shell threaded onto a piece of cotton around the girl’s neck to insure she would come to full puberty without any boy touching her (East, 1939 [1965:p309])[2]. Puberty does not seem to be associated with transition rites, and proved altogether inconspicuous (Bohannan, 1958:p382-3)[3]. “When a girl first reaches puberty she will menstruate. The blood of the first menstruation is called iyoukyon. Some girls will go hide so that the other women will not know, though sometimes her mother knows. But there is little blood. Another girl will sleep with a man before the iyoukyon has occurred, and if her luck (ikôr) has not closed she will become pregnant. Other girls don’t sleep with men until they have passed blood” (Bohannan, 1969[4]:[p71]).













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] Bohannan, P. (1954) Circumcision Among the Tiv, Man 54:2-6

[2] East, R. (1939) Akiga’s Story. 1965 ed., London [etc.]: OxfordUniversity Press

[3] Bohannan, P. (1958) Three Source Notebooks in Tiv Ethnography. New Haven, Conn.: HRAF

[4] Bohannan, P. (1969) A Source Book on Tiv Religion in 5 Volumes. New Haven, Conn.: HRAF