IndexAfricaSenegal → Toucouleur


“Sans doute, durant la période pré-pubertaire, les enfants toucouleur sont généralement tenus pour asexués” (Wane, 1971:p223)[1]. Children observe parental intercourse and animals but might they imitate any act they are immediately given a memorable correction. There is a strict obedience to Islamic teachings. Adolescents are permitted to play husband and wife (suka-sehil) which is regarded as immature courtship or flirtation and does not lead to consummation or marriage (p225).

Schenkel (1971:p322-7)[2] has some notes on Senegalese sexuality in childhood. Mothers are “obsessed with the virile potency of her infant”, and eager to watch his erection. Childhood “impotence” is though by the Serer to be caused by the spilling of milk on the boy’s penis[3]. Enuresis is thought to be associated with impotence. Automanipulation of the penis is discouraged by threats of castration and circumcision. If anything, people say it “resembles the sexual act”. “Numerous informants” declared that during boy’s circumcision the first sexual interactions are had.



“[l]’enfant est très vite en contact avec la vie sexuelle de l’adulte, la promiscuité étant très grande. On considère ici que l’enfant de 5 ans a pris connaissance de l’acte sexuele, et qu’il essaye d’imiter les grands en invitant une petite amie. Situation que nous avons pu d’ailleurs observer plusieurs fois. De nombreux billets circulent entre élèves de 8 à 12 ans, invitant à accomplir l’acte sexuel, dessins très précis à l’appui”.


17.6% of men and 7.4% of women had their first sexual experience between ages five and ten (p360). 19.6% of men and none of females would have learned about impotence between ages five to ten (p346f), generally from age mates. A strict rule forbids sexual communication between age segments.















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] Wane, Y. (1971) Sexualité et continence prenuptiale chez les toucouleur du Senegal, Africa 41,3:223-7

[2] Schenkel, R. (1971) Le vecu de la vie sexuelle chez les Africains accultures du Senegal, a partir des notions d’impuissance et de puissance sexualle, Psychopathol Afr 7,3:313-88

[3] The same is noted for the Fulani. See Johnson, M. C. (2000) The view from the Wuro: a guide to child rearing for Fulani parents, in DeLoache, J. & Gottlieb, A. (Eds.) A World of Babies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p175-98, at p188