Growing Up Sexually


VANUATU, New Hebrides (Melanesia)

IndexPacificsMelanesiaNew HebridesVanuatu

Featured: Big Nambas, Tanna, Mewun


A boy-wife system is said to have been existent in on the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), especially in Northern and Eastern Oba, Maevo and Northern Pentecoast (Corlette, 1935:p486[1]; Allen, 1984)[2]. Humphreys (1926)[3] states that girls were betrothed at birth, and that they are usually given to their mother’s brother’s sons as wives.












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

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Corlette, E. A. C. (1935) Notes on the natives of the New Hebrides, Oceania 5:474-87

[2] Allen, M. (1984) Homosexuality, male power and political organisation in North Vanuatu: a comparative analysis, in Herdt, G. (Ed.) Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia. University of California Press

[3] Humphreys, C. B. (1926) The Southern New Hebrides: An Ethnological Record. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press. Cited by Seligman, B. Z. (1928) Asymmetry in Descent, with Special Reference to Pentecost, J Royal Anthropol Instit Great Britain & Ireland 58:533-58, see p551