Sexual rites of passage

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Numerous societies sexually initiate youths in traditional rites of passage - often with adult initiators. Diederik Janssen has compiled many such examples in his corpus.[1]

Initiation of girls in Africa

Sexual ‘cleansing’ is ceremony where a girl has sex as a cleansing ritual following the first menstruation, known in some regions of Malawi as kusasa fumbi, meaning "brushing off the dust".[2][3][4][5] This is also sometimes performed after an abortion. In Malawi, the practice of sexual cleansing is largely confined to Salima, Chikwawa, and Nsanje District. It is also practiced in parts of Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Ivory Coast, and Congo.[6]


Prepubescent girls are often sent to a training camp where women known as anamkungwi or "key leaders" teach how to cook, clean and have sex to be a wife.[7] After the training, a hyena is a traditional position held by a man who performs the cleansing for females usually aged 12–17 years, and gets paid from $4 to $7 each time.[8] The rite lasts for three days. Sometimes, the girl is required to perform an explicit dance bare breasted known as chisamba at the end of their initiation as they are being presented to the whole community.

In a three month ritual known as Chinamwali in the Eastern province of Zambia, female initiators known as Alangizi teach sex skills to girls as young as 12. Much is underreported and those undergone the ritual are sworn to secrecy. After the training, they are sent to an older man from the community who is a tester who tests their skills in sex and sees if they need to go back to training.[9]

Western NGO intervention

In the era of widespread HIV infection, and western imperialist intervention via nongovernmental organizations, various measures have been taken to modify or abolish these long-standing African traditions. The rites are sometimes believed by traditionalist Malawians for example, to prevent disease.[9] Initiators are selected for their moral character and are sometimes believed to be incapable of catching diseases such as HIV/AIDS. It should be cautioned that pharmaceuticals can now render a HIV-Positive person noninfectious, and it is unknown the extent to which these stories are cherry-picked and inflated by western NGOs.

Boy Insemination

Initiation rites of prepubescent boys as young as seven among groups in the highlands of New Guinea involved sexual acts with older males. Fellatio and semen ingestion is found among the Sambia, the Baruya and Etoro. Among the Kaluli people, this involves anal sex to deliver semen to the boy. These rites often revolve around beliefs that women represent a cosmic disorder.[10] This rite of ‘boy insemination’ was also found among societies in aboriginal Australia, ancient Greece and Tokugawa Japan.[11]

See also

External links