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The Sambian people of Papua New Guinea practice one of the most bizarre cultures known to westernisation. A cultural anthropologist, Gilbert Herdt, has described their ritual act of initiation as “ritualised homosexuality.”
Once they turn seven or nine, they are taken away from their mothers. This process allows for the detachment of the boys from their mothers who it is believed has contaminated blood. Women are also said to possess powers (tingu) that make them easily manipulate men. The woman’s tingu is reinforced every time she undergoes her menstrual circle. As such, there is a need to deliver these boys via a blood-letting ceremony.
A sambian man at the first stage initiation. Photo: everything tourism
The blood-letting ceremony involves beating the boys with long sticks on their nostrils until they bleed. That way, the woman’s tingu is completely got rid of.
Once this is done, he is made to perform oral sex on the older ones which they do not stop until they take in the semen. Ingesting the semen will make them stronger. More so, they are kept aside for three years and maintain a strict diet to make them stronger. Defiance against this from the boys usually involves death.
Once they pass this stage, his father and kinsmen look for a wife for him. He has to wait until she has her first menstruation. While he awaits this, he is trained to disassociate himself from satisfying the woman fully because she might make him fall ill and die.
After he has relations with her, he undergoes another nose bleeding to purify himself of her illnesses.
It is only after she gives birth they stop this process and can be respected as warriors and full-grown men.
This tradition is kept as a secret by the male cult. Revealing it to his wife means castration and death.