Paradoxes of Female Sexuality in Mali
Arnfred Page 178 Wednesday, March 3, 2004 2:38 PM
mixed lotions and ointments that lubricate, cleanse and smooth the female genitalia. Different types of these ‘love concoctions’ are put, usually secretly, in the groom’s daily food to boost sexual desire and reinforce sexual performance. The purpose of all these products called maya-dyalan1 and the matching erotic behaviours, is to make the bride sexually attractive and sustain the groom’s sexual pleasure. This practical assistance is backed up by a psychological preparation of the virgin bride to discover and enjoy sex. For the sexually active bride, the mental preparation seeks to influence her sexual behaviour and her perception of a sexual partner.
These practices of the nuptial advisor vary slightly when the bride is already pregnant, due to the delayed traditional ceremonies which takes place well after the celebration of the civil or Islamic marriage. Pregnant brides are exempted from the purging and special diet, and they are kept in seclusion for three days only. There are some other modifications in the care provided to new couples, when the groom has already one or up to three other wives in conformity with his option for a polygamous marriage. In such a case, the coaching of the bride stays as it is normally, and the husband still get his revitalizing potions. In addition, he is reminded of the rules of the game: night shift among his wives and attending correctly to each one’s economic and sexual needs. Meanwhile, he is required to stay three straight days in the nuptial room with his new wife. The bride may stay on, to continue the process of initiation into married life. In general, the magnonmakan focuses her actions on the bride’s needs and behaviour. The groom benefits mostly from the advice on good marriage relationships and the add-on virility received through the concoctions put in his meals. Some grooms or brides give feedback, for the magnonmakan to take into account their hints and complaints. When the groom is a first-timer, he benefits from more guidance and supervision from the nuptial advisor. There are a few cases of male magnonmakan whose role is to coach the groom, and work hand in hand with his female counterpart.
Kognio wuluni is the nickname given to the young female relative of the bride, who stays with her during the week of the marriage and often lives with her afterward.