The boys are removed from their mothers and all women at the age of seven, and placed in a special house in which they subsist with other males for the next ten years. They go through a six stage initiation and here is what they have to look forward to:
The first stage is when the boys are removed from their mothers and are then inducted into the men’s cult in a ceremony that lasts for seven days with 18 rituals, or ordeals, to which these young boys are subjected.
On the first day they are taken from their mothers and walked for several hours to the "dance grounds", which is also known as the "small village".
When they arrive, a gang of men hem the boys in beside a pool in the brook. A war leader picks out a sharp stick of cane and sticks it deep inside the boys nostrils until he bleeds profusely into the stream of a pool, an act greeted by loud war cries. This is repeated for each boy.
If the initiate tries to escape he will be treated worst then the others - this brutality is certainly overwhelming and astonishing. Older men now tell the boys that the bachelors are going to copulate with them orally in order to make them grow. The whole purpose of this is because several elders testify that boys are unable to mature into men unless they ingest semen and that all men have, “eaten the penis”. After formal ceremonies end, the bachelors make erotic advances to the boys and homosexual activity takes place outside on the darkened dance ground. "Not all initiates will participate in this ceremonial homosexual activity, but in about five days later several will have perform fellatio several times." It is quite astonishing to see the men who are known to be so prudish to participate in homosexual activity so openly and welcoming. Boys would even seek out their favorite bachelors by openly stimulating their genitalia. There is no doubt that the first and second stage initiates have developed an erotic attraction toward their inseminators.
The second stage does not change the boy’s status at all. It is in a way a continuation of the first stage. The boys continue to take in as much semen as possible which will later make them strong, fierce warriors and leaders. All of the foods that the initiates were now supposed to eat are now served in a wonderful feast, which the boys gather around and eat. This is a time to reward the boys of their efforts to become men while still not being able to be around women because they are considered emasculating in several ways. The second stage has no great significant difference from the first initiation other than the reward that is given to the boys from the food taboo. "They are certainly beginning to get the hang of what is going to happen to them in the future and hopefully they will be able to continue the process and hold on for this crazy ride from boy to man."
The third stage, in contrast, brings about a very important change in the youth’s status and activities. It is a puberty rite that marks adolescences. The boys become bachelors and shift from being inseminated to becoming inseminators. The adolescents are severely beaten and nose bled. They are taken to certain trees where they are whipped and purified from any female contamination that could have possible taken place between the times that they left. "After the boys are thrashed with quill bones and are violently and unexpectedly subjected to another nose bleed, another step in this initiation is to capture a woman foe in the hamlet and kill an enemy warrior. After the warrior must ingest his semen, the semen in essence of the masculine spirit, would transfer to the enemy and slower and strengthen the dying enemy."
The forth stage occurs when he is married, usually to a bride obtained by his father or older brothers. A youth will not start living with this bride until shortly before or after her menarche, the first menstrual period, occurring during puberty. However, he is now told how to protect himself from "women’s genital odor". While having intercourse he must not penetrate too deeply because if it enters her urethra it might make him ill. "A ceremony now links the youth’s growth, strength, as that of a specific tree. This is where the youth is now exposed to the women after he has been forewarned about every dangerous thing that a women can posses against a man."
The fifth stage of initiation now takes about at the time of his wife’s menarche. His nose is now bled once more by himself and he learns in great detail how to protect himself from his "wife’s pollution" in greater detail. In certain cases he must place mint leaves in his nostrils and chew a certain branch while having intercourse with his wife so he will not smell his wife’s genital odor. After this, he must bathe in a bath of mud and bleed his nose each time his wife menstruates. He begins to be hostile with his wife because he is upset that he has to nose bleed each time she menstruates because she pollutes him and endangers his life. "The initiate is now a man who has been isolated from women for a 12 years; he has practiced homosexual fellatio, and has even had the dangers of vaginal intercourse readily. His young wife has been taught to practice fellatio before they even attempt to vaginal intercourse. She must ingest the semen given to her by her husband to later be able to provide from her child while producing breast milk and strong bones. It is believe that breast milk is transformed semen and therefore it is the men who indirectly nourish the baby."
The sixth stage of initiation bestows the full rights of manhood and takes place after the man has proven that he has achieved masculinity by having a child, and preferable two. "The man is instructed to refrain from any intercourse with the new mother and keep away from the child until it is weaned, a matter of several years. He does not need to bleed his nose anymore unless he has another wife to attend to." He must keep all his secrets of the male cult and be sure never to tell anyone about it, not even his wife because if that was to happen he will be castrated and killed.
This is certainly a very tough and long initiation process that takes place in Papau New Guinea. Unfortunately many boys have gone through this and have not been able to survive this tedious initiation. Those who have, are considered great warrior and are then the initiators of the next generation of initiates. The Sambia tribe is a very strict tribe when it comes to male masculinization. Most of the time the male’s life is spent in his ritual of initiation where he dies as a boy and is reborn as a man in a society where feminization is a degradable characteristic.
Info Source: The Sambia: Ritual, Sexuality, and Change in Papua New Guinea (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology) by Gilbert Herdt