Beauty and Sexuality in African Setting
Shyngle K Balogun
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Barnabas Ekpere Nwankwo
Caritas University, Enugu State, Nigeria
Henry Uchenna Okehie
Caritas University, Enugu State, Nigeria
Ezekiel Uchenna Aruoture
Caritas University, Enugu State, Nigeria


Afro-centric view
colonialism and Sexuality

How to Cite

Balogun, S., Nwankwo, B., Okehie, H., & Aruoture, E. (2024). Beauty and Sexuality in African Setting. Nigerian Journal of Social Psychology, 7(2). Retrieved from


African beauty and sexuality are deeply embedded in the continent's diverse cultural, historical, and social landscapes, reflecting a rich array of traditions and values. This essay looks into the concepts of beauty and sexuality within African settings, revealing unique cultural diversity, historical influences, and contemporary dynamics. Beauty standards in African settings vary significantly, with different communities valuing unique physical traits such as facial features, body shapes, and skin tones. Skin tone preferences can also differ, with some cultures influenced by colonial legacies favoring lighter skin, while many others celebrate darker skin as a sign of heritage and identity. Adornments like jewelry, scarification, and body painting play significant roles in expressing beauty, status, and identity. Sexuality in African settings is equally diverse and shaped by a variety of factors including traditional beliefs, religious teachings, and contemporary influences. Practices and expressions of sexuality are influenced by rites of passage, marriage customs, and community norms, with some societies placing a strong emphasis on modesty and others celebrating more overt expressions of sexuality. However, Colonialism has significantly reshaped understandings of beauty and sexuality in Africa, with colonial rulers often imposing Western standards of beauty, marginalizing traditional African aesthetics and practices. This has led to a pervasive preference for Eurocentric features in many African societies today. This has resulted in a complex blending of traditional and colonial values, creating a contemporary landscape where African beauty and sexuality are continuously renegotiated. Finally, through this exploration, the essay uncovers the intersections of tradition and modernity, resilience and adaptation, and the ongoing dialogue between cultural heritage and global influences in defining beauty and sexuality across Africa.