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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Polyandry: 5 Places Where Women Have More Than One Husband

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It isn’t uncommon for men to take more than one wife. This practice dates as far back as the creation of humanity. King Solomon in the Bible even had 700 wives recorded. Many men from different cultural backgrounds are known to continue this marital trend just like their forefathers did.

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Nevertheless, it might come as a shock to discover that women not only date more than one man but marry them as well, just as men do. This practice is known as polyandry and it’s a type of polygamy where women take two or more men as husbands, at the same time.

Fraternal polyandry, for instance, is practiced in countries like Nepal, among Tibetans, northern India and some parts of China, where two or more brothers are maritally united with one the same wife.

This one woman has equal “sexual freedom” to her husbands. In this article, I’d be talking about five countries and the tribes where polyandry is practiced below:


There are few tribes in Nigeria that practice polyandry, even though it is very uncommon in the country. The “Irigwe” women from the northern region of the country have are traditionally allowed to have as many spouses as possible. These spouses are regarded as “co-husbands”.

The women from this tribe carried on with the act of going from one house to another, having as many spouses as possible, and even having children with them. The children’s paternal responsibilities however, was assigned to the husband whose home the woman lived with at that moment.

The Irigwe people stopped this practice as the council voted to outlaw it back on 1968.


India is a large country that housed many tribes practicing polyandry. It is very common in the some parts of North India in the Jaunsarbawar region by Paharis while in Kinnaur, and a minority of the people of Himachal also practice polyandry.

The decendants of the Pachi Pandavas -which comprised of five brothers who were husband to a woman known as Draupadi, the daughter of the great King Panchala-, believed it is left to carry on with the tradition like their forefathers did.

The Toda tribe of Nilgtis, some Nair caste systems majored in the Southern part of India and Najanad Vellala of Travancore have also been known to practice polyandry. The Tibet university carried a study in 1988 on 753 Tibetan families and discovered that about 13% of them practiced polyandry.

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Back in 2013, Kenyans witnessed polyandry when two men decided it was best to marry a woman they both loved.

It may be an unorthodox practice for them but fortunately, the laws in the country doesn’t go against polyandry and no legal action was taken against those who practice it. There has also been known cases of polyandry among the Massai Nilotic people of Kenya.


Fraternal polyandry is very common among Tibetans in Nepal parts of India and China. There’s a belief among them that a child can have more than a father. Usually, when two or more men or brothers get married to one woman, they all have equal sexual  privileges to her.

This practice promoted especially if the family isn’t financially buoyant and dividing properties amongst their offsprings of different fathers might pose a problem. They simply make do with their small farms and properties by getting married to one woman.

South America

The Bororo tribes in South America also practice polyandry as up to 72 percent of the Amazonian cultures strongly believe in the concept of multiple paternity. Another tribe that is in on the action is the Tupi-Kawahib and they practice fraternal polyandry as well.

What countries and what tribe do you know of that practice polyandry? Care to tell us about them? Share your thoughts in our comments. Thanks.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.

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