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5 December 2014 / leggypeggy

Penis gourds rise to the occasion at the Goroka Show

Penis gourd men

All dressed up with not much on, except a scowling face on the chest and a penis gourd

Maybe you thought nothing could top the boobs of Papua New Guinea’s Goroka Show, but then you didn’t know about the penis gourds.

Called by a variety of names including kotekas, penis gourds are traditional items of ‘clothing’ worn by males from some highland tribes.

It’s rather disarming to encounter a group of penis gourd performers. They are clearly proud of both their physique and their gourds.

PNG penis gourd men

Dancing and prancing and singing

I’ve read that tribes can often be identified by the way they wear their gourds—pointed straight out, straight up, at an angle, or in other directions. Gourd size is also an indication of tribal allegiance. Apparently, here is little or no correlation between the size or length of the gourd and the social status of the wearer.

PNG penis gourd man with drum

Gourds of different sizes serve different purposes: very short one are worn when working—yes, gourd-wearing is not confined to special occasions only, when longer and more elaborate ones appear. In fact, Tim Flannery, in his book Throwim way leg, paints a delightful picture of a queue in a supermarket with impeccably dressed Indonesian soldiers, administrative types and nuns mixing with tribesmen who have to push their gourds to one side so they can read the checkout cash register.

Penis gourds are made from specially grown gourds. Stone weights are tied to the bottom of the gourd to stretch it out as it grows. Curves are made by using string to restrain growth in whatever direction the grower wishes. When harvested, the gourd is emptied and dried.

As the photos show, these gourds get all sorts of decorative treatments.

Penis gourds are a popular tourist souvenir, but Poor John had no interest in buying one.

PNG penis gourd man


Leave a Comment
  1. lmo58 / Dec 5 2014 9:07 pm

    Geez Peggy! I don’t know why Poor John wouldn’t want a penis gourd. I would have thought that it would have been just the thing for taking Indi up Mount Ainslie or going to the shops!

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2014 6:46 am

      I think he was afraid the dog’s lead might get caught in it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • jeanleesworld / Aug 10 2016 4:29 am

      That’s what I was thinking! I’m so glad I stumbled on this one. I understand the importance of respecting cultures, but…well, is it okay if I get giggle over here? I’ll be sure to be quiet about it and out of the way…

      Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Aug 10 2016 9:41 am

        This calls for great amounts of giggling. Feel feel to guffaw too!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. joylovestravel / Dec 5 2014 10:15 pm

    Great post!! Really enjoyed this one, still chuckling but very informative too!!


    • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2014 7:22 am

      I felt it was important to add a bit of info to complement the eye candy. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. weggieboy / Dec 6 2014 5:09 am

    There was a program on National Geographic, Discovery, or The Learning Channel (I forget all of the details) where two Brits went native in PNG, even to being adopted by the tribe with whom they live their adventure.

    One got a bigger gourd given him than the other (to the delight of the fellow with the bigger gourd) when they went through an adoption ceremony that made them officially adult members of the tribe.

    At the end of the day, they returned to conventional western clothes, which upset their hosts. A comment by one was that he has some abrasions on his parts that made the gourd uncomfortable. Their hosts were ready to do mayhem to them for this faux pas.


    • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2014 6:46 am

      Ah yes, that program was very accurate. PNG tribes are offended when they take a foreigner into their community and then have the adoptee reject the gesture. I know others that it’s happened to. Pity, but understandable.


  4. lambsearsandhoney / Dec 6 2014 8:43 am

    What a shame Poor John didn’t want one – it would make a fabulous conversation starter at the next pool party you attended.


    • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2014 1:42 pm

      What a brilliant idea. I’m sure this suggestion will convince him—not to get one. hahaha


  5. Jane / Dec 6 2014 3:36 pm

    Just found your blog. What an interesting post for me to read first!! Oh my, what can I say!? An “eye-opener” that’s for sure. Gives me some ideas for Christmas presents. 😉


    • leggypeggy / Dec 6 2014 4:25 pm

      Maybe I should have added a you-may-be-gobsmacked warning on this post. 🙂 Good luck with your Christmas shopping.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. simpletravelourway / Dec 7 2014 11:30 am

    You’ve outdone yourself!


    • leggypeggy / Dec 7 2014 5:21 pm

      I think the penis gourds wearers are the ones who have outdone themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. vlandaman / Dec 7 2014 11:57 pm

    Very ridiculous photos)


  8. JunkChuck / Dec 9 2014 4:44 am

    Need to get me some penis gourds. I could sell the shit of of them at the farmer’s market.


  9. / Dec 13 2014 8:33 am

    Okay Peggy, I nominate you for THE Best Title … ever! What a great post. Between the boobs and the penis gourds, you’ve pretty much got it covered. I would love to see the combination of search terms that lead people to your posts. Well done. 🙂 ~Terri


    • leggypeggy / Dec 13 2014 5:00 pm

      I couldn’t resist the title, so blame my perverted mind. haha So can we expect you and James to join us at the next Goroka Show? I promise that you won’t be disappointed.


  10. suchled / Dec 22 2014 8:43 pm

    Actually it is really OK as far as I can see. Women all over the world dress in such a way as to enhance their appeal and so do these fellows. But did you feel just a little bit voyeuristic running around with a camera shooting them?
    PS. I am closing down Scattered words very soon but continuing with Cryptic Garland at
    Happy Christmas and thanks for your support this year.


    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2014 1:56 pm

      I think most everyone feels very voyeuristic at first, but they get over it pretty quickly because everyone behaves so casually.
      Very sad to hear that Scattered Words is ending. I’ve loved it. Look forward to appreciating Cryptic Garland just as much.


  11. hiMe / Dec 29 2014 3:48 pm

    Wow so fascinating! All sizes, shapes, colours, lengths,… Interesting!


  12. hiMe / Dec 29 2014 3:49 pm

    I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.


    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2014 1:58 pm

      Thanks so much for the nomination, but I have to decline. Because we travel so much and my internet connections can often be patchy and intermittent, I need to save all my writing time for the blog itself. But thanks so much for thinking of me.


  13. artandkitchen / Dec 31 2014 4:55 am

    Your travels are really incredible, I love your posts! Thanks Peggy. Congratulations for the award!


  14. artandkitchen / Dec 31 2014 4:57 am

    The nomination for the award (even if you had to decline) shows how your post are appreciated!


  15. floridaborne / Jan 2 2015 5:31 am

    What a laugh! It shows what “lengths” men go to for exposure of what is undoubtedly an appendage less ample or interesting than its ornate covering. 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Jan 2 2015 9:23 am

      Your comment gave me a good laugh too. Thanks.


  16. Zambian Lady / Jan 13 2015 10:36 pm

    Very interesting photos – I have always wanted to visit PNG. I may actually now start seriously saving after seeing these photos 🙂 I hope the nationals keep their customs to continue being as unique as they are.


    • leggypeggy / Jan 13 2015 10:47 pm

      We loved PNG and hope to go again in 2015. The shows are amazing, just watch your backside.


  17. centaurtech / Jun 22 2015 2:22 pm

    Informative article. I started googling “Dani” tribe of Indonesia and PNG after reading an article on “” suggesting the tribes around the world that are likely to extinct.


    • leggypeggy / Jun 22 2015 5:15 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. Most of the tribes in PNG are strong, but some are at risk.


  18. bacardi gold / Jan 31 2016 1:35 pm

    If you have a thing like that, horses will make a queue line, next…! hehe..:) love your posts!


  19. Ray / Feb 27 2016 4:17 pm

    I feel like my gourd size is so inadequate after reading this! 🙂


  20. Steve Hill / Jul 15 2016 11:25 am

    So, I have a very old penis gourd that I want to sell.

    Any idea who I can contact ?? I don’t know any collectors of Asian art work.
    Steve Hill (562) 881 – 1240


    • leggypeggy / Jul 15 2016 12:34 pm

      You should contact an art auction house. Good luck.


  21. barkinginthedark / Aug 5 2016 11:58 am

    i do not want my penis gored! no siree bob!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. heidi ruckriegel / Aug 29 2016 11:48 am

    My husband was there many years ago and has vivid memories of a guy on a motorbike, wearing lots of feathers, a giant gourd (resting on the handlebars) and not much else. He was at a petrol station, waiting, listening to the races or something on his radio. It’s enough to make your head spin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Aug 29 2016 1:19 pm

      Yes, the nonchalance of it is very disarming.


  23. Brian Lageose / Sep 30 2016 2:01 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin in describing just what my thoughts might be about this whole concept. I might have to put myself in time-out just so I can process everything… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Sep 30 2016 6:31 pm

      I understand completely. I almost had to put myself in time-out when I was there.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. kgw2111 / Oct 20 2016 3:53 pm

    Imagine the screams of delight from the ladies when using these as a contraceptive

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 21 2016 12:43 am

      Actually I think it would be very hard to keep a straight face. 🙂


  25. Nancy J / Dec 4 2016 5:33 am

    Oh, my, I tried so hard not to laugh because I want to respect customs of other cultures. But, those photos! I can’t stop smiling. i enjoyed the history lesson, though. I found it to be fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 4 2016 10:14 pm

      I know what you mean. Imagine being there in person and trying to keep a straight face. I took a lot of pics just to keep the camera in front of my face. 🙂


  26. chattykerry / Dec 13 2016 8:12 am


    Liked by 1 person

  27. TheWorryGames / Dec 20 2016 6:38 pm

    Have never seen those before. So interesting! Not sure what else to say about them but, so interesting! lol

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Invisibly Me / Mar 29 2017 10:53 pm

    Wow, this post certainly woke me up!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. manningtreearchive / Apr 8 2017 7:52 pm

    Informative post. Enjoyed the way you presented it with touch of humour. The illustrations aptly support the narration.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Apr 8 2017 11:08 pm

      Thanks so much for your insightful comment. I aimed to tell and illustrate the story with humour and dignity.

      Liked by 2 people

  30. xaranahara / Apr 9 2017 9:17 pm

    This is incredible! I never knew this existed.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. fakanal01 / Jan 4 2018 9:58 am

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. In the Trobriand Islands, the women sing a little song: “Oh, men, you use duwaku leaves as pubic strips / they are short leaves, far too short / nothing so short will ever get us to fornicate with you!”… 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  33. thewonderer86 / Feb 13 2018 3:25 am

    Amazing! I can see why it would be a bit disarming to come across these though!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. vinneve / Sep 11 2020 1:32 pm

    I was surprised to see those things haha! I can say I’ve seen it first here 🙂 must be a good adventure as usual. Unique traditions etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Sep 11 2020 8:35 pm

      It is rather startling to see at first, but it’s such an age-old tradition.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Heated Stew / Sep 18 2020 1:13 pm

    I guess it makes them stand up in the crowd!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. etravelersclub / Jul 26 2021 4:25 am

    WOW – never see this side of Papua New Guinea. Happy Traveling. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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