The truth about sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome

  • metta

    Posts: 39118

    Oct 26, 2012 7:05 AM GMT
    The truth about sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome


    http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/truth-about-sexuality-ancient-greece-and-rome261012
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    Oct 26, 2012 1:07 PM GMT
    According to the article:

    In this world the notion of sex between two grown men was deeply taboo as it was seen to reduce the passive partner to the level of a woman.

    Indeed if the Greeks and Romans did not outlaw it, it was because the shame of the act was punishment enough – though the weight of shame fell mostly on the penetrated.

    Of greater taboo still was for an older man to allow himself to be penetrated by a younger man – the modern word "pathetic" derives from the Latin for such a man.


    Sadly enought too many gay men, especially the 100% tops only crowd, believe this. It's bad enough straights believe it.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2937

    Oct 26, 2012 3:18 PM GMT
    Pretty good, on the whole, but like any short article, perhaps over-simplistic. Books and books have been written on the subject...

    Philip II's overthrow of the Theban band had nothing to do with their homosexuality - they were crack troops who had to be gotten rid of. Alexander mourned them, and the famous Lion of Chironeia marked their grave.

  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Oct 26, 2012 3:25 PM GMT
    At last some common sense! Yes its grossly over simplified in this piece but basically does sum up the Roman view of sex and masculinity.

    Ironically it was ok for Roman male to put his penis in anything he liked as that showed he was masculine but the act of being penetrated - analy or oraly - made him female and oraly was a big taboo and no-no.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Oct 26, 2012 3:34 PM GMT
    That is very different from everything I've read.

    Younger men were typically sources of pleasure for older, married men. Since sex with women produced babies, it was not always desirable, so the men needed another output. That was younger boys. Eventually these boys would reach adulthood, and they would marry and repeat the cycle.

    Yes, it was shameful for the bottom, but only at the time it was occurring. Once adulthood was reached, and they were married, all was forgotten.

    What about gay relationships in dynastic China? There is a lot of recorded evidence for it. From what I've read, it was actually a position of great honor there.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Oct 26, 2012 5:34 PM GMT
    UndercoverManSadly enought too many gay men, especially the 100% tops only crowd, believe this. It's bad enough straights believe it.


    Not everyone believes that! I think guys who are bottoms are usually more open and friendly about who they are. The so-called masc tops who have disdain for all gay stereotypes seem to be the most ashamed about their sexuality. They certainly are more often in the closet.
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    Oct 26, 2012 6:02 PM GMT
    Medjai saidThat is very different from everything I've read.

    Younger men were typically sources of pleasure for older, married men. Since sex with women produced babies, it was not always desirable, so the men needed another output. That was younger boys. Eventually these boys would reach adulthood, and they would marry and repeat the cycle.

    Yes, it was shameful for the bottom, but only at the time it was occurring. Once adulthood was reached, and they were married, all was forgotten.

    What about gay relationships in dynastic China? There is a lot of recorded evidence for it. From what I've read, it was actually a position of great honor there.


    Great points.

    I've also read and heard that homosexual relationships, primarily male, were highly respected and valued in East Asia, Oceania, and among Native American people.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Oct 26, 2012 6:29 PM GMT
    Boudreaux said
    Medjai saidThat is very different from everything I've read.

    Younger men were typically sources of pleasure for older, married men. Since sex with women produced babies, it was not always desirable, so the men needed another output. That was younger boys. Eventually these boys would reach adulthood, and they would marry and repeat the cycle.

    Yes, it was shameful for the bottom, but only at the time it was occurring. Once adulthood was reached, and they were married, all was forgotten.

    What about gay relationships in dynastic China? There is a lot of recorded evidence for it. From what I've read, it was actually a position of great honor there.


    Great points.

    I've also read and heard that homosexual relationships, primarily male, were highly respected and valued in East Asia, Oceania, and among Native American people.


    In far Southeast Asia, homosexuals and transsexuals are highly revered. They are called people with two souls, and it is a position of high honor in their classical worldview.
  • pharmstudent

    Posts: 162

    Oct 26, 2012 7:27 PM GMT
    One of my buddy who was stationed in Afghanistan mentioned that in some region, they openly practice gay sex. I didn't believe him when he added the fact that they keep hitting on him and the other American soliders. Every man also gets one or two boys.
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    Oct 26, 2012 7:54 PM GMT
    UndercoverMan saidAccording to the article:
    Of greater taboo still was for an older man to allow himself to be penetrated by a younger man – the modern word "pathetic" derives from the Latin for such a man.

    Sadly enought too many gay men, especially the 100% tops only crowd, believe this. It's bad enough straights believe it.


    Origin:
    1590–1600; < Late Latin pathēticus < Greek pathētikós sensitive equivalent to pathēt(ós) made or liable to suffer (verbid of páschein to suffer + -ikos -ic


    source: dictionary.com

    LOL..that's so funny. I've met (fucked) so many bottoms that were older than me...I can't believe people would feel that way.
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    Oct 26, 2012 7:56 PM GMT
    Interesting article, thanks for sharing. It is kinda sad that people could be gay, until they were expected to marry and produce children.
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    Oct 26, 2012 7:58 PM GMT
    The article is full of interesting tidbits of information, but without chronological context which covers a broad range of time. Secondly, the blend of Greco-Roman is far more of a modern term and presumes, incorrectly, that these cultures overlapped far more than the reality of the time.

    Additionally, a lot of the statements made as fact are based on translations of ancient documents, but often without the knowing the real context of the culture at the moment that the document were written. Without that context, the conclusions drawn are often entirely speculative and may be based on cultural details that are literally hundreds of years out of date.

    Fact: In Ancient Rome, prior to Christianity becoming the official/state religion, same sex marriages were not uncommon nor viewed as unusual. Marriage, prior to Christianity was typically a legal contract with no religious association. It typically had to do with property, and/or the responsibility of procreation. Emotional aspects were not part of the contract. If the two people getting married were in love, then that was fortunate for them but in no way required.

    Similar situations (though not necessarily the same) were common in many cultures prior to the spread of Christianity. This is not to say that Christianity was unique to this limitation, other cultures also had marriage contracts that were based on procreation and would often be considered void if conception was not achieved.

    It should also be noted that in ancient pre-Christian Rome, that children where considered to be the lowest on the scale of value as humans. Slaves, beggars and the diseased were of greater value than children, particularly infants because in the eyes of the contemporary culture, they contributed nothing to society until they were old enough to work.
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Oct 26, 2012 7:59 PM GMT
    WaytoDawn saidInteresting article, thanks for sharing. It is kinda sad that people could be gay, until they were expected to marry and produce children.


    They were still allowed to engage in same sex relations, if quietly. The social pressure was to produce children, but fidelity was not so highly regarded.

    In my understanding, at least.
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    Oct 26, 2012 8:01 PM GMT
    bgcat57 saidparticularly infants because in the eyes of the contemporary culture, they contributed nothing to society until they were old enough to work.


    hence circumcision and killing of the 1st born?
  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Oct 26, 2012 11:50 PM GMT
    I'll never think of the word pathetic in the same way again. icon_lol.gif
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    Oct 27, 2012 12:01 AM GMT
    They forgot to mention in the article that male bonding between an older man and younger male was not taboo at all. In Greek societies to be mentored included sexual relations between younger males and much more elevated male figures. It was seen as a right of passage and a societal norm. Plato for instance had many young proteges that he had sex with. He participated in Pederasty,,ie relationship between a young man and a pubescent boy outside his immediate family. We now use a new word for such a relationship..Pedophilia.Age of consent was never an issue..as his parents were the ones who would send their male sons to these men. So its kinda weird but at the same time questions mans ever evolving morality.
  • FitGwynedd

    Posts: 1468

    Oct 27, 2012 12:22 AM GMT
    As a classics and history student, I can tell you this article is a load of bollocks. Generally the Romans looked at sexuality the same way it is looked at today in the US, frowned upon by most of the general population. The Greeks were a little more liberal, but not by much.
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    Oct 27, 2012 12:23 AM GMT
    Sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome has been interpreted and misinterpreted just as often as "scripture" written in that same time period.

    The truth is, we'll never really know exactly what the OP's (original authors) of those texts were actually thinking.

    Being more "real," guys have historically enjoyed sticking their dicks in things. Some guys like having dicks stuck in them. Some view it negatively. Some view it positively. Some don't give a fuck. Those are called bottoms.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Oct 27, 2012 12:27 AM GMT
    FitGwynedd saidAs a classics and history student, I can tell you this article is a load of bollocks. Generally the Romans looked at sexuality the same way it is looked at today in the US, frowned upon by most of the general population. The Greeks were a little more liberal, but not by much.


    I'm only quoting because he's hot. I have no clue if he's right or not. Does that make me a bad person?
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    Oct 27, 2012 1:02 AM GMT
    barriehomeboy said
    FitGwynedd saidAs a classics and history student, I can tell you this article is a load of bollocks. Generally the Romans looked at sexuality the same way it is looked at today in the US, frowned upon by most of the general population. The Greeks were a little more liberal, but not by much.


    I'm only quoting because he's hot. I have no clue if he's right or not. Does that make me a bad person?
    Thinking he's hot makes you a bad person.

    Doing him because he's hot makes you sexually satisfied.

    Or so it would seem, judging by his pics...
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    Oct 27, 2012 1:11 AM GMT
    Can anyone explain how those young, beardless youths were able to have sex with older men and not be pyscologically scarred and destroyed for life?
  • Medjai

    Posts: 2671

    Oct 27, 2012 1:14 AM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidCan anyone explain how those young, beardless youths were able to have sex with older men and not be pyscologically scarred and destroyed for life?


    My guess is because our society has so demonized sexuality, whereas theirs embraced it. Sex would have a very different on notation under those conditions.
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    Oct 27, 2012 1:24 AM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidCan anyone explain how those young, beardless youths were able to have sex with older men and not be pyscologically scarred and destroyed for life?
    Because nobody told them they should be scarred by it.

    Funny how that works...
  • LuckyGuyKC

    Posts: 2080

    Oct 27, 2012 1:41 AM GMT
    I was taught in my art and architectural history classes that the apprentice was expected to allow his mentor penetrate his thighs but that anal sex was only by mutual consent. This seems consistent with the article but in more detail as to the reasons for the age differential and the business relationship between the men.
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    Oct 27, 2012 1:56 AM GMT
    I actually studied a bit about this subject back in College. I took a Federico Fellini class, my professor was a gay Yale grad teaching this course. The article can be sum up in this film. Back then, men were swinging both ways a lot. It's very common for a grown man to have a young male lover, they don't have a concept of *homosexual or *heterosexual back then. You're basically seen as a stud for *bagging as many hot asses as possible. So did the Roman warriors fighting in the Coliseum in ancient Rome. I highly recommend watching this film and/or visit Rome to learn more about their Past culture. My ex is Half-Italian/Sicilian/English thus it only increased my fascination with this topic.

    SATYRICON - Fellini. in first century Rome, two student friends, Encolpio and Ascilto, argue about ownership of the boy Gitone, divide their belongings and split up. The boy, allowed to choose who he goes with, chooses Ascilto. Only a sudden earthquake saves Encolpio from suicide. We follow Encolpio through a series of adventures, where he is eventually reunited with Ascilto, and which culminates in them helping a man kidnap a hermaphrodite demi-god from a temple. The god dies, and as punishment Encolpio becomes impotent. We then follow them in search of a cure. The film is loosely based on the book Satyricon by Gaius Petronius Arbiter, the "Arbiter of Elegance" in the court of Nero. The book has only survived in fragments, and the film reflects this by being very fragmentary itself, even stopping in mid-sentence. Written by Steven Pemberton <steven.pemberton@cwi.nl> (from IMDB)