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Sexuality in the Ancient Greece

Posted by: webmaster on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 08:24 _PRINTPrinter friendly page  _EMAILFRIENDSend this story to a friend
The Sexuality in Ancient Greece

Having played a major role in the social history of ancient Greek, nevertheless different from present days. Male homosexuality practiced with adolescents – called ephebic love - was socially acceptable and widespread. Lately called by the Romans as "the Greek vice". Whether develop from the constant separation of men and women who were kept at the gynaeceum, (buildings meant for their private use) - or as a consequence of ancient religious rites of initiation, it’s origin still puzzling specialists.

Even if male homosexuality was morally accepted, it wasn’t for all walks of life. Being o­nly permissible among free citizens, rendered certain categories of people unqualified to attend the gymnasium where the boys were at, in order to avoid unintended affairs and relationships. An adult having an affair with an adolescent had to provide for pedagogical, and intellectual and spiritual guidance for him. Relationships or courting with slaves were not approved, since slaves were not citizens, and didn’t have to be educated and trained that way. o­nly boys from 12 to 17 years of age were allowed to be loved. Getting involved with younger boys was unacceptable, allegedly unprepared for choosing their partners, as yet. o­n the other hand, a boy would be highly criticized if continued to have a relationship with an older man afterwards, he. Affairs with ephebus didn’t have connections with family life. Citizens could get married and raise children simultaneously with their affairs. There hadn’t been distinction from heterosexual to homosexual loving. A passive role was typical of women and striplings, equally, an active role of grown up men. It o­nly would be considered depraved if a man took a passive role with his partner.

Being sexuality an important aspect of the young Greek’s life. It had determined social and political ascension. Homosexual sensing for boys was considered superior over heterosexual notions. Being women considered spiritually and culturally unmeritorious, heterosexual intercourse made up for procreation o­nly. For all that, congress among adults and boys was of intellectual growth and exchange. True love with women, second class citizens, was made impossible. Girls or even mature women were excluded from political and social life.

Prostitution was condemned, but for men o­nly. Although morally reprobated and punished by destitution of political and civil rights, prostitution didn’t include any type of capital punishment.

Women didn’t play a functional role in Greek’s history of sexuality. Sapphic relationships had no impact o­n any aspect of life, it was neither mentioned, nor controlled. Resulting politically and socially less active, women were meant for reproductive purposes solely. The Greek women destined to marry a man by imposition. They lived in a general state of submission and dedication to their husbands, having very little choice, if none. The courtesans were the o­nly free class of women, whose function was to provide entertainment at the orgies. Law did not condemn female prostitutes, however, much despised as they are today, just reasons differ. Regarded as deceitful, known to employ a multitude of ruses, such as make up (which was an inadequate streak, at the time) to turn themselves more attractive.

All those concepts are difficult for us to make out, rendering hard to depict a culture that encouraged those attributes, but established comprehensive consequences upon the history of sexuality, as a whole.

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Sexuality in the Ancient Greece