The Greeks. They gave us democracy, crazy gods and sexual freedom.
There is no denying that people in Ancient Greece saw sex in a different way, and talked about if in a more liberating way than even we do nowadays, giving it more importance to it than to other aspects of their lives. But do you know all that there is to know about sex in the time of Plato?
-The Greek mythology is full of gods and demi-gods that are all about sexual experiences, infidelities and whatnot, which explains why these were all normal aspects of everyday life back then. If Gods could have sex with as many people as they wanted and be unfaithful, then so could they.
-They had what was known as the cult of virginity, which was seen as something sacred. For a woman, losing her virginity was like the beginning of a slow death. For men, of course, losing it was like nothing.
-Homosexuality, both masculine and feminine, wasn’t censured. Their culture was one of worshipping beauty, so it wasn’t seen as a bad thing to admire someone beautiful, whether it was a man or a woman.
-In fact, love towards women was considered something vulgar, which is why the role of women in society and in the household was almost non-existent.
–Stone blocks that portrayed a man and an erect penis were set up at street-corners and several other public places to make sure the city was under divine protection.
-It is believed that homosexuality in Ancient Greece began when all the young men were sent to the militia, where they spent long periods of time surrounded only by men, as women were completely excluded from this.
-As for women, the poetess Safos, born in the isle of Lesbos, founded an academy dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite to educate young ladies before they got married, and there she promoted what she called “love between women.”
-Prostitutes were a common thing in Ancient Greece, and the name for them was “hetaerae.” It was completely normal for men to leave their wives at home and ran to the brothel to have fun.
-There was a hetaerae that rose to fame: Phryne. She moved to Athens, where she started her “work” and created shows, from which what we know now as striptease was born.
-Socrates, believe it or not, was once sexually harassed. Even though it was common for philosophers to be homosexual, this was not the case of Socrates. The famous general Alcibiades invited him over for dinner, and when he tried to make a move on the philosopher, Socrates refused, despite Alcibiades’s constant advances. The general even documented the frustrated encounter.
-It was normal for a teenage boy of the elite society to be taken by an older man who would act as his “mentor.” This, of course, also included educating the boy in terms of sex. The older man was known as Erastes and the young boy as Eromenos.
-As back then giving birth was as painful as it could be, women were desperate to get their hands on a contraceptive method. You know, to have sex whenever they wanted without the constant fear of getting pregnant and dying. The most effective in Ancient Greece was silphium. It was so popular and so used that it became almost extinct.
-Dildos were a common thing, too. Their use was so extended that many vases and sculptures depicted women carrying them around.
-The wedding nights in Sparta were quite peculiar. To prepare for bed, the bride was meant to shave her hair off, dress in a man’s cloak and wait in the dark for her husband.
-Here’s an interesting myth: Satyrs was a beast-like men with a horse’s tail, donkey’s ears, upturned pug nose, receding hairline and erect penis who was a bit too much into rape, sodomy and necrophilia. It is from this name that we have nowadays the terms of satyriasis (for men) and nymphomania (for women).
-Masturbation in Ancient Greece was a common practice, used for health and pleasure purposes. In fact, it was such an everyday thing that is not mentioned in many documents, because they didn’t consider it was worth talking about.