Folks all the time look to the previous as a golden age. Folks had been ethical, the younger had been respectful, and intercourse was not in every single place. The actual fact is, although, that human nature by no means adjustments. If there have been intervals the place intercourse was much less flaunted, then these had been the uncommon lulls within the sexual storm that’s historical past.



Childbirth earlier than the invention of anesthetics and fashionable medication was brutal, painful, and harmful. Euripides has Medea in his play declare, “I had relatively stand my floor thrice among the many shields than face a childbirth as soon as.”

Is it any surprise then that ladies sought methods to keep away from the horrors of the birthing mattress? And typically, they may identical to to have intercourse with out the chance of dying. So, they turned to the perfect obtainable merchandise on the time.

We discover a recipe preserved from 1800 BC for a pessary used to forestall being pregnant from historical Egypt. Chopped crocodile dung is blended with honey and salt and “sprinkled over the womb.” This might need created an efficient spermicide, however it might positively be a mood-killer.

The Roman and Greek worlds relied on a extra nice technique—so nice that they drove the supply of their contraception to extinction. Apparently, silphium was a type of big fennel used for nearly any illness or culinary recipe. It was so efficient and scrumptious that it got here to be value its weight in silver. Alas, it was additionally unimaginable to domesticate and needed to be gathered from the wild. The final stalk of silphium was seen throughout the reign of the emperor Nero. So, now we’ve got to hunt our salad and contraceptives in several aisles of the grocery store.

9 Pedico and the Courts

Most individuals know the Biblical cities close to the Lifeless Sea as dens of depravity. After all, I consult with Gomorrah and Sodom. And Sodom additionally gave its title to a category A felony. The locals had been keen on the back-door sexual method, and their predilection grew to become often known as sodomy. Their destruction—God was not happy with them—was described within the Bible. However this didn’t cease folks, particularly the Romans, from persevering with this standard Greek observe.

Sodomy, or pedico because the Romans known as it, was loved by ladies and men. Ladies for its contraceptive advantages as no pregnancies resulted from its use. The observe amongst males was extra accepted because it misplaced its Biblical abomination standing. So, the place is the loopy a part of this truth, you ask?

It lies within the courts! When it got here to adultery, the legislation took the observe of pedico in one other course— the injured occasion may sodomize the responsible occasion. Or, if he selected a stand-in, with a big radish!

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8Pederasty in Athens


If we had been instructed a outstanding determine in society discovered adolescents virtually irresistible, we’d be rightly appalled. When Plato tells us that the thinker Socrates loved hanging round bare youths, sleeping beside them, embracing them, his viewers wouldn’t have proven the least shock. In Athens of the fifth century BC, it was held as totally pure that males can be interested in boys. There are definitely plentiful literary and creative data that present it was a standard observe, at the very least among the many higher courses.

The older man, the Erastes, was anticipated to court docket the boy, the Eramenos, with items and different gadgets. The connection, as soon as established, was alleged to be helpful to each. The older man got sex, and the youthful was launched to Athenian society with a robust protector. Typically, this relationship is portrayed as merely a Might-December romance, however the boys concerned had been very younger. It was thought of shameful for anybody able to rising a beard to nonetheless be an Eramenos.



In most societies, prostitution has been, if not unlawful, then at the very least regarded on as one thing deeply shameful. For the Romans, this was not the case. The Lupinar within the ruins of Pompeii provides us a peek into the world of the Roman brothel. As an alternative of hidden away in a dank alley, it proudly asserts the form of enterprise one may do inside. Graffiti tells folks what to anticipate from the varied girls on supply. As soon as inside, a number of graphic pictures assist these with much less creativeness or the illiterate perceive simply what they had been shopping for.

Issues had been much more brazen in Babylon. In line with the Greek historian Herodotus, at the very least as soon as in her life, each Babylonian lady needed to go to the temple of Ishtar and function a holy prostitute. Regardless of who provided them a coin, they needed to settle for his advances. Some researchers dispute that this occurred, however there appears to be widespread settlement that service to God was the identical as servicing males for cash for some girls.

6Ancient Sex Toys


In 2005, in Germany, archaeologists made a startling discovery. Eight inches of rock-hard matter protruded from the bottom. Whereas the scale is spectacular, so is the carving. This was a 26,000-year-old phallus that some researchers imagine to be the earliest discovered dildo. Whereas that is the oldest dildo found, it’s not at all distinctive. Life-size penises have been found original from all method of fabric, even wooden—which suggests our ancestors had been braver about splinters than we’re right now.

With their specific pottery work, the Greeks additionally give one other priceless peep into the world of the traditional intercourse toy. Ladies may be seen wielding dildos on many vases. Additional, they weren’t coy about them, at the very least in comedian scenes. The author Herodas produced a mime based mostly on a dialog between two girls, one in search of to search out who made the opposite their great leather-based dildo (read it here). The dildo maker hides his true enterprise behind the extra family-friendly picture of being a cobbler. In Aristophanes’s play Lysistrata, the ladies of Greece go on a intercourse strike to finish a warfare, partly as a result of it has disrupted the commerce in dildos.

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5Pantomime Actor’s Phallic Antics


Talking of Greek performs, Greek tragedies have a status for being bloody affairs. They had been additionally uniformly solemn. However on the finish of a protracted day of hard-hitting drama, the Athenians preferred to let loose the stress with fun. Comedy and Satyr performs lightened the temper. And together with pointed political satire, one of many issues they cherished finest was a great dick joke.

On stage, comedian male characters would put on an enormous and barely hidden leather-based penis. This could possibly be whipped out because the play required for something. The grasp of Outdated Comedy, Aristophanes, employed these phalluses for masturbation jokes, erection humor, impotence barbs, and the supply to make use of the phallus as a ship’s rudder. So if anybody ever tells you dick jokes are crude, you may quote from Aristophanes: “Peace, profane males!  . . . come ahead and . . . hold the phallus well upright.”

4Wandering Uterus


If somebody accuses you of being hysterical, they accuse you of one thing fairly particular and really odd. First described by the traditional Greek father of medication, Hippocrates, hysteria was a illness of ladies with wide-ranging signs. Nearly something could possibly be blamed on hysteria, but it surely was mainly thought to contribute to a scarcity of emotional management. So, what causes hysteria? The uterus touring across the physique.

This right now strikes us as a daft thought. However within the historical world, the uterus was regarded as a deeply troubling organ. Egyptian papyri carry descriptions of medicines designed to coax “a wandering uterus” again into place. Plato, one of many foundational thinkers of the Western custom, considered the uterus as an animal that caused mischief wherever it went within the physique.

3Spartan Ladies


Sparta was in some ways an odd-one-out of Ancient Greece. Whereas girls in Athens had been stored so secluded that they had been thought to talk their very own dialect, Sparta’s girls obtained nice freedom for the time. When the Spartan queen Gorgo was requested, “Why is it that you just Spartan girls are the one girls that lord it over your males,” she mentioned, “As a result of we’re the one girls which can be moms of males.”

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However the marriage ceremony night time could possibly be an odd affair for a Spartan woman. Her hair can be shaved off, and she or he can be wearing a person’s cloak and sandals. Thus dressed, she would wait at nighttime for her husband to steal in and have his means together with her. Some historians have urged that his cross-dressing on the a part of the bride was to get a person more used to spending time with his male brothers-in-arms used to the delights of heterosexuality.

2Penis Charms


The penis appeared in every single place within the historical world. You could possibly not stroll the streets of historical Athens or Rome with out the chance of poking your eye out. In Athens, statues known as Herms had been ubiquitous. As a sq. pillar with the top of the god Hermes, additionally they characteristic erect phalluses. These penile protectors had been thought so vital that when in 415 BC, somebody went on a drunken rampage and smashed the penises, it created a disaster within the state.

The penis was thought to own Apotropaic energy—it may beat back evil. It was painted on frescoes, carved in statues, forged in bronze, and usually daubed wherever folks would possibly want to be protected. Usually, the phallus is shown with wings, and typically these winged penises had been hung with bells. These Tintinnabulae acted as each charming wind chimes and magical protectors.

1Egypt’s Incestuous Gods


Royal households have usually tried to maintain their bloodlines pure by marrying inside small and intently associated teams, usually with disastrous genetic penalties. The Egyptian royal household usually married brother to sister to maintain all of it within the household. This isn’t a good suggestion, but it surely turns into extra comprehensible when you think about that the traditional pharaohs had been seen as gods on Earth. And so they had been doing precisely the identical because the gods in heaven. Probably the most well-known instance of a brother-sister marriage in Egyptian mythology is that of Osiris and Isis.

When the god Osiris was killed and dismembered by his brother Set, his spouse and sister Isis sought to assemble up all his physique elements. The one one she didn’t get well was his penis—which a crocodile ate. Because the Nile had claimed the penis of a god, it grew to become massively fertile and introduced life to the land. Within the first point out in recorded historical past of a blow job, Isis original a brand new penis out of clay for her brother-husband and blew life into it.


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