Before I get into looking at a few things, I would like to preface them by saying that BDSM as we know it today isn’t that old; however, there are splashes of it throughout history. And while there was a lot of actual sexual slavery going on – I do not condone anything that isn’t consensual.
Sexuality seems to have always been an area of life that the masses felt one way, while a minority felt another. In my opinion, it’s something to be celebrated and participated in with jubilation and reverence both.
Back to history.
If you look at ancient cultures you will see some elements of dominance, sadism, bondage – even if they might have been used differently. I think it’s interesting to look back at it. I think it’s interesting how sexuality has changed from culture to culture and see how it evolved.
I hope it’s a fun journey. I’ll start with Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
In Egypt, there are only a few depictions such as the Erotic Turin, and there are some discussions in the Book of the Dead, as well as in their mythology.
Is she squirting? Pull that Hair!
It is understood that sex wasn’t taboo as it is in the West today. Sex was important – from birth to death, and rebirth. There are stories of necrophlia and sex with gods. Sex was believed to take place in this life, and the life to come. There are tales of adultery, masterbation, exhibitionsim and others.
The noble class (as usual) had a wide range of customs. There are specific articles of clothing worn. Ramses had 8 wives and over 100 concubines. And there’s plenty of stories about the Pharoah’s masturbating into the Nile too.
That’s what I’m going to do when I visit Egypt – come into the Nile.
To the Greeks, sex was enjoyed between people who respected each other. It was to be enjoyed freely to the point of realtionships between a man and a younger male partner – don’t be mistaken, these were the same Greeks of Sparta and Athens who could kick your ass.
Aristotle once asked why people are ashamed to admit they want sex – in other words, if it’s something you want – then explore it. It’s not that the Greeks didn’t like sex – they loved it. But even today, many people regard sex as a taboo topic. Some things don’t change.
Sex was celebrated. There were slaves of both sexes, concubines, prostitutes, marriage. It was thought that Zeus created us originally as ‘whole’ – i.e. no male or females, and then when he got pissed off, he split us up, and since then each half has been looking for the other half.
The Greeks also enjoyed a good whipping.
The Romans drifted a little from the Greeks – sex was emphasized within marriage – even as there were countless whorehouses and orgies and by the look of their artwork, they enjoyed pretty much everything with anyone. Prostitution was legal, and the body was glorified in art. Artwork began to change towards the end of the second century BC and it became rarer to see male nudity.
Many of the Ceasers were sex-crazed including castrating their partners and marrying them, having sex with their mothers and sisters, sexual encounters with very young boys and girls, and orgies of epic proportions. It would follow that if the Ceasers enjoyed sex in this way – that many others did as well. Certainly, Pompeii is one such example where sexuality was at the forefront.
Sexual slavery was common place. It was a core feature of Roman slavery. Slaves were property under Roman law and the owner could use them as they desired. Sexual service was expected from the slaves and concubines.
The Romans enjoyed anal sex with men or boys – where they “took it like a woman”. They liked a woman on top. They fucked prostitutes, and liked oral sex as well. Voyerism and group sex is common in artwork as well. Mastrubation was seen as a lesser release but still something to partake of.
I really enjoy their artwork. I lived near Pompeii and visited a couple of times, you could feel the difference in the air as you walk around and wondered exactly what it was like back then.