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Tantra - Exploring Sacred Sexuality
Homosexuality in ancient Greece In ancient Greece , the phallus , often in the form of a herma , was an object of worship as a symbol of fertility. This finds expression in Greek sculpture and other artworks. One ancient Greek male idea of female sexuality was that women envied penises of males. Wives were considered as commodity and instruments for bearing legitimate children. They had to compete sexually with eromenoi , hetaeras and slaves in their own homes. Both Homosexuality and Bisexuality , in the form of ephebophilia in some ways slavery , were social institutions in ancient Greece, and were integral to education, art, religion, and politics. Relationships between adults were not unknown but they were disfavored. Lesbian relations were also of a pederastic nature. In ancient Greece, it was common for men to have sexual relationships with youths. These practices were a sign of maturity for youths, who looked up to men as sexual mentors. Ancient Greek men believed that refined prostitution was necessary for pleasure and different classes of prostitutes were available. Hetaera, educated and intelligent companions, were for intellectual as well as physical pleasure, Peripatetic prostitutes solicited business on the streets, whereas temple or consecrated prostitutes charged a higher price. In Corinth , a port city, on the Aegean Sea , the temple held a thousand consecrated prostitutes. Rape in the sense of "abduction" followed by consensual lovemaking was represented even in religion: Zeus was said to have ravished many women: Zeus also raped a boy, Ganymede , a myth that paralleled Cretan custom. Etruria[ edit ] The ancient Etruscans had very different views on sexuality, when compared with the other European ancient peoples, most of whom had inherited the Indo-European traditions and views on the gender roles. Greek writers, such as Theopompus and Plato named the Etruscan 'immoral' and from their descriptions we find out that the women commonly had sex with men who were not their husbands and that in their society, children were not labelled " illegitimate " just because they did not know who the father was. Theopompus also described orgiastic rituals, but it is not clear whether they were a common custom or only a minor ritual dedicated to a certain deity. Sexuality in ancient Rome The citizen 's duty to control his body was central to the concept of male sexuality in the Roman Republic. In Roman patriarchal society , a "real man" was supposed to govern both himself and others well, and should not submit to the use or pleasure of others. Acceptable male partners were social inferiors such as prostitutes, entertainers , and slaves. Sex with freeborn male minors was formally prohibited see Lex Scantinia. The fascinum , a phallic charm, was a ubiquitous decoration. Sexual positions and scenarios are depicted in great variety among the wall paintings preserved at Pompeii and Herculaneum. Collections of poetry celebrated love affairs, and The Art of Love by the Augustan poet Ovid playfully instructed both men and women in how to attract and enjoy lovers. Elaborate theories of human sexuality based on Greek philosophy were developed by thinkers such as Lucretius and Seneca. Classical myths often deal with sexual themes such as gender identity , adultery , incest , and rape. A Roman husband, however, committed the crime of adultery only when his sexual partner was a married woman. Prostitution was legal, public, and widespread. Entertainers of any gender were assumed to be sexually available see infamia , and gladiators were sexually glamorous. Slaves lacked legal personhood , and were vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The dissolution of Republican ideals of physical integrity in relation to political liberty contributes to and is reflected by the sexual license and decadence associated with the Roman Empire. Many sexual activities seen as taboo in western cultures were viewed as appropriate by the native culture. Contact with Western societies has changed many of these customs, so research into their pre-Western social history has to be done by reading antique writings. Intercourse simulation became real penetration as soon as boys were physically able. Adults found simulation of sex by children to be funny. As children approached 11 attitudes shifted toward girls. Premarital sex was not encouraged but was allowed in general, restrictions on adolescent sexuality were incest, exogamy regulations, and firstborn daughters of high-ranking lineage. After their firstborn child, high-ranking women were permitted extramarital affairs. The next day, as soon as it was light, we were surrounded by a still greater multitude of these people. There were now a hundred females at least; and they practised all the arts of lewd expression and gesture, to gain admission on board. It was with difficulty I could get my crew to obey the orders I had given on this subject. Amongst these females were some not more than ten years of age. But youth, it seems, is here no test of innocence; these infants, as I may call them, rivalled their mothers in the wantonness of their motions and the arts of allurement. Sexual revolution[ edit ] Main article: Sexual revolution The second sexual revolution was a substantial change in sexual morality and sexual behaviour throughout the West in the s and early s. One factor in the change of values pertaining to sexual activities was the invention of new, efficient technologies for the personal control of ability to enter pregnancy. Prime among them, at that time, was the first birth control pill. Painting by Muhammad Qasim , History of homosexuality Societal attitudes towards same-sex relationships have varied over time and place, from expecting all males to engage in same-sex relationships, to casual integration, through acceptance, to seeing the practice as a minor sin, repressing it through law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and to proscribing it under penalty of death. The condemnation of anal sex between males, however, predates Christian belief. It was frequent in ancient Greece; "unnatural" can be traced back to Plato. John Boswell has countered this argument by citing ancient Greek writings by Plato,  which describe individuals exhibiting exclusive homosexuality. Religion and sex[ edit ] Judaism[ edit ] In Jewish law, sex is not considered intrinsically sinful or shameful when conducted in marriage, nor is it a necessary evil for the purpose of procreation. Sex is considered a private and holy act between a husband and wife. Certain deviant sexual practices, enumerated below, were considered gravely immoral "abominations" sometimes punishable by death. The residue of sex was considered ritually unclean outside the body, and required ablution. Mosaic law[ edit ] And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the sky and over all the beasts that tread upon the earth. Namely, adultery , all forms of incest , male homosexuality , bestiality , and introduced the idea that one should not have sex during the wife's period: You shall not lie carnally with your neighbor's wife, to become defiled by her. And a woman shall not stand in front of an animal to cohabit with it; this is depravity. The original meanings of these verses did not change, but their interpretation may have changed after they were translated into English and other languages. This view however, has been counteracted by conservatives. Christianity[ edit ] Christianity re-emphasised the Jewish attitudes on sexuality with two new concepts. First, there was the re-iterated idea that marriage was absolutely exclusive and indissoluble, placing further guidance on divorce and expanding on the reasons and principles behind those laws. Second, in Old Testament times marriage was almost universal, in continuity with the total matrimony in Eden, but in the New Testament, the trajectory is extended forward to the goal of no marriage in the new heavens and new earth see Matthew Practically therefore the new age after Jesus now has marriage as only normative, but celibacy is a valuable gift in and of itself. In one of his letters to the Corinthian church, Paul directly answers some questions they had asked about this. But each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind. Paul writes to them to explain the right context for sex in marriage, and the importance of couples keeping having sex and giving each other pleasure, but encourages them to pursue celibacy as he later explains [7: Many other passages refer to sex or marriage. Later Christian thought[ edit ] St. Augustine opined that before Adam's fall, there was no lust in the sexual act, but that it was entirely subordinate to human reason. Later theologians similarly concluded that the lust involved in sexuality was a result of original sin , but nearly all agreed that this was only a venial sin if conducted within marriage without inordinate lust. In Reformed schools, as represented for example by the Westminster Confession , three purposes of marriage are drawn out: Today, many Christians have adopted the view that there is no sin whatsoever in the uninhibited enjoyment of marital relations. Some Christians will tend to limit the circumstances and degree to which sexual pleasure is morally licit, for example to build self-control to prevent sex becoming addictive, or as a fast. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message In India, Hinduism accepted an open attitude towards sex as an art, science and spiritual practice. This collection of explicit sexual writings, both spiritual and practical, covers most aspects of human courtship and sexual intercourse. It was put together in this form by the sage Vatsyayana from a chapter manuscript that had itself been distilled from chapters that had in turn come from a compilation of some , chapters of text. The Kamasutra is thought to have been written in its final form sometime between the third and fifth century AD. Also notable are the sculptures carved on temples in India, particularly the Khajuraho temple. The frank depiction of uninhibited sex hints towards a liberated society and times where people believed in dealing openly with all aspects of life. On the other hand, a group of thinkers believe that depiction of sexually implicit carvings outside the temples indicate that one should enter the temples leaving desires kama. Apart from Vatsyayana's Kamashastra, which is no doubt the most famous of all such writings, there exist a number of other books, for example: The Ratirahasya , literal translation — secrets rahasya of love rati, the union ; The Panchasakya , or the five panch arrows sakya ; The Ratimanjari , or the garland manjari of love rati, the union The Anunga Runga , or the stage of love. The Secrets of Love was written by a poet named Kukkoka. He is believed to have written this treatise on his work to please one Venudutta, considered to be a king. This work was translated into Hindi years ago and the author's name became Koka in short and the book he wrote was called Koka Shastra. The same name crept into all the translations into other languages in India. Koka Shastra literally means doctrines of Koka, which is identical with the Kama Shastra, or doctrines of love, and the names Koka Shastra and Kama Shastra are used indiscriminately. Islam[ edit ] In Islam sexual intercourse is allowed only after marriage and only with one's spouse. Sex outside of marriage is prohibited, called zina , as is adultery, which is considered a sin and is strictly prohibited and punishable. According to the chapter Al-Israa', verse 32 of the Qur'an , Allah God prohibits Muslims from getting close to engaging in zina, and having relations with anyone other than one's spouse. And since marriage is only between a man and a woman, any sexual intercourse between two men is prohibited.
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