What Sex Was Like in Ancient Rome

Aaron Edwards By 1.2M views 17 items tags f p @

If one were to base knowledge of Roman history on film and television, it's easy to think the entire civilization was a giant orgy interrupted by the occasional gladiatorial match. 

But sex in ancient Rome was actually far more complicated than lustful parties. It played an important part in culture, as pleasure and a fundamental tenet of society. In many ways, Rome wasn't so different from today's world: it had prostitutes of various classes, there were homosexual relationships, and people really loved porn. 

But, like diving too far on even one's most trusted porn site, there was also a dark side.

The civilization's use of slavery meant millions were sexually abused on a constant basis. Everyone from soldiers to political figures was responsible, as power extended far beyond dominion over slaves. 

Still, it's hard not to be impressed with the progressive outlook many Romans had regarding sex. It was a view that would change drastically as the Empire embraced Christianity, and headed into the Middle Ages. Read on to learn what sex was like in ancient Rome, and pick up a few Roman sex facts to impress your friends. 

Collection Photo:  Ashmolean Museum
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