If one were to base knowledge of Roman history on film and television, it'd be easy to think the entire civilization was a giant "adult get-together" interrupted by the occasional gladiator match. But sexuality 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 "professionals" of various classes, there were same-gender relationships, and people really loved seeing depictions of "the act."
But there was also a dark side.
The civilization's use of slavery meant millions were oppressed 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 the subject. It was a view that would change drastically as the empire embraced Christianity and headed into the Middle Ages. Read on to learn how sexuality was viewed in ancient Rome, and pick up a few Roman sex facts to impress your friends.
Sexual Assault Played A Major Role In Founding Rome
Being Gay Was Cool, Being A Lesbian Was Not
The Stoics Preferred Lovemaking For Social Stability
Gladiators Performed In More Places Than The Arena
The Romans Helped Spread Kissing Throughout The World
Inbreeding Was Relatively Common