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History of Sexuality - Egypt

Posted by: webmaster on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 08:23 _PRINTPrinter friendly page  _EMAILFRIENDSend this story to a friend
The Sexuality in Ancient Egypt

To catch a glimpse of the history of sexuality, you will take a journey to understand its intricacies. Expect some of the ancient sexual rites to be considered appalling by modern standards.

Take the Egyptians for instance, extremely erotic in comparison to later civilizations. Under the Egyptian scope, sexuality was as important as reincarnation itself. Several love poems and erotic texts – referred to gods and mythical creatures’ liaisons. Body image was highly prized by men and women. Both genders used to shave regularly, removing excessive hair for cleansing. These practices had started as means of preventing lice, lately developing in to fashion. Hair-dyeing, hair-shaping, wearing make up – particularly around the eyes– were common grounds among ancient Egyptians. Circumcision was an important custom in the Egyptian times. In a dusty land people had to take good care of personal hygiene. Circumcision denoted religious and ethnic connotations (later endorsed by the Israelites), to distinguish Egyptians from foreigners.

Since morals didn’t disapproved non-official sexual relation, free sex wasn’t exclusive of married people. This closeness and comfort with sexuality resulted in indulgent moral rules. A man caught in act of infidelity was simply forced into marriage dissolution Otherwise; adultery inside marriage was considered a serious felony, liable of punishments like mutilation. As for married women some texts describe them being killed and their bodies thrown to the dogs. Without any moral boundary, unmarried women were free to enjoy sex as pleased. Regardless of legal consequences, polygamy wasn’t popular among men, since supporting more women rendered polygamy unfeasible.

However progressive moral concepts looks in Egypt that we shouldn’t dismiss that at those times as in most ancient cultures, women were second class citizens.

Early studies showed incestuous marriages blatantly among the Egyptians. Later, it was proved that it had a reason: to preserve the royal blood and the family line from crossbreed. o­n that account, incestuous marriages happened o­nly in the royal family. To be sworn pharaoh a man had to marry his sister or half sister of royal lineage. Egyptians hold truth that solely women could bring through the royal lineage. The female was the principle factor in establishing marriage.

In ancient Egypt prostitution ran free. It was as important in the formation of sexuality as it was organized. Since sex had religious connotations, it made prostitution accepted by society, established it at "pleasure houses", and even temples. Prostitution wasn’t a crime; prostitutes earnestly declare themselves by wearing specific type of clothes, painting their lips red, tattooing their breasts and tights and sometimes wandering around completely naked.

In the Egyptian history of sexuality, there was a clear connection between lovemaking and religion. Even gods had terrestrial traits, enough to have sex, and mythology had plenty of tales about homosexuality, incest, necrophilia and adultery. In fact, like most religious people, Egyptians had an explanation to the beginning of civilization: The god Atum-Ra actually masturbated his twin sons –the first human beings o­n earth – into existence. They believed in sex in the afterlife, which was represented by some ornaments found along with mummies. Those artifacts consisted of artificial penises and nipples attached o­n the dead bodies, so that the dead could have sex in the spiritual world, if so wished. To help in the afterlife fertility dolls were placed in tombs.


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History of Sexuality - Egypt