Homosexuality in the Ancient World


Africa
Women in Lesotho engaged in socially sanctioned long term, erotic relationships, named motsoalle. Male Azande warriors in the northern Congo routinely took on boy-wives between the ages of twelve and twenty, who helped with household tasks and participated in sex with their older husbands.

Americas
Homosexual and transgender individuals were common among other pre-conquest civilizations in Latin America, such as the Aztecs, Mayans, Quechuas, Moches, Zapotecs, and the Tupinambá of Brazil.

Ancient Asyrria
In the ancient Assyrian society, homosexuality was present and it was also not prohibited. Religiously, there was nothing amiss with homosexual love between men. Some ancient religious Assyrian texts contain prayers for divine blessings on homosexual relationships.

Ancient China
Homosexuality has been acknowledged in China since ancient times. Nearly every emperor in the Han Dynasty had one or more male sex partners.

Ancient Greece
The ancient Greeks did not conceive of sexual orientation as a social identifier as Western societies have done for the past century. Greek society did not distinguish sexual desire or behaviour by the gender of the participants, but rather by the role that each participant played in the sex act, that of active penetrator or passive penetrated.

Ancient India
Kama Sutra, the ancient Indian treatise on love talks about feelings for same sexes. The Laws of Manu, the foundational work of Hindu law, mentions a “third sex”, members of which may engage in non-traditional gender expression and homosexual activities.

Anient Rome
The “conquest mentality” of the ancient Romans shaped Roman homosexual practices. In the Roman Republic, a citizen’s political liberty was defined in part by the right to preserve his body from physical compulsion or use by others; for the male citizen to submit his body to the giving of pleasure was considered servile.

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