Sexuality in Roman Society

1572 Words7 Pages
The idea of sexuality as constructed by Ancient Romans is wholly complex as was most of Roman society. An interesting way to look at Roman sexuality is through the lens of Roman society. Ancient Roman sexuality was not uniform throughout society and different societal classes created different types of sexualities. Three authors examine sexuality from three different social realms, the realm of the prostitute, the realm of Roman patricians in terms of contraception, and the realm of Vestal Virgins. Prostitutes in Rebecca Flemming's article, "Quae Corpore Quaestum Facit: The Sexual Economy of Female Prostitution in the Roman Empire" are a representation of lower class sexuality. Mary Beard's article, "The Sexual Status of Vestal Virgins" examines a form of deviant sexuality based around religious values. Lastly, Keith Hopkins' article," Contraception in the Roman Empire" examines the sexual practices of upper class Romans using contraception and abortifacents, vital conclusions about Ancient Roman society and sexuality can be determined.
The article "Quae Corpore Quaestum Facit: The Sexual Economy of Female Prostitution in the Roman Empire" by Rebecca Flemming is an interesting article because Ms. Flemming starts out in the introduction making the case for feminist analysis of history especially in regards to a topic such as female prostitutes in Ancient Rome. Ms. Flemming does have a point where most history is developed through a historiography of privileged men's viewpoints so it is important to gain other viewpoints for a comprehensive look at a certain society at a certain time. On the other hand, in areas and times such as Ancient Rome, the prominent voices were privileged, free men's voices so most of historical documents we...

... middle of paper ...

...t coitus interrutpus was used so frequently it did not have to be written about or that it was never used before the fourth century in Rome. Mr. Hopkins makes many assumptions and conclusions based off of limited resources which is understandable but does not necessarily lend itself to valid analysis especially in the later parts of the article where he compares Roman contraceptive techniques to modern and Native American populations.
These three articles give the modern reader a sense of what sexuality was in Ancient Rome. These articles reinforce that sexuality is important in human societies. They show that how you did or did not do sexual activity was very important and under scrutiny like in Western societies today. Though these articles are using limited resources to make conclusions, they do their best to help the reader make sense of sexual Roman society.
Open Document