Saturday, March 03, 2007

The History of Sex

What a weekend! It's only Saturday night and I feel like I have accomplished SO MUCH! I am waiting for my pizza and breadsticks to be done, and watching "The History of Sex" on the History Channel. Wow. I am learning ALOT. For example, that male homesexuality traces way back and can be identified in ancient greece and rome. The Sacred Band of Thebes were 150 homesexual couples. They died so that they wouldn't look badly in the eyes of their lovers. What I find amazing is that the homosexual relationship between an older male and a pubescent boy was embraced and considered a rite of passage. And that penetration of the young boy was NOT a part of the experience. The most fascinating is how candidly and normal sex was in their society. It's so interesting. In Egypt, there literally WERE no virgin women. There wasn't even an Egyptian word for virgin. There was no reason to abstain from sex, but they did believe in monogomy and marraige in Egypt, which was not the case in may other cultures. The number of prostitutes and slaves that were used for sex were amazing. But WIVES were not allowed to cheat in most cultures, because they were the property of their husbands, and their reproductive capabilities were also the property of their husbands. Anyone man would have sex with a married woman and got caught, was accused of "theivery" and punished. Augustus of Rome was the first person to make Adultery a Crime. This preluded the rise of Christianity.

What amazes me is that in our culture, we are taught about Greek Gods and Egyptian Culture but all of the sexual details are left out, but sexuality was a HUGE and MAJOR piece of their culture and everyday life. How can you tell the story of Helen of Troy and leave out sexuality and adultery? It's all this jaded storybook tale that we make up to tell our kids and if we don't see specials like this or read on the subject as adults, we don't know any better. I am also amazed by the number of carvings and stone tablets that show sexual acts or genitals. And the fact that we never see any of them. They even say that all the Egyptian chiselings that show a man holding a spear are a metaphor for penetration, because the word for spear is the root of the word that means impregnation. When sexual images were not used, metaphors for sex were used.

The second hour of the show breaks down the EASTERN World and how their take on sex was so much different than the Christianity in the Western World. The Eastern world found a perfect balance between religion and sexuality and believed that one could not exist without the other. I have huge respect for that. The program goes on to discuss taoism and confuscism. Taoism beliefs are centered around longevity of life for men. They discuss having sex without ejaculating, all to prolong your life and become sharper in your senses (on edge, LOL) and if you could have sex with 10 women, or 10 times, and make the woman have an orgasm without ejaculating, you would acheive eternal life. Men chose women who were young, because they hadn't been "tainted" or ruined by giving birth (ouch!) Confuscism believed in prolonging the family. It believed in procreation and having a large family. Women who bore children were very valuable and were the choice of mates. Infant mortality rates were high, so men took to polygamy. Men had their legal wife, and their concubines. The men's job was to keep them from fighting and feeling slighted. Keep everyone happy. One king of ancient China had 121 wives and concubines. He had sexual secretaries that kept extensive records of which wife needed her "needs" addressed. This started the practice of chinese aphrodisiacs. Chinese sex manuals changed to give points on pleasuring women as well as men, because if the women enjoyed sex, they would want to have sex more and would create more children as a result.

Men did frequent brothels in China. Even men with many wives. (For R & R) Brothels were considered an escape from polygamy. Lots of business (not just sexual, but merchants, etc.) was conducted in brothels. Upscale brothels were forums for men to socialize. When men took to brothels, some women took on lovers. But adultery (by women) was punishable by death. They also discussed the eroticism of feet in Chinese Culture. Foot binding was the practice and Chinese men were not ever allowed to see their wives bare feet.

Japanese had their own unique beliefs regarding sex. No original sin. Sexual practices were never looked upon as sin. The Japanese believed that the family was the backbone of life. As long as Japanese men took care of their families and children, they could have as much extramarital sex as they wanted. Japanese women also had multiple lovers and husbands. FINALLY. LOL.

What I didn't know (and they didn't teach us, hell-o!) - Geishas were Prostitutes?!?! How did I miss that! Damn! Prostitution was licensed and regulated. "Licensed Prostitutes." Geishas were considered artists who sang, danced, and had sexual relations with their clients. They originated as the daughters of fallen aristocrats. The show explained that "when a woman wouldn't suffice" men would go to the theater. A Kabuki, where women's roles were played by men, were havens for male prostitutes. They often had affairs with high ranking males like Shoguns and Samauri. Customers who consorted with the boy prostitutes had no repurcussions and were not looked down upon. It was common practice. Prostitutes, Geishas, etc. were common everyday life. It was not hidden. People bought pornographic art and hung it in their homes without shame.

In India, sex and spirituality are tightly interwoven. Hindus used sexual love as a metaphor in their writing and art for their relationship with God. Indian gods are models for Human life. They have wives and pets and children and weapons. In Buddhism, the root of the religion resides in the yoni (vagina.) Therefore the root of enlightenment is in the vagina. This is something that I know something about from yoga and other meditation practices and music. I am fascinated by Buddhism. Many Buddhist Monks and Nuns chose celibacy, instead of enlightenment through the yoni. This is where the Kama Sutra comes into play. The book was written by someone who probably never had sex. It was written more for the men and the elites of society. The last book of the kama sutra deals strictly with penis enlargement and vaginal restriction. The show discusses how, instead of graphically explaining sexual positions in poetry, writers would indicate that the woman was on top by saying that her "garter bells were shaking" and indicates she was on the bottom by saying that her "ankle bells were ringing."

Indian men used parrots to seduce women. They would teach the bird how to say sexual phrases. Men sought women with large breasts, narrow waists, and large hips and thighs. But that didn't have much to do with who they would marry... there were arranged marraiges where child brides (under the age of 12) who moved in with her husband when she reached puberty. The brides lived with their in-laws and became young slaves. There was no sex on the first night of marriage. The longer you wait for the sex, the more potent it was supposed to be. Tantra was the breaking of taboos. It combined several religions and broke many religions laws of society. By eating meat, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and having ritualized sex, Tantrists believed they could attain enlightenment. many Indian Temples display Tantric sex on their outer walls. Tantric Orgys looked like sexual games of twister. Tantric sex was considered dark and secretive and dangerous. It was often done in dark cemetaries. It was said that there is a Serpent coiled at the base of a persons spine. Tantric sex was supposed to release the serpent and it would slink up to a person's head and they would obtain enlightenment.

So, that's your lesson in sex for the day. Although that's probably enough to last a lifetime.

1 comment:

Geeky Dragon Girl said...

Ooh the History of Sex! I remember watching that show years ago. I forgot about it when I had to shut off my cable for a while. I'll have to look for it again...

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