Since the beginning of civilization, humans have incorporated sexuality into erotic art, worship, and daily life. There have been cultures and times were explicit references to sexuality were more accepted by societal norms, and times when there have not. However, the repressive view of sexuality espoused by the Church in the Middle Ages, and then the repressed sexuality of the Victorian era have left many in the Western world believing that few if any in the past were willing and able to accept and even revel in their sexuality. Most of us look to the past and think of an era where sexuality was a taboo subject, until the groundbreaking social changes of the 60s and 70s. This view was supported by many of the authorities of the 20th century, who often edited explicitly sexual objects and events out of history books and museums. When the lost city of Pompeii was first rediscovered in the 19th century, King Francis of Sicily had all the many sex artifacts found placed in a "secret cabinet" to be locked away.
Ancient Artifacts from the Erotic Museum in Paris
Erotic Images from Ancient Times – Ancient History et cetera
A few years ago I visited the Erotic Museum in Paris. The museum is a dark place hidden away from the eyes of mainstream tourists. I found out about it from another numismatist. For those of you who are wondering, I was looking for inspiration for my research, since back then I was determined to embark into a long and fruitful trip into the study of ancient sexualities!
The Erotic Art of Ancient Greece and Rome
Yes, it would be pretty great if Cleopatra really had constructed a pleasure device out of bees , but there simply aren't any good sources to back up such claims. Sometimes, though, it works the other way around - we unearth something or rediscover something that makes our collective monocles fly off. Were the ancients really so suggestive? According to archaeologists and historians, yes.
Rarely does L. Erotic images and depictions of genitalia, the phallus in particular, were incredibly popular motifs across a wide range of media in ancient Greece and Rome. Simply put, sex is everywhere in Greek and Roman art. Explicit sexual representations were common on Athenian black-figure and red-figure vases of the sixth and fifth centuries BC.