In Ancient Rome, it was completely fine to be gay. In fact, it was encouraged and promoted through currency, perfume, and more. Although same sex relationships were allowed, there were still rules governing the interactions. Especially among men. The rules for women were more fluid, however; they were definitely defined by citizen status (free, bond-servant, or slave).
For men, the main social rule was the fact that roles during the male-male sex acts had an order based on penetrative status. To keep it simple for those of a 21st century mind; guys or men who were TOPS weren’t considered GAY. Only the guys who were passive or those who would be considered BOTTOMS (by our standards). Same sex relations were also sought out for birth control reasons and laws governing the creation of children. The Romans took a woman’s virginity and “out-of-wedlock” children very seriously. So it was common for men to “hook up,” versus paying a fine for making a woman pregnant who wasn’t his wife. So that is food for thought. We know that the Romans felt masculinity was mandatory for the “active” or TOP man. But also for the passive one too.
This is a good video to learn some facts, but you should also do some more research. It’s short, but gives some solid information. We’ll discuss more in this topic for Ancient Month and later this year.
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VIDEO: Courtesy of Powered by Rainbows (Thanks!!!)
Detail of a relief from a late Roman sarcophagus (ca. 250 AD)
[Credit: © Marie-Lan Nguyen/WikiCommons]