If you found my website, you probably already know that men in ancient Greece were at it with each other. But do you really know what it was all about?
The most common, and principle form of relationship for a man was a pederastic one, an older man, the erastes, with a younger man, the eromenos. These relationships could last for life, and were viewed as more important socially and career-wise than a man’s marriage to a woman. A bit like today’s private school old boys but with more shagging—at least I think the Greeks had more shagging.
Ancient Greek men did acknowledge that women could love and be loved, but this love was seen by many as an inferior as women were less developed and mature than men. Ahem. Achilles, mature? Achaean Psycho if you ask me. Not to mention Prince Pouty. But I digress.
Pederasty was as much about furthering the education of a younger man as it was about sex. But being who I am, the sex is the bit that interests me! So what did they do? Anal and oral sex were seen as shameful, reserved for slaves or prostitutes. (There was even a law in Athens that declared a man who had allowed himself to be penetrated could not be a citizen—and neither could a woman.)
The customary form of sex between two lovers was intercrural, which is a form of frottage involving one’s beloved’s thighs. (AKA Princeton style, the Oxford rub, and the Ivy League rub for reasons which I think are obvious. Snark.) There are even poems to the beauty of a lover’s thighs—how romantic were those Athenians? A lover has told me how beautiful my inner thighs are, but I’m yet to see a poem…
Zephyrus and Hyacinthos rubbing one out on each other
Of course, there’s nothing that says it has to be two men. Those among you in a hetero relationship/liaison/one night of luurve could try it with your lady friend. The important thing is that your partner, whoever he or she is, doesn’t object to having their bits covered in jizz at the end (or you could use a condom but that does sound dull).
Alexander the Great did it, Oscar Wilde supposedly preferred it to oral, and even Abraham Lincoln seems to have tried it. Not that the latter two would particularly get me in the mood, but how about Wilde’s lover Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas instead…
Bosie Douglas with his brother Francis. I’d rub his thighs any old day….
Not being a boy, I’ve never been the “on top” person myself, but I’m told it’s totally hot. So come on lads, get your Greek on and try a bit of intercrural!
Disclaimer: I could go into more detail about homosociality, cultural motivations, the enduring nature of the erastos/eromenes relationship across cultures and eras, and the varying status of women in Ancient Greek cultures, but hey, I’m done with uni. I just want to talk about the sex now.