Borghese Hermaphroditus, Louvre. Fair use

Italian version

So far we have wandered about Roman sexuality trying to understand 1) how remote it is from contemporary sexuality and 2) why everything has radically changed in the West since those times.

The first question seems clear. The Romans were very different and fancifully enjoyed pleasures and sex even though they tried not to be dominated by them (see our earlier post on ancient teachings.)

How different they were finds further evidence in statues like the famous Borghese Hermaphroditus shown above and kept at the Louvre Museum in Paris, especially when we think that these statues were very common in the Greco-Roman world. A hermaphroditus is actually a transsexual.

Can you imagine today a VIP’s living room offering the view of a marble transsexual to guests? Well, apart from a few eccentric artistic milieus, I think even open-minded people would be a bit puzzled, wouldn’t they.

The second question is more difficult. I believe that the Christian religion bears some responsibility, although I acknowledge that sexual pleasure & love are tremendous forces to the extent that they can be a social problem to be handled no matter the culture or epoch we live in.

As the Spanish philosopher Fernando Savater put it, we like sex too much, it therefore being potentially dangerous and unproductive, with every society trying to regulate it in a way or another.

Puritanism in its broad meaning, however, (eg loving only what is not pleasurable,) is to be condemned in my view even if it can push us to extremely hard work (puritanism was seen, no need to remind it, as a factor of development in areas of the United States according to Max Weber’s theories – if my memory is not faltering.)


As always it is a matter of right measure. The Romans achieved great things (like the Anglo-Saxons did) and worked hard to attain them but lived pleasantly and were (mostly) not puritanical (in the early Republic they were.)

Therefore it is not by chance the Latin folks originated from them (Italy, France, Portugal, Spain etc.) tend to savour life with taste, refinement and joy, this incidentally also being a reason why the Italian and the French ways of life are getting attractive and represent today a school (not the only one) of savoir vivre in the West.

Thing being Latin folks are more or less taught since they were babies to cultivate beauty and all it implies.

It is so simple,
as simple and beautiful
as a Greek temple.

Their ancestors in fact, our Ancient Romans, didn’t just eat (as many Anglo-Saxons do, though progress is evident): they invented a highly refined culinary art. Equally, they didn’t just reproduce themselves (as many Christian fanatics do): they invented forms of refined eroticism which allowed them to live a fuller life.

Is it wrong? Is it right?

Should beauty in all its forms be a main part of our life?

A full answer is more coomplicated than it seems, but I definitely think it is right.

Yes, I conclusively think it is right, my sweet readers. Oh I really don’t have many doubts about that.


Related posts:

Sex and the city (of Rome) 1
Sex and the city (of Rome) 2

Sex and the city (of Rome) 4
Sex and the city (of Rome). A Conclusion.

Caesar, Great Man (and Don Juan)

6 thoughts on “Sex and the City (of Rome). 3

  1. …Why all American women went crazy for Elvis Presley … who came from the south of the USA, an area marked by some influence of the Spanish and the French..

    Nope. Presley was the first to admit that his major influences were the blacks, or negroes as was the proper word then. Of course, many people now say he “stole” their music, but since he was always so honest about it, and since artists always “steal” from one another, that’s not fair. What he did was make the earthiness and sexuality of The Blues okay for young white women and men to enjoy…although their parents radically disapproved.

    Latin culture ain’t got nothin’ to do with it, sorry. In American popular music, it’s all about the European mingling with the African, with the latter usually taking the lead in innovation.


  2. @lichanos

    I cannot but yield to your superior knowledge on this stuff 🙂

    Although I was referring more to the person and his ways, and less to the music. It was only a feeling. But of course the reason for his success was the music, no doubt, so I guess I’m wrong.

    You probably were commenting on *this post*.


  3. Yes, that post…

    …I was referring more to the person and his ways, and less to the music.
    As for the person, I think it was his swinging hips that were his main attraction. This too, was directly copied from black performers. Compare him to his white contemporaries, and the contrast in sexual energy is amazing.

    When he appeared on the Ed Sullivan TV show, they only showed him from the wasit up! Really!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s