Sex in ancient world had a largely oxymoronic status. While it was a taboo in many societies, sex in ancient times often bordered on the bizarre and unbelievable, where it was liberally practiced. The Greeks, Romans, Arabs and several other communities had their own traditions. Let’s take a look at some of the strange ancient sex practices, many of which are even followed today.
Pre-Islamic Arabs practiced a strange custom called wife lending, one of the earliest forms of eugenics. It was usually practiced by low-ranked families who wanted a prestigious lineage to ennoble their line. Only men of distinction with the desirable attribute were allowed to have intercourse with another man’s wife. The process was quite simple. The husband would send his wife to the chosen man’s home where she would stay until getting pregnant. The husband, in the meantime, had to abstain from sex with another woman to claim the child from his wife.
According to Taoism, qi (or chi), the life force of everything in existence, takes the form of jing, the essence that grants us life. In the human body, Taoists believe that loss of jing causes illness and even death. Semen is said to have the maximum jing and men were advised not to ejaculate during sex. But there’s a twist. Having more sex, particularly with beautiful virgins, was considered one of the best ways to increase jing. While the Chinese had more sex, men didn’t ejaculate during orgasm.
Royal Egyptian families kept their bloodlines pure by marrying within close groups, often with disastrous genetic consequences. Sisters were often married off to brothers to keep everything inside the family. This was a very bad idea. But Egyptians found nothing wrong because the pharaohs were doing exactly what their gods did in heaven. The marriage between Isis and Osiris is perhaps one of the most famous examples of its kind in Egyptian mythology. Ancient pharaohs, being god’s representatives on earth, did likewise.
Fellatio wasn’t considered morally abhorrent in Egypt. According to an ancient myth, after Seth hacked Osiris to pieces, Isis went to collect the pieces to bring him back to life. She couldn’t find his penis. So Isis made one from clay and blew back life into Osiris. Ancient Phoenicians along with Egyptians were the first to use red lipstick to indicate their expertise in oral sex. Ancient Romans, however, considered fellatio worse than anal sex. Fellators were socially ostracized because kissing on the lips was the accepted form of social greeting between men and women in Rome.
One of the most bizarre sexual custom comes from the ancient Mardudjara Aboriginal tribe of Australia. It involves a barbaric circumcision ritual that has been followed for hundreds of years. Once a male attains puberty, he is circumcised and made to ingest the cut foreskin. It is supposed to increase his virility. After he heals, the penis is cut lengthwise from the underside, all the way to the scrotum. The dripping blood is made to fall on a fire to purify it. Henceforth, the man urinates from below the penis, instead of the urethra.
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