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Activism & Sex
Commercial Sex Mesopotamia
Contraception Ancient Egypt Egypt was and is a civilization of vast diversity. Ancient Egypt had
Disabilities/Illnesses Ancient India many different sexual behaviors and diversities: homosexuality,
Dysfunctions Ancient China transgenderism, incest marriages, exhibitionism, prostitution, adultery,
Human Body Early Biblical bestiality, necrophilia, and others. There were different customs
History of Sex Early Mediterranean among nobility, common people, and slaves. Nobility had a wide
Law & Sex Ancient Greece range of marital customs and practically all sexual behaviors were
Love & Intimacy Incan Empire both accepted and condemned depending on the time period and the
Paraphilias Aztec Empire ruling class. This was similar with the common people, only there
Pleasures of Sex Mayan Empire seems to be a more strict regime in marriage, and a variety of
Pregnancy Native Americans punishments to those who broke the laws. What was acceptable among
Relationships Roman Empire slaves and concubines was dependent upon their owners. Although
Religion & Sex Middle Ages Egypt has similarities to other civilizations, they also had unique
Research Renaissance/Reformation sexual imagery and customs.
STDs Puritans
Societies Victorianism Cleanliness
Variances Adolf Hitler
Violence Kinsey - 1950s Egyptians thought highly of cleanliness and shaved not only their
Sex Revolution-60s heads, upon which they wore wigs, but also their pubic hair, which
prevented forms of pubic lice. Circumcision was also practiced which
eliminated smegma (dirt and bacteria build up under the foreskin).

Contraception and Potions

Different types of contraception were attempted, such as the use of animal dung as a form of a spermicide. If this failed, potions were derived to induce miscarriage. Potions were also used as aphrodisiacs.

Lineage of Pharoahs

Ancient Egypt's lineage was traced through women and property was passed through women. For this reason, Ancient Egypt originated as a matriarchy. The pharoahs were trustees of the property passed down and their reign was decided by their matrilineal status. Because of the matrilineal structure, husbands would lose their property and status if their wife died. The property was passed down to the daughters and granddaughters. Many incest relations began with fathers and daughters and granddaughters because the men wanted to stay with the property. There were also numerous brother/sister incest marriages.

Sexual Imagery of Gods and Religious Rites

One Creation Story

Chaos (probably the Roman name equivalent of the Egyptian deity), the god of creation, masturbated, and from his ejaculation he created the other gods.

Isis and Osiris

Osiris was hacked into pieces by his brother Seth. Isis pieced him back together but was unable to find his phallus, so she created a new phallus. Egyptians would have a celebration of this event, during which women would walk through the streets singing and walking with puppets that had extremely large genitals.


Bes was the dwarf god with a very large phallus. He was considered a protector of women and some would tatoo Bes on their thigh. Bes is celebrated in physical sex and rooms came to be known as 'Bes Chambers.'


Hathor was the goddess of love and music. In one story she exposed her genitals to her father, the sun god who smiled.


Bastet was the cat goddess, associated with Hathor, and also a fertility goddess. During the festival for Bastet, women would expose their genitals.

Cult of Apis

For 40 days, women would go to the Temple of Apis, the Bull. They would expose their genitals to the statue. Once they left, they never returned again.

Temple of Amun

The Temple of Amun had different practices over Egyptian history, but at one point, a woman would go into the temple, have sex with whomever she pleased until menstruation, after which there was a celebration. Then she was married.

Further Reading

The Book of the Dead (hieroglyphics and translations).
V. Dasen. (1993) Dwarfs in Ancient Egypt and Greece. New York: Oxford University Press.
C. Eyre. (1984) "Crime and Adultery in Ancient Egypt." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 70 (pp. 92-105).
H. Frankfort. (1948) Ancient Egyptian Religion: An Interpretation. New York: Columbia University Press.
M. K. Hopkins. (1983) "Brother-Sister Marriage in Roman Egypt." Comparative Studies in Society and History. 22 (pp. 303-355).
J. Lindsay. (1965) Leisure and Pleasure in Roman Egypt. New York: Barnes & Noble.
L. Manniche. (1977) "Some Aspects of Ancient Egyptian Sexual Life." Acta Orientaia. 38 (pp. 11-23).
L. Manniche. (1987) Sexual Life in Ancient Egypt. New York: KPI.
D. Montserrat. (1996) Sex and Society in Graeco-Roman Egypt. New York: Kegan Paul International, Distributed by Columbia University Press.
R. Parkinson. (1995) "'Homosexual' Desire and Middle Kingdom Literature." Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. 82 (pp. 57-76).
S. B. Pomeroy. (1984) Women in Hellenistic Egypt. New York: Schocken Books.
G. Robins. (1988) "Ancient Egyptian Sexuality." Discussions in Egyptology. 11 (pp. 61-72).
G. Robins. (1993) Women in Ancient Egypt. London: British Museum Press.
B. Shaw. (1992) "Explaining Incest: Brother-Sister Marriage in Graeco-Roman Egypt." Man. 27.2 (pp. 267-299).

Egyptian Links

Absolute Egyptology: Religion & Dynasties
Ancient Egypt Film Site
Ancient Egyptian Astronomy
Ancient Egyptian Mathematics
Ancient Egyptian Recipes
Ancient Egyptian Sexuality
Ancient Egypt: From A to Z
Ancient World Languages: Archeology Fonts
Cult of the Cat
Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
Digital Egypt for Universities
Egypt Interactive
Egyptian Gods Description
Egyptology Resources
Exploring Ancient World Cultures
Gods of Ancient Egypt
House of Ptolemy
Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology
Marriage: Past & Present: Egypt
Marriage Traditions: Upper Egypt
Medicine in Ancient Egypt
Reeder's Egypt Page
Search for Cleopatra's Alexandria
Sexuality in Ancient Egypt
Tomb of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep: Homosexuality in Ancient Egypt
Women and Gender in Ancient Egypt

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Last updated 12.7.2014