Please forward this error screen to v2. Please forward this error screen to host. Same-sex relations among women are less documented. Although Roman women of the upper classes were educated and are known dating sites socially awkward have both written poetry and corresponded with male relatives, very few fragments of anything that might have been written by women survived.

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Male writers took little interest in how women experienced sexuality in general. It was expected and socially acceptable for a freeborn Roman man to want sex with both female and male partners, as long as he took the penetrative role. The morality of the behavior depended on the social standing of the partner, not gender per se. Homoerotic themes are introduced to Latin literature during a period of increasing Greek influence on Roman culture in the 2nd century BC. In the Imperial era, a perceived increase in passive homosexual behavior among free males was associated with anxieties about the subordination of political liberty to the emperor, and led to an increase in executions and corporal punishment. The consul Quintus Lutatius Catulus was among a circle of poets who made short, light Hellenistic poems fashionable. One of his few surviving fragments is a poem of desire addressed to a male with a Greek name.

The Latin name and freeborn status of the beloved subvert Roman tradition. By the end of the Augustan period Ovid, Rome’s leading literary figure, proposed a radically new agenda focused on love between men and women: making love with a woman is more enjoyable, he says, because unlike the forms of same-sex behavior permissible within Roman culture, the pleasure is mutual. 18th-century European literary circles, his name became “a byword for homosexuality”. Threesomes in Roman art typically show two men penetrating a woman, but one of the Suburban scenes has one man entering a woman from the rear while he in turn receives anal sex from a man standing behind him. This scenario is described also by Catullus, Carmen 56, who considers it humorous. Roman attitudes toward male nudity differ from those of the ancient Greeks, who regarded idealized portrayals of the nude male as an expression of masculine excellence.

The wearing of the toga marked a Roman man as a free citizen. Romans who were socially marked as “masculine” did not confine their same-sex penetration of male prostitutes or slaves to those who were “boys” under the age of 20. Some older men may have at times preferred the passive role. Catullus directs the slur cinaedus at his friend Furius in his notoriously obscene Carmen 16. The clothing, use of cosmetics, and mannerisms of a cinaedus marked him as effeminate, but the same effeminacy that Roman men might find alluring in a puer became unattractive in the physically mature male. His performance featured tambourine-playing and movements of the buttocks that suggested anal intercourse. Eva Cantarella has described this form of concubinage as “a stable sexual relationship, not exclusive but privileged”.