Sporting events had young men running, wrestling, and throwing
spears ... without wearing a shred of clothing. The players were completely and totally
naked. How a person looked -- every bit of his body -- was incredibly important. The
emphasis on the physical and the lack of modesty wasnt confined to sporting
events. In the bathhouses, men sat and socialized in the nude. To the Greeks, the beautiful was holy. Modesty was not a practiced concept.
The entire notion of sexuality was very different in antiquity. With the exception of prohibitions against incest or
sleeping with parents or siblings (which most societies seem to have prohibited),
everything else was fair game. There was no phenomenon of correct or incorrect sexual
behavior; everything was considered totally acceptable. The only issue was whether you
were the active or passive partner. The passive partner could be a man, a boy, a woman, a
girl, an animal, or even an inanimate object. The demarcation of homosexuality and
heterosexuality were non-existent for most of the history of human sexuality.
In the modern world, religion is generally viewed as the moral guard against sexual
promiscuity. This was not so 2,000 years ago. In antiquity, sexuality permeated virtually
every religion. Almost all the creation stories in all polytheistic religions begin with
the gods engaging in some sort of sexual activity in order to create the world. Temple
prostitutes, temple orgies, and fertility rites were regular features of almost all
religions. Sex was everywhere.
Pederasty, a sexual relationship between an adult man and a boy, was quite common in antiquity.
In classical Greek civilization, pederasty was viewed as something positive and beautiful,
the highest form of love. It was also considered a fundamental part of the education and
socialization of a boy.
Lets look at a quote from Platos Symposium. Keep in mind that hes
talking about the relationship between a grown man and an older boy:
"I, for my part, am at a loss to say what a greater blessing a man can have at
earliest youth than an honorable lover.... If we can somehow contrive to have a city or an
army composed of lovers and their favorites, they could not be better citizens of their
country.... No man is such a craven that love's own influence can not inspire him with
valor that makes him equal to the bravest born."