Male couple erastes and eromenos kissing Attic red-figured cup , ca. Such relationships did not replace marriage between man and woman, but occurred before and beside it. A mature man would not usually have a mature male mate with exceptions such as Alexander the Great and the same-aged Hephaestion but the older man would usually be the erastes lover to a young eromenos loved one.
Men could also seek adolescent boys as partners as shown by some of the earliest documents concerning same-sex pederastic relationships, which come from Ancient Greece. Often they were favored over women. One ancient saying claimed that "Women are for business, boys are for pleasure. In regard of male homosexuality such documents depict a world in which relationships with women and relationships with youths were the essential foundation of a normal man's love life.
Same-sex relationships were a social institution variously constructed over time and from one city to another. The formal practice, an erotic yet often restrained relationship between a free adult male and a free adolescent, was valued for its pedagogic benefits and as a means of population control, though occasionally blamed for causing disorder.
The ideal held that both partners would be inspired by love symbolized by Eros , the erastes unselfishly providing education, guidance, and appropriate gifts to his eromenos, who became his devoted pupil and assistant, while the sexuality theoretically remained short of penetrative acts and supposedly would consist primarily of the act of frottage or intercrural sex.
Although this was the ideal, realistically speaking, it is probable that in many such relationships fellatio and penetrative anal intercourse did occur. The hoped-for result was the mutual improvement of both erastes and eromenos, each doing his best to excel in order to be worthy of the other.
If one was open about one's homosexuality then they were exiled or in some cases executed because it was regarded as a duty to one's ethnic group to reproduce. Dover , followed by Michel Foucault and Halperin , assumed that it was considered improper for the eromenos to feel desire, as that would not be masculine.
However, Dover's claim has been questioned in light of evidence of love poetry which suggests a more emotional connection than earlier researchers liked to acknowledge. Some research has shown that ancient Greeks believed semen , more specifically sperm , to be the source of knowledge, and that these relationships served to pass wisdom on from the erastes to the eromenos within society.
The adjectives deriving from her name and place of birth Sapphic and Lesbian came to be applied to female homosexuality beginning in the 19th century. The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love sometimes requited, sometimes not for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate.
Homosexuality in ancient Rome Sappho reading to her companions on an Attic vase of c. In Ancient Greece and Phrygia , and later in the Roman Republic , the Goddess Cybele was worshiped by a cult of people who castrated themselves, and thereafter took female dress and referred to themselves as female. All the emperors with the exception of Claudius took male lovers. The Hellenophile emperor Hadrian is renowned for his relationship with Antinous.
In Roman patriarchal society, it was socially acceptable for an adult male citizen to take the penetrative role in same-sex relations. Freeborn male minors were strictly protected from sexual predators see Lex Scantinia , and men who willingly played the "passive" role in homosexual relations were disparaged.
No law or moral censure was directed against homosexual behaviors as such, as long as the citizen took the dominant role with a partner of lower status such as a slave , prostitute , or someone considered infamis , of no social standing.
During the Renaissance , wealthy cities in northern Italy — Florence and Venice in particular—were renowned for their widespread practice of same-sex love, engaged in by a considerable part of the male population and constructed along the classical pattern of Greece and Rome.
Rankin in Celts and the Classical World notes that "Athenaeus echoes this comment a and so does Ammianus It seems to be the general opinion of antiquity. Diodorus went further, stating that "the young men will offer themselves to strangers and are insulted if the offer is refused".
Rankin argues that the ultimate source of these assertions is likely to be Poseidonius and speculates that these authors may be recording male "bonding rituals". The Etoro and Marind-anim for example, even viewed heterosexuality as sinful and celebrated homosexuality instead. In many traditional Melanesian cultures a pre-pubertal boy would be paired with an older adolescent who would become his mentor and who would "inseminate" him orally, anally, or topically, depending on the tribe over a number of years in order for the younger to also reach puberty.
According to Chauncey et al. Villard, in which he argues that the adelphopoiia liturgy was evidence that attitude of the Christian church towards homosexuality has changed over time, and that early Christians did on occasion accept same-sex relationships. Southern , dispute Boswell's findings and scholarly rigor. Southern points out that homosexuality had been condemned extensively by religious leaders and medieval scholars well before the 12th century; he also points to the penitentials which were common in early medieval society, and many of which include homosexuality as among the serious sins.
The history of same-sex relations between women in medieval and early modern Europe is exceedingly difficult to study, but there can be no doubt of its existence. Church leaders worried about lesbian sex; women expressed, practiced, and were sometimes imprisoned or even executed for same-sex love; and some women cross-dressed in order to live with other women as married couples.
Some legislation against lesbian relations can be adduced for the period, mainly involving the use of "instruments," in other words, dildoes.
In , accusations of sodomy and homosexuality were major charges leveled during the Trial of the Knights Templar. Homosexual activity radically passes from being completely legal in the most of Europe to incurring the death penalty in most European states.
Women caught in same-sex acts could be mutilated and executed as well. Men were fined or jailed; boys were flogged. The harshest punishments, such as burning at the stake , were usually reserved for crimes committed against the very young, or by violence. The Spanish Inquisition begins in , sodomites were stoned, castrated, and burned. Between and , more than 1, people were prosecuted for sodomy. From that year until , the number of men charged with sodomy numbered more than 17,, of whom 3, were convicted.
This number also included heterosexual sodomy. This also gave rise to a number of proverbs illuminating the views of the common people towards the practice; among them: One of the most famous examples is a tongue-in-cheek philosophic defense of the practice provided by Antonio Rocco , in his infamous L'Alcibiade, fanciullo a scola Alcibiades the Schoolboy , in English a dialogue in which a teacher seeks to use philosophy to convince a male student to have sex with him.
However, given the tongue-in-cheek nature of the writing, it seems unclear whether it is meant to be satire or genuine under the pretense of a joke. Study of the Social Pathology developed methods for police to persecute through meticulous documentation of homosexuality. Benedict Augustin Morel is considered the father of degeneracy theory. This led to references of "gay and lesbian" every time homosexuals were discussed in the media.
In the last decade non-heterosexuals such as bisexuals and those who are trans-gender have been lumped together with gays and lesbians, resulting in the popular GLBT acronym gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-gender.
But since around the acronym has evolved at times to LGBT, apparently with the assistance of pro-lesbian lobbying to change the acronym. A Molly house is an archaic 18th century English term for a tavern or private room where homosexual and cross-dressing men could meet each other and possible sexual partners. Patrons of the Molly house would sometimes enact mock weddings, sometimes with the bride giving birth. She was also heavily involved in the ensuing legal battles after her premise was raided and shut down.
Molly houses were perhaps the first precursors to the modern gay bar. France thus became the first West European country to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults. There were even many drag bars where tourists straight and gay would enjoy female impersonation acts. Hitler decried cultural degeneration, prostitution and syphilis in his book Mein Kampf , blaming at least some of the phenomena on Jews. Berlin also had the most active LGBT rights movements in the world at the time.
It also sought social recognition of homosexual and transgender men and women. It was the first public gay rights organization. The Committee had branches in several other countries, thereby being the first international GLBT organization, although on a small scale.
It had a research library and a large archive, and included a marriage and sex counseling office. In addition, the institute was a pioneer worldwide in the call for civil rights and social acceptance for homosexual and transgender people.