Sex is everywhere in our culture. We think we are pretty hot stuff: progressive, adventurous, and sexually speaking, miles ahead of our ancestors.
However, sexual attitudes and practices of the modern world seem tame—and in some ways, a little backward—when we contrast them against some of the wild sexual practices of Ancient Egypt.
10. Porn—Who Needs It?
Sexuality was an important part of ancient Egyptian culture. Far from being taboo, sex was revelled in and celebrated without guilt.
Perhaps for this reason, pornography was not as common or as popular as it was in the Greek and Roman societies. Erotic imagery existed, of course, the most well-known piece being the Turin Erotic Papyrus depicting various sex acts; this scroll is believed to be a piece of satirical work, though.
Not that ancient Egyptians minded a little self-gratification…
9. The Man, The Myth, The Masturbation
Masturbation was not only a part of ancient Egyptian culture, but it was at the center of one of their creation myths.
The first god, Ra, fathered the second line of gods through masturbation. This event was reenacted during ancient celebrations by the Pharaoh jacking off into the Nile River as a means to encourage fertility.
However, there were times when fertility was not desirable…
8. Egyptians Used Birth Control
Family and children were central to ancient Egyptian culture, but they still accepted that sometimes pregnancy was to be avoided. There are records of many different compounds used as contraceptives, including prescriptions based on crocodile dung and acacia gum. Gross, but highly effective.
Contraception was important, though, since sex was a way of life. Also…
7. No Cared About The V-Card
Female virginity, often highly prized in Western civilization, wasn’t a big deal in Egyptian culture.
As long as both individuals were unattached, men and women alike could freely pursue sexual relationships without judgment—a far cry from attitudes held by ancient Romans that persist in Christianity-based cultures to this day.
Marriage, however, changed the equation drastically…
6. Cheating Cost You More Than Half Your Stuff
Egyptians truly considered marriage to be sacred. Regardless of the wild times you had before exchanging vows, once you were hitched, both husbands and wives were expected to be faithful.
Affairs between married people were considered despicable and a betrayal of societal codes; they could result in the offending man and woman both being beaten, mutilated, or even executed.
5. Homosexuality Was Fine, With A Catch
Homosexuality was seemingly known in the culture, and if not established as a way of life, it wasn’t entirely forbidden.
Oddly though, the position is what mattered most. Since sex was also equated with masculine power, the man in the submissive position would have faced significant ridicule at being the “receiver”.
4. Cleopatra Created Some Buzz
Sex toys are a multimillion dollar worldwide business, but at least we only have to change out the batteries from time to time.
Queen Cleopatra, reputed to have a legendary sex drive, was said to have created a vibrator for herself using a box filled with angry bees to generate the required buzz.
3. Slaking The Dead
Egyptians believed that even after death a corpse still contained sexual power. If the deceased was beautiful or had been famous while in life, embalmers would sometimes have sex with the freshly preserved bodies.
Embalmers who were caught were punished, but the problem was widespread enough that it became common for corpses not to be delivered for preparation until after several days has passed.
2. Enjoying Some Sibling Rivalry
Egyptian mythology is full of sibling marriage and the tradition was picked up among Egyptian royalty. At the time, it was thought to be a way to strengthen the family lineage.
In reality, though, it just led to inbreeding, causing the family line to suffer genetic disorders over time. The masses didn’t widely practice sibling marriage, although sex between siblings was not unheard of.
That’s not even the most shocking sexual practice in which these people indulged…
1. Beasts Sometimes Carried The Burden
To this day, bestiality is one of the most taboo sex acts. However, despite it being illegal and carrying stiff penalties at the time, ancient Egyptians still made a practice of it.
There are many references in ancient papyrus and on pyramid walls that show accounts of men having sex with cows, dogs, and apes. There are even extreme accounts of men who managed to have sex with crocodiles—and survive.