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Passive Gay Sex

Homosexuality in ancient Rome often differs markedly from the contemporary West. Latin lacks words that would precisely translate "homosexual" and "heterosexual".[1] The primary dichotomy of ancient Roman sexuality was active/dominant/masculine and passive/submissive/feminine. Roman society was patriarchal, and the freeborn male citizen possessed political liberty (libertas) and the right to rule both himself and his household (familia). "Virtue" (virtus) was seen as an active quality through which a man (vir) defined himself. The conquest mentality and "cult of virility" shaped same-sex relations. Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived loss of masculinity or social status, as long as they took the dominant or penetrative role. Acceptable male partners were slaves and former slaves, prostitutes, and entertainers, whose lifestyle placed them in the nebulous social realm of infamia, excluded from the normal protections accorded to a citizen even if they were technically free. Although Roman men in general seem to have preferred youths between the ages of 12 and 20 as sexual partners, freeborn male minors were off limits at certain periods in Rome, though professional prostitutes and entertainers might remain sexually available well into adulthood.[2]

passive gay sex

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.[18] The sexual license and decadence under the empire was seen as a contributing factor and symptom of the loss of the ideals of physical integrity (libertas) under the Republic.[19]

In other satire, as well as in Martial's erotic and invective epigrams, at times boys' superiority over women is remarked (for example, in Juvenal 6). Other works in the genre (e.g., Juvenal 2 and 9, and one of Martial's satires) also give the impression that passive homosexuality was becoming a fad increasingly popular among Roman men of the first century AD, something which is the target of invective from the authors of the satires.[30] The practice itself, however, was perhaps not new, as over a hundred years before these authors, the dramatist Lucius Pomponius wrote a play, Prostibulum (The Prostitute), which today only exists in fragments, where the main character, a male prostitute, proclaims that he has sex with male clients also in the active position.[31]

Such a trend distinguishes Roman homoerotic art from that of the Greeks.[54] With some exceptions, Greek vase painting attributes desire and pleasure only to the active partner of homosexual encounters, the erastes, while the passive, or eromenos, seems physically unaroused and, at times, emotionally distant. It is now believed that this may be an artistic convention provoked by reluctance on the part of the Greeks to openly acknowledge that Greek males could enjoy taking on a "female" role in an erotic relationship;[57] reputation for such pleasure could have consequences to the future image of the former eromenos when he turned into an adult, and hinder his ability to participate in the socio-political life of the polis as a respectable citizen.[58] Because, among the Romans, normative homosexuality took place, not between freeborn males or social equals as among the Greeks, but between master and slave, client and prostitute or, in any case, between social superior and social inferior, Roman artists may paradoxically have felt more at ease than their Greek colleagues to portray mutual affection and desire between male couples.[56] This may also explain why anal penetration is seen more often in Roman homoerotic art than in its Greek counterpart, where non-penetrative intercourse predominates.[56]

Contrary to the art of the vessels discussed above, all sixteen images on the mural portray sexual acts considered unusual or debased according to Roman customs: e.g., female sexual domination of men, heterosexual oral sex, passive homosexuality by an adult man, lesbianism, and group sex. Therefore, their portrayal may have been intended to provide a source of ribald humor rather than sexual titillation to visitors of the building.[60]

A man or boy who took the "receptive" role in sex was variously called cinaedus, pathicus, exoletus, concubinus (male concubine), spint(h)ria ("analist"), puer ("boy"), pullus ("chick"), pusio, delicatus (especially in the phrase puer delicatus, "exquisite" or "dainty boy"), mollis ("soft", used more generally as an aesthetic quality counter to aggressive masculinity), tener ("delicate"), debilis ("weak" or "disabled"), effeminatus, discinctus ("loose-belted"), pisciculi, and morbosus ("sick"). As Amy Richlin has noted, "'gay' is not exact, 'penetrated' is not self-defined, 'passive' misleadingly connotes inaction" in translating this group of words into English.[76]

Some terms, such as exoletus, specifically refer to an adult; 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.[77] Some older men may have at times preferred the passive role. Martial describes, for example, the case of an older man who played the passive role and let a younger slave occupy the active role.[78] An adult male's desire to be penetrated was considered a sickness (morbus); the desire to penetrate a handsome youth was thought normal.[79]

Cinaedus is a derogatory word denoting a male who was gender-deviant; his choice of sex acts, or preference in sexual partner, was secondary to his perceived deficiencies as a "man" (vir).[80] Catullus directs the slur cinaedus at his friend Furius in his notoriously obscene Carmen 16.[81] Although in some contexts cinaedus may denote an anally passive man[80] and is the most frequent word for a male who allowed himself to be penetrated anally,[82] a man called cinaedus might also have sex with and be considered highly attractive to women.[80] Cinaedus is not equivalent to the English vulgarism "faggot",[83] except that both words can be used to deride a male considered deficient in manhood or with androgynous characteristics whom women may find sexually alluring.[84]

Pathicus was a "blunt" word for a male who was penetrated sexually. It derived from the unattested Greek adjective pathikos, from the verb paskhein, equivalent to the Latin deponent patior, pati, passus, "undergo, submit to, endure, suffer".[82] The English word "passive" derives from the Latin passus.[76]

In the discourse of sexuality, puer ("boy") was a role as well as an age group.[110] Both puer and the feminine equivalent puella, "girl", could refer to a man's sexual partner, regardless of age.[111] As an age designation, the freeborn puer made the transition from childhood at around age 14, when he assumed the "toga of manhood", but he was 17 or 18 before he began to take part in public life.[112] A slave would never be considered a vir, a "real man"; he would be called puer, "boy", throughout his life.[113] Pueri might be "functionally interchangeable" with women as receptacles for sex,[114] but freeborn male minors were strictly off-limits.[115] To accuse a Roman man of being someone's "boy" was an insult that impugned his manhood, particularly in the political arena.[116] The aging cinaedus or an anally passive man might wish to present himself as a puer.[117]

In the hanky code, a person flagging the top, or active, role would wear the hanky in the left pocket, and the bottom, or passive, role on the right. Acts which were not divisible into distinct roles, however, such as "69" or "anything", followed a pattern in which one flagged interest by wearing the hanky on the left and absence of interest by wearing it on the right, and preferences that did not relate to sexual mechanics, such as uniform fetishism or prostitution, followed a pattern in which the seeker flagged on the right and the object of desire flagged on the left.[19]

Other terms for top and bottom include active and passive, and pitcher and catcher.[22][23][5] The intended meanings of active vs. passive in reference to oral sex can be unclear, however.[24] Switch is sometimes used for versatile.[25]

'Top and bottom', 'active and passive' or 'pitcher and catcher' (US) describe a guy's preference to fuck (penetrate) or be fucked (be penetrated) during anal sex. Some guys are versatile, meaning they enjoy both fucking and being fucked. Importantly though, some dislike these labels and prefer to go with the flow.

Some men think that to be a top, you have to be masculine and manly, while others think a bottom has to be passive or effeminate. This is bollocks. There are so-called masculine-looking guys that roll over as soon as you wave your dick in their direction and passive-looking guys that will fuck you into the floor. Fantastic! Just be the man you want to be, with the man you want to be with, ensuring the sex you have is safer, sane and consensual.

Compassionate feelings for people who are victimized because of their perceived sexual deviance (e.g., gay men) may be incompatible with support for heterosexual norms among heterosexual men. But, indifference (or passivity) toward such victims could raise concern over heterosexual men's gay-tolerance attitude. Two classic social psychological theories offer competing explanations on when heterosexual men might be passive or compassionate toward gay victims of hate crime. The bystander model proposes passivity toward victims in an emergency situation if other bystanders are similarly passive, but compassionate reactions if bystanders are responsive to the victims. Conversely, the social loafing model proposes compassionate reactions toward victims when bystanders are passive, but passivity when other bystanders are already responsive toward the victims' predicament. We tested and found supportive evidence for both models across two experiments (Ntotal = 501) in which passivity and compassionate reactions to gay victims of a purported hate crime were recorded after heterosexual men's concern for social evaluation was either accentuated or relaxed. We found that the bystander explanation was visible only when the potential for social evaluation was strong, while the social loafing account occurred only when the potential for social evaluation was relaxed. Hence, we unite both models by showing that the bystander explanation prevails in situations where cues to social evaluation are strong, whereas the social loafing effect operates when concern over social judgement is somewhat muted. 041b061a72


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