- Jun 2015
Rome was definitely complex in its attitudes towards sex though. It tolerated prostiution, and allowed soldiers to see prostitutes regularly. They also permitted patrician men to have sex with their male slaves, and Emperors were noted for their orgies. However, this doesn't mean everybody did it in the street, but they acknowledged sex had its place.All societies had promiscuity, polyamory, homosexuality, prostitution, contraception, and well...sex, as well as more sordid, less pleasant practices like pederasty, child-prostitution and marriages, abortion, and so on. It's not matter of what or when, but how and why different societies and civilizations handled the above.
The idea that ancient societies were libertine or had no taboos about sex is simply false. Rome, an example many people point out to as the pinnacle of decadence, had the Vestal Virgins, laws that punished Patricians that sired too many bastards or had too many affairs, legalized prostitution that did not empower or give respect to the actual prostitutes like in some other societies, and would have the daughters of citizens enslaved or executed if they so much as held hands with the wrong guy. In some ways, yes, Rome was rather loose, but it was also iron-clad restricted in others.
Most societies wanted to ensure the safe passage of property and titles through the family line, so as a general rule, women's sexual lives were more restricted than those of men whom generally had more options. It was all about protecting property and inheritance. Trying to ascribe moral or ethical judgements doesn't actually address the topic at its core.