Throughout the history, sex has been lived in different ways depending on the times, the country, the moral and religious beliefs.
Sexuality that we have today has traveled many cultures, many points of view, and many places that have made it what we now know.
The development of sex and sexuality has always been accompanied by what religions dictate, in particular the following, which are leading the world:
And according to what these religions have imposed, is how the sexual field has been marked in their territories.
This is why the vision of sexuality varies so much from one place to another, in the first place sexuality is the product of the development of a culture and environment that surrounds it, second place; it is the result of the attitude we have been planted since our infancy with respect to the sexual theme, but always linked to the social and religious frameworks and defining the boundaries of sexual behavior with their rules and customs.
We shall now make a journey through time and geographical locations that had powerful and decisive influence in what has become our sexuality today.
Sexual culture in prehistory
At that time, it is believed that they did not had limitations for sex or rules governing the relationships between men and women. Despite this, promiscuity was not common.
There are objects that give us signals of what sexual life was in prehistory, such as:
- Cave paintings of phallic dances
- Vulvas and penises engraved on rocks
- Erotic Art
- Statues of genital organs
Sexuality was seen mostly as a way of ensuring the species for more years; it was only a fertilizing force before being a pleasant experience.
Egyptian and Babylonian sexual culture
In ancient Egypt, sexuality was seen equally and permissive.
They enjoyed sexual freedom, women are expected to be faithful, devoted to house work and to deliver children.
The woman had a privileged position, but not in the family, sacred prostitutes existed.
Incest was allowed. The most common form of incest in this society was the marriage between siblings.
The Babylonian society was strictly monogamous. The woman was nothing more than an object of pleasure and another mouth to fill. However, the man was free and had legal right to have concubines.
Sexual behaviors where not allowed, adultery (for women) was severely punished.
Sexual Culture in Ancient Greece
For them sexuality was very important. Sex education was open and exalted eroticism.
They accepted sexual acts as infidelities, orgies and homosexuality. This is clearly seen in the stories of Greek mythology.
They had cults regarding virginity.
The homosexuality of men or women was accepted and known, it did not affect the life or social status of an individual.
Beauty was something sublime, to worship the male or female beauty was a religious act.
Sexual culture between Jews and Christians
The Jewish religion was one of the first to repress sex. The ones that suffered the most were the women who were nothing but sexual objects.
Women only served for two functions:
- To procreate
- To serve her husband and children
Then, Christianity changed the tone and a little this vision, but when it became the main religion of the Roman Empire it became a political entity, a punishing one. Then it designated sexuality as a dirty and impure sexual act.
Sexual Culture in the Middle Age
It was here when the first chastity belts appear.
The church was becoming more powerful and it catalogued sexual desire as an evil and sinful character.
During these years, is when sexual related health problems began to come to light.
By the end of the fifteenth century in Europe appear the first people affected by sexually transmitted diseases. It was believed that these diseases were divine punishment for sexual lust.
Sexual Culture in the Renaissance
In this period a stream of intellectual and artistic development comes to change human thinking.
There is a great growth in regard to the development of man and society.
This is noted in the paintings that show the sexual anatomy of men and women, as is the case of works of Leonardo Da Vinci, another example is the exaltation of the female body through literature and the arts.
Thanks to the literary boom of this era, knowledge of sexuality had spreaded on a large scale, leaving behind some of the restrictions imposed by the Church.
Women emerged as a sexual icon, but still, had much less importance than men.
Sexual Culture in the XIII and XIX centuries
At the end of the thirteenth century a new concept of sexual pleasure appears. One of the projects that contributed to this was the works of erotic literature of the Marquis de Sade, which, of course, were suppressed and misunderstood at the time.
But we began to see sex as something more than a mere act of conception.
Later in the nineteenth century, sexuality is studied more deeply.
Masturbation is considered abnormal and it was believed to be of blame for many ills, including epilepsy.
This is where comes the term sexual deviation, thanks to a publication, exhibiting sexual behaviors categorized as dirty, unfit and unhealthy.
Normal sexuality was one that was aimed at procreation; anything different was just considered a sexual disease.
East Sexual Culture
Eastern society allowed sexuality for knowledge and the development of sexual functions.
In a society like India, exist famous sacred books of erotica, which show how to live the sexual experience to an incredibly high point.
However, politics and machismo lead to continuous atrocities and repressive practices against females, as is the "suttee", that considers that when a woman widows should be incinerated alive at the funeral with her husband, thanks to changes the country suffered in this century, this custom was eradicated.
Islam punishes and suppresses more strongly to women, a situation that continues today. This is pointed out to by them not letting women show their faces by requiring them to carry heavy head scarves called Nicab’s.
In the east, women take a role of subservience and inferiority. The man has complete mastery over her, as the Qur'an says:
"Men are above women, because God has favored some over others, and because they spend part of their wealth in favor of women".
For those of who fear disobedience, admonish them, confine them in their rooms, and hit them. If they obey you, seek not an excuse to mistreat them. God is most high, great".
The woman is confined to the housework, is economically dependent on her husband has no right to study, can not dress or wear makeup or adopt Western customs.
Current Sexual Culture
We currently live in an era of female liberation, which started from the beginning of the twentieth century, where it is intended that women stand on an equal level than men.
It is a time of sexual revolution, thanks largely to the theories of Sigmund Freud, in which different taboos have been gradually going down about the human body and its sexual function.
Humankind has been concerned of how to know better their sexual organs and how to develop better skills and abilities for sexual activities.
After World War II liberation about research of sexual concepts become suitable, the kind of research that came to light, made modern sexology a science.
Sexuality has been seen, since the 60's, as a beautiful unique quality of the human being, thanks to political economic and ethical movements of these times.