Sex In The Ancient World

01 Egypt

We think that the Kama Sutra was the first depiction of a “sex manual.” But our discoveries will show that the “Turin Papyrus,” written and read 2000 years earlier, is in fact the first sex manual in history. Containing various pictures of sexual activity perhaps focused on Ramses II and his many wives, the manual is an intriguing visual representation of sex in ancient Egypt.

Travelling to the Egyptian Museum in Turin, we marvel at the incredible papyrus artwork which some believe poked fun at the sexual side of the Egyptian lifestyle. The film crew used computer graphics to recreate one of the most famous Egypt erotic hieroglyphs – the Turin Erotic Papyrus, housed in the Museo Egizio in Turin.

02 Pompeii

In the backstreets of Pompeii there is an extraordinary sight: the physical remains of a bejewelled, upper class woman entwined with the twisted torso of a Roman gladiator. Frozen in time, their passionate and doomed embrace opens a window through which we can start to survey the whole of Classical sexuality.

This was a time in which men enjoyed unequalled sexual freedom; cavorting with courtesans, maid servants, and streetwalkers – and in which women were categorised as material either for marriage or pleasure. Evidence for this divide exists everywhere, like the perfectly preserved prostitutes’ sandals designed to leave arrows with the words ‘this way’ imprinted on the dusty streets.

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