Ancient Egyptian Sexuality

Ancient Egyptian Sexuality was open, untainted by guilt, and as important a part of life as any other aspect. Singles and married couples made love. Marriage was voluntary, and although polygamy was not illegal, was not practiced often because it was too expensive.

Adultery in Egypt was a great wrong with women getting the worst punishment. A man might just be forced into a divorce or have his nose cut off, but a woman could conceivably be killed for that crime. Unmarried women, on the other hand, had the best of both worlds, choosing partners as they desired, and enjoying their love life to its fullest.

Ancient Egyptian Sexuality even believed in sex in the afterlife. Nothing about sex was taboo in this life or the next; their sexuality and even their religion was filled with tales of adultery, incest, homosexuality, transgenderism, bestiality, exhibitionism, necrophilia and masturbation.

Masculinity and femininity were strongly linked with the ability to conceive and bear children. To the ancient Egyptians, the most attractive women tended to be fertile.

Women who were mothers were seen as more fortunate than ones without. Egyptian women strove to be intelligent, wise, mystical and mothers.

In the Egyptian community, men had to prove their masculinity by fathering children, while the women had to be able to bear these sons and daughters.

Being a mother meant keeping the marriage secure, and gained for her a better position in society.

Ancient Egyptian Sexuality included the sacred 'prostitute' (who was probably as highly regarded a member of Egyptian society because of her association with different gods or goddesses).

These women advertised through clothing, make up which included the original use for lipstick to paint red lips, blue faience beaded fish-net dresses, and tattoos on breasts or thighs. Some even went around totally nude.

There is no evidence that these women were paid for their fertility-related acts, so some believe that word 'prostitute' is used incorrectly to categorize them.

Ancient Egyptian Sexuality included premarital sex as a prerequisite for marriage. Considered a "coming-of-age ritual", just as circumcision was one for males, there was a heavy emphasis on fertility as the defining nature of a man or a woman.

If the girl became pregnant, she would probably go back to her family with proof of her fertility. Since motherhood was venerated, giving a child-bearing woman a much higher status in society, out of wedlock pregnancies were accepted as part of the normal sexual cycle.

Some theories hypothesize that young virgin girls joined itinerant performing groups - dancers, singers and the like - and during their time with these groups they experienced their first sexual encounters.

These women do not seem to be pay-for-sex prostitutes; instead they seem to be a link with the divine, a helper of expectant mothers and singers, dancers and musicians. This is not to say that there were no pay-for-sex prostitutes in ancient Egypt, it is just that there is little evidence of this.

Considering Egypt's very different image of sexuality, the modern concept of both sexuality and prostitution do not fit this ancient society. Women operated under a totally different cultural imperative than women today, thus ancient Egyptian sexuality must be looked at without modern prejudices.

It seems that these female performers, these 'prostitutes', were treated with courtesy and respect, and there seemed to be a well established link between these travelling performers and fertility, childbirth, religion and magic.

Sensuality and rebirth were elements that went hand in hand. Cleanliness and ornamentation made the sexual prospect all the more inviting to the Egyptians. They would wash daily and both sexes removed unwanted body hair. Women curled their hair and shadowed their eyes.

Throughout their dynastic eras evidence confirms their intensity and enjoyment of all things sensual. The ancient Egyptians were comfortable with their sexuality and undoubtedly loved and celebrated life to the fullest.

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