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The sexual habits of people in Ancient Greece — from prostitution to pillow talk — are explored in a new book written by Paul Chrystal. Exploring the many layers of sex and sexuality in various Greek societies — from the Minoan civilisation through to Sparta and Hellenistic Greece — In Bed with the Ancient Greeks examines homosexuality, pederasty, mythological sex and sex in Greek philosophy and religion. In the beginning was sex. To the ancient Greek mythologisers, sexuality, love and sex were inextricably connected with the creation of the earth, the heavens and the underworld.
Simultaneously, Zeus, the top god, wasted no time in asserting his dominance over the other gods both male and female.
His cavalier attitude towards female sexuality, as manifested in serial rape and seduction Zeus raped Leda, daughter of the Aetolian king Thestius, in the guise of a swan; raped Danae, a princess of Argos, disguised as the rain, and raped Ganymede, a male mortal set a precedent for centuries of mortal male domination and female subservience. The depiction of Hera [wife of Zeus and queen of the ancient Greek gods] as a distracting, duplicitous and deceptive woman opened the door for centuries of male insecurity about women, and misogyny.
Our earliest evidence for ancient Greek sexuality comes with the Minoans approximately to BC. Women at this time were only partly dressed — the main items of clothing were short-sleeved robes that had layered, flounced skirts; these were open to the navel, leaving the breasts exposed.
Women also wore a strapless fitted bodice, the first fitted garments known in history. Women were typically depicted as having a tiny waist, full breasts, long hair and full hips: to our eyes and ears this is sexually charged and provocative, but to a Minoan probably not so.