Most people know the Roman city of Pompeii was destroyed by an eruption of the volcano Vesuvius.
Due to the magnitude and speed of the destruction of the city, and the almost perfect preservation of the buildings and frescos on the walls, we can get a very good and factual view of Roman Sex as revealed in Pompeii.
Pompeii was known for its wonderful food, beaches, and brothels.
Here today, you can see what sexual practices were performed (even how much were charged for their performance, and who performed them!). Basically however the Roman Sex was a number of specific sexual acts outlined below .
The first was ‘fututio’.
This sex act refers to the dominant/active/male role in heterosexual intercourse. This was practices in the standing position, with the man in back of the woman, rear entry, and the woman braced herself against the wall or table. Another fututio position was the Greek “4 podia” (on all fours, or our doggy-style). In fututio the man is dominant, thrusting, and in control. There is no indication at all of the missionary position.
The second was ‘fellatio’.
Oral sex was considered a taboo for both genders. The Romans considered it unclean. However, it was indeed practiced.
Fellatio was a very popular sexual activity, in spite of its moral taboo. This is oral sex practiced on a male, usually by a female. It is also shown in the frescos being practiced on a man, by a man. In common Roman speech, it was considered extremely insulting if a male citizen was implied to be a practitioner.
The third was ‘irrumatio’
This refers to a male who forces someone to fellate him. Unlike fututio and fellatio, irrumatio was often used as a hostile act, taken directly from the Greek, whereby the Greek men would have to force the fellatio by violence.
Apparently it was quite popular, where the man would be able to feel dominant, an admirable Roman trait.
This is early S and M.
The fourth was ‘pedicatio’
This referred to both make/female penetration and male/male penetration. There was no real distinction as to being gay or straight. Julius Cesar proudly recorded his sexual exploits with both sexes, and it seems that the Roman adopted the Greek sexual habits.
However, pedicantio, whether practiced by man and woman or man and man, had the same actions. This was a standing or sitting position, never face to face, but always the couple facing the same direction.
The last sexual practice was ‘cunnilingus’.
Cunnilingus was first of all considered unclean, also not befitting a man since the man would be in the position of giving pleasure rather than receiving pleasure.
In Roman society women were the givers of pleasure, not the recipients. In any event, it was practiced, perhaps by male prostitutes for their female clientele.
The Romans tolerated all sex except sex with another married citizen for pleasure. If caught and found guilty, there was only one penalty, and that was death.
This however was generally ignored, and sex in the bath houses and organized orgies would be as decadent and vivacious as could be expected. One’s wife might find a new partner daily.
Unlike the Greeks who did not wish sexual relations with their slaves (for economic and somehow moral reasons), the Romans thrived on it.
To refuse a master’s slightest desire could mean being resold into hard labor, killed outright, or slowly starved to death.