Homosexuality in ancient Rome often differs markedly from the contemporary West. Latin lacks words that would precisely translate " homosexual " and " heterosexual "Spintriae homosexual marriage." Roman society was patriarchaland the freeborn male citizen possessed political liberty libertas and the right to rule both himself and his household familia.
The conquest mentality and "cult of virility" shaped same-sex relations. Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived loss of masculinity or social status, as long as they took the dominant or penetrative role.
Acceptable male partners were slaves and former slaves, prostitutesand entertainers, whose lifestyle placed them in the nebulous social realm of infamiaexcluded from the normal protections accorded a citizen even if they were technically free.
Although Roman men in general seem to have preferred youths between the ages of 12 and 20 as sexual partners, freeborn male minors were off limits at certain periods of Rome, though professional prostitutes and entertainers might remain sexually available well into adulthood.
Same-sex relations among women are far less documented. Although Roman women of the upper classes were educated and are known to have both written poetry and corresponded with male relatives, very few fragments of anything that might have been written by women survived. Male writers took Spintriae homosexual marriage interest in how women experienced sexuality in general.
During the Republica Roman citizen's political liberty libertas was defined in part by Spintriae homosexual marriage right to preserve his body from physical compulsion, including both corporal punishment and sexual abuse. Williams has noted, "the prime directive of masculine sexual behavior for Romans". It was expected and socially acceptable for a freeborn Roman man to want sex with Spintriae homosexual marriage female and male partners, as long as he took the penetrative role.
Both women and young men were considered normal objects of desire, but outside marriage a man was supposed to act on his desires with only slaves, prostitutes who were often slavesand the infames. Gender did not determine whether a sexual partner was acceptable, as long as a man's enjoyment did not encroach on another man's integrity. It was immoral to have sex with another freeborn man's wife, his marriageable daughter, his underage son, or with the man himself; sexual use of another man's slave was subject to the owner's permission.
Lack of self-control, including in managing one's sex lifeindicated that a man was incapable of governing others; too much indulgence in "low Spintriae homosexual marriage pleasure" threatened to erode the elite male's identity as a cultured person. Homoerotic themes are introduced to Latin literature during a period of increasing Greek influence on Roman culture in the 2nd century BC.
Greek cultural attitudes differed from those of the Romans primarily in idealizing eros between freeborn male citizens of equal status, though usually with a difference of age see " Pederasty in ancient Greece ". An attachment to a male outside the family, seen as a positive influence among the Greeks, within Roman society threatened the authority of the paterfamilias.
In the Imperial era, a perceived increase in passive homosexual behavior among free males was associated with anxieties about the subordination of political liberty to the emperor, and led to an increase in executions and corporal punishment. The consul Quintus Lutatius Catulus was among a circle of poets who made short, light Hellenistic poems fashionable.
One of his few surviving fragments is a poem of desire addressed to a male with a Greek name.
Homoerotic themes occur throughout the works of poets writing during the reign Spintriae homosexual marriage Augustusincluding elegies by Tibullus  and Propertius the second Eclogue of Vergiland several poems by Horace. In the AeneidVergil draws on the Greek tradition of pederasty in a military setting by portraying the love between Nisus and Euryalus whose military valor marks them as solidly Roman men viri.
By the end of the Augustan period OvidRome's leading literary figure, was alone among Roman figures in proposing a radically new agenda focused on love between men and women: Several other Roman writers, however, expressed a bias in favor of males when sexual activity with males and females were compared, including JuvenalPlutarchStrato and the poet Martialwho often derided women as sexual partners and celebrated the charms of pueri.
Representations of male—male and female—female sex "Spintriae homosexual marriage" less common in art of ancient Rome than are male—female sex acts.
A frieze at the Suburban Baths in Pompeii shows a series of sixteen sex scenes, including same-sex couples, and same-sex pairings as a part group sex acts.
Threesomes in Roman art typically show two men penetrating a woman, but one of the Suburban scenes has one man entering a woman from the rear while he in turn receives anal sex from a man standing behind him. This scenario is described also by Catullus, Carmen 56, who considers it humorous.
Roman attitudes toward male nudity differ from of the ancient Greeks, who regarded idealized portrayals of the nude male as an expression of masculine excellence. The wearing of the toga marked a Roman man as a free citizen. At the same Spintriae homosexual marriage, the phallus was displayed ubiquitously in the form of the fascinuma magic charm thought to ward off malevolent forces; it became a customary decoration, found widely in the ruins of Pompeiiespecially in the form of wind chimes tintinnabula.
The Warren Cup is a piece of convivial silver, usually dated to the time of the Julio-Claudian dynasty 1st century ADthat depicts two scenes of male—male sex. On the "Greek" side, Spintriae homosexual marriage bearded, mature man is penetrating a young but muscularly developed male in a rear-entry position. The young man, probably meant to be 17 or 18, holds on to a sexual apparatus for maintaining an otherwise awkward or uncomfortable sexual position.
A child-slave watches the scene furtively through a door ajar.