From CNN of Aug. 2000 - 

Naples museum exposes public to ancient erotica

From Gayle Young
CNN Correspondent

Naples  (CNN) -- It was hidden in storerooms for years, deemed far too risqué for public display.

Now a collection of ancient erotic art is out in the open at Naples' National Museum of Archaeology -- proof that times have changed and that people aren't as easily shocked.

Even though some of the pieces are 2,000 years old, they are remarkably graphic. And that's not deterring museum goers.









"The secret room in the Naples Archaeological Museum, containing sexual artifacts from excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum, has been closed to all but the very rich and influential for 200 years. But despite vociferous protest, it is now open to the public. You do have to go through a few hoops to get in. After you buy your general admission ticket, you might have to ask about the secret room (camera segretta). You'll be directed to another kiosk where you'll be assigned a visitation time and given a voucher good for that time period. All tours are free and guided by someone who speaks your language but who isn't necessarily knowledgeable about the artifacts. You can hire an archaeologist to tell you more about them if you wish.

The interesting thing is, you are free to take pictures--as long as you don't use flash. You'll only have 45 minutes to tour the room, but it's smaller than you'd think considering the hoopla surrounding the exhibit."





Sexuality in Ancient Egypt

"Long before the Greek and Roman artists depicted and described the most intimate aspects of human behavior the ancient Egyptians had been practicing their sensual expression for centuries. Erotica flowed through all levels of society like the waters of the Nile and although the evidence is scarcer it is no less potent.

Ancient Egyptians believed that life, sexuality and rebirth were elements that went hand in hand."






"I do not want to be the leader. I refused to be the leader. I want to live darkly and richly in my femaleness. I wan a man lying over me, always over me. His will, his pleasure, his desire, his life, his work, his sexuality the touchstone, the command, my pivot. I don’t mind working, holding my ground intellectually, artistically; but as a woman, oh, God, as a woman I want to be dominated. I don’t mind being told to stand on my own feet, not to cling – all that I am capable of doing – but I am going to be pursued, fucked, possessed by the will of a male at his time, his bidding."

Anais Nin
Incest: From “A Journal of Love”
The Unexpurgated Diary, 1932- 1934
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992



A phallic invocation appears in The Acharian, a comedy by the Greek comic poet Aristophanes (c. 450-c 385 B.C):

O Phales, companion of the orgies of Bacchus, night reveller, god of adultery and of pederasty, these past six years I have not been able to invoke thee. With what joy I return to my farmstead, thanks to the truce I have concluded, freed from cares, from fighting and from Lamachuses! How much sweeter, Oh Phales, Phales, is it to surprise Thratta, the pretty woodmaid, Strymodorus' slave, steadling wood from Mount Phelleus, to catch her under the arms, to throw her on the ground and lay her, Oh Phales, Phales!


Erotica Through the Ages

 Barry Stone Salon has one of the best pages regarding ancient erotica available.

"To me there are three classifications of the body in art and history. First the nude, which has been used in statues, wall decoration and painting throughout history to represent beauty, strength, the nobility of the human essence and often in representations of religious purity. Erotic images can be clothed or unclothed and display a romantic and sensuous image aligned to love and desire. The erotic tends to show intent on the part of the subject to entice or display in an attracting manner. The last is the pornographic, which is simply meant to arouse basic stimulation or is at least a crude representation of sexual acts. The nude is shown on the page on History's Nude under the Art section on this web site but here we have images of the more erotic moments of art."




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