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No moral censure was directed at the man who enjoyed sex acts with either women or males of inferior status, as long as his behaviors revealed no weaknesses or excesses, nor infringed on the rights and prerogatives of his masculine peers.While perceived effeminacy was denounced, especially in political rhetoric, sex in moderation with male prostitutes or slaves was not regarded as improper or vitiating to masculinity, if the male citizen took the active and not the receptive role.were published under the name of famous heterai (courtesans), and circulated in Rome.

But frank sexuality all but disappears from literature thereafter, and sexual topics are reserved for medical writing or Christian theology.

In the 3rd century, celibacy had become an ideal among the growing number of Christians, and Church Fathers such as Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria debated whether even marital sex should be permitted for procreation.

Hypersexuality, however, was condemned morally and medically in both men and women.

Women were held to a stricter moral code, and same-sex relations between women are poorly documented, but the sexuality of women is variously celebrated or reviled throughout Latin literature.

In the popular imagination and culture, it is synonymous with sexual license and abuse." Roman society was patriarchal (see paterfamilias), and masculinity was premised on a capacity for governing oneself and others of lower status, not only in war and politics, but also in sexual relations.

(Virtus), "virtue", was an active masculine ideal of self-discipline, related to the Latin word for "man", vir.

It was considered natural and unremarkable for men to be sexually attracted to teen-aged youths of both sexes, and pederasty was condoned as long as the younger male partner was not a freeborn Roman.

"Homosexual" and "heterosexual" did not form the primary dichotomy of Roman thinking about sexuality, and no Latin words for these concepts exist.

A series of paintings from the Suburban Baths at Pompeii, discovered in 1986 and published in 1995, presents erotic scenarios that seem intended "to amuse the viewer with outrageous sexual spectacle," including a variety of positions, oral sex, and group sex featuring male–female, male–male, and female–female relations.

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