Sharing a meal with someone in Roman times created an intimate bond with them – but having sex did not.
A fun concept for modern minds to get your head around – and one that led to an openness towards sex and to having multiple sexual partners in Roman society.
Men, of course, came off the best.
For the man, sex with a slave was not adulterous, and sex with a free-born man or woman was only adultery if they were not doing it for money.
But, then as now, women found cunning ways to find pleasure.
Author Vicki Leon wrote in ‘The Joy of Sexus: Lust, Love & Longing in the Ancient World’ that the men and women of the 1st Century AD had some fascinating obsessions:
“Buttock worship. Aphrodisiacs. And anti-aphrodisiacs. X-rated celebrity antics. Illustrated porn by female writers. Biodegradable dildos.”
Er, yes, biodegradable dildos… or breadsticks.
Vicki wrote on The Huffington Post: “It began in a bakery B.C., where a gal with time on her hands started fooling around with bread dough.
“While lasciviously daydreaming, she created an olisbo-kollix: the breadstick dildo, the sex industry’s first green product. From this moment on, lonely widows in Arcadia, unsatisfied moms in Athens, and partnerless gals on Lesbos had a DIY pal, discreet and disposable.
“Custom made to fit; even nutritious, should the need arise. (Think I’m making this up? If only my imagination were that good!).”
Ah, bread, the stiff staff of life!