Symbiotic homosexual relations in Greece

Symbiotic homosexual relations in Greece and 17th Century Japan. A look at Ancient Greece shows that relations between men or between men and boys were allowed in society but came with a certain cost. According to Friedman (2003:5), the Ancient Greek society was socially permissive of sex between males but the relationships were delimited by certain social codes.

As an example, pederasty was generally acceptable in this society but only to the extent that the older male exposed the younger male to education in public affairs. Importantly, this was not a transactional relationship such as may be viewed as prostitution in contemporary societies, but was rather a humanistic dyad where both parties got their rewards. Such a scenario points to a society that is open to what may be considered queer in modern societies. With such openness, this means that males engaging in pederasty or male to male relations did not have to hide behind the heterosexual tag to appear normal as is the case today.

Symbiotic homosexual relations in Greece

Even with the acceptance of pederasty in Ancient Greece, its undesirable form was referred to as ‘porneia’ denoting male prostitution. Male prostitution was in reference to the case where there was no longer a symbiotic relationship between partners such as when the older male used the younger partner solely for sexual pleasure and neglected his professional development. While male prostitution was allowed in this era and was even taxable, there was a decriminalizing aspect and this involved denying the prostitutes their citizenship rights (Friedman 2003: 7).

Further, prostitutes were not allowed to address assemblies and this due to the fact that male prostitution was deemed shameful and in the same light as maltreatment of parents, fleeing from battle, evading military service, and consuming one’s inheritance. From this consideration, the Ancient Greek society drew a line between what was considered acceptable and unacceptable with regards to male to male relations and hence the consideration of pederasty as acceptable while male prostitution was shameful.