A Brief History of Sex (“From ‘Immaculate Conception’ and ‘virgin birth’ to Hafiz i-Shirazi and Abu Nuwas “unaging youths as beautiful as pearls”)
Which is the No. 1 Nation in Sexy Web Searches? i.e. The Pornistan of the world! Google found that of the top 10 countries – searching for porn-related sites – six were Muslim, with Pakistan on the top i.e. The other Muslim countries are Egypt at number 2, Iran at 4, Morocco at 5, Saudi Arabia at 7 and Turkey at 8. Non-Muslim states are Vietnam at 3, India at 6, Philippines at 9 and Poland at 10. Google lifts the veil now and most of the hardcore puritan nations come out unclothed!! Sexual frustrations lead to choked sex sites on Google within most of the Islamic crescent! Even though homosexuality is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom ranks No. 2 for searches for “gay sex,” behind the Philippines.
I wrote nearly six years back on the subject of why in face of ideological legislation restricting the freedom to access sites considered as ghastly; still the faithful in countries like Iran, Saudi and Pakistan when it comes to Google search data consistently on visiting the ‘Sex sites’ all these puritan nations come out unclothed. The legislation of ‘human attitudes‚ more often than not leads to exactly the opposite effect. Even Adam, everyone’s biological father, slipped when he was enticed to eat the forbidden fruit by our common mother, Eve. It is coded in ‘human genetics‚ that this sentient being is designed to do more of what is prohibited. Google report produced ample evidence of that closet mentality.
Pakistan is top dog in searches per-person for “horse sex” since 2004, “donkey sex” since 2007, “rape pictures” between 2004 and 2009, “rape sex” since 2004, “child sex” between 2004 and 2007 and since 2009, “animal sex” since 2004 and “dog sex” since 2005, according to Google Trends and Google Insights, features of Google that generate data based on popular search terms. The country also is tops — or has been No. 1 — in searches for “sex,” “camel sex,” “rape video,” “child sex video” and some other searches that can’t be printed here. Ironically in addition to banning content on 17 websites, including islamexposed.blogspot.com, Pakistan is monitoring seven other sites — Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, Amazon, MSN and Hotmail — for anti-Islamic content, the Associated Press reported in June.
This is a subject that everyone likes to read, see but rarely ever talk about. Our inhibitions kill our routine creativity when it comes to sex. There is nothing criminal about thinking sex what is criminal is bastardisation of it when it is denied. Mind becomes a devils workshop. Most are closet inquisitive souls.
A suppressed and sexually disoriented mind cannot produce too many research papers and new ideas. The top ten countries, where access to sex sites is the highest, with the exception of newly freed Poland, are amongst the bottom of the countries from where new scientific research emanates. Rather, in sciences, the top nine share only three Nobel prizes. Convoluted suppressed minds make no new inroads. How strange that it is the infidel, corrupt west where most of the advancements are being made, we, the puritans, sit on the bottom but in closets are the most corrupt. This dichotomy may result in raging anger within the ‘nation of Islam‚ but it needs to be highlighted. A safe deduction can be made that sexual suppressions are inversely related to higher performance in sciences. I thought a brief History of Sex will help us through who we are, and expectantly facilitate us to treat this theme as normally as possible.
Human sexual heritage is a classic chronicle. Let’s not grimace at our predictability and triviality. Sex is the most delicate nonetheless insightful mania of man. Forthright conversation on this subject is infrequent. The shortage of provisions may create a lot of anxiety, eco debates lead to far higher nervousness, yet the real pickle that raises ‘a lot more’ is hardly ever candidly discussed. The subject has to be treated cagily. It has been hammered in our minds that any mention of sex has to be classified and delicate. My understanding of an unwrapped, mentally clogged and constipated people is incredible, self-imposed restrictions are mindboggling.
Eyes light up like an owl when the topic of sex comes in yet no one really wants to talk about it. The subject remains hidden within our private self, the ‘thought’ trapped like a volcano oozing to burst. The need is to pamper ‘inspiration’ into tutoring and familiarity with nuances of sex as an essential study. Unwavering sex drains stresses according to recent studies; wherever sex is taken as a taboo, we find that society devoid of free spirit and thoughts.
With the unique exception of “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28), this greeting of the angel Gabriel at the Annunciation tells us so much about Mary’s deep and wonderful relationship with God. Mary was chosen from before her birth. Mary, from her first moment of conception, was preserved free from all stain of original sin. Our evolution depicts a story of moral decadence and mental depravity. Instead of hiding them, we need to know them well and learn from the lessons of perversion and tolerate sexual theme in a manner that may be beneficial for social unity and cohesion. Roman emperors had unusual sexual appetites and more were guilty of murder, but somehow these five stand out as too bizarre or excessive. Caligula opened a brothel in the palace, raped whomever he wished. Elagabalus, a transvestite emperor, raped a vestal virgin and in his insatiable sexuality, set up a brothel at the palace. Nero murdered his mother and wife. Domitian had vestal virgins executed or buried alive on charges of immorality. After he impregnated his niece, he insisted she have an abortion and then, when she died as a result, he deified her.
What may seem common today, the gay love of one man for another, in ancient days was frowned upon as a threat to masculinity and the structure of society. Love between grown men and teenage boys was the only proper way for two males to love each other. The men vied to be chosen by the boys as their lovers and the boys, ideally, were educated and led into adulthood by their lovers. Their love was an erotic love, and it often had its sexual aspects, but, as many of the philosophical and oratory texts show, men were expected to refrain from penetrating their beloved boys. The modern prejudice is that all the men in Athens were gay.* Not in the least. It was a bisexual culture, and there was no stigma. The only stigma was if one engaged in “tergo,” i.e. rear entry, one would be considered as lower than the low. Some traditions would kill the one ‘speared’ and not the spearer. The really distinguished homosexuals did it with their thighs.
Oliver Stone’s movie on the life of the legendary son of King Phillip II of Macedon and Queen Olympias faced one unexpected obstacle: the Greek government. It didn’t want one of their greatest heroes ‘besmirched’ by public knowledge of his male loves. As a result, the film was shot mainly in Morocco and Thailand. The studio pressured Stone to cut all the scenes of Alexander’s affair with that dangerous brat, Bagoas. No wonder the critics found the leftovers boring! Alexander’s own father pursued young lovers tirelessly all his life. His very death came at the hand of a vengeful former beloved, Pausanias, who had been spurned by the king for a prettier boy. One trifled with Greek boys at one’s peril!
Unlike Philip’s affairs, the love between Alexander and Hephaestion never waned. Alexander saw their love as emulating the heroic love between Achilles and Patroclus, another ancient couple that modern gay couples can look to as an example of devotion. Crossing into Asia on their way to Persia, the two halted their campaign in Illium by the ruins of Troy. There Alexander sacrificed and offered garlands at the shrine of Achilles, while Hephaestion did the same at the shrine of Patroclus.
Following the ancient custom, Alexander ran naked around the hero’s tomb, proclaiming his admiration for Achilles, “fortunate in life to have so faithful a friend, and in death to have so famous a poet.” The other great male love of Alexander’s life that we know about was the eunuch Bagoas. The two met while Alexander was on campaign against the Persian king Darius. The war had raged for some time, with Darius finally on the run, deserted by his vassals and eventually assassinated by one of his own men. His general, Nabarzenes, went to swear fealty to Alexander and to offer rich gifts, a beautiful boy among them. Curtius describes him as “… Bagoas, a eunuch exceptional in beauty and in the very flower of boyhood, with whom Darius was intimate and with whom Alexander would later be intimate.” The stormy, outspoken character of the boy matched his stunning looks and the friendship and love which grew between him and the warrior king lasted the rest of their lives.
Masculine worship did not blind the Greeks, nor Alexander; he married Roxane, a Persian princess. His love of women, however, may have been an acquired taste. The Roman historian Curtius reports that “He scorned (feminine) sensual pleasures to such an extent that Olympias, his mother, was anxious lest he be unable to beget offspring.” To whet his appetite for the fair sex, King Philip and Olympias had Kallixeina, a Thessalian hetaira (a professional courtesan) brought in. And one of his contemporary biographers, Eumenes, claimed Alexander “was not at his ease with sex.”
Great minds were grand perverts too. Perversion is something warped ethically, or by overindulgence; the common indictment by the moralists against anyone who raises the fury of inner desires is “debauching the young people with wine and women.” Socrates was accused of corrupting young men; carnal pleasures and libidos are defining features of our masculinity and femininity. Nations like Greece high on Libido were high on their contributions to the civilization. Scientific investigation has proved in recent years that a very large proportion of persons in whom abnormal sexual inclinations are manifested possess them from their earliest childhood, that they cannot divert them into normal channels, and that they are powerless to get rid of them.
Evidence of same-sex love has been either quietly suppressed, as with the Greeks and Romans, or quickly destroyed, as is still done with newly unearthed Inca and Mayan art. The result of this deception has been a needless polarization of society and untold suffering for those people who happen to fall in love with others of their own sex. As a rule, male love was part of the social and religious fabric. From the city states of ancient Greece and Rome with its emperors (Trajan and Hadrian among others), to the Siberian shamans and Native American two-spirit medicine men, from the African tribesmen to Chinese emperors and scholars, people the world over understood and made space for men’s vulnerability to the beauty of other males. They accepted that – whether married or not – men fell in love with men or youths, dreamt about them, wrote about them, fought over them, and took them to bed.
Michelangelo, who adorned the Sistine Chapel with vibrant male nudes; Shakespeare, who serenaded his darling boy in his sonnets; Blake who railed against priests “binding with briars my joys and desires;” Whitman, who sang the body electric. The list of luminaries, artists, statesmen, men of the cloth, knights and knaves who felt the pull of male love – by itself, or alongside the love of women – is endless.**
One book that I would recommend is ‘Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love’ by Elizabeth Prioleau. Prioleau maintains that if Women want to seduce powerful men, their best weapon is brains, not boobs. She narrates the story quoting Plutarch of how Cleopatra seduced bi-sexual Julius Caesar despite his youthful ‘guy’ relationship with King Nicomedes of Bythinia. ‘When she rolled out of that rug, she was about 18 and not beautiful at all. Plutarch is clear about that. She rolled out and barraged Caesar with such a stream of charming conversation — a ‘charm offensive’ through language. She addressed him in perfect Latin. Then perfect Greek. She told him jokes, stories, displayed her magnificent erudition. She was a brilliant lady. She wrote a tract on weights and measurements, of all things. She was happiest in a library. It was said she had a ‘voluptuous’ love of learning. Caesar had never encountered a woman like this. He was so charmed he made her his mistress that night.’
Prioleau proves that it is brains, not just boobs that powerful men crave. “Seductress” is Priouleau’s second book. It is a historical voyage with dazzling characters. Who’s Who of hot mamas through the ages. There’s Emilie du Chatelet (1706-1749), one of Prioleau’s “scholar-sirens,” making her entrance for a meal with her lover Voltaire after a hard day of intellectual labour: “Emilie descended the staircase for these dinners in full court dress, her hair upswept and decked with diamonds, her hands bejewelled and stained with ink. As dumbwaiters (the first in France) delivered courses of gourmet food, Emilie and Voltaire jockeyed volubly for attention. They fired off erudite screeds, argued at top volume, traded bon mots and insults in gutter French, then stopped abruptly and burst into laughter.” Prioleau is clearly out to send a message that one can, if one dares, balance love, work and self-fulfillment. Such encouragement is to be applauded, as modern women need to believe that they can excel intellectually and materially, and still have men falling at our feet.
According to Prioleau ‘In ancient Greece, proper women were absolutely powerless. They were married off at 14 to much older guys, and then they were put into domestic isolation. They weren’t even allowed to go out in the agora. These women were just shut up. Then you have the second kind of woman — professionals. There were six tiers of prostitutes. Those at the bottom of the heap sold themselves for just a drachma, something like that. They just stood naked outside of their houses and took what they could get. But the hetaerae [top whores] got the highest figures and the best men. Aspasia [a famous whore] was actually married to Pericles.
But the reason prostitutes were so successful is that they subscribed to this ancient art of love. In Aspasia’s case, she taught it. It was called “the Aspasian Path.” In ancient Greece they just assumed ordinary woman knew all the physical stuff — they had to know dozens of sexual positions, putting on oils and dress. The wife didn’t have to know anything about sex. They were just breeders. Women who were in the trade learned the physical part of sex. You learned it when you were young, and it was pretty simple. But the other part, the intellectual part, the psychological part, was complex. It involved a great deal of learning — the art of empathy, the arts of conversation. You had to be able to recite poetry and compose your own. So the whole idea is that love is a head trip, and in ancient Greece this was realized. You can’t catch a guy by just possessing a perfect 10 [body], because in ancient Greece these women were all terribly gorgeous. They wore these transparent dresses with long dangly earrings. Everyone dyed their hair blond. Heavy, heavy cosmetics. ‘
Prioleau claims it was the Greeks who invented “blondes.” The woman named Phyrne. She was not very pretty. She had completely black hair. She came to Athens when the place was flooded with prostitutes. Phyrne marketed herself with brilliance. She refused to dye her hair. She wrapped herself in this long winding sheet that covered her up completely and put a huge price on her head. She marketed herself like Cartier or something. Men thought, What’s she got? So she started reeling in all the top people. Then once a year for the Feast of Aphrodite, she took off all these robes — she had a perfect body — and walked from the Temple of Aphrodite into the river and went through the ritual of submersion into the waves. Then she got up and walked naked through the streets. People would come weeks and weeks in advance, as you would for the World Series, to line up to watch her do that. It was brilliant marketing. I think part of seduction is to jump from the pack.
Sex is a taboo in conservative Islamic countries. “No man and no woman can be together without being accompanied by the devil.” Young, unmarried couples are forced to seek out secret erotic oases. According to Google Trends, the Pakistanis search for “sex” most often, followed by the Egyptians. Iran and Morocco are in fourth and fifth, Indonesia is in seventh and Saudi Arabia in eighth place. The top city for “sex” searches is Cairo. When the terms “boy sex” or “man boy sex” are entered (many Internet filters catch the word “gay”), Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are the first four countries listed. Homosexuality is more than just a taboo in the Islamic world. In fact it is considered a crime, punishable by imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Books and plays that are devoted to the all too human topic of sex incur the wrath of conservative religious officials and are promptly banned. Sexual violence becomes unrestrained when sovereignty of sexual fondness is denied. Ravenous milieu that denies carnal pleasures dispossesses ingenuity and inspiration. A belief that sexual inversion is a crime against God, existence and the state permeate human society like a malignancy.
In the Moslem lands, famous Iranian and Arab poets such as Hafiz i-Shirazi and Abu Nuwas praised and rued the charms of boys (whom they sometimes plied with wine and seduced). Sufi holy men from India to Turkey sought to find Allah by gazing upon the beauty of beardless youths. Storytellers enshrined gay love tales in the Thousand and One Nights. Artists like Riza i-Abbasi amused kings and princes with exquisitely wrought Persian miniatures and calligraphy. Mullahs and censors railed against male love, but men from all walks of life, from Caliphs to porters, delighted in it and all looked forward to being attended by “unaging youths as beautiful as pearls” once in paradise.
There are many reports that sodomy was rife in the Ottoman Empire, but none suggests that being inseminated increased one’s masculinity. However, such homosexual receptivity did not debar one from the responsibilities and honors of high office. Favourite boys grew up to marry their masters’ daughters, and to take over management of businesses and properties. The Sultan’s favourite boys often grew up to be generals, governors, and high court officials.
Homosexual relations are a predictable outcome of a social system in which the sexes are segregated, individual masculine prowess is highly valued, and women derogated and isolated. Ajem-oghlan (foreign-born youths) were separated at an early age from parents, homeland, and the Christian faith. They were selected for their “bodily perfection, muscular strength, and intellectual ability, so far as it could be judged without long testing” at the non-Muslim margins of the empire. The very choicest–“all handsome boys, physically perfect, and of marked intellectual promise”–were taken into the palaces of the sultans as iç oglans (pages). When presented before the Sultan, they were clothed in silk and cloth of gold and silver thread.
As Busbecq noted in the sixteenth century, “The Turks rejoice greatly when they find an exceptional man, as though they had acquired a precious object, and they spare no labor or effort in cultivating him.” Subsequent historians have not considered that criteria, such as bodily perfection and muscular strength, might encompass a sexual attraction, as well as an aesthetic one. In addition to much homoerotic poetry and a reputation for pederastic use of youth from the Balkans, Armenia, and Georgia, Ottoman Turkey was renowned for the institution of the hamam (bathhouse). Hamams were constructed throughout the empire (for example, one in Budapest continues to operate). The young male attendants (tellaks) were available for sex as well as for washing and massaging clients. The Dellakname-i Dilkusa (The Record of Tellaks) detailed the services, prices, and beauties of tellaks, even specifying how many times a tellak could bring a client to orgasm.
There were also baths for women. Pubic hair and any other body hair was rigorously removed. This required close scrutiny of women’s bodies by attendants or friends, and some female hamams had a reputation for rampant lesbianism, though, like the reputed activities of those secluded in harems, there is vastly more male surmise than actual observation of behavior in the sometimes lurid accounts by foreign residents. (There are no sexual life histories written by women of the Ottoman Empire.) The Venetian envoy to the court of Sulayman reported that unsliced cucumbers could not be taken into the harem, because they would be used by the women on each other as dildoes.
The Muslim novelist “Nedjma” (“Star”), the author of “The Almond,” a successful erotic novel, describes Moroccan society as divided and bigoted. Despite progressive family and marriage laws, she says, the country is still controlled by patriarchal traditions in which men continue to sleep around and treat women as subordinates. It is a society in which prudishness and sexual obsession, ignorance and desire, “sperm and prayer” coexist. “The more repressive a society is, the more desperately it seeks an outlet,” says Nedjma, who conceals her real name because she has already been vilified on the Internet as a “whore” and an “insult to Islam.”
Egyptian filmmaker Ahmed Khalid devoted his 14-minute short film first short film, “The Fifth Pound,” to the topic of taboo. The film tells the story of a young couple who use a bus ride to be together and exchange more than just a few innocent, tender words. Every Friday morning, when everyone else is at the mosque for prayers, they meet on the third-to-the-last bench on the bus, a spot where none of the other passengers can see what they are doing. As they sit there, shoulder-to-shoulder, staring straight ahead, they stroke each other’s bodies. Their only fear is that the bus driver will see what they are doing through the rear view mirror. He watches the couple, fully aware of what they are doing, all the while indulging in his own fantasies.
In his imagination, the driver sits down next to the girl, carefully removes her headscarf and unbuttons her blouse. She closes her eyes and presses her fingers into the armrest. The headscarf slowly slides off the seat. Both reach climax, the girl in the bus driver’s fantasy and the boy through his girlfriend’s hand. In the end, the couple pays the driver four pounds for the tickets and a fifth for his silence.The film does not depict any actual sexual activity; it excites the viewer’s fantasy — an especially odious offense in the eyes of religious censors. (Der Spiegel)
The tradition of sodomy has now returned to Kandahar. Bearded men, accompanied by their “ashna” (beloved boys) are again openly visible on the streets. The Taleban had forbidden the Pashtun tradition of “ashna”, the grooming of favourite boys for sexual pleasure. In one of his first acts in 1994, Mullah Omar freed a boy who was being fought over by two Mujaheddin warlords in Kandahar, who had started firing artillery rounds at each other’s positions, destroying part of the city. Called to mediate in other such affairs, the Taleban movement quickly implanted itself in Kandahari society.The Taleban quickly applied their medieval rules to those caught practising sodomy: they were forced to stand under a stone wall, which was felled on top of them. Soon after Taliban rule was over in 2002 in Mullah Omar’s former southern stronghold, it was not only televisions, kites and razors which began to emerge. Visible again, too, were men with their ashna, or beloveds: young boys they have groomed for sex. Kandahar Men had returned to their Original Love: Teenage boys.
Human history is the best arbitrator of future trends. We are evidently appalled with eruptions of heterosexual and bisexual scandals but in reality – from legendary Achilles, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Ottomans and modern day Politicians to celebrities like Madonna, her toyboy boyfriend Jesus Luz and Taliban’s – all are haunted with carnal orientations. The nature and history of past and contemporary developments in sexuality is a subject that should be part of the repertoire of any clever debate.
We may despise associating tales of debauchery with great names of history that we consider our legacy is indebted too. I may appear to slot in an exercise of belittling our conquerors, the thinkers and the reformers being so robust, yet so feeble when it comes to libido. Libido in its common usage means sexual desire; however, the work of Carl Jung, defines libido as the free creative—or psychic—energy an individual has to put toward personal development. I think their precipitous libidos led to their enormous inventiveness. In my opinion, vulgarity is part and parcel of our nature; we are born to conceal it; some of us do it lucratively while others die longing for a day they could break the repression that ties them to false morality. Hopefully, this brief history of our rich heritage of sensuality and libido will help us break the forbidden self-contradiction resident within.
Only God relies on ‘Immaculate Conception’ and ‘virgin birth.’ We lesser humans have all the decadence and limitation that leads to such all-embracing goings-on It is choice of expression that frees a man from doctrine and dogma of self-inhibitions. Mongols, the sexual mutilation of Chinese Eunuchs, Ottomans, Caesar, Alexander, and Michaelangelo had the liberty to live a life that was free and less doctrinaire. It does not mean one should live such a lifestyle, however, as I have highlighted, a portfolio or canvass of thinking that neglect this theme is not a flattering presentation of my proletarian efforts here.
(**Fallen tears of Khalel)