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Sex in Ancient Rome

_DM34503 Kongo normally doesn't hang out in brothels but on a visit to the ancient Roman city of Pompeii a few weeks ago he stood in a long line to see first hand how the ancient Romans did it.  Turns out that they actually did it pretty much like Romans do it today and variety is always a good thing, if you know what I mean.

_DM34506The brothel at Pompeii is the most popular attraction in the ancient city.  Who knew?  It may well have been one of the most popular spots back in the early first century too.  The women who offered their services here were known as wolf women.  This was because at night when visitors were out seeking some after dinner action they might not be able to find the right place in a city without street lights so the women took to howling in the night like wolves.  All you had to do was follow the howling sound and you could find the right spot.  There were also stone phallic symbols on the streets and over the doorway to help guide the merry Romans.


Painted on the walls at the entrance to the brothel were a number of pictures showing potential customers what their options for the evening might be.  Kongo’s guide suggested that these paintings were like an erotic menu for visitors that didn’t speak the local tongue.  All you had to do is point out what you were looking for and away you went._DM34504

While the brothel was fun, in a purely academic sense, there was a lot of other things to see in this ancient city that was wiped out pretty much in the blink of an eye and buried under 20 feet of ash when the volcano Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.  The city provides fascinating insight into the daily life of Romans in this city where about 20,000 inhabitants lived.

The remains of a Roman building at Pompeii.

The remains of a Roman building at Pompeii.

A statue of the god Bacchus, the Roman god of wine at a theater in Pompeii.

A statue of the god Bacchus, the Roman god of wine at a theater in Pompeii.

When Vesuvius erupted the mountain was over 8,000 feet tall.  Today it is a mere 4,000 feet in elevation.  All that rock, ash, pulverized stone, hot gases, magma, fire, and brimstone rained down on town killing almost everyone in the middle of their daily activities.  When archeologists began excavating they found odd shaped cavities in the ash.  One bright digger got the idea of filling the cavity with plaster and it turned out to be the shapes of people who had been buried alive.  These chilling reproductions remind visitors how quickly life can turn.

The plaster cast of a child buried during the eruption at Pompeii.

The plaster cast of a child buried during the eruption at Pompeii.

Archeologists continue to uncover Pompeii.  To date, only about 40% of the town has been revealed.  Thousands of artifacts have been unearthed so far and the work continues.



The image above shows a typical “cross walk” in Pompeii.  The raised stones allowed pedestrians to cross the street without stepping in  the street which also served as a water and sewage drainage system.  The spacing of the stones allowed for the passage of carts.

A street in Pompeii

A street in Pompeii

A spot for the household gods in a Pompeii home.

A spot for the household gods in a Pompeii home.


An interior dining room with an open roof at a villa in Pompeii.

Besides the preserved paintings in the brothel, Kongo was amazed at other artwork that adorned the homes of ancient Pompeii.  These often depicted renderings of the owners, scenes of daily life, animals, and other designs.

_DM34492 _DM34478 _DM34451 _DM34456

Pompeii is about 15 miles from the city of Naples on the coast.  It is a fascinating visit.  Of course, this wouldn’t be a tour without some hokey touristic things such as this Roman soldier sharking for photo tips near the entrance to Pompeii park.


Travel safe.  Have fun.

About Kongo (696 Articles)
Kongo is a traveling monkey owned by a nice man who has a soft spot for simians. Follow Kongo at and on Twitter @kongomonkey

3 Comments on Sex in Ancient Rome

  1. Fascinating!


  2. Wow! Kongo’s getting racey since I last checked in! 😉 😉


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