Thesis ID: CBB612482789

Sexual Medicine in the Roman Empire (2022)


Minnen, Peter van (Advisor)
Arehart, Brent (Author)

Minnen, Peter van
Cincinnati, University of
Publication date: 2022
Language: English

Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 253

This dissertation investigates the relationship between sexual intercourse and medicine during the Roman imperial period (c. I-IV CE). Whereas previous scholarship has tended to view that relationship through the lenses of historical progress and/or ethics, I adopt the concept of sexual medicine as an organizational scheme in order to better analyze what ancient medical texts say about the body's sexual functions (such as desire, arousal, and the ability to experience pleasure). Rather than affirming an influential narrative in which imperial medical thinkers developed austere attitudes towards sex, I demonstrate that ethicizing interpretations misportray the relevance of intercourse to medicine during the Roman Empire and unduly narrow the available evidence to dietetic discussions. I argue that the ability to engage in sex was deemed worthy of preservation and therapeutic intervention whenever compromised because sex was considered an integral component of health in Greco-Roman medicine. Moreover, I show that imperial authors devoted considerable attention to sexual diseases, infertility, genital dysfunction, and the use of materia medica to enhance sexual performance. These underexplored topics are dealt with at length in their respective chapters.

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Authors & Contributors
Carlo Gelmetti
Carton, Benedict
DeRogatis, Amy
Harper, Kyle
Hubbard, Thomas K.
Nolte, Karen
Classical World
Comparative Studies in Society and History
International Journal of African Historical Studies
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Medical History
Social History of Medicine
New York, City University of
Three Pines Press
Sexually transmitted diseases
Sexual behavior
Sexual hygiene
Foucault, Michel
Fracastoro, Girolamo
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century
17th century
21st century
South Africa
Tuscany (Italy)
Ottoman Empire
Rome (Italy)

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