In a time1 and place where sexual matters figure in the agenda of both public institutions and private individuals, it may be interesting to turn our attention to ancient societies and ask ourselves: what can we know about sexual practices, attraction and desire in antiquity? How did gender relations manifest in sexual terrains? Or more specifically, how was women’s sexual desire perceived and understood in the various societies of the ancient world?
Ancient Mesopotamia has provided us with a disparity of sources dealing mainly or tangentially with sexual matters, from mythical-religious compositions depicting carnal congress between deities to legal provisions regulating rape and unfaithfulness. But it is a particular kind of source, the so-called ŠÀ.ZI.GA or “potency texts” – especially when read side by side with other cuneiform texts- that offer revealing glimpses on the techniques and mechanisms women could employ to accomplish their personal wishes and sexual appetites. Continue reading Let your penis consume my crotch: thoughts on female sexual desire in ancient Mesopotamia