In ancient Rome, as in the Hellenistic culture, homosexuality was considered normal practice for the men. More: the freeborn male citizen were often bisexual, meaning that they could have openly – and often had – sexual relations with both men and women, but under certain conditions. The men who had sex with other men were not to lose their masculinity from a social point of view, provided they kept the dominant role, that would be the active part in the sexual intercourse. In the ancient Roman culture, in fact, there was a clear distinction between those having an active, dominant role – hence masculine – and those having a passive, submissive –hence feminine – role. However the partners that were acceptable from a social point of view were the slaves – if they were belonging to someone else, their master’s permission was necessary – the prostitutes, the entertainers, provided these males had over 12 years of age. The possibility of having sex with other freeborn males who were between 12 and 20 years was categorically excluded. The passive role in the sexual intercourse was considered risky because – the ancient Romans believed – it could endanger the freedom of freeborn men as well as their integrity. However, this perception of the passive role in the sexual intercourse will become less categorical in the period of the Roman Empire, especially in the era of so-called “decline of the Roman Empire.”, when an increase of the passive homosexual behavior was perceived as a consequence of the subordination to the Emperor.
It is interesting to note that in ancient Rome marriages between men were celebrated frequently, even though they had not a legal value, as the two poets Martial and Juvenal wrote in their poems. More than two thousand years later, however, in Western countries we are still debating whether or not same-sex marriages are acceptable, as if the fact that two persons of the same sex decide to get married could represent a risk for our societies. So we ask to those who are opposed to gay marriages: what are you afraid of? What are the risks you run if there were any legally recognized homosexual unions? For us the answer is obvious, but apparently for too many people the stupid prejudices prevent them from having a balanced judgment.
We also should say a word for female homosexuality in ancient Rome. For the ancient Romans, the sexual act necessarily meant penetration and, consequently, concerning Sapphic love they imagined that one of the two women had a big clitoris, big enough to penetrate another woman, or, alternatively, that she, the dominant female, would be using a dildo to do it. In general, female homosexuality was less common in ancient Rome, or at least its representation in the visual arts as well as in literature are much less frequent than men homosexuality.
Nowadays in Rome there are many opportunities for gay people want to spend a vacation, renting an apartment for a short time, enjoying the greater freedom that an apartment in Rome guarantees as compared to a hotel. You can click here to explore a complete list of gay friendly apartments in the center of Rome and book the one that best meets your needs. A place not be missed during the long hot Roman summers, from early June to late September, is the Gay Village, open daily, with a series of events and evenings entirely dedicated to the national and international Gay community. Inside the village there are daily theater performances, movies’ premières, entertainment, concerts and disco with renowned DJs; in short, it is the ideal place for gays to spend their evenings during their Roman holiday. To view the detailed schedule of events click here: website of the Gay Village, on Via delle Tre Fontane, Rome South, near the Viaduct of the Magliana, in the homonym neighborhood. The village is accessible by metro line B, from the central Termini railway station; then get off at the Eur Magliana stop, a few steps from the Gay Village in Rome. The evenings here are vibrant, full of energy, so much so that this year, July 5th 2012, with no prior notice, George Michael appeared out of nothing. At first no one recognized him until he got on the DJ console and began to sing his great hit “Flawless“. The village is the perfect venue for an exciting Roman summer. But there’s more: in 2011 the Gay Village settled also on the seaside, on the southern shore of Rome, in the beach of Capocotta, again with entertainment, drinks, music and events and evening entertainment. The beach of Capocotta, which is also famous also because a part of it is a nudists’ beach, is located south of Ostia. To reach it from Rome you can take the train to Ostia from the Piramide railway station and then continue along the coast towards south. From the center of Rome takes it about 40 minutes.
ROME GAY BARS
In addition to the Gay Village, open only in summer, Rome offers a wide choice of gay bars of all kinds. Among those we recommend Il Giardino dei Ciliegi, in the heart of Trastevere, on Via dei Fienaroli, where Rome City Apartments has a lovely gay friendly apartment, which is ideal for a short break in Rome; this would be the perfect place to stay for gays from all over the world (click here to see apartment); the bar is decorated in a minimalist style, with shades ranging from white to dark brown, and is inspired by the homonymous play by Anton Chekhov; here you can sip precious Italian wines accompanied by tasty warm dishes. Another option is the famous Coming Out bar, in the shadow of the Colosseum – Via San Giovanni in Laterano, 8. This is one of the first meeting places for the gay community in modern Rome. We finally suggest also the Garbo Bar, another place assiduously frequented by gays, located in the picturesque Vicolo di Santa Margherita, a few steps from the gorgeous Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere.
GAY SAUNAS in ROME AND GAY CRUISING BARS in ROME.
In Rome there are many gay saunas, often decorated in an extremely warm and luxurious way. For example, the sauna Apollion, on Via Mecenate 59 / A, in the Esquiline quarter, is an hymn to beauty: Greek-Roman-style statues, mosaics, a soft and gentle atmosphere, Luciferian vapors; they also offer the opportunity for an excellent and relaxing massage. For those who love more daring services, the Apollion sauna offers the exciting “glory hole” as well as the the “dark room”, along with classics such as the color therapy, the hydrotherapy and the hydro massage. So the place is worth a visit, at least to satisfy your curiosity. Another place which is worth mentioning is the Extasia, on Via Ombrone, near Villa Torlonia, another gay sauna, connected to the Xebra Club Privé, which offers evenings with imperative nude look, an euphemism to say that participants can attend the party only after having completely undressed .
Additionally to Rome Gay saunas, Rome offers also offers Gay cruising clubs, places to enjoy the breach and make new “friends”. The Frequency, one of the largest cruising bars in Rome, has 200 sqm on one level. The place is fully air-conditioned and soundproofed and offers the opportunity to sip all kinds of drinks, to get to know new friends in private rooms, or to spend the evening in the “red light zone”; what happens there? It goes without saying … You will also find cabins, darkrooms, labyrinths, glory holes. Finally, for those who would like to enjoy tough gay experiences at least once in their lives, we recommend Il Diavolo Dentro, on Largo Itri n.23, a stone’s throw from Via Prenestina. In the atmosphere of this private club, devilish gays and lesbians can devote themselves to practice the most extreme BDSM rituals, releasing their repressed instincts. The motto of this place says it all: The toughest Gay Club in Rome.
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to plan your holiday in Rome, choosing one of the many gay-friendly self-catering apartments that you can find by clicking here.