In honor of the parents of kids in Southern California who discovered the salacious entry oral sex in the new editions of Merriam-Webster and had a cow over it, I’ve prepared this post. For a while these folks managed to make the dictionary a tome non grata in school libraries. Can you imagine?
I just don’t get it. How turned on can a modern kid get over the “explicit content” of this entry. Cover your ears cuz I’m gonna repeat it: “Oral stimulation of the genitals.”
Yup. That’s it. Totally, as far as I can tell.
Those parents probably don’t travel, but if they did they’d be horrified to discover the wonderful world of sex lurking in such unlikely places as Italian archaeological museums. There’s hardly a Greek vase (or Roman copy of one) that doesn’t have something genital-like peeking out from the folds of those gowns they wore.
But it’s the Italians we promised to talk about here. We might as well start with the Romans. For them, the erect, you know, “male genital apparatus” was a good luck symbol. You tacked a representation of one over the door of your business to ensure good exchange of money. Kids saw ‘em, too. They didn’t melt. They probably didn’t even giggle. Much.
And it makes a certain amount of sense. Good health was lucky. An erection was a sign of good health, so you put it over your shop. I don’t mean the real thing, I mean a representation of an erection.
Anyway, just as soon as the Romans figured out how to make molded oil lamps like the one you see on the right, what did they do? Well, how many sexual positions could you imagine being put on top of the lamp you kept near your bed? Never mind that the wall of your bedroom was likely fresco-ed with folks “doing it” as they say. You needed something tactile. Bas relief. You grabbed your oil lamp. Yes, they mass produced oil lamps with different sexual positions on them. These sexual oil lamps sold like hotcakes evidently, because you find them darn near everywhere you dig in Italy.
These lamps were mass produced in ports, most notably the old port of Rome at Ostia. Yep, you might as well make ‘em were there are sailors, your sexually deprived best customers—until the rape and plunder part of the job starts anyway. (If you go to Rome, you should definitely plan to visit Ostia Antica as a day trip.)
If you want to get an education on these and other sexual appurtenances of the Romans, you’d best get yourself over to the Naples Archaeological Museum and head right for the secret cabinet: the Gabinetto Segreto, where they’ve stocked all the stuff they couldn’t show women, children and excitable parents in the dark ages of a “little while ago.” Now anyone who can afford entrance to the museum can go in and poke around. I mean “poke” in a general way, of course.