Infanticide was a disturbingly common act in the ancient world, but in Sparta this practice was organized and managed by the state. If a Spartan baby was judged to be unfit for its future duty as a soldier, it was most likely abandoned on a nearby hillside. Left alone, the child would either die of exposure or be rescued and adopted by strangers. To test their constitutions, Spartan infants were often bathed in wine instead of water. They were also frequently ignored when they cried and commanded never to fear darkness or solitude.
Laid bare: the sex life of the ancient Greeks in all its physical glory
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While female sexuality appears to be more fluid, research suggests that male gayness is an inborn, unalterable, strongly genetically influenced trait. But considering that the trait discourages the type of sex that leads to procreation — that is, sex with women — and would therefore seem to thwart its own chances of being genetically passed on to the next generation, why are there gay men at all? This longstanding question is finally being answered by new and ongoing research. For several years, studies led by Andrea Camperio Ciani at the University of Padova in Italy and others have found that mothers and maternal aunts of gay men tend to have significantly more offspring than the maternal relatives of straight men. The results show strong support for the "balancing selection hypothesis," which is fast becoming the accepted theory of the genetic basis of male homosexuality. The theory holds that the same genetic factors that induce gayness in males also promote fecundity high reproductive success in those males' female maternal relatives.
Between 2 and 11 percent of human adults report experiencing some homosexual feelings, though the figure varies widely depending on the survey. Homosexuality exists across cultures and even throughout the animal kingdom, as the authors of a mammoth new review paper on homosexuality write. Between 6 and 10 percent of rams prefer to mount other rams, not ewes.
Did you know you could bottom for hot, muscular warriors with thick bananas if you were a member of the ancient Greek army? According to writings that have been passed on through antiquity and researched by historians, the more you serviced your fellow man, the stronger your male bonds would grow. Just so you know, the Spartans wielded power for nearly a thousand years, with their zenith happening between the sixth and fourth centuries, B.