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An ancient wine jug depicting a customer and a prostitute (a money pouch is hanging on the wall) dated between 480 and 470 BCE. Greece.Wedding Painter/Wikimedia Commons
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A fresco in Pompeii depicting the Priapus, a rustic fertility god, stealing from Mercury, the god of commerce. Dated between 89 BCE and 79 CE. Pompeii, Italy.
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A Roman statue of the god Pan copulating with a goat. 1st Century CE. Rome.Kim Traynor/Wikimedia Commons
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A jade erotic art piece made during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). China.China Photos/Getty Images
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A sculpture of the male sex organ. 6th millennium BCE. Ancient Anatolia, Turkey.Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
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Phallic grave markers from the 1700s at Khaled Nabi cemetery in Golestan province, Northern Iran.Kipala/Wikimedia Commons
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A clay plaque depicting a couple copulating.
Old Babylonian Period, 2nd millennium BCE. Mesopotamia (Iraq).The Israel Museum in Jerusalem
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An Iberian phallic figure. 5th-3rd century BCE. Spain.Luis García/Wikimedia Commons
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A statue depicting sex. Early Ptolemaic Period (305-30 BCE). Alexandria, Egypt.Brooklyn Museum
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A bronze statuette possibly of the Roman fertility god Priapus, made in two parts. This upper section is detachable and conceals a phallus. Late 1st century C.E. Picardy, France.Vassil/Wikimedia Commons
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Roman erotic relief. 1st century CE. Pompeii, Italy.Wikimedia Commons
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Etruscan amphora depicting sex between two men. 5th century BCE Capua Vetere, Italy.Miguel Hermoso Cuesta/Wikimedia Commons
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Relief on one of the Khajuraho Group of Temples in Madhya Pradesh, India. The temples were dedicated to both Hinduism and Jainism and date back to the 11th century. Abhishek Singh Bailoo/Flickr
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An Etruscan phallic grave marker dating from between 399 and 199 BCE. Italy.Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons
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A silver gilt plate with an erotic scene. Goldsmith art. Thracian Civilization, 4th Century BCE. Letnica, Bulgaria. DeAgostini/Getty Images
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An ancient sexual sculpture position in Dattatreya Temple at Bhaktapur. 15th century. Nepal.
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A painting at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok, depicting Hanuman, the monkey king of Lop Buri, enjoying intercourse with Lady Butsamali a fallen angel. 17th century. Thailand.Iudexvivorum/Wikimedia Commons
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Ceramic depicting fellatio created by the Moche people. 100 to 700 BCE. Peru.Lyndsayruell/Wikimedia
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A clay human figurine of a fertility goddess. 7000-6100 BCE. Kermanshah, Iran.National Museum of Iran/Wikimedia
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The front view of a Hittite statue of a nude goddess with long braids from around 1600 BCE.Burstein Collection/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images
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Three seated figures, a man flanked by two women, Mexico. 1st century CE. Western Mexico. Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
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A Roman oil lamp with an erotic motif. 1st-3rd century CE. Rome.Carole Raddato/Flickr
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Relief on one of the Khajuraho Group of Temples in Madhya Pradesh, India. The temples were dedicated to both Hinduism and Jainism and date back to the 11th century. Jack Zalium/Flickr
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An image from an illustrated Muslim hadith. 14th century. Iran.Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images
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A limestone statue showing a musician seated on a man's phallus. Early Ptolemaic Period (305-30 BCE). Egypt.Wikimedia Commons
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A Cherokee ceremonial stone pipe with erotic scene. 10th century CE. Eastern Woodlands, Georgia, USA.Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
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An erotic mural depicting a couple performing sex. 1st century CE. Pompeii, Italy.Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images
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An erotic embossment on a brick made during Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Shaanxi Province, China. China Photos/Getty Images
29 Pieces Of Erotic Art That Prove People Have Always Loved Sex
Sexuality has been a part of the human experience since our inception as a species.
Since the beginning of civilization, humans have incorporated sexuality into erotic art, worship, and daily life. There have been cultures and times were explicit references to sexuality were more accepted by societal norms, and times when there have not.
However, the repressive view of sexuality espoused by the Church in the Middle Ages, and then the repressed sexuality of the Victorian era have left many in the Western world believing that few if any in the past were willing and able to accept and even revel in their sexuality.
Most of us look to the past and think of an era where sexuality was a taboo subject, until the groundbreaking social changes of the 60s and 70s.
This view was supported by many of the authorities of the 20th century, who often edited explicitly sexual objects and events out of history books and museums.
When the lost city of Pompeii was first rediscovered in the 19th century, King Francis of Sicily had all the many sex artifacts found placed in a "secret cabinet" to be locked away.
As sexual norms have changed through the course of the 20th century, we have begun to see the true nature of the past, and see that many past civilizations celebrated sexuality and genitalia in a way that would seem extreme today.
Sculptures of penises and vaginas are rampant throughout cultures across the world, with many using exaggerated figures of theses genitals as representations of gods of fertility.
From Rome to India to Persia to the Americas, sexual art existed throughout the ancient world. Sexual art was sometimes used to denote that a place was a brothel, to promote fertility, to tell sexual stories, or even to mark graves.
Here are some of the most interesting historical pieces of erotic art.
Enjoy this gallery of erotic art? Next, check out these bizarre photos that prove history was far stranger than your ever realized. Then, learn about the NASA-funded experiment that led to sex acts between a woman and a dolphin.