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#1
Old 07-03-2018, 04:31 AM
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Homosexuality Before Homosexuality, Masochism Before Masochism?

What did they call homosexuality and masochism before there was a word for each?

I know the word homosexuality came into being in the 19th century. I don't know exactly when. And I assume masochism is an equally more recent word.

I know for centuries they had the somewhat inaccurate term pederasty, which was sometimes applied to homosexuals as well. But I recall reading once in a gay magazine, that the Netherlands legalized homosexual acts between adults in the early 19th century, I want to say around 1811 or so. And I am sure they were by no means the first. The French Declaration of the Rights of Man specifically said
Quote:
...Freedom consists in doing anything that does not harm others...
So it is a rather old concept, the consenting adults mantra.

And masochism. I rather think the idea of cruelty in general is a rather old one. But what did they call self-cruelty, in, say, the 18th century? Think about it.

My cell phone is in the shop, and may not be ready until Saturday. My cell phone is the main way I check up on this message board. So if I don't reply right away to your responses, just kindly give me a while. It is not my fault.

Thank you all in advance for you kind replies
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#2
Old 07-03-2018, 11:09 AM
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I'm sure there are many and varied histories of sexuality/sexualities, but as far as I recall, it is generally held that the concept was of behaviours rather than a social identity or way of life, a concept which came about much later in the 19th century and into the 20th. In classical times, homosexual acts of various kinds might be tolerated or celebrated, in various circumstances, but not understood as a defining identity distinct from heterosexual marriage, say. But for most of the Christian era in the west, they were treated as individual criminal acts - sodomy/buggery or the peccatum illud horribile, inter Christianos non nominandum, rather than a social identity or way of life - either you were caught and punished for the act, known or presumed, or no-one else knew about you. No idea if there was a specific label for masochism, or even an acknowledgement of its existence before (say) the Marquis de Sade (though of course there is a long tradition of self-mortification of the flesh as a religious practice, rather than getting oneself into sado-masochistic relationship with someone else).
#3
Old 07-03-2018, 11:26 AM
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Sodomy/Sodomite. All terribly biblical.
#4
Old 07-03-2018, 11:31 AM
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In the language of the King James Bible, 1611.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.


NB- this to answer the question, what it was called. Not saying I agree with it. Just wanted to make that clear.
#5
Old 07-03-2018, 11:39 AM
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For the derivation of the word "masochism," you want https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leopold_von_Sacher-Masoch.
#6
Old 07-03-2018, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PatrickLondon View Post
No idea if there was a specific label for masochism, or even an acknowledgement of its existence before (say) the Marquis de Sade (though of course there is a long tradition of self-mortification of the flesh as a religious practice, rather than getting oneself into sado-masochistic relationship with someone else).
There's no masochism involved in Sade's writings. People on the receiving end are victims (preferably young and innocent), not masochists.
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#7
Old 07-03-2018, 06:00 PM
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What we now call "homosexuality" didn't have a word in the past because there wasn't a need for one. It was something a person did rather than something a person is and so there wasn't really any need for a word for the modern idea that it's something a person is.

There were some indirect references at various times and places in the past. For example, here in England a couple of centuries ago there were men who were "artistic" and women who "played cards". (*) But it was still someone a person did rather than something a person was.






* The phrase was actually "played the game of flats", but in modern English that would be "played cards".
#8
Old 07-03-2018, 06:20 PM
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"The love that dare not speak its name" stems from the late 19th century. Much later, Robertson Davies wrote "The love that dare not speak its name has become the love that won't shut up." As if that was a bad thing.
#9
Old 07-03-2018, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by I can't think of a name View Post
* The phrase was actually "played the game of flats", but in modern English that would be "played cards".
I'm currently reading a biography of Sarah Churchill, 1st Duchess of Marlborough and favorite of Queen Anne, and only just came across that phrase last night. In her spiteful letters around 1710, when she was falling out of favor, Sarah also refers to the Queen's "inclinations" for other ladies at court, which struck me as a surprisingly modern euphemism.
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#10
Old 07-03-2018, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
"The love that dare not speak its name" stems from the late 19th century.
Specifically from a poem by Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wildse's lover.
#11
Old 07-03-2018, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
There's no masochism involved in Sade's writings. People on the receiving end are victims (preferably young and innocent), not masochists.
I don't think that's correct.
From what I recall of reading some of it, the villains often would have themselves whipped, or would whip each other, as a way of exciting themselves, either as a warm-up, or during the time that they were victimizing others. I'd think that would count as a mild form of masochism.
#12
Old 07-03-2018, 08:55 PM
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For the basic OP question, the historical attitude seems to be a bit confused.

Like PatrickLondon says, they identified specific sexual acts, but they did not imply a recognized personal identity. Anal intercourse ('sodomy') was a specific sexual act, but could be done by any person, even a married heterosexual. (And not specifically homosexual; it could be with their wife.)

On the other hand, people have recognized for a long time that certain individuals were only interested in certain sexual acts. As far back as the ancient Greek plays, there were references to specific individuals that we would recognize today as 'homosexual' (though we would probably classify all the other individuals in the play as 'bisexual'). Bt they didn't recognize this as an immutable, probably genetic, part of personal identity.
#13
Old 07-03-2018, 09:07 PM
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Uranian used to be a term for homosexuals. But the term originated in the 1860's so it's not as old as what the OP is looking for.
#14
Old 07-03-2018, 09:25 PM
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Sodomite (the person doing the buggering) and catamite (the person being buggered) were the medieval terms.

The term "bugger" is thought to date from the 13th Century and the Albigensian Crusade.
#15
Old 07-03-2018, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
For the basic OP question, the historical attitude seems to be a bit confused.

Like PatrickLondon says, they identified specific sexual acts, but they did not imply a recognized personal identity. Anal intercourse ('sodomy') was a specific sexual act, but could be done by any person, even a married heterosexual. (And not specifically homosexual; it could be with their wife.)

On the other hand, people have recognized for a long time that certain individuals were only interested in certain sexual acts. As far back as the ancient Greek plays, there were references to specific individuals that we would recognize today as 'homosexual' (though we would probably classify all the other individuals in the play as 'bisexual'). Bt they didn't recognize this as an immutable, probably genetic, part of personal identity.
I also don't think that in earlier eras people would think a blanket term was necessary for adult males who had sex with one another, adult males who had sex with boys, and women who had sex with one another.

Last edited by Colibri; 07-03-2018 at 09:51 PM.
#16
Old 07-03-2018, 10:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbh View Post
Sodomite (the person doing the buggering) and catamite (the person being buggered) were the medieval terms.

The term "bugger" is thought to date from the 13th Century and the Albigensian Crusade.
I seem to remember reading somewhere that it had something to do with Bulgaria, but the OED says it comes from an old English word meaning "heresy." Then I see that they are both right, that a Bulgarian was considered to be a heretic as a member of the Eastern Orthodox church. A bugger, as a person, in

Quote:
Originally Posted by OED
The sense ‘sodomite’ (16th century) arose from an association of heresy with forbidden sexual practices
#17
Old 07-03-2018, 11:05 PM
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I know I've read before about what we now call gender-fluidity among Native Americans--it even shows up in "Little Big Man," which of course is a novel though I believe it was a well researched one.

You can read all about it on Wikipedia, but I wanted to add a different cite if possible, so here's a newspaper column by a professor who studies the subject. Some of it is speculative but it seems to be grounded in fact.

https://theguardian.com/music/20...-north-america
#18
Old 07-04-2018, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
I seem to remember reading somewhere that it had something to do with Bulgaria, but the OED says it comes from an old English word meaning "heresy." Then I see that they are both right, that a Bulgarian was considered to be a heretic as a member of the Eastern Orthodox church. A bugger, as a person, in
In the 10th Century, there was a sect in Bulgaria called the Bogomils.

Three centuries later, the Cathars arose in southern France. Their theology resembled the Bogomils, so they were often referred to as "Bulgarians".

The Cathars believed that the spirit was good, and the material world was evil. A good Cathar tried to renounce all worldly things, like money, private property, allegiance to church and state, marriage and procreation

People are often willing to renounce marriage, but rarely willing to renounce sex. The Cathars' enemies accused them of encouraging sodomy, in order to avoid procreation.

So, doing it "Bulgarian style" became a euphemism for sodomy. Latin "Bulgarus" became Old French "bougre", which became English "bugger".
#19
Old 07-04-2018, 09:54 AM
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On further reading, I find that "bugger" originally entered English as a synonym for "heretic". It was only in the 16th Century that the sexual meaning eclipsed the theological meaning.
#20
Old 07-05-2018, 08:47 PM
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It seems nowadays that someone who’s attracted to a person of the same sex has to ‘come out of the closet’ and get labeled gay. And accept all the implied stereotypes. Feminin women attracted to other feminine women, and masculine men attracted to macho guys doesn’t seem to fit in
#21
Old 07-05-2018, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by EastUmpqua View Post
It seems nowadays that someone who’s attracted to a person of the same sex has to ‘come out of the closet’ and get labeled gay. And accept all the implied stereotypes. Feminin women attracted to other feminine women, and masculine men attracted to macho guys doesn’t seem to fit in
While I am no expert, there is certainly a discussion to be had about the way labels can cause people to conform to the expectations of the label, and not just with regard to sexuality.

However, if you've never met or heard of two feminine women in a sexual relationship ("lipstick lesbians"), or aren't aware of leather and bear culture, you need to spend more time on the internet.
#22
Old 07-05-2018, 11:08 PM
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The issue I suppose is that until larger cities with more mobile populations emerged, most people did not have much choice of lifestyle; the ones who escaped the standard lifestyle were the notable exceptions. Whether you were a peasant or the King of England (Edward II) the man was expected to marry and support a family so his heir could carry on the family holdings, and the woman was married off to someone and probably did not have much choice in performing her "wifely duties". Whether they got more on the side was a detail in an otherwise straight life. The same was likely true in tribal life, with the exception that opportunities to find like-minded partners were probably fewer. The bit in Little Big Man points to an interesting issue - in a small tribal society every pair of hands willing to contribute something was valuable. Thus if someone wanted to act like the other gender, there was no hostility in some cultures to accommodating that... whereas expelling someone from the tribe was a liability - they could end up being a danger; and killing your own people was an extreme step.
#23
Old 07-06-2018, 05:46 AM
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In Classical Antiquity views on sex were very different - at least for men. Mutual frottaging was accepted, and penetrative homosexual sex was fine as long as you were the one doing the penetrating.
#24
Old 07-06-2018, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by EastUmpqua View Post
It seems nowadays that someone who’s attracted to a person of the same sex has to ‘come out of the closet’ and get labeled gay. And accept all the implied stereotypes. Feminin women attracted to other feminine women, and masculine men attracted to macho guys doesn’t seem to fit in
I'm not sure why. "Gay" doesn't imply "not masculine" (for men) or "not feminine (for women).
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#25
Old 07-06-2018, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
In Classical Antiquity views on sex were very different - at least for men. Mutual frottaging was accepted, and penetrative homosexual sex was fine as long as you were the one doing the penetrating.
I think it was a Scientific American article on AIDS many years ago that mentioned that Africans did not consider themselves as penetrator as "gay", just the penetratee.
#26
Old 07-06-2018, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
I also don't think that in earlier eras people would think a blanket term was necessary for adult males who had sex with one another, adult males who had sex with boys, and women who had sex with one another.
I don't know how relevant this is but the Tudor era laws in England against sodomy were only used to prosecute adult males having sex with children or young boys. From memory there was not a single instance of an adult male being prosecuted for having sex with another adult male. Things began to change, I believe, during the Stuart era.
#27
Old 07-06-2018, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
I'm not sure why. "Gay" doesn't imply "not masculine" (for men) or "not feminine (for women).
Depends on the stereotypes people are using. The whole gender thing is just a bunch of stereotypes, but the specific bunches change from place to place and person to person. There are people who refuse to believe in the existence of lipstick lesbians and leather gays, or even of lesbians who don't like power tools and of gays who don't suffer from limp wrists; their arguments when faced with evidence (such as, this conservative-by-Spain's-standards judgeminister being gay and married to another man) are in the style of "those children are paid actors" conspiracy nuts.
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#28
Old 07-09-2018, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
In the language of the King James Bible, 1611.

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

NB- this to answer the question, what it was called. Not saying I agree with it. Just wanted to make that clear.
After reading more of this thread, I noticed something interesting about that passage (though not in most English translations, including the KJB). Many Biblical scholars (and most more liberal ones) have pointed out for quite some years that this passage in the original is actually referring only to male receptive anal sex being an abomination. Not oral sex, frottage, or insertive anal sex between males.

This then is essentially the same position that Quartz described concerning Classical Antiquity. But perhaps that's not surprising; I don't know.

But in any case, we see once again the extreme ignorance of the conservative religious mindset: They don't even understand what their own sacred texts actually say.
#29
Old 07-09-2018, 09:34 PM
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... this passage in the original is actually referring only to male receptive anal sex being an abomination.
How so? ISTM that lying with a man as with a woman implies treating your male partner as if he were a woman, i.e. being the penetrator.

To mean what you say, wouldn't "Do not lie with a man as if you were a woman" be a better phrase?
#30
Old 07-09-2018, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ambushed View Post
After reading more of this thread, I noticed something interesting about that passage (though not in most English translations, including the KJB). Many Biblical scholars (and most more liberal ones) have pointed out for quite some years that this passage in the original is actually referring only to male receptive anal sex being an abomination. Not oral sex, frottage, or insertive anal sex between males.

This then is essentially the same position that Quartz described concerning Classical Antiquity. But perhaps that's not surprising; I don't know.

But in any case, we see once again the extreme ignorance of the conservative religious mindset: They don't even understand what their own sacred texts actually say.
Well, for bestiality Leviticus 20 says both the animal and the male or female human participant were to be killed; not particularly concerned about roles.
#31
Old 07-10-2018, 01:20 AM
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How so? ISTM that lying with a man as with a woman implies treating your male partner as if he were a woman, i.e. being the penetrator.
The view that only the insertive act was to be considered an abomination (using the biblical rather than the modern definition, of course) was commonly held in the past, but I've read several professional biblical scholars reverse that in more recent time with quite compelling arguments based on both the original Hebrew text (including from the Dead Sea Scrolls), the contextual location of verse 22 (and 30), and careful sociological analyses. The reigning view among non-conservative biblical scholars is as I described it in my post: Only males on the receiving end (so to speak) were to be considered abominations.

I'll provide a cite in a moment, but first I'd like to point out that the surrounding list of highly specific sexual acts that were to be condemned to one extent or another completely lacks any reference to male-male sexuality, not even those involving boys or even sons (it also excluded men having sex with their daughters, but that's an different debate). The notion that the authors and editors of Leviticus 18 simply assumed everyone would just, ya know, know such acts were forbidden is completely ludicrous given the specificity of the list.

Now to my cite: I'd like to provide more than what follows, but virtually everything I've read on this subject are in paper books I have in storage and I don't wish to plow through that morass. And the two I've found online are just abstracts, since I'd have to pay to possess them for quoting. But here ya go...

Who Is Doing What to Whom Revisited: Another Look at Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 Rather than quoting from both the original and the follow-up, I'll just quote from the abstract of the latter:
Quote:
Originally Posted by George M. Hollenback & Jerome T. Walsh

According to the overwhelming majority of modern English Bible translations, the proscriptions of male-on-male sexual intercourse in Lev 18:22 and 20:13 appear to be directed to the activity of the insertive party, the few remaining versions simply proscribing male-on-male sex in such a general way that there is no indication one way or the other as to whose activity is being addressed. Jerome T. Walsh has challenged the status quo, however, persuasively arguing that, when correctly interpreted, the Hebrew text indicates that it is instead the activity of the receptive party that is being addressed (“Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13: Who Is Doing What to Whom?,” JBL 120 [2001]: 201–9). Building on the foundation laid by Walsh, the present work analyzes the two verses in their immediate Hebrew context and applies the same analysis to the earliest translations, the result being a validation of Walsh's contention that the proscriptions were indeed directed to the activity of the receptive rather than the insertive party.
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Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
To mean what you say, wouldn't "Do not lie with a man as if you were a woman" be a better phrase?
Yes, I believe it would. But of course I don't know how to back-translate that into the Hebrew of Levitcus' milieu, and such plain English language would be considered uncouth by biblical believers, so perhaps it should be tarted up a bit. I leave that privilege to others...

Kinda sorta off topic but yet not so very far, If more of my fellow faggos (to use faggo Scott Thompson's happy term) had followed that proscription, many more would not have contracted HIV & AIDS. That's all I'm saying...

Except that I'm also saying that ostensibly scientifically gathered statistics indicate that nearly 50% of homosexual men (including myself) don't engage in anal sex at all, a stat that no one I've spoken to about it has ever heard (or believed). But since the whole "ass thing" is what makes gay sex so gross to so many straight men and women, it deserves a much wider social presence, I believe. Unfortunately, I can no longer find the scientific article (if I recall correctly) that presented this information.

I also take this "position" of eschewing anal sex as very progressive socio-politically. After all, it is straight couples' modus operandum to perform insertive and receptive sex acts. We faggos have a reputation for far more adventurous love-making than simply mimicking the default sexual behavior. Me, I enormously prefer frottage and other more "play-like" sex. After all, I find that -- by far -- the most extreme pleasure of sex is that near-complete subduing and dismissal of grown-up thoughts, worries, and all number of tragic matters that come with adulthood. vive la lack of différence! (with apologies to all French speakers everywhere...)
#32
Old 07-10-2018, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Fuzzy_wuzzy View Post
I don't know how relevant this is but the Tudor era laws in England against sodomy were only used to prosecute adult males having sex with children or young boys. From memory there was not a single instance of an adult male being prosecuted for having sex with another adult male. Things began to change, I believe, during the Stuart era.
Edward II was a Plantagenet, 1307-1327. According to popular myth at the time, he was killed/executed by red-hot poker, in consideration of his alleged homosexuality.

I think perhaps the observation that sodomy was not illegal in early England says more about the state of the laws then it does about attitudes to adult homosexuality.
#33
Old 07-10-2018, 09:28 AM
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WAG: "Invert," in English, was the most commonly used academic term in the 19th century.

The "masochism" part of OP is interesting and not addressed yet; the "homosexuality" part of course is now a well-beaten horse in general though and academia.
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