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Sexuality in Prehistory

By Rosario Gómez
In lower lines, I echo the discoveries that the Atapuerca Foundation has published about the so-called Sex of Stone and some considerations of the Doctor in philosophy Georges Feuerstein.
From the oldest sculptures such as the Venus of Willendorf, the representations of sexual relations of the Hindu temples of Suria and Kahjuraho, to the discovered murals of the ruins of Pompeii, which highlight an infinity of erotic scenes, from Giovanni Boccacio and Bernini to violence Sade's eroticism, human sexuality has continually been imposed, confronting the repressed sexual energy. In ancient societies multiple representations of explicit sex are appreciated, which far from causing shame and scandal, were signs of power and admiration. Already during the Paleolithic we find images of penises and vulvas strongly linked to fertility and procreation. Between the 9000 and the 7000 BC the first copulation represented: the stone of Ain Sakhri, found in the Judean desert.
Art is a component of culture, which reflects in its conception, the economic and social substrates and the transmission of ideas and values, inherent in any human culture throughout space and time. In the past, since the paelolithic, the reflection of sexual beliefs and customs found their reflection in art, Neolithic fertility figurines are common, ecstatic smiles, erotic representations in Kali Buddhist shrine in India, etc. have also been found. .
[1] The Atapuerca Foundation presented at 2010 an exhibition on the subject of sex in the Paleolithic curated by Javier Angulo and Marcos García Díez that has been based on the data from his book Sexo en Piedra (Ed. Luzán 5, 2005).
 
According to these researchers, there is little we know about the behavior of our ancestors. The researches of Angulo and García suggest that for more than 25.000 years the members of our species have enjoyed the pleasures of sex beyond reproduction. Moreover, it seems that homosexuality was part of the social culture of the Upper Paleolithic. The stone objects found in several European sites represent very clear evidence of the waste of imagination of our ancestors in the search for new sexual experiences.
"Current sexual behaviors are a cultural and biological constant for at least 40 a thousand years," explained the scientist Marcos García, one of the people in charge of the exhibition, before the opening ceremony. Not only have concepts such as sex for pleasure or reproduction been maintained, which was already recorded in caves and shelters thousands of years ago, but also sexual behaviors that today are "badly seen", in García's words.
The sample includes prehistoric examples of oral sex, voyeurism, masturbation and bestiality. Sex without reproduction, including homosexuality, is part of the social ethology of the Lesbianism Stone Sex Atapuerca Foundationbonobos (Pan paniscus); but we are facing a fixed behavior in the genome of this species of chimpanzee, with the aim of dissipating the aggressiveness and facilitating the sociability of the members of the group. Homosexuality could happen in other Homo species, but only members of Homo sapiens have left an archaeological record of their existence several thousand years ago, long before the morality of so many cultures today vetoed their normal practice.
[2] Following George Feuerstein, in prehistory there is a predominance of magical knowledge, understanding magic as a fabric of powerful forces that influence individual life. It was the Renaissance philosopher and magician Maximiliano Ficino who clearly understood the erotic nature of magic in his Amore (VI.1).
The visual, imaginary character of the magic can be seen in the cave paintings of the Stone Age. An amazing example that involves sexuality is the Paleolithic drawing, discovered in Algeria, which the psychoanalyst Eirch Neumann reproduced in his acclaimed work The Great Mother. These are silhouettes of women with raised arms, a man with a bow and three animals. Both figures seem to be naked. The most remarkable thing is that the genitals of the woman and the penis of the man are united by something that could be understood as a continuous line of energy. Perhaps it represents a ritual of power transmission to a hunter. The woman invokes the invisible sacred.
The drawing captures the essence of the magical relationship of Paleolithic humanity with the world and sexuality. In time it reveals the quintessence of magic itself, consisting of an energetic connection between beings and things that transcends the limits of space and time. For Neumann, the woman would be the prototype of the alchemical cauldron containing the power and magical potential, if the man does not experience this reality in a positive sense, he experiences the woman as a fatal receptacle that swallows and devours the phallus, castra and usurpa the virility of man From this negative perception were born the terrible forms of the Goddess: the Hindu Kali, the Semitic Lilith, the Aztec Xochipilli-Cinteotl.

For some scholars, the statuettes represent a female deity associated with the cult of fertility. Considering that she was venerated as the origin of all life and not only of clan life, the historian Elinor W. Gadon has also called her Mother Earth. There are informed opinions like that of the French prehistorian André Leroi-Gourham that the Venus figures were not sexual objects but artifacts with a sacred function, important in a complex metaphysical vision of the world. For Leroi, in general, the masculine and feminine symbols were juxtaposed, the former tended to be peripheral and the latter central. This suggests the existence of an elaborate metaphysics of sex, which undoubtedly manifested itself in the rites. We are in the dawn of an erotic spirituality in whose plot the ideas of fertile earth, human fertility, cosmic creativity, procreation and biological and bodily cycles were intertwined with practical life.
Contrary to what is popularly believed, it seems that Paleolithic clans were not dominated by the male gender. From the artistic images it is clear that women were not only going to hunt with men, but they were also doing shamans. Even art was not the prerogative of men. As far as we know, hunter-gatherer societies are very likely to be egalitarian, with a slight imbalance towards man.
[3] As Feuerstein points out to properly understand Palo and Neolithic beliefs about sacramental fertility and sexuality, one must understand the underlying magical philosophy. The link was for them the magical notion of the sacred, the secret and hidden force that works in silence. Our ancestors experienced intercourse as a direct co-participation with the cycle of seasons or harvests.
For us, although we have lost the unitive sensibility, sex can become a manifestation of the mystery.
It is presumed that it was in the Neolithic, with the invention of agriculture and livestock when the woman went to collect the status of belonging to man, lost, in terminology of the French philosopher Michael Onfray, metaphysical equality with man. We know, through Gerda Lerner, that the transition was gradual and that Goddess Earth was still worshiped and a certain erotic spirituality survived. The sacred and the profane do not splitphalluses copy full portraitn according to the archaeological findings. The abundance of masculine and feminine symbols indicates the celebration of a rite of fertility, the divine copulation between the God and the Goddess, the hierogamia.
The great Goddess was also shown as androgynous and was associated with all kinds of animals, wild beasts, birds and snakes, bees and butterflies. Its survival was relegated with the arrival of aggressive pastoral peoples to India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Today's machismo is the successor, according to the historian Reay Tannahill, of the morals and philosophy of a few nomadic Hebrew tribes or modern India of the Indo-European shepherds of the Rig-Veda [4]. The phallic principle, would become the modus operandi of urbanized societies. The consequences are visible until this time of great ecological devastation.
In religion and metaphysics, the masculine generating organ came to be seen as the powerful place of numinous reality. The penis, in its phallos character, deserved as much reverence as the vulva had deserved for millennia. The involuntary processes of insemination led to the belief that the forces of divinity operated on the phallus. The representations of the popular fantasy were transformed into figures of great penises that survived in ancient Egypt.
To complete this chapter and others of History of Sexuality in Art, I count on the valuable contribution of the erotic Ars collective, specialized in the subject, which allows inserting their presentations of different chapters of the story in other publications. This presentation provides valuable images and interesting comments alluding to the subject.
 
[1] Sex in Stone
[2] Feuerstein, George. Sacred Sexuality (pag.65)
[3] Feuerstein, George. Sacred Sexuality (pag.69)
[4] Feuerstein, George. Sacred Sexuality (pag.80)
http://arttroop.com/blog/2013/09/25/arte-y-sexualidad/
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