Sex BC


Sex BC

The History Channel is finally broadcasting the “Sex BC” mini-series in prime time. Last year, on its first outing, it was buried in the wee hours, probably due to its subject matter, but there’s really nothing that would frighten the horses.
It has only three parts dealing respectively with prehistory, Egypt and the Classical period. It’s actually quite informative and well presented but throughout you feel this frisson when archaeologists start to speculate what all that material they have found (large-breasted figurines, wooden dildos by the box full, graphical and hyroglyphic pornography in scrolls and on the walls everywhere, threesome burials with ritualistic mutilations etc) actually means to an audience steeped in 2000 years of Christianity or 1300 years of Islamism. A delicious irony is that Egyptology was a favourite pastime of some Victorians who couldn’t get all that salacious material fast enough to the vaults of the British Museum to be locked away forever, if it was up to them. And what a contrast too between the sex-everywhere ancient Egyptians and the contemporary repressed Islamic society that inhabits the Nile Delta today. Monotheism has a lot to answer for, and you can’t but think that a lot of world trouble would be helped by relieving all that sexual frustration by and repressive submission to religious regimes.

Anyway, next Wednesday is the final installment on the subject of the Classics, from which we libertines and secularists can still learn a great deal sexually.
Channel 4, which commissioned the series, has a great background article on the issue of sex in history:

Channel Premiere: Sex BC

The History Channel – Monday 20 August, 11.30pm

Sex in the Ancient World is a major new documentary series that combines history, archaeology and dramatic reconstructions to bring alive the sexual habits and customs of our ancestors. It takes a new look at how our sexual history has been viewed in the past and gives clues as to why, when it comes to sex, we behave as we do today. Grand in sweep yet minute in detail, the series answers the questions you always wanted to ask about what our oldest forebears got up to in bed – and why. It considers the origins of marriage, the earliest forms of prostitution, ancient attitudes towards male and female homosexuality, and the ever shifting balance of power in the bedroom between husbands and their wives.