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Title: A History Of Orgies
Author: Burgo Partridge
Publisher: Prion Books
Reviewer: Itumeleng Motuba
If you think of orgies as a modern-day phenomenon, then think again. Though nowadays we have swingers clubs - those parties where the drink flows heavily and what could be described as immoral sexual events take place - they are simply a continuation of similar practices that date back to the BC period. People, it seems, have always been ruled by their lust.
According to Burgo Partridge the idea of orgies being sinful only developed in relatively recent times. In A History of Orgies he explores, for example, the life of the ancient Greeks who had a taste for the good life filled with eating, drinking and fulfilling their lustful needs. He mentions that even the gods in Greek mythology condoned such behaviour. The classical Greeks were sexually liberated. For them, life was to be lived to the fullest and they took each day as it came.
Then there were the Romans who, though they had conventions guiding their conduct, were also ruled by lust. And they too practised varied forms of sexuality, including homosexuality.
Moments of hot passion have been captured in art by different societies. The sculpture of Ariadne on Naxos in the Louvre Museum in Paris is a good example.
This is also seen in such historic films as Casanova, which portrayed sexuality as being nothing more than lust.
According to the dictionary an orgy is a wild gathering marked by promiscuous sexual activity, excessive drinking and other forms of excess.
This no doubt sounds familiar to the wild at heart, those who are not afraid to follow their flesh and who, like the Greeks, live life to the fullest. Whether or not these practices have been morally acceptable in various societies is a topic for another book. A History of Orgies only examines where the ruling classes and the man in the street did the nasty.