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How to Do Things with HistoryNew Approaches to Ancient Greece$
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Danielle Allen, Paul Christesen, and Paul Millett

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190649890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190649890.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Imaginary Intercourse

Imaginary Intercourse

An Illustrated History of Greek Pederasty

(p.313) 11 Imaginary Intercourse
How to Do Things with History

Robin Osborne

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, Robin Osborne reexamines what Kenneth Dover called “intercrural intercourse.” Following Dover’s lead, scholars have constructed a history of Greek homosexuality in which penetration was taboo and instead older lovers enjoyed only intercourse in which their pleasure came from rubbing their penis between a boy’s thighs. This has been taken to support a model of sexual behavior in which penetration and power stand at the center. Osborne argues instead that intercrural intercourse is a modern fantasy. On the basis of a close examination of the corpus of relevant images, he makes the case that the scenes should be read not as literal representation of some curious homosexual ritual, but as ways of exploring the nature of homoerotic desire. The point of these pictures is not to show what was visible in life, but to find a visible way of allowing the viewer to fantasize about men’s homoerotic pleasures.

Keywords:   pederasty, intercrural intercourse, homoeroticism, ancient Greece, Kenneth Dover

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