Sex and the City (of Babylon)

How did ancient peoples have sex? How much of the sexual repertoire (i.e. positions, techniques, etc.) varies across time, and how much stays the same? Today, we explore the bedrooms of ancient Babylonians, as revealed by a compendium of omens dealing with sex.

Don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review. Support the show on Patreon at Research, writing, editing, and production by B. T. Newberg. Logo Design by Rachel Westhoff. Animation by Maxeem Konrardy. Additional credits, references, and more at


Assante, Julia. “Men Looking at Men: The Homoerotics of Power in the State Arts of Assyria.” In: Zsolnay, Ilona. Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Construct of Masculinity. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Bachvarova, Mary R. “Sumerian Gala Priests and Eastern Mediterranean Returning Gods.” In: Lament: Studies in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond, ed. by Ann Suter, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Bottéro, Jean. Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001.

Bullough, Vern, and Bullough, Bonnie. Women and Prostitution: A Social History. New York: Prometheus Books, 1987.

Gabbay, Uri. “The Kalu Priest and Kalutu Literature in Assyria.” Orient, Vol. 49, 2014.

Guinan, Ann. “Auguries of Hegemony: The Sex Omens of Mesopotamia.” Gender & History, Vol. 9, No. 3, 1997, November: pp. 462-479.

Guinan, Ann. “Erotomancy: Scripting the Erotic.” In: Parpola, Simo and Whiting, R. M., Eds. Sex and Gender in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the 47th Recontre Assyriologique Interntionale, 2002.

Jacobsen, Thorkild. The Harps That Once…: Sumerian Poetry in Translation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987.

Kramer, Samuel Noah. The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963.

Lahtinen, Sarah. “The Naditum as Businesswoman: The Economic Role of the Naditum in Old Babylonian Sippur.” Thesis. Uppsala University. (n.d.)

Oshima, Takayoshi. Babylonian Poems of Pious Sufferers: Ludlul Bel Nemeqi and the Babylonian Theodicy. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2014.

Stuckey, Johanna. “Inanna and the ‘Sacred Marriage.'” MatriFocus: Cross-quarterly for the Goddess Woman, Imbolc, Vol. 4-2, 2005.

Taylor, Patrick. “The Gala and the Gallos.” In: Collins, Bachvarova, and Rutherford (Eds.), Anatolian Interfaces, 2008, pp. 173-180.

Zsolnay, Ilona. Being a Man: Negotiating Ancient Construct of Masculinity. New York: Routledge, 2017.

Audio Credits

“Black Sabbath Iron Man Advanced Piano Cover” by Robert MacDonald. Youtube.

Mario coin sounds by CuteQT. Youtube.

“Rivers of Babylon” by The Melodians. Youtube.

“Ibn Al-Noor” by Kevin MacLeod. Youtube.

“Sex and the City (of Babylon)” skit mixed from “Sex and the City Theme Song Trap Remix” by Charlotte and Harry, “Footsteps” by LuckVintageEffects, “Cartoon Hit Sound Effects” by Nick Judy, and “Cartoon Boing Sounds” by Nick Judy, all from Youtube.

Image Credits

The Hanging Gardens of Semiramis” by H. R. Waldeck, c. turn of the 19th/20th century – Wikipedia

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