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Sexuality among the ancient Mayans

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In the Dresden Codex, a Mayan Postclassic document, the couple caress very discreet in what could be a preparation for intercourse.

"I am dipping, penetrating with the genitals of your mother and the genitals of your father. You are the desire of the children of the women, the desire of the children of the men. Amen."

- The ritual of the Bacabes, Pete Sigal’s version.

In this crude incantation, a Maya scribe shows us the reality of sexuality during colonial Yucatan. Sex is what a society needs for reproduction, and in most cases, individuals seek it for biological necessity. The enchanted obscure language shows, however, is difficult to understand sexuality in cultural terms. Satisfaction, sexual attractions and repulsions appears in all human societies on intercourse. Still, the world's communities, including pre-Columbian Mayan, have their own specific concepts about the meaning of sex and sexuality.

Representations of sex

To investigate the sexual concepts of the Maya, we will use of their representations and glyphic texts, which can be confronted with words and ideas of their descendants later. Some ideas have changed over time, possibly, others are so widespread that the ideas prevailed in antiquity. The images, texts and terms allow us to identify participants in sexual acts, the sites where it took place and what was thought due to coupling and sexual stimulation. It was believed that some couplings were "accented", which means that were different from usual behavior. The explicit representations of sexual acts among the ancient Mayans belong to that category: they are "accented." Neither intercourse or masturbation were represented in a explicit way. Such acts more subtly insinuated themselves: two bodies in front of each other, a woman tilted back, a man touching a breast, a woman's knees slightly open. A woman appears ready to have sex without clothes or ornaments, except for her bracelets and earrings. The Maya preferred the imagery of assumption and the previous games to the specific details of the consummation. They rest is left to the imagination.

In the Dresden Codex, from Postclassic times, contains good examples of such indirect representation. This document does not speak of sex in common terms: ka, intercourse, or the widespread Mayan word P'en, or tsay, "sticky union" in Yucatan Mayan. Instead of writing this in the erotic approach of the scenes, the female deity is simply called  atan, the "spouse" of the male deities. The same term appears in Classic Maya texts referring to the wives of the rulers. By its nature, the paper of consort must have been a notorious sexual act.

In various parts of the Yucatan Peninsula have been located erect phallus. Most of these are not in their original place, which makes it difficult to determine its function. For example:

Uxmal, Yucatan in 1926

Loltun, Yucatan

In the Naj Tunich cave in Guatemala, in this explicit scene of pleasure from the final century of the Late Classic, is a homosexual ritual rite between an older man and a young man.