8. Elagabalus (Rome)
Of all the people to give unlimited power, ‘a fourteen year old boy’ should be very far down your list, just ahead of ‘Hitler’. Yet the Romans decided to do just that. While much of what we know of Elagabalus’ reign is probably horse shit, if even one tenth of what we read is true – then he was one depraved guy.
A prolific cross-dresser, he spent more of his time picking up men in brothels than ruling; while also finding time to smash through five wives, a long line of concubines and even invent the whoopee cushion. Things finally came to a head when he started prostituting himself in the Imperial Palace; at the age of 18 he was assassinated on the orders of his grandmother, of all people.
7. Sex Festivals (Greece)
We’ve established that Ancient Greece wasn’t exactly the serene, monastic environment depicted by Led Zeppelin albums and Bill and Ted. But some causal boy love is only the tip of the phallic iceberg. Festivals, such as those for the god Dionysus, would kick off with an enormous wooden cock being dragged through the streets at the head of a parade.
From there participants would head out into the countryside, get blind drunk on wine, dance themselves into a frenzy and get their orgy on. At their most extreme, these festivals involved wild animal-sacrifice and an emphasis on wooden dildos; at their tamest they simply involved plenty of al fresco sex and probably several-hundred phony promises to call.