CriticaLink | Plato: Phaedrus | Terms


Sexual attraction between two people of the same sex can be described as homoerotic. Although at times Socrates appears to be disapproving of the pursuit of purely sexual gratification (in any form), homoerotic relations among men appears to have been a accepted diimension of social life in the ancient Greek world. The poems of Sappho celebrate homoerotic relationships among women; the word "lesbian" derives from the island of Lesbos, where Sappho lived.

The phenomenon of homoeroticism has been a perennial theme of literature and philosophy, although different cultures and historical period have treated it in radically different ways. Ovid's Narcissus, for example, is pursued by both young men and women. Sigmund Freud, often seems ambivalent on this topic, sometimes discussing homosexuality as an aberrant form of sexuality, but generally suggesting that all human beings experience homoerotic impulses.