Sex then ought to be contained – but it was not denied. In the writings of the Roman elite, like any other appetite it was, as Peter Brown has observed, something to be admitted and managed rather than something to be ashamed of. The feast of the Liberalia was on 17 March; a now sadly forgotten festival at which Roman citizens celebrated a boy’s first ejaculation. In Roman medical manuals, ejaculation had been readily and openly discussed by classical doctors who advised it for health and getting rid of the seed that might otherwise cause headaches. It was thought that if athletes could abstain from sex they would be stronger. Orgasms and sex were even recommended for women’s health.
Catherine Nixey The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World