Attitudes towards sexuality and sexual orientations differ from place to place and are mainly determined by the dominant religion. However, it can be said that universally, several double standards that exist on Earth are unheard of in Artograch: for example, the double standard about women complementing each other's looks having nothing to do with homosexuality, while men complementing each other's looks being seen as "gay" - in Artograch, there is nothing homosexual about a male complementing another man's appearance. Instead, there are other double standards.
One of the the most prominent double standards is regarding male-on-male and female-on-female homosexuality, originating in the Elven peoples' views on female beauty: beauty - especially for females - is generally seen as a power, and both Titanists and Naturalists apply the "with great power comes great responsibility" logic to beauty as well - a cute girl with a childlike face or a well-endowed woman with hourglass figure, both seen as beautiful, often receive advantages like lower prices and overall better treatment just for being attractive - in return, they are expected to marry a handsome man and have beautiful children, especially girls who look as beautiful as their mothers. This explains why both religions often view lesbians as "waste of female", especially if she is attractive.
Attitudes by religion in the Occident Edit
In the Proto-Elven religion, reproduction was considered the sole purpose of sexuality - any other types of heterosexual sex were viewed as bad habits, while homosexuality was seen as sodomy.
Sodomy was a sin that warranted the capital punishment: a ritual execution called the "flower's blood", in which the sodomite would be tied to a man-sized rock or a tree, flowers would be put into his/her mouth, then his/her throat would be sliced with a sword, then finally, flowers would be cultivated near the dead body, and the body would be left there to rot, while the flowers would grow.
It is unknown if these cruel ritual executions were actually sacrifices, or if there were any other reasons for putting so much effort into publicly executing sodomites. Most victims of the Flower's Blood were males, implying that female sodomites were usually raped rather than executed, or that the laws were more lenient towards them.
Recreational sex is viewed naturally - being overly lustful is viewed as a bad habit, even possibly a sin, while being chaste is seen as a virtue, as long as it does not interfere in one's reproduction. A "middle ground" is seen as the best, when one is prolific enough to reproduce, but still capable of holding himself/herself back and resist unnecessary temptations.
In the Kingdom of Froturn, Kingdom of Etrand, Earldom of Etrancoast and Principality of Artaburro, where the Titanist religion is dominant, attitudes towards sexuality can be best defined as a hierarchy, in which heterosexuality is seen as the purest - vaginal sex is considered the "cleanest" form of sex (since it serves to reproduce), oral sex is seen as acceptable but "not so clean", while anal sex is considered "borderline sodomy" (heavily discouraged, but not criminalized).
According to religious doctrine, homosexuality is a sin - before the invention of the sodobane, it used to warrant execution by burning on a stake, although in actual practice, female lesbians were more often impregnated via rape, forcibly married or forced to become nuns rather than being executed. Male homosexuals were usually executed, or forced into becoming monks if they begged for mercy. After the invention of sodobane, people would receive punishment only if they refused to drink sodobane they are prescribed to.
Even then, there is still a significant double standard regarding homosexuality in the religion: while official religious law states that people convicted of engaging in homosexual activity must drink sodobane, or else they suffer capital punishment, in actual practice, male homosexuals have it somewhat easier - they are tolerated as long as they stay at a low profile rather than flaunting it (low profile meaning being essentially closeted, not allowed to even kiss in public), while for bisexual males who are already married to a woman and have children, it is completely okay to have male lovers and be open and public about it: in fact, when a noble plans to commit adultery, he is encouraged to take male lovers instead of female lovers, as such relationships do not produce bastards. Pederasty is widely practiced in Etrand's nobility, although with utmost discretion. It is said that King Bryant I of Etrand had multiple male lovers, but all evidence would be censored out of existence by his conservative and religious successor Cairbré.
This tolerance of male bisexuality is rather recent phenomenon, most likely a byproduct of increased interaction and exchange of ideas between Naturalist and Titanist theologians.
Attitudes towards bisexual females - who are already married to a man and have children - depend on the social position of the female in question. Unless their husbands consent to it - or they are influential enough to "bypass the law" -, they may be convicted of sodomy and burned on a stake, like lesbians.
Generally, depictions of sexuality are judged by their "cleanlienss" - pieces of art depicting softcore or vaginal sex are permitted to be put on public display so long as they look "cartoony and censored enough", while all other forms of art depicting sexuality are abhorred, and may not be put on public display. Laws also forbid the display of overtly sexual imagery in buildings of worship or religious books.
Incest and polygamy are seen as sins. Brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters or mothers and sons engaging in sexual activities are seen as forms of sodomy, which are punished by burning on stake. Marriage is only permitted between one man and one woman. Adultery is considered a sin, but does not warrant any form of punishment, other than being shamed by the Church.
While the Naturalist religion is much more tolerant towards non-straight sexualities than the Titanist one, laws and attitudes still strongly favour heterosexuality. Being exclusively attracted to one's own gendered is considered "unnatural" but is tolerated, not criminalized at all - however, when the laws are involved in resolving love triangles, the laws are biased to always favour heterosexual outcomes:
|“|| § Should a man's heart be contested by a male and a female, the law rules that his heart belongs to the female.|
§ Should a woman's heart be contested by a male and a female, the law states that her heart belongs to the male.
§ Marriage can only exist between men and women, in sync with the union of Selenna and Goronnion.
| — Naturalist Laws|
Attitudes towards bisexuality are much more positive - while being exclusively homosexual is seen as "unnatural", being bisexual is seen as having "a healthy appetite for sexuality", associated with being sexually active and fertile. Unlike in the Titanist religion, recreational sex is seen as completely acceptable, an everyday fact of life, rather than little more than a necessary evil to reproduce. As such, being lustful is not considered a negative trait, so long as it does not compel the individual to commit adultery out of lust, which in turn is seen as a sin.
While laws or religious doctrines do not criminalize homosexuality in any way, attitudes towards people who are completely homosexual are still usually negative, seen as "unnatural and unhealthy", such people often become victims of public ridicule or shaming if they flaunt their sexuality openly. This is a rather recent phenomenon, most likely a byproduct of increased interaction and exchange of ideas between Naturalist and Titanist theologians. Male homosexuals are less likely to be shamed for their sexuality.
Polygamy and incest are permitted but discouraged. Siblings may not get married, and are heavily discouraged from reproducing, but there is only a limited amount of stigma against incestous relationships. Adultery is considered a sin, but does not warrant any forms of punishment, other than defamation by society. As for polygamy, polygyny is viewed slightly negatively, while polyandry is viewed in an even more negative light.
The Dark Elves fully condone all forms of recreational sex, and are known for being kinky and having fetishes that are considered disgusting by other races. Similarly to the Wood Elven religion, homosexuality is tolerated, bisexuality is considered the best, but the right for marriage is reserved for straight couples.
In the Mori Templa Mellon clan, the words for "wife" and "husband" are exchanged, symbolizing the female dominance in the clan. When a woman's heart heart is being contested by a male and a female, the laws favour the female's claims in the Mori Templa Mellon clan, but the male in the other two clans.
While almost every other religion frowns upon casual sex, the Dark Elves see no problems with it and engage in it with impunity. The negative stigma of prostitutes does not exist either, and attitudes towards adultery and extramarital sex are much more relaxed too. Both polygyny and polyandry are seen as acceptable, but incest is seen as a crime, and it is taboo to marry within one's own clan.
Polygyny is partially permitted, while polyandry is forbidden. As females are seen as subservient to men, they have fewer rights to express their sexuality: adultery by males is tolerated and not punished in any ways, while adultery by females is punished by rape, beating or execution. Polygyny is only partially permitted: Orcish men are allowed to take only one Orcish wife - unless the additional Orcish would-be wives are the man's siblings -, but they may take an unlimited number of addition non-Orcish women as wives. Since Elven and Human females don't usually consent to being taken into Brutang, such "marriages" are could be more accurately described as a form of religiously sanctioned sexual slavery, rather than true marriages.
Homosexuality is not tolerated in any forms. Females are usually punished by rape, while males are usually punished by execution via beheading or throat-slicing. Incest on the other hand is tolerated. In fact, the only time an Orcish man is allowed to marry multiple Orcish women is when those women are his sisters, otherwise he may take only one Orcish wife. For Goblins and Ogres however, polygyny is fully permitted.
Sexuality is seen as a taboo subject to talk about - it is considered necessary for reproduction and otherwise a vulgar way of recreation. Polygyny is permitted as long as the husband is wealthy and kind enough to treat all of his wives with care and dignity, while polyandry is forbidden. Female lesbianism is tolerated, but male homosexuality is seen as "evil" and warrants corporal punishment.
Incest is criminalized, and it is taboo to marry within one's own clan, seen as borderline incest.
Attitudes in the Orient Edit
The Shár Empire went through various phases regarding attitudes towards sexuality.
In the beginning, the Shár people had a very sex-positive culture. During the First Warring States Period - in which the Shár population was reduced from 2 000 000 in 6100 to as low as 650 000 by 5622 - many people died of famine, wars and plagues: binge drinking and massive orgies became the survivors' way of coping with the deaths of their friends and relatives. And since death and despair were so commonplace during that 578 years of perpetual civil war, massive drinking and orgies are said to have become the staple of Shár life.
It was at that time that marriage and sex became "two separate things", extramarital sex became fully tolerated and homosexuality became a partially tolerated thing. It was every man's duty to find a wife and sire children, no matter which sex he was attracted to. It was also every woman's duty to find a husband and bear children, no matter which sex she was attracted to.
If one fufilled his/her duty of getting married and siring/bearing children - and also found spare time to take care of the children - it was completely acceptable to seek sex partners from one's own sex. Since extramarital sex was viewed as acceptable, people saw no problems with someone having partners of the same sex. In addition to homosexuality, both pedophilia and peredasty were common and accepted, although it was more common for adult males to seek out sex with little girls than with boys.
Additionally, polygamy was legal and widely practiced. Since women usually outnumbered men - men dying from wars - polygyny was accepted, while polandry was not. There was no minimal age of marriage either - it was not unusual for men in the twenties or thirties to marry a girl who was as young as twelve or even ten years old. It was also usual for twin sisters to get married to the same man. It was not unheard of that when a family was desperate to find a husband or multiple daughters, multiple daughters were wed to a single man, essentially constituting sororal polygyny.
Following the rise of the Jing Dynasty, there was a massive cultural shift in the Shár Empire caused by changing conditions. Improvements in technology improved life standards. Agriculture became less of a hassle, causing urbanization, an increase in literacy and rise in standards of education. Flourishing foreign trade also brought in cheap goods - luxuries previously only afforded by the nobility suddenly became available to the middle-classes, even sometimes to lower-class peasants. The old "sex and alcohol" way was no longer valid - not to mention, tea started competing with alcoholic beverages.
The Jing dynasty embraced the Ten Heavenly Principles, a religion which taught that discipline and spirituality are more important than worldly pleasures. This new religion also condemned extramarital sex, urging believers to be loyal to their spouses. Under this new climate, the Jing dynasty started persecuting both polygamy, homosexuality and pedophilia, and outlawed prostitution. The age-old practice of having eunuchs to please noblemen and noblewomen also became illegal.
One might think that these laws were introduced and enforced by draconian despots, but it was quite the contrary - much of the nobility agreed to these new laws, mainly because they themselves have converted to this new religion that did not approve of such sexual conduct.
During the relatively brief, 128-year rule of the Bur dynasty that followed that of the Jing dynasty, the laws regarding homosexuals became somewhat more relaxed - while castration for non-medical purposes remained illegal, prostitution and homosexuality became legal again. The main motivation for overriding the Jing-era laws was to justify sexual slavery. Concubinage was also de-criminalized, but legal marriages remained defined as the union of one man and one woman.
Jiuk Dynasty (contemporary) Edit
Once the Jiuk dynasty overtook the Bur, the laws became somewhat more lax again, but new laws were introduced too.
One of the most important new laws introduced under the Jiuk dynasty is the marriage regulation law: The minimal age of marriage was set to 15. Additionally, when one of the would-be-married couple was under the age of 25, the law requires for the age gap between the two be less than 10 years - under the Jing and Bur dynasties, while pedophilia was illegal, the age of consent was never defined, making it difficult to determine who was a pedophile and who was not.
Both male and female prostitution are fully legalized, but prostitutes are required to undergo several tests and health examinations to legally prostitute themselves - otherwise, he/she will be considered a duffer, and get arrested. While extramarital sex is no longer criminalized, it is still socially stigmatized, unless it's prostitution or sexual slavery.
While homosexuality is not criminal, there is a movement within the Ten Heavenly Principles religion that lobbies for its re-criminalization.
The Kingdom of Strba is unique for its wide prevalence of sororal and semi-sororal polygamy: it is common for a man to marry twins, or women who are sisters. It is also expected that when multiple get married and practice polygamy, all of the involved people love each other like lovers - unless they are siblings. This means that essentially, women are expected to be bisexual if multiple women marry the same man. Men are expected to be bisexual if multiple men marry the same woman - polandry also exists in Strba, but only socially acceptable for women of high status.
Heterosexuality and bisexuality are seen as the norm - being exclusively homosexual is seen as an illness: homosexual relationships are not seen as legitemate or as "true love". They are seen either as just playing around, or as practicing for a "real" (heterosexual) relationship. To escape this, it is common for two lesbian women to seek out a weak man and get married to him, so that their relationship becomes legitemate - unrelated women who get married to the same man are expected to love each other as lovers instead of arguing who is the first wife. This loophole is very convenient for them, even though it's expected for women to treat their husband as the number one priority - likewise, for men in polandry, it is expected from them to prioritize their wife first.
In addition to polygamy, historically, concubinage used to be common before the Ten Heavenly Principles gained foothold. As the religion teaches that people should be loyal to their spouses, the idea that people in a polygamous relationship should love each other as either lovers or siblings. Not even this new religion could root out polygamy in the kingdom of Strba. Not even Shár influence could do it.