Attitudes About Sexuality in Inanna vs. Modern Times

In the story of the Courtship of Inanna and Dumuzi, sexuality is spoken of frankly and without shame. Even in today's liberal culture, sexual topics are not spoken of with such openness and honesty in public.

At the beginning of Courtship, Inanna talks openly with her brother Utu about sex - asking who will go to bed with her and then protesting the one Utu says will be her bridegroom. In the exchange that follows, Inanna, Utu, and Dumuzi all speak of sexual activities using several obvious euphemisms for sexual ideas. For example: Utu telling Inanna that Dumuzi's "cream is good; his milk is good" and that Dumuzi will "share his rich cream with you" - both of these are polite euphemisms for semen. Later, Inanna speaks even more openly about her relationship with Dumuzi when she asks him "Who will plow my vulva? Who will plow my high fields? Who will plow my wet ground?" This sort of open, frank discussion is not seen in the literature of today, unless it is a trashy romance novel that the vast majority of the population does not consider literature. Candid discussions of sex are not considered to be polite or appropriate in the modern American culture. Even the popular afternoon soap operas do not depict completely graphic sexual content, and the discussion of such is usually limited to euphemisms even more polite than those used in "Courtship."

In the modern American culture, for all the bragging of how open-minded and uninhibited the people are, the subject of sex is still a taboo subject for discussion. Not so in Europe, where the soap operas show much more of the sex scenes and interplay than the American counterparts.

When it comes to the popular attitude about sex, the Sumerian culture appears to be much more open to discussion and display of such, unlike the resistant American culture that stifles most discussions and graphic depictions of sex. It is worth noting however, that the stories of Inanna could very well have been the equivalent of sacred romance novels - it is impossible to know since no one can talk to the people of that era.

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