Poems about the goddess Inanna and the god Dumazid are the earliest erotic literature. They were written about 2500 BC. The goddess and god were part of the Sumerian religion. Inanna symbolized the Lover while Dumazid represented the Shepherd. Their interactions are depicted in a number of poems, some erotic, some not. There are many erotic verses about them, and they are preserved indirectly through Assyrian and Babylonian copies. During the Akitu festival, embodying Dumazid and Inanna, the Sumerian King legitimized his reign by engaging in ritualized sexual intercourse with the High Priestess. (Some scholars, however, think that this is based on a misinterpretation of Sumerian texts and may never have happened). Inanna was later referred to as Ishtar or Venus; Dumazid was later referred to as Tammuz or Adonis. Their stories were reflected in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bible, Greek myths, and Assyrian and Babylonian literature. Milton also wrote about Dumazid (calling him Tammuz) in Paradise Lost. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem may have been built over a shrine to Tammuz. The Sumerian religion survived in the Middle East until the 18th century.
Below is one of the poems:
My vulva, the horn,/The Boat of Heaven,/Is full of eagerness like the young moon./My untilled land lies fallow./As for me, Inanna,/Who will plow my vulva?/Who will plow my high field?/Who will plow my wet ground?/As for me, the young woman,/Who will plow my vulva?/Who will station the ox there?/Who will plow my vulva?
A fascinating early relic of sexuality…..
To the right is a Babylonian depiction of the sexual intercourse between Inanna and Dumazid.