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Musonius Rufus, trans. Cynthia King. Lectures and Sayings. CreateSpace, 2011.

Lecture 12: By Musonius, from the lecture about sexual matters.

1. A significant part of luxurious living involves sexual behavior, because men who live
luxuriously desire a variety of sexual experiences, both legitimate and illegitimate, and
with both women and men. Sometimes, they pursue one male as their beloved,
sometimes another. Sometimes they are not satisfied with those males who are available
but go after the ones who are hard to get, and seek unseemly embraces. All of these
actions are great reproaches against a human being. Men who are neither licentious nor
wicked must consider only those sexual acts which occur in marriage and which are
carried out for the creation of children to be right, since these acts are also lawful, but
they must consider acts that chase after mere pleasure, even if they occur in marriage, as
wrong and unlawful.

2. Among other sexual relationships, the most illegitimate involve adultery, and the
relationships in which males relate to males are no more tolerable than adulterous ones
because this outrage is contrary to nature. Unlawful relationships with women, even if
they do not involve adultery, are all of them shameful since they are undertaken out of a
lack of self-control. For example, no one with self-control would decide to associate with
a mistress, with a free woman outside of marriage, or even, by Zeus, with his own
female slave. The illegal and improper aspect of these relationships makes them a
disgrace and a great reproach to men who pursue them. And so no one capable of
blushing even a little dares to do any of these things openly. Unless they are completely
dissolute, they cover up what they are doing and embark on these affairs only in
secrecy. And yet, trying to hide what someone is doing is a sign that one knows that
what one is doing is wrong.

3. “By Zeus,” says a listener, “even though the adulterer wrongs the husband of the
seduced woman, the man who associates with a mistress or even, by Zeus, with an
unmarried woman does not wrong anyone, for he does not ruin anyone’s hope for
legitimate heirs.” I maintain, however, that everyone who acts wrongly and unjustly,
even if he doesn’t hurt those near to him, immediately shows himself to be entirely base
and somewhat dishonorable. The person who does wrong, inasmuch as he does wrong,
is base and dishonorable. Even if we ignore the unjust behavior, we must conclude that
the man overcome by shameful pleasure—the man who delights in getting himself dirty,
as pigs do—is controlled by his lack of self-control.

4. This includes the man who consorts with his own female slave, an act some people
consider to be completely blameless, since every master is thought to have complete
power to use his own slave however he wants. In response to this, my reasoning is
simple: if someone things that it is neither shameful nor unnatural for a master to
consort with his own female slave (and especially if she happens to be unmarried), what
would he think if his wife would consort with a male slave? Would he not think that this
was intolerable, not just if a woman who had a lawful husband would submit to a male
slave, but even if an unmarried woman would do this? And yet, no one will suggest that
men should have a lower standard of conduct than women or be less able to discipline
their own desires—that those who are supposedly stronger in wisdom would be bested
by those who are weaker, or that those who are rulers would be bested by those who are
ruled! Men should have a much higher standard of behavior if they expect women to
follow them. If they are more weak-willed than women, they appear inferior to them.
Why do I even need to say that only a lack of self-control could cause a master to consort
with a female slave? Everyone knows this.