Catullus' relationship with Lesbia is not just physical. That would be to love like the herd, something Catullus says his own love is not like. Catullus says time and time again that his is a purer love. On occasion, he mentions a sacred contract that Lesbia has violated.
As far as the Physical in Catullus, he does not get truly vulgar or directly mention sex with Lesbia until she dumps him. When she does, he calls her a "scortilla" (if memory serves. I may be confusing this with the whore he meets in the Forum)* and mentions her bursting the loins of three hundred men. Benissimus is right that he never mentions the hot and heavy, explicitly anyway, in his "love poems." I never noticed this. Interesting.
Are there prominent latin "love poems" that explicitly mention physical sexual acts? By love poems, I do not mean conquests. I can think of many Martial/Catullus/Horace poems that mention sex, but I cannot think of one that is between two socially equal lovers.
*I have checked. The scortilla is the friend's girl in the Forum. The sleeping with 300 men is Catullus 11, and the mention of "moecha" (a synonym for scorta) in this poem refers to the lovers of Lesbia. My memory is going.
Last edited by paulusnb
on Mon Mar 09, 2009 5:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
When a true genius appears, you can know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in a confederacy against him. ~Swift