Orgy

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Etymology

Middle French orgie, from Latin orgia, plural, from Greek; akin to Greek ergon work

Definitions

b : a sexual encounter involving many people; also : an excessive sexual indulgence
  • 3 : excessive indulgence in something especially to satisfy an inordinate appetite or craving <an orgy of destruction>

Description

In modern usage, an orgy is a sex party where guests engage in promiscuous and excessive sexual activity or group sex. An orgy differs from a swinging party by the fact that couples at the swingers party engage in twosome and otherwise conventional sexual activities, though not with their permanent sexual partner.

In ancient Greek religion, an orgy (όργιον) was a secret nighttime cultic congregation overseen by an orgiophant (a teacher or revealer of secret rites popularly thought to involve sex), celebrated with dancing, drunkenness, singing, etc. (See Bacchanalia and Saturnalia.)

History

An orgion was a secret rite of the Greek mystery religions, practiced in the worship of Demeter at Eleusis (mentioned in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter) or in worship of Dionysus (Herodotus 2.81), the Cabeiri, Demeter Achaia (Herodotus 2.51, 5.61), Orpheus, Eumolpus, or Cybele.

Orgies have also been known to have been practiced in ancient Rome with brutalities, in the Middle Ages by medieval popes, during the Renaissance, and in modern times.