Illustration by Édouard-Henri Avril
For the religious rites of ancient Greece, see Orgia. For the American synth rock band, see Orgy (band)

In modern usage, an orgy is a sex party where guests engage in promiscuous or multifarious sexual activity or group sex. An orgy is similar to debauchery, which refers to excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.

An orgy differs from some swinger's parties by the fact that couples at many swingers party engage in twosome and otherwise conventional sexual activities, though not with their permanent sexual partner.[citation needed] An orgy is actually like other kinds of swingers parties in that couples at some swingers party engage in sex with various other partners as well as just swapping partners.

Participation in an orgy is a common sexual fantasy and orgies are represented in popular literature and films, especially in pornographic films.

The term is also used in expressions to indicate excessive or indiscriminate, such as an "orgy of colour" or an "orgy of destruction".


Ancient Greek and Roman orgia

Bacchanal with a wine vat (c. 1475) by Andrea Mantegna

In ancient Greek religion, orgia (ὄργια, sing. ὄργιον, orgion) were secret nighttime cultic congregations of the Greek mystery religions, overseen by an orgiophant (a teacher or revealer of secret rites) popularly thought to involve sex,[1] which were celebrated with dancing, drunkenness, singing, etc. They were practiced in the worship of Demeter at Eleusis (mentioned in the Homeric Hymn) or in the worship of Dionysus (Herodotus 2.81), the Cabeiri, Demeter Achaia (Herodotus 2.51, 5.61), Orpheus, Eumolpus, or Cybele.

The ancient Romans adopted the Greek orgia practices for the Bacchanalia festivals, which were wild and mystic festivals of the Greco-Roman god Bacchus (or Dionysus), the wine god. At first the secret rites were restricted to women, but eventually men were also permitted.

In popular culture

The 1956 movie The Ten Commandments has the golden calf scene in which the Israelites are shown having an orgy, but not an explicit one, showing drinking, music and adult acts. This is based on the reference to the golden calf in the Bible in Exodus 32:6.

The films Caligula (1979) and Perfume (2006) have a number of orgy scenes, and orgies have been depicted in numerous works of art.

In the 1966 musical-comedy film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a Roman general calls for a "sit-down orgy" for his troops while he waits for his virgin bride to be delivered.

See also


  1. ^ Shipley, Joseph Twadell (1955). Dictionary of Early English. Philosophical Library. pp. 768. ISBN 0806529261. 
  • Adkins, Lesley and Adkins, Roy A. (1998). Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece ISBN 019512491X
  • Alexander, Timothy Jay (2007). Hellenismos Today ISBN 978-1-4303-1427-1
  • Alexander, Timothy Jay (2007). A Beginner's Guide to Hellenismos ISBN 978-1-4303-2456-0
  • Burnet, John (2005). Early Greek Philosophy ISBN 402197535
  • Dillon, Matthew (2002). Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion ISBN 0415202728
  • Maffesoli, Michel (1993). The shadow of Dionysus: a contribution to the sociology of the orgy ISBN 9780791412398
  • Persson, Martin (1970). The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and Its Survival in Greek Religion ISBN 0819602736
  • Wilson, Nigel Guy Wilson (2005.) Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece ISBN 0415973341

External links

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  • Orgy — Or gy, n.; sing. {Orgies}. [F. orgie, orgies, L. orgia, pl., Gr. ?; akin to ? work. See {Organ}, and {Work}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A sacrifice accompanied by certain ceremonies in honor of some pagan deity; especially, the ceremonies observed by the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • orgy — (n.) 1560s, orgies (pl.) secret rites in the worship of certain Greek and Roman gods, especially Dionysus, from M.Fr. orgies (c.1500), from L. orgia, from Gk. orgia (pl.) secret rites, from PIE root *werg to work (see URGE (Cf. urge) (v.)). The… …   Etymology dictionary

  • orgy — ► NOUN (pl. orgies) 1) a wild party with excessive drinking and indiscriminate sexual activity. 2) excessive indulgence in a specified activity: an orgy of killing. ORIGIN from Greek orgia secret rites or revels …   English terms dictionary

  • Orgy — Or gy, n.; pl. {Orgies}. A frantic revel; drunken revelry. See {Orgies} [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Orgy — Allgemeine Informationen Genre(s) Synth Rock, Nu Metal Gründung 1997 Website …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • orgy — index debauchery Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • orgy — [n] celebration devoted to sensual enjoyment bacchanal, bacchanalia, bender*, binge*, blowout*, bout*, carousal, circus*, debauch, dissipation, excess, feast, fling*, indulgence, jag*, merrymaking, overindulgence, party, rampage*, revel, revelry …   New thesaurus

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