You’ve probably seen images of Greek kouroi before such as the Strangford Apollo in the British Museum; they are depictions of young, Greek men stood with one leg and arm slightly in front of the other, with a slight or ‘archaic smile’ on their faces. They were influenced by Egyptian standing statues, however the most noticeable difference is how the male Egyptian standing statues were clothed, whereas with the kouroi, they are always naked. The female version, the kore, were clothed however.
What this reveals about sexuality of the time is the archaic/classical concept of the ‘beautiful boy’. This was a belief that a beautiful boy was one who took care of his physical appearance, such as at the gymnasium, which is depicted in the statues with their well-worked physiques. But beauty was not just in appearance, but in mind also; older men would chase the younger boys for sexual satisfaction and in return they would pass on their knowledge or wisdom. Socrates and Alcibiades are an example of this. What we see is not the young boys as ‘feminised’ but simply a different type of masculinity.
They were used as grave markers to symbolise the deceased in their prime, as a sort of nostalgic civilisation, which showed their obsession with beauty but not necessarily the individual’s elite lifestyle.