"Were the women engaging in holy prostitution doing it willingly or were they forced?"

This refers to this post about sex and ritual in which I mention sacred prostitution in relation to the worship of Aphrodite. This is a hard question to answer. For one, accounts are incredibly fuzzy and there appear to be many forms of ritual prostitution, especially in relation to the worship of Aphrodite. Before we go into the question, let me reiterate a bit of what I have explained about women in ancient Hellas before: women were property. They could be bought and sold, they could be given away in marriage, and within the law, they could be raped without punishment (same goes for men, by the way). Women did not have the autonomy to plan their own life--that honour went to her father or her husband, and if those were not available, the privilege went to her son(s) or another male family member. This sounds pretty dire, but it wasn't; it was just life.

Because much of what we know of ancient Hellas was written by men who condoned and enjoyed this system of male economic and social superiority, we will most likely never know exactly how women felt about these arrangements, let alone temple prostitution. And in a system like this, where is the line between willing and forced? If the women knew there was an alternative, would they have resisted? Did they now? Did they see it as their sacred duty to Aphrodite, or did the men in their lives think so?

I can tell you a bit: many of these practices were old--far older than Hellenic civilization. Some were also imported from other parts of the surrounding world, and the Goddess that was originally worshipped with these rites was adapted to Aphrodite as well. There are accounts of a great variety of prostitution rites: women sold to men in grand sales where the men had to promise to wed the women (thus making them lawful wives, not a doûlos, a slave) and where the funds raised went to the temple of Aphrodite; women put out by the side of the road and sold to men for a coin for one night, after which she would never have to submit to a man ever again (and once more, the coins went to Aphrodite); or a ritual where women had to cut their hair and if they refused, they had to sleep with strangers for a day and all the funds went to Aphrodite. There are countless of these examples, although many grew outdated fairly early on in Hellenic history.

It's important to note that temple prostitution was not frowned upon. A woman who collected her dowry by prostituting herself was considered pure and pious, and men would wed her readily. If a woman prostituted herself and gave the proceedings to the temple, she was considered pious and worthy of great respect.

Temple prostitutes did more than offer sexual intercourse to visitors of the temple or its festivals: they entertained by way of musical instrument, by song or dance. they gave brilliance to the rites performed and enhanced the festival proceedings greatly. They were always invited, and while they weren't priestesses of Aphrodite, they were considered part of the temple and somewhat sacred to Her. The temple of Aphrodite Porne at Corinth was said to be so wealthy that it kept more than a thousand of these women.

Did these women do it willingly? I don't know. It was part of the worship of Aphrodity, as proclaimed by the men who took advantage of these sacred laws. Very rarely can these type of circular logic problems be answered with a 'yes' or a 'no'. The reasons for taking part in temple prostitution must have been numerous, and I don't know if the women could refuse. It's tempting to look at this from a modern point of view, but it's useless to do so. Times have changed, and this is an aspect of Hellenic religion, we have rightfully left in the past.

"Were there male temple prostitutes?"

The short answer is: we don't know. We know that there was (young) male prostitution that ancient Athenial lawmaker Solon regulated. These men were called 'πόρνοι pórnoi'. Some of them aimed at a female clientele but the vast majority of male prostitutes were for a male clientele. The period during which adolescents were judged as desirable extended from puberty until the appearance of a beard. Boys kept on afterwards were looked down upon, and if the matter came to the attention of the public they were deprived of citizenship rights once come to adulthood. For the relations that were built up (instead of just a quick tryst ), see pederasty, the socially acknowledged erotic relationship between an adult male and a younger male usually in his teens which was practiced mostly in the Archaic and Classical ages of Hellenic history. Due to the age difference and the societal function the practice served, this type of relationship was accepted and not considered homosexual. The younger partner was always the passive party and performed to role of 'woman' in the exchange, thus making it a heterosexual relationship between two men (as contradictory as that may sound).

As for temple prostitution: I haven't seen a single mention of it anywhere. It may have existed, but personally I doubt it for the reason listed above: the men who slept with temple prostitutes did so to honour a female deity who was--in essence--above them is standing. To raise a young boy to the same height when the rules of pederasty were so clear cut just does not fly with me. I'll let you guys know if I ever find out more.