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Sapphic is an adjective that describes loving relations or interactions between women. The term comes from the name of the seventh century Greek poet Sappho who hailed from the island of Lesbos.
Sappho is generally believed to be a lesbian. However, her works tell of love and passion regarding people of both sexes. It is also uncertain how much of her work was autobiographical. Nevertheless, the terms sapphic and lesbian, which derive from Sappho and Lesbos, have long been used to describe female homosexuality and homosexuals.
Most commonly, sapphic is used to describe the love between lesbians or bisexual women. Many women prefer the term sapphic to lesbian as the term has a richer and more widespread history.
However, the term sapphic can also be applied to any loving, sensual, and intimate relationship between females. For example, a mother kissing her child or two female friends holding hands could be seen as an expression of sapphic love.
Unlike male homosexuality, which is often viewed as sinful, sapphic love is accepted and even celebrated in most religions and culture. Medieval Hindu and Ancient Egyptian artworks show images of women caressing one another. Buddhist and tantric texts refer to the regenerative and transcendental powers of communities of women with sapphic interactions. Sapphism has also been practiced throughout history in many African, Asian, and South American tribal societies.
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