Leonardo & Sex & Sexuality

Some people have traditionally considered Leonardo to be a type of "A-sexual intellectual" who was some how immune to any kind of sexuality. Even if he did, they say that it was sublimated in his work.. From some of his journals we can tell that he was anything but!


  • “Amore sola mi fa remirare, la sol mi fa sollecita.”- “Only love makes me remember, it alone fires me up.”
  • I found myself in the past days, having (been) urged: If there is no love, what then…?”
  • L’amore mi fa sollaz are.” -“Love amuses me.”

On April 9, 1476 Sodomy Charges were filed against Leonardo da Vinci, Baccino, Bartolomeo di Pasquino; and Leonardo Tornabuoni, a member of the aristocratic Tornabuoni family: with Jacopo Saltarelli - a known prostitute. 

"party to many wretched affairs and consents to please those persons who request such wickedness of him"

The charges were eventually dropped (Due to lack of evidence) but this tragic event deeply affected Leonardo and stuck with him for the rest of his life. Although rarely executed a sodomy charge's punishment was execution - by burning. This, along with the censorship of the Church, forced da Vinci to be even more secretive and shady about his sexuality.

While it was prevalent in his time, especially in Florence (Florentine became the slang term "Faggot") people couldn't necessarily be "open" about it, especially when it came to leaving behind any (Obvious) evidence - like art! This led Leonardo and other artists to cleverly disguise things in their art that wouldn't be allowed to otherwise be displayed. Examples of this are at the bottom of this page. 

"When I did well, as a boy you used to put me in prison. Now if I do it being grown up, you will do worse to me." (referring to being imprisoned for Sodomy)
Quando io feci Domene Dio putto voi mi mettesti in prigione; ora, s’io lo fo grande, voi me farete peggio.
“When I made a Christ Child you put me in prison; now, if I present Him grown up, you will do worse to me.”
(A bust of a young Christ that was attributed to Leonardo has been suggested to have been modeled on Jacopo Saltarelli the 17yo prostitute mentioned in the sodomy case earlier) "



"This writing distinctly about the kite seems to be my destiny, because among the first recollections of my infancy, it seemed to me that, as I was in my cradle, a kite came to me and opened my mouth with it's tail, and struck me several times with it's tail inside my lips."


 Freud interpreted this quote as being about his mothers breast because of a mis-translation of "nibbo" which he thought meant 'vulture' and was somehow connected to Egyptian symbology.  I think this scribble in Leonardo's notebooks was a slight admission of probable molestation? "Kite"/ nibbo is a bird of prey (predator) and could mean a 'male's member' as well since that's what male birds are called. (As is a tail) If this is what he meant by this quote it's obvious why he would have kept it obscure - regardless it's strange but plausible. Read what Freud had to say about Leo's sexuality  Here



  • “In general, woman’s desire is opposite to man’s. She wishes the size of the man’s member to be as large as possible, while the man desires the opposite for the woman’s genital parts, so that neither ever attains what is desired…”


  • "Intellectual passion drives out sensuality."
  • "If Liberty is dear to you may you never discover that my face is love's prison."
  • "It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end."
  • "For nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known."


Leonardo was the first to realize the function of the pubic bone. Before da Vinci people believed that the penis was erected by “magic air” he realized that it was actually filled with blood. He also was probably the first to document erectile malfunction and said that penises seems to have a mind of their own. 

  • “The penis does not obey the order of its master, who tries to erect or shrink it at will, whereas instead the penis erects freely while its master is asleep. The penis must be said to have its own mind, by any stretch of the imagination,”
  • “A man who is ashamed to show or name the penis is wrong. Instead of being anxious to hide it, man ought to display it.”
  • "Of the penis: which when it is hard is big, long, dense and heavy and when it is soft it is small, short, soft, that is soft and feeble. This makes one judge that here its flesh is not supplemented by wind but by arterial blood. This I have seen in dead men who have this member erect, for many die thus, particularly those hanged. Of these I have seen the anatomy, all of them having great density and hardness, and being full of a great quantity of blood which has made the flesh very red inside, and in other cases outside as well as inside. And if the adversary says that such a large quantity of flesh has grown through wind causing enlargement and hardness as in a ball with which one plays such wind gives neither weight nor density but makes flesh light and rarefied. Besides one observes that the erect penis has a red glans which is a sign of the inflow of blood and when it is not erect this glans has a whitish surface.” 
  • "The origin of the penis is placed on the pubic bone. it is so supported in order to resist the forces active in coitus. If this bone did not exist these forces would return the penis backwards on meeting resistance, and it would often enter more into the body of the operator than into that of the operated. "

Leonardo's views on the  'sex act'- the "Procreative" kind - was more of "disgust" than someone who participated in it. Notice he uses the words "The act of procreation." Which is different than other, well, non-procreative acts. 



There are dozens of obscured images that are borderline "pornographic" (or I guess you could say "Erotic") - that show Leonardo's sense of humor and allude to his sexuality.  

The gallery below shows some of the examples of his obscenely obscured images as well as his sketches relating to sex in general. Also notice how different he portrayed women and men. There are only a couple sketches of naked women and hundreds of men. In his anatomical sketch of a woman notice how he portrayed her nether regions - almost as being "monstrous." 

Anything included here taken -alone- might be conjecture but considered all together it isn't just safe to assume but to affirm that Leonardo was - in fact - gay. Sorry ladies!