The Greek symposium was very much a male-centered institution. It took place in a room called the Andros, and symposium members were entirely upper-class men with women of high socio-economic status being completely excluded. Despite the exclusion of these socially respectable women, there are a large number of women depicted on pottery throughout the archaeological record and in the Greek literary tradition.
Some of these women can be explained by their presence as dancers, musicians and entertainers, but some women are depicted in far different roles. These women, who took part in both sex and the symposium itself were the hetairai, and they provided a quintessentially sympotic form of participatory entertainment.