Sarah Ruden (via John Stonestreet) makes an interesting claim about the Roman Empire in the time of Paul:
Dreher cites classics scholar Sarah Ruden, whose book “Paul Among the Gentiles” was the subject of a BreakPoint three years ago. According to Ruden, “it’s profoundly ignorant to think of the Apostle Paul as a dour proto-Puritan descending upon happy-go-lucky pagan hippies, ordering them to stop having fun.” On the contrary, “Paul’s teachings on sexual purity and marriage were adopted as liberating in the pornographic, sexually exploitive Greco-Roman culture of the time . . .” Christianity “worked a cultural revolution, restraining and channeling male eros, elevating the status of both women and of the human body, and infusing marriage—and marital sexuality—with love.” (from BreakPoint Commentary 5/23/2013)
While it is common to think of Classical Rome and Greece as morally decadent societies, I do find it surprising that sexual restraint was positively received as Christendom advanced.
Outside of Ruden's claim, are there are patristic sources that suggest the introduction of sexual restraint was positively received by Rome?