The Spartans believed that the love of an older, accomplished aristocrat for an adolescent boy was essential to his formation as a free citizen. The education of the ruling class was thus founded on pederastic relationships, required of each citizen. The ephors fined any eligible man who did not love a boy, because, despite his own excellence, he failed to make a beloved “similar to himself.” Likewise, for a boy it was a disgrace to not find a lover,. By the time they reached the age of twelve "there was not any of the more hopeful boys who did not have a lover to bear him company."
Similar to the case of the young men, it was expected that women engaged in romantic relationships with girls as well.