Otho was made out to be another Nero in the literary tradition, to the extent that his actions were assimilated with those of the last Julio-Claudian. This includes a predilection for sexual passivity, with Apollonius of Tyana even describing him, in a highly rhetorical passage, as having been Galba s boy lover. Despite numerous ancient references to Otho s ostensible effeminacy, including his supposedly overzealous care of his person, accusations of sexual excess appear to be rooted in the general view of the rhetorical tyrant typified by Nero. Otho s real-life sexual preferences are clearly unrecoverable, so this inquiry focuses instead on the way in which his sexuality was depicted by those attempting to shape his reputation as a man unworthy of imperial office. In this study, we examine contemporary social and philosophical tenets underpinning ancient criticism of his alleged behavior.