The Kama Sutra is a sex-education textbook that was penned by the Indian scholar Vatsyayana in the 4th century A.D. Despite its age, theKama Sutra remains one of the most comprehensive works on love and eroticism to date. Contrary to popular belief Vatsyayana's masterpiece is not a pornographic how-to manual, but rather it is a thorough analysis of the nature of love, sex and intimacy. It is mostly in Western cultures that his work has been misrepresented and sensationalized through illustrated versions of the text and films like Penthouse's Kama Sutra Pleasures. While the Kama Sutra is explicit in parts, it is suprisingly intellectual in nature.
The Kama Sutra was written as an educational text. Vatsyayana intended for his work to be read by teenagers prior to the initiation of erotic practice. So it would appear that the Kama Sutra is an ancient sex-ed manual, which includes courting rituals and marital unions. Today, theKama Sutra
can serve as a useful reference for anyone with an interest in sex and love.
The Kama Sutra is written in seven parts with each part containing several chapters. I will briefly discuss the contents of each part because the text is too broad to summarize adequately.
Part I: General Remarks
The first part is an introduction to the Kama Sutra and the importance of studying its contents. Vatsyayana also offers some commentary on the three aims of life and the behavior of people in general.
Part II: Amorous Advances
Vatsyayana starts with a discussion of sex size and follows with a systematic dissection of the art of seduction. Vatsyayana discusses embraces, petting, caresses, scratching, biting, blows (hitting), sighs (moaning), fellation (oral sex), sexual positions, masculine behavior in women (primitive dominatrix) and special interests (sodomy, homosexual behavior, dildos). Undeniably the most graphic, 'Amorous Advances' is also the most interesting part of the entire text. While I didn't come across anything revolutionary, I was fascinated to read such a pragmatic examination of explicit behavior.
Part III: Acquiring a Wife
Vatsyayana moves on to explore the means of attaining a wife. Discussed are the types of encounters, intermediaries and marriages. 'Acquiring a Wife' begins the portion of the text that shows its age. The women of Vatsyayana's time enjoyed more freedom than in the centuries to follow, but they were still largely regarded as property. At times Vatsyayana seems to favor the independence of women, but at others offers support to the contrary. He suggests that a marriage by choice (gandharva) is ideal, but that more traditional marriages arranged by families through the exchange of property (Brahma) are more ethical and well-omened. I can't help but feel that Vatsyayana was a true romantic that recognized the pressures of society and tradition.
Part IV: Duties and Privileges of the Wife
In only two chapters, Vatsyayana discusses the roles of the primary wife and other wives. The role of the woman seems to be in pleasing her husband through chores, words and intimacy; again showing the works age. While additional wives (a harem) are not necessarily recommended by Vatsyayana, they are allowed when a woman is infirtile, stupid or because the man has become bored.
Part V: Other Men's Wives
Vatsyayana prefaces the fifth part by discouraging fornication with another man's wife. With his warnings out of the way, Vatsyayana proceeds to detail the means of arranging an encounter, the use of intermediaries, the interpretations of behavior and the methods of seduction. Vatsyayana also discusses the gynoecium (harem) at length.
Part VI: About Courtesans
The penultimate chapter describes the behavior and mannerisms of prostitutes, defined as those who trade sex for personal gain. Vatsyayana approaches the subject with much tact, carefully observing the pros and cons to the lifestyle of the cultured and illiterate prostitute alike. The courtesan is held with the highest regard, as much for her culture and beauty as for her sex.
Part VII: Occult Practices
Only when all else fails does Vatsyayana recommend turning to the practice of magick. In the chapter 'Success in Love' he teaches us of rituals and ointments that will enhance our sex-appeal. In the chapter 'Arousing a Weakened Sexual Power' he explains how to cure erectile dysfunction (impotence) and fashion primitive sex-dolls and other toys. Want to know more? You'll have to buy thbuy the book!!