Posted On
Blog

The Real Kama Sutra: More Than An Ancient Sex Manual

Posted By Thomas Mabe

Everyone knows the Kama Sutra is ancient India’s racy sex manual. The very title conjures up titillating visions of smiling maharajas cavorting with bejeweled naked nymphs.

But few Americans have ever read it—not even the “good parts,” the sexual positions that made the book famous. Meanwhile, the major English translation is a travesty. It dates from 1883 and was published just once in the U.S., in 1962. Its author, English army officer Richard Burton, tortured the text to shoehorn it into Victorian views about sexuality, notably the that only men experience sexual desire and pleasure, and that women are simply passive receptacles for men’s lust. The real Kama Sutra expresses much different—and more contemporary—attitudes.

Happily, in 2009, some 1700 years after the book first appeared, Oxford University Press published a little noticed translation by Wendy Doniger, a professor of religious history at the University of Chicago, and Sudhir Kakar, an

read more
Posted On
Blog

Five Fascinating Facts about the Kama Sutra

Posted By Thomas Mabe

1. The Kama Sutra isn’t a ‘sex manual’. Or at least, it’s not just that. In fact, only around 20% of the Kama Sutra concerns sexual positions – one section of the seven that make up the whole book. The section that does concern sexual positions discusses the use of nails (fingernails, presumably) in the bedroom, biting, moaning, and much else. One passage denounces oral sex as immoral, before going on to give detailed instructions as to how to perform it! Those wanting a more ‘full-on’ Indian sex manual might try the Ananga Ranga, composed in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. You know, if that’s your sort of thing.

2. The other six sections give advice on a whole host of subjects. The rest of the Kama Sutra concerns such things as: correct conduct, the acquisition of useful knowledge, how to get yourself a wife, how to make money, as …

read more