|The Kama Sutra and Other Sacred|
The Kama Sutra is an ancient Indian text on human sexuality, produced circa 400 AD by Mallanaga Vatsyayana. The title roughly translates as “treatise on sexual pleasure.” It is not as blatantly sexual as some believe, but it does deserve its reputation as one of the foremost texts on sexuality ever written. It proscribes not only behavior related to sex, but includes concepts such as manners, conduct and arts that a cultured, refined individual was expected to practice. It is one of three primary “sacred texts” of sexuality from ancient times, but it is by far the best known, even if frequently misunderstood.
Unlike many other cultures, the ancient Hindu culture believed sexual pleasure was one of life’s highest callings; in fact, it was one of the three main purposes of life: religious piety (dharma), material success (artha), and sexual pleasure (kama). The Kama Sutra was designed to help people enjoy their kama on a much deeper level – deeper than just the physical pleasure derived from intercourse.
It is important to note that many people confuse the Sutra and the concept of Tantric sex. Tantric sexual techniques existed at the time it was written, but were not codified until many years after the Sutra was published (Vatsyayana in fact kept the Tantras secret as required by custom at the time). Many people are surprised to find that there are no Tantric or spiritual concepts contained with the Kama Sutra itself. The Sutra delves into the mental and emotional aspects of sexuality, but only from a worldly point of view.
The Kama Sutra was written with the purpose of ensuring that lovers knew that sexuality began long before you get to the bedroom – in the realm of the senses and the imagination. Sexuality is far more than just a collection of sexual positions or specific techniques, but includes things like sensuality, attitude, mystery, etc., and true sexuality was a concept that occupied a span of time rather than individual instances or encounters. This perspective can serve as a valuable model, even today, for lovers who wish to ensure their sexuality exists across as wide a spectrum as possible.
While the Sutra does focus on the needs of the female much more than many modernists, it should be noted that Vatsyayana had a very limited understanding of female sexuality. For example, he suggested that males learn to control their ejaculatory inevitability during intercourse until the female achieves climax, regardless of how long that takes. This implies that he was not aware of the fact that many women cannot orgasm from penetrative sex alone; still, he did spend some time explaining the benefits of oral sex.