GFL presents for your enjoyment, the following article on the subject of the works of the ages dealing with the ideas of sex and love, none is as famous - or infamous - as the 'Kama Sutra', or Aphorisms on Love, by Vatsyayana.
Vatsyayana's work has long been considered the chief work in the proud tradition of Hindu erotic literature. That's saying something, when you consider that countries like India have never had to deal with our Judeo-Christian notion of sexual repression; this has allowed countries like India (or China for that matter) to look on and enjoy this principal branch of the human experience as an honest blessing rather than a curse.
The worn-out, Western concept of sex as something 'dirty' would have been laughable to such cultures, as it would have been even to pagan Greece and Rome. In fact the Hindus of India believe that sex is an integral way of becoming one with the divine source; it has therefore long been seen as essential that both men and women know as much about both sex and love as they can. In Hinduism sex is a religious duty, and a lover who is an expert is helping to bring the divine to earth is seen almost as a kind of saint, for lack of a better term.
It's believed that Vatsyayana lived between the 1st and 6th Centuries AD; so the Kama Sutra can truly be seen as an ancient work on an ancient subject. Even among the Indians, nothing beats the Kama Sutra for thoroughness of intent and understanding. It is at once both mystical and completely practical.
One last thing: you'll notice that we don't much bother with the arcane positions sometimes discussed in this famous sutra, for two reasons:
1.) The West - and especially the US - has a tendency to discuss
only the strangest, or most 'exotic' aspects of any sexual work, so de-emphasizing
the positions (which was never a big part of the Kama Sutra anyway) will
hopefully put attention back on the actual text, and
The positions can of course be tried, and can be quite fun for the adventurous, but will likely be little more than a novelty to most in the West. Since it's not the 'be-all-and-end-all' of the work, the positions were de-emphasized here for a Western audience. The Kama Sutra's main emphasis is how a person, male or female, may hope to best attract a member of the opposite sex, how they may hope to fulfill them sexually, and how this is a basic, essential aspect of human love. At the close of the work Vatsyayana himself tells us why he wrote this sutra: "After reading and considering the works of Babhravya and other ancient authors, and thinking over the meaning of the rules given by them, this treatise was composed, according to the precepts of the Holy Writ, for the benefit of the world, by Vatsyayana, while leading the life of a religious student at Benares, and wholly engaged in the contemplation of the Deity.
This work is not to be used merely as an instrument for satisfying our desires. A person acquainted with the true principles of this science, who preserves his Dharma (virtue or religious merit), his Artha (worldly wealth) and his Kama (pleasure or sensual gratification), and who has regard to the customs of the people, is sure to obtain the mastery over his senses. In short, an intelligent and knowing person attending to Dharma and Artha and also to Kama, without becoming the slave of his passions, will obtain success in everything that he may do."
Hardly the dark and twisted text you may have been led to believe? But don't be fooled. This little treatise covers areas of sexual experience that still have the capacity to shock now and again. So just what does it cover?
Consider the table of contents. The Kama Sutra is divided into seven parts. Notice that only one part even begins to deal with sexual positions:
The main idea is not just to get women into bed - but to make them happy and instill them with a desire for you again and again. The Kama Sutra tells you how to please both the feminine body and the feminine mind... and gives you quite a few pointers on how to help you enjoy yourself to the fullest as well. Consider this an introduction to the Sutra's teachings, and what it has to offer you. To give you a true feel, we quote from sections that probably most appeal to you, and provide a brief explanation of each quote where needed.
We've also included a link to an online version of the work, if you'd like to read the entire book on your own. We'll jump around here and there simply to make this a more concise article for our narrow ends, but we'll always tell you where this or that quote appears in the original text. Let's begin with this quote from the introductory section: "Since sexual intercourse is an end dependent on the proper application of both male and female techniques, those techniques are covered in the Kama Sutra.
The application of improper means often seen in the unthinking animal is caused by their being unrestrained, by the females among them only being fit for sexual intercourse at certain seasons and no more, and by their intercourse not being preceded by thought of any kind. Such unfocused, unreasoned pleasures bring a man into distress, and into contact with low persons; they cause him to commit unrighteous deeds, and produce impurity in him; they make him regardless of the future, and encourage carelessness and levity.
And lastly, they cause him to be disbelieved by all, received by none, and despised by everybody, including himself. It is notorious, moreover, that many men who have given themselves up to pleasure alone, have been ruined with their families and relations. Pleasures are, therefore, to be followed with moderation and caution.
Any action which conduces to the practice of Dharma, Artha and Kama together, or of any two, or even one of them, should be performed, but an action which conduces to the practice of one of them at the expense of the remaining two should not be performed." Men and women are not lesser animals, so there's no reason for them to act like unaware animals when it comes to sex. But far from being a burden, this is a positive boon for men and women, since they are the only truly self-aware creatures capable of experiencing the joys of sex to the fullest.
Provided the reasons for sex are the right ones for a man and a woman, there's no reason why it can't be an amazing experience. This introductory section, like many chapters we'll cover below, ends with a saying: "`The man who is ingenious and wise, who is accompanied by a helpful friend, and who knows the intentions of others, and also the proper time and place for doing everything, can easily conquer even a woman who is very hard to obtain.'"
On Sexual Union "Chap 1 MAN is divided into three classes, viz. the hare man, the bull man, and the horse man, according to the size of his lingam. Woman also, according to the depth of her yoni, is either a female deer, a mare, or a female elephant. There are thus three equal unions between persons of corresponding dimensions, and there are six unequal unions, when the dimensions do not correspond, or nine in all ... Lastly, according to time there are three kinds of men and women: the short-timed, the moderate-timed, and the long-timed. And of these, as in the previous statements, there are nine kinds of union."
The Kama Sutra is adamant that the largest men should stay with the most accommodating women, and that each should stick with those who best match them biologically and mentally. "In the beginning of coition the passion of the woman is middling, and she cannot bear the vigorous thrusts of her lover, but by degrees her passion increases until she ceases to think about her body, and then finally she wishes to stop from further coition.
Vatsyayana says that this is so, because the ways of working as well as the consciousness of pleasure in men and women are different. The difference in the ways of working, by which men are the actors, and women are the persons acted upon, is owing to the nature of the male and the female; otherwise the actor would be sometimes the person acted upon, and vice versa.
And from this follows the difference in the consciousness of pleasure, for a man thinks, `this woman is united with me', and a woman thinks, `I am united with this man'. Some have asked that if the ways of working in men and women are different, shouldn't there be a difference in the pleasure they feel? But this objection is groundless, for while the person acting and the person being acted upon clearly experience a difference in their ways of working, there is no reason for any difference in the pleasure they feel since both naturally derive sexual pleasure from the act they perform. [Since] the difference in their ways of working arises from the difference of their form only, it follows that men experience the same kind of pleasure as women do."
According to Vatsyayana, men aren't really from Mars, and women aren't really from Venus. The difference is mainly in what each does in a moment of passion, not in how that passion is enjoyed. Although it is interesting to note that a man naturally sees himself as the one invading, the one making the woman his, while the woman naturally sees herself as purposely becoming one with her man at that moment. Possibly the essence of the difference in the male-female worldview. How to keep from Being Rejected While these next two parts are found under the section dealing with other men's wives, they are placed here near the beginning of this article for our purposes.
They work as a fine overview and instructional for any man who wants to better his chances with the opposite sex. "Ancient authors say that a man should know the disposition, truthfulness, purity, and will of a young woman, as also the intensity, or weakness of her passions from the form of her body, and from her characteristic marks and signs. But Vatsyayana is of opinion that the forms of bodies, and the characteristic marks or signs are uncertain tests of character, and that women should be judged by their conduct, by the outward expression of their thoughts, and by the movements of their bodies.
Now as a general rule Gonikaputra says that a woman falls in love with every handsome man she sees, and so does every man at the sight of a beautiful woman, but owing to various considerations further steps are rarely taken. In any case, where love is concerned the following circumstances are peculiar to the woman: she loves without regard to right or wrong, and does not try to gain over a man simply for the attainment of one purpose.
Moreover, when a man first makes up to her she naturally shrinks from him, even though she may be willing to unite herself with him. But when the attempts to gain her are repeated and renewed, she at last consents. But with a man, even though he may have begun to love, he at first refuses to show his more romantic feelings from a regard for morality and wisdom, and although his thoughts are often on the woman, he does not yield, even though an attempt be made to gain him over. [...] When a woman is once gained, [the man] often becomes indifferent about her.
The saying that a man does not care for what is easily gained, and only desires a thing which cannot be obtained without difficulty, is patently absurd.
The causes of a woman rejecting the addresses
of a man are as follows:
Whichever of the above causes a man may detect, he should endeavor to remove it from the very beginning. Thus, the bashfulness that may arise from his greatness or his ability, he should remove by showing his great love and affection for her.
The difficulties that arise from his being thought a low character he should remove by showing his valor and his wisdom; those that come from neglect by extra attention; and those that arise from fear by giving her proper encouragement.
are the men who generally obtain success with women:
The following are the women who are easily gained over:
Pretty self-explanatory. 'Female messenger' is apparently any female acting as a go-between for you and another female. A weakness due to that famous feminine jealousy, perhaps? "WHEN a man is trying to gain over a woman he should examine the state of her mind, and act as follows:
If she listens to him, but does not manifest to him in any way her own intentions, he should then try to gain her over by means of a go-between. If she meets him once, and again comes to meet him better dressed than before, or comes to him in some lonely place, he should be certain that she is capable of being enjoyed by the use of a little force.
A woman who lets a man make up to her, but does not give herself up, even after a long time, should be considered as a trifler in love; but owing to the fickleness of the human mind, even such a woman can be conquered by always keeping up a close acquaintance with her.
When a man makes up to a woman, and she reproaches him with harsh words, she should be abandoned at once. When a woman reproaches a man, but at the same time acts affectionately towards him, she should be made love to in every way.
A woman, who meets a man in lonely places, and puts up with the touch of his foot, but pretends, on account of the indecision of her mind, not to be aware of it, should be conquered by patience ..." Don't have a set time or some set schedule of when you're going to make your 'big move'.
Your job is to bring the woman to that point without her realizing that she's being moved to that point by you. That is the essence of The Kama Sutra says this can only be achieved by properly accessing the woman before you, understanding what strengths you have that will appeal to her, then using them on the lady and moving forward according to the reaction you receive.
We'll go back to the principal section on 'sexual union' now, covering chapters 2-10 inclusive. For us the meat of information is here. We are presuming you are single, and so probably won't be looking to 'ways to please the wife ' ; and the idea of the concubine is, while indeed exciting in some exotic way, not exactly anything a person in the West could really understand (a concubine is not a prostitute by any means, but is a kind of 'secondary wife' - a woman not quite having all the rights of the one full or 'first' wife, but who still has the right to claim a particular man as her rightful husband, as well as the monetary and emotional ties that come with the position). On Sexual Union,
Chap 2-10 "Chap 2 Now the embrace which indicates the mutual love of a man and woman who have come together is of four kinds: Touching Rubbing Piercing Pressing The action in each case is denoted by the meaning of the word which stands for it. When a man under some pretext or other goes in front or alongside of a woman and touches her body with his own, it is called the `touching embrace'. When a woman in a lonely place bends down, as if to pick up something, and pierces, as it were, a man sitting or standing, with her breasts, and the man in return takes hold of them, it is called a `piercing embrace'.
The above two kinds of embrace take place only between persons who do not, as yet, speak freely with each other [about what each of them clearly want]. When two lovers are walking slowly together, either in the dark, or in a place of public resort, or in a lonely place, and rub their bodies against each other, it is called a `rubbing embrace'.
When on the above occasion one of them presses the other's body forcibly against a wall or pillar, it is called a `pressing embrace'. These two last embraces are peculiar to those who already know the intentions of each other. When a woman, having placed one of her feet on the foot of her lover, and the other on one of his thighs, passes one of her arms round his back, and the other on his shoulders, makes slightly the sounds of singing and cooing, and wishes, as it were, to climb up him in order to have a kiss, it is called an embrace like the `climbing of a tree'.
This kind of embrace take place when the lover is standing. When a man and a woman are very much in love with each other, and, not thinking of any pain or hurt, embrace each other as if they were entering into each other's bodies either while the woman is sitting on the lap of the man, or in front of him, or on a bed, then it is called an embrace like a `mixture of milk and water'.
This kind of embrace take place at the time of sexual union. Chap 3 [I]n a case of a young girl there are three sorts of kisses: The nominal kiss The throbbing kiss The touching kiss When a girl only touches the mouth of her lover with her own, but does not herself do anything, it is called the `nominal kiss'. When a girl, setting aside her bashfulness a little, wishes to touch the lip that is pressed into her mouth, and with that object moves her lower lip, but not the upper one, it is called the `throbbing kiss'.
When a girl touches her lover's lip with her tongue, and having shut her eyes, places her hands on those of her lover, it is called the `touching kiss'. Saying: Whatever things may be done by one of the lovers to the other, the same should be returned by the other, i.e. if the woman kisses him he should kiss her in return, if she strikes him he should also strike her in return.'"
The fact that their greatest teachers often use absolute definitions and language to impress the mind is both the glory and the weakness of Hindu philosophy. Naturally the Kama Sutra is not saying that either partner should do anything to truly hurt the other; as you will see below, any striking discussed is a hit of passion, never of violence. Neither partner attempt a strike intended to actually hurt. Since the man is usually the stronger of the two, he especially must keep this in mind. And, as will be covered below, one never strikes unless it is known beforehand that the lover wishes and accepts it, and will give as good as they get. You will also see that Vatsyayana insists that almost all strikes - particularly those of the man - should employ only fingers or the open palm, and should center on erogenous areas of the lover's body. "
Chap 4 When love becomes intense, pressing with the nails or scratching the body with them is practiced, and it is done on the following occasions: on the first visit; at the time of setting out on a journey; on the return from a journey; at the time when an angry lover is reconciled; and lastly when the woman is intoxicated. But pressing with the nails is not a usual thing except with those who are intensely passionate, i.e. full of passion. It is only employed, together with biting, by those to whom the practice is agreeable.
Chap 5 Saying: `When a man bites a woman forcibly, she should angrily do the same to him with double force. Thus a "point" should be returned with a "line of points", and a "line of points" with a "broken cloud" (a group of points often combining to form groups of little, light bruises), and if she be excessively chafed, she should at once begin a love quarrel with him. At such a time she should take hold of her lover by the hair, and bend his head down, and kiss his lower lip, and then, being intoxicated with love, she should shut her eyes and bite him in various places. Even by day, and in a place of public resort, when her lover shows her any mark that she may have inflicted on his body, she should smile at the sight of it, and turning her face as if she were going to chide him, she should show him with an angry look the marks on her own body that have been made by him. Thus if men and women act according to each other's liking, their love for each other will not be lessened even in one hundred years.'
Chap 6" Perhaps the single most infamous chapter, it goes into unflinching - almost clinical - detail about the various means of 'sexual congress'. Some examples: "When a man and a woman support themselves on each other's bodies, or on a wall, or pillar, and thus while standing engage in congress, it is called the `supported congress'.
When a woman stands on her hands and feet like a quadruped, and her lover mounts her like a bull, it is called the `congress of a cow'. At this time everything that is ordinarily done on the bosom should be done on the back (light hits, slaps; caressing and even biting, if possible).
When a man enjoys two women at the same time, both of whom love him equally, it is called the `united congress'. When a man enjoys many women altogether, it is called the `congress of a herd of cows'. In Gramaneri many young men enjoy a woman that may be married to one of them, either one after the other, or at the same time. Thus one of them holds her, another enjoys her, a third uses her mouth, a fourth holds her middle part, and in this way they go on enjoying her several parts alternately. The same things can be done when several men are sitting in company with one courtesan, or when one courtesan is alone with many men.
In the same way this can be done by the women of the king's harem when they accidentally get hold of a man. The people in the Southern countries have also a congress in the anus, that is called the `lower congress'. Saying: `An ingenious person should multiply the kinds of congress after the fashion of the different kinds of beasts and of birds. For these different kinds of congress, performed according to the usage of each country, and the liking of each individual, generate love, friendship, and respect in the hearts of women.'
Chap 7 SEX can be compared to a quarrel, on account of the contrarieties of love and its tendency to dispute. The place of striking with passion is the body, and on the body the special places are: The shoulders The head The space between the breasts The back The jaghana, or middle part of the body The sides. Besides these, there are also words having a meaning, such as `mother', and those that are expressive of prohibition, sufficiency, desire of liberation, pain or praise, and to which may be added sounds like those of the dove, the cuckoo, the green pigeon, the parrot, the bee, the sparrow, the flamingo, the duck, and the quail, which are all occasionally made use of. Blows with the fist should be given only on the back of the woman while she is sitting on the lap of the man, and she should give blows in return, abusing the man as if she were angry, and making the cooing and the weeping sounds. While the woman is engaged in congress the space between the breasts should be struck with the back of the hand, slowly at first, and then proportionately to the increasing excitement, until the end. Saying: 'Such passionate actions and amorous gesticulations or movements, which arise on the spur of the moment, and during sexual intercourse, cannot be defined, and are as irregular as dreams.
A loving pair become blind with passion in the heat of congress, and go on with great impetuosity, paying not the least regard to excess. For this reason one who is well acquainted with the science of love, and knowing his own strength, as also the tenderness, impetuosity, and strength of the young women, should act accordingly. The various modes of enjoyment are not for all times or for all persons, and should only be used at the proper time and in the proper countries and places.'" Now it is revealed - to human beings, sex is a kind of battle, a kind of struggle. Sex is a kind of conflict in which the man, frankly, is the invader, and the woman the one who really is invaded.
But to stop there and come to a myriad of confused conclusions, as the ' third wave' feminists do, is to miss the point entirely. Notice in the above passage that even at the point of penetration the woman is to Vatsyayana the equal of the man; she is to give as good as she gets. She may be invaded, but she has freely chosen this particular man to invade her, she herself has chosen this man (or, as said above, this group of men) to unite with. It may in some ways be a kind of war, but one in which both sides freely enjoy and freely benefit, provided both sides truly care for and respect one another. "
Chap 8 WHEN a woman sees that her lover is fatigued by constant congress, without having his desire satisfied, she should, with his permission, lay him down upon his back, get on top, and give him assistance by acting his part. She may also do this to satisfy the curiosity of her lover, or simply to explore her own desire. Saying: Though a woman is usually reserved, and keeps her feelings concealed; yet when she gets on the top of a man, she then shows all her love and desire. A man should gather from the actions of the woman of what disposition she is, and in what way she likes to be enjoyed. But a woman during her monthly courses, a woman who has until recently been confined, and a fat woman should not ride on top of the man.'"
Chap 9 The Kama Sutra is surprisingly conservative when it comes to oral sex, saying that its use is usually "the work of a dog and not of a man, because it is a low practice, and opposed to the orders of the Holy Writ, and because the man himself suffers by bringing his lingam into contact with the mouths of eunuchs and women. But," it quickly adds, "Vatsyayana says that the orders of the Holy Writ do not affect those who resort to courtesans, and the law prohibits the practice [of oral sex] with married women.
Chap 10 ON HOW TO BEGIN AND HOW TO END THE CONGRESS. DIFFERENT KINDS OF CONGRESS AND LOVE QUARRELS A citizen should receive the woman, who will come bathed and dressed, and invite her to take refreshment and to drink freely. He should then seat her on his left side, and holding her hair, and touching also the end and knot of her garment, he should gently embrace her with his right arm.
They should then carry on an amusing conversation on various subjects, and may also talk suggestively of things which would be considered as coarse, or not to be mentioned generally in society. They may then sing, either with or without gesticulations, and play on musical instruments, talk about the arts, and persuade each other to drink. At last when the woman is overcome with love and desire, the citizen should dismiss the people that may be with him, giving them flowers, ointments, and betel leaves, and then when the two are left alone, they should proceed as has been already described in the previous chapters."
This is a very useful chapter, since the contents deal with the many proper ways a man and woman can "begin and end congress" so that it is most enjoyable for both, as well as the best way to end some love quarrels. As you can see from the quotation above, it is laced with manners and mores that deal with the intricacies of Indian society from 1st-6th Century AD, but it also discusses items which, when added to the things already covered, can still be useful for single men in the 21st Century.
The very best way to enjoy this chapter is simply to read it all for yourself here. It's chapter 10 in the section, "On Sexual Union." On Attracting Others This last section of the Kama Sutra is dedicated to helping those who need assistance after all else has failed. Unfortunately, many parts here simply discuss questionable aphrodisiacs: "If a man, after anointing his lingam with a mixture of the powders of the white thorn apple, the long pepper and, the black pepper, and honey, engages in sexual union with a woman, he makes her subject to his will." It does insist that one 'natural' means of increasing male sexual potency is as follows:
"A man obtains sexual vigor by drinking milk mixed with sugar, the root of the uchchata plant, the piper chaba, and liquorice." Since viagra does indeed give a man 'sexual vigor', it's perhaps conceivable that the concoction mentioned here may actually work. We simply can't say with any certainty - hey, we ain't scientists. But Vatsyayana also occasionally gives some practical concepts here that people may use to make themselves appear more desirable:
"When a female attendant arrives at the age of puberty, her master should keep her secluded, and when men ardently desire her on account of her seclusion, and on account of the difficulty of approaching her, he should then bestow her hand on such a person as may endow her with wealth and happiness. This is a means of increasing the loveliness of a person in the eyes of others. A man, employing the 64 means of the Kama Sutra ... obtains his object, and enjoys the woman of the first quality. Though he may speak well on other subjects, if he does not know the 64 divisions, no great respect is paid to him in the assembly of the learned. A man, devoid of other knowledge, but well acquainted with the sixty-four divisions, becomes a leader in any society of men and women.
We hope you enjoyed the above text on the ancient topic of Kamasutra!