The Kama Sutra - Not Just a Sex Manual

All Temple Art; Believe it or Not

Anyone who has been to India or has read enough about India would have seen ancient Indian sculptures or pictures of them; even someone with the most rudimentary idea about India would we familiar with the Kama Sutra. If you have visited temples like Khajuraho or Konark and many others in India, you would have seen frescoes and sculpture featuring exceedingly sexual, even orgiastic postures, various sex positions, even group sex and same sex scenes.

In the old days, India faced the problem of under population (as against over population today). So the kings routinely commissioned the court sculptors to design sculptures so erotic that they acted as an aphrodisiac to encourage people to produce more babies to populate their land! Perhaps the Kama Surta had just such a beginning.

In the west, the Kama Sutra is viewed as an ancient sex manual only, which is it, but it is much more than that. It is also a book about social values, etiquette, duties, economic obligations etc. Understandably the sex manual part of this voluminous work is what has gained maximum popularity. Kama, simply put is sex, but more specifically it means enjoyment using all the five sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing and smell and enjoyment not just for the body but for the mind and spirit as well.

One part of the manual deals with sexual positions, how to embrace and kiss, foreplay (marking with nails is one chapter), role playing and even the appropriate sounds to be made! One entire segment is devoted to advice about how to acquire a wife, another segment is about other people's wives! Another segment is allocated to courtesans, how they should earn money, how to live behave and conduct themselves, how to live as a man's wife etc.

The final part of the text deals with personal adornment and love potions and other methods of making a person attractive. It also deals with methods of arousal and miscellaneous experiments. All in all I would conclude that it was a book way ahead of its times.

Some years back a film was made about the period of Indian history when the Kama Sutra was written. It was a film called Utsav and was set in the period of Vatsyayana (the author). This film was about the renowned courtesan of the time, Vasantsena; the haunting melodious songs of the film are still very popular.

Courtesans were, in those days viewed with respect, insofar as sex was viewed as an art to be learned and taught. Some parts of the film were very funny too, when Vatsayana is shown peering into various rooms of a brothel collecting material for his book.

So really sex was not talked of in hushed tones the way it is now; it was as much part of social life as anything else and the Kama Sutra perhaps best reflects this.

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Comments 13 comments

cashmere profile image

cashmere 7 years ago from India

Let's plan a trip to Khujrao!


Dame Scribe profile image

Dame Scribe 7 years ago from Canada

I watched the movie, Kama Sutra- A love story. I love that movie and has a wonderful but sad story line but overall interesting to see a society as it was then. :) great Hub.


Reena Daruwalla profile image

Reena Daruwalla 7 years ago from INDIA Author

@Cash, I have been after Khush for that, but I am also afraid of Fiza going "Ma what are they doing?" :)

@Dame Scribe Thanks, and yes I would imagine it was a very different India before the British came and imposed their Victorian ideas on the populace.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Great Hub Reena - I wonder if we'll ever break free of the purintannical ideas that have us in a bind today and be free again! With the man:woman ratio running askew, who knows? We might just!


Reena Daruwalla profile image

Reena Daruwalla 7 years ago from INDIA Author

Thanks for the comment Shalini. This sex ratio thing is scary, especially in places like Delhi and Punjab etc. in case you are interested I did a post about this just a couple of days ago. http://www.delhilive.com/page/delhi%E2%80%99s-skew...


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Great article - scary scenario, isn't it?


Reena Daruwalla profile image

Reena Daruwalla 7 years ago from INDIA Author

Thanks. I certainly think its scary! But who knows soon the boys will be paying dowry?


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 7 years ago from Australia

Reena I have never known the origins of the Kama Sutra now I understand the reasons behind the writing . It would be good if the world could be more open about sex, it looked like it was about to happen in the 60s revolution but these days it is being way too much exploited for profit.

Thanks for the history lesson . :-)


Reena Daruwalla profile image

Reena Daruwalla 7 years ago from INDIA Author

You're welcome agvulpes. And yes today it is a case of sex sells. Anything.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

I think kamasutra is not just sex education, but it contain great philosophy. It will better if we study the history of kamasutra. and how it created like that. anyone agree with me? what do you think reena?


Ad 7 years ago

So is it true that kamasutra was made because of under population. Or is it more than that. I am sorry, but my question is still seems to be unanswered. Why it was Made.Are there other reasons?


tanay253 profile image

tanay253 6 years ago from Berkeley,CA,USA

The influence of the Kama Sutra did not stop with the English countryside. Far from it, the influence has spread to nearly all parts of the world and has become even more pervasive as the quality of communication has increased.

With the Internet and the eased restrictions on the publications of printed material's, the Kama Sutra finds a larger following all the time. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten Vatsyayna's original goal for the Kama Sutra which was to put sex and its pleasures in their proper perspective.

Society has become very promiscuous and quick to go for what feels good to the individual. Thus we find a moral breakdown unparalleled by any other time in history.

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bharat rajput (Raj) 3 years ago

very good i like that

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