Other Ancient Sex Manuals
Ancient books like the Kama Sutra are manuals on lovemaking that were written by people of various cultures for different purposes. For instance, many are guides for newlyweds on kissing, touching, positions in lovemaking, attitudes, moral obligations, and much more. Though Westerners know them to be about positions, these books have a lot more to teach us.
The Ananga-Ranga was written in the sixteenth century in India. This manual includes morals, seduction techniques, sexual positions, hygiene, rituals and sexual spells, aphrodisiacs, and other erotic concepts. It pays particular attention to the woman learning to control her pelvic floor muscles to heighten the experience between her lover and herself.
The Perfumed Garden
The Perfumed Garden was written in Arabia in the sixteenth century. It has a treatise on the many different sizes and shapes of male and female sexual organs. Written primarily for men, the Perfumed Garden counsels them to find out from the woman what she likes and ask her for instruction on giving it to her. It speaks highly of God and the gift of pleasure that God has given to humans. It also contains teaching stories of various sorts and many intercourse positions.
The Ishimpo was a manual that originated in Japan as an erotic teaching manual. Similar to its counterparts in India and other parts of Asia, it depicts the sex act between man and woman as the essential force that controls the universe. It expresses the importance of making love as the force in nature that keeps Earth circling the Heavens.
The Secrets of the Jade Bed Chamber
Exciting many Chinese couples, this treatise on sexuality and sensuality included recipes for potency remedies, exotic positions, and counseling on the ways of love. As with many societies that included eroticism in their cultural heritage, there is symbolism in the words selected for use in the books and by lovers. Metaphors filled the erotic lives of ancient sexual explorers. In the Secrets of the Jade Bed Chamber, the penis is described as the Jade Stalk; the vagina is called the Jade Garden.
In addition to teaching manuals, China, Japan, and many other Eastern cultures also had pillow books, which were used by couples as erotic stimulants and as reminders of the vast sexual potential any couple could tap into. Beautifully made pillow books were adorned with erotic pictures, poetry, writings, and suggestions that couples could try together to stir their passions.
In the past few decades, there has been a resurgence of erotic manuals, picture books, illustrated instruction books, and a wide variety of resources to educate and reconnect people with their sexual nature. As these materials become available, more people begin to speak openly about sexuality and sensuality. The result is an increasing awareness of our sexual nature and of the variety of touches and pleasurable sensations that turn each of us on.