The Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra is an ancient Hindu text believed to have been written by a scholar named Mallanaga Vatsyayana. It was designed to be a manual of techniques for improving one's relationships and sexuality, and also to improve the person's overall character.

Why doesn't the Kama Sutra contain more Tantric information and techniques?

Some people speculate that Vatsyayana was deliberately selective about which material he did — and did not — include in this book. Those in this camp believe he only revealed what he thought should be shared with the general public, but withheld the real Tantric mysteries, in keeping with the tradition that those closely guarded secrets should only be passed down orally from guru to student.

The Kama Sutra is based on two sets of “Sixty-Four Arts.” One set of arts dealt with sex and lovemaking. This is what most people tend to think of when you mention the Kama Sutra.

But many people do not realize that the Kama Sutra also discussed the other set of Sixty-Four Arts: skills and interests felt necessary for a person to become a well-rounded, cultured person. These would include singing, theater, science, literature, and so on. The Kama Sutra even dispenses fashion advice, dictating that a woman should dress in impressive and colorful ensembles when approaching her husband — and adding that a woman should reserve her best clothes for trysts with her husband, and vice versa.

The term Kama Sutra roughly translated means “sensual book.” In addition to dealing with sex and sexual positions, it also gives tips on dating, kissing, aphrodisiacs, and achieving orgasms. It also covers the more painful (or erotic, depending on your viewpoint) techniques of scratching and biting during sex — going so far as to categorize numerous different types of bites and scratches.

Space limitations make it impossible to cover every Kama Sutra position here. (For a more detailed look at the Kama Sutra, check out some of the books specifically dealing with that topic that are listed in the Resources section of this book.) This chapter does, however, cover some of the most popular Kama Sutra positions. You should be able to master most of them fairly easily (besides, practicing is half the fun).

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