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Kama Sutra – Section 2. Amorous advances/sexual union

by Beth Divine 20 Sep 2018
Many people think it is called the ‘Karma Sutra’, as in ‘karma’s a bitch, and then you die’, but the text is actually titled ‘Kama Sutra’. Kama means desire, including sexual desire, which is one of the four central goals of Hindu life, while Sutra refers to a binding line or thread, or – more metaphorically – can also mean a unifying principle or formula. Thus, the  title tells us that the text is about the pursuit of the satisfaction of desire and how such a pursuit is a positive thing, rather than (as many other cultures posit) something to be ashamed of and repressed wherever possible. The Kama Sutra is also not purely about sexual positions – although those chapters do exist, they comprise a mere twenty per cent of the work. Instead, the book offers a way for Hindus to become well-rounded, contented citizens: Read on to learn more:

Despite the smutty, giggle-giggle connotations that often accompany mention of the Kama Sutra the text is actually a guide book to living a full and satisfying life, in every way, from being a good person and a good citizen to earning enough to keep your family fed, clothed and sheltered. Sexual pleasures and the pursuit of satisfaction come last in the list of priorities. They are, in order: Dharma, which refers to moral uprightness in life; Artha, meaning financial or material prosperity. Then comes Kama, the pursuit of aesthetic and erotic pleasure. The final priority is Moksha which means freedom or liberation, specifically the liberation from the life cycle (samsara) and refers to having a good death.

Section 2 comprises of ten chapters on stimulation of desire, types of embraces, caresses and kissing, even of erotic bites, being scratched with fingernails and being spanked, when appropriate and appreciated. The text details many sexual positions, offering advice on the best types of coition and even oral sex. 

What the text does not do – and this may surprise many readers – is contain any pictures. Any images were added by later translators. Those same translators spent much of their time marvelling over the sixty-four types of sexual acts described over the ten chapters of section 2 to the point that they broadly ignored or glossed over the other sections. And this is why the text as a whole has earned a reputation as being some kind of kinky sex guide…