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Kama Sutra – Section 4. Duties and privileges of the wife

by Beth Divine 18 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 common practice, according to the letter of the law, a wife has equal rights with her husband – with any man. In practise, of course, we all know from the many news reports and charity briefings, that often women’s rights are ignored or trampled on and that rape, disfigurement and even death are meted out as ‘punishment’ for frustrations or denials.

Instead, women have the right to refuse a marriage that they do not want to enter into, they are not required to provide a dowry – never mind a large and generous one, and they do not have to tolerate poor treatment from their husbands, brothers, fathers or neighbours… 

Ancient texts – of all religions – have always specified the correct and proper treatment of women as being paramount and equal to the treatment a man should be able to expect. The importance of sexual satisfaction was traditionally never a male strong-hold, with the satisfaction of a woman being specifically mentioned – albeit euphemistically – in almost all the texts of the major religions.
There are two chapters on the duties and privileges of the wife.