A continuation of the Kama Sutra…
Like any second century sex guide written by men (because I’m sure there are a plethora just waiting for me to unearth!) the attitude in the Kama Sutra towards sex and women leaves much to be desired. Is the one organ designed for pleasure on the female body mentioned? No. Are there instructions how to make out with her back? Yes.
It does make one wonder.
When I read the Kama Sutra the thing that fascinated me, other than the mysterious animal poses, was the guidance on what women should do. Not around sex but for their own education. While the Kama Sutra states that women should not be educated in the sciences, there are many other arts they are expected to be expert in. There is some fascinating advice on what women should learn, not only on how to please their men (a la 1950s marriage guide for women) but also on a variety of other…er…arts. Here’s a little taste of some of my favorites of “the arts to be studied”:
- Colouring the teeth
- Playing on musical glasses filled with water
- Art of making ear ornaments
- Magic or sorcery
- Making parrots out of yarn
- Art of ram fighting
- Art of teaching starlings to speak
- Art of framing mystical diagrams, of addressing spells and charms
- Knowledge of ways of changing and disguising the appearance of persons
Not only are some of these arts mysterious and confounding. (Were yarn parrots all the range in the second century? Were women in charge of holding ram fighting contests like gargantuan roosters in backwoods Tennessee?) There are several sex acts that the lingam and yoni (read: penis and vagina) are involved in that makes one’s eyebrow raise and eyes squint in wonder. For example, “When the lingam is removed to some distance from the yoni and then forcibly strikes it, it is called ‘giving a blow.'” Or, “When the lingam is held with the hand, and turned all round in the yoni, it is called ‘churning.'”
There is also a comprehensive section on the kinds of blows given between sex partners, and another section on the kinds of bites and marks made on a body. It makes me wonder if these bizarre suggestions were derived from a Vatsayana drunk and giggling with glee as he concocted these, cackling at the thought of people actually attempting these acts. Or were the people of the second century bored, with way too much time on their hands. And unfortunately absolutely clueless about pleasurable sex.