Written with frankness and unassuming candor, the Kama Sutra remains one of the most readable and enjoyable of all the classics of antiquity. A work of philosophy, psychology, sociology, Hindu dogma, scientific inquiry, and sexology, the Kama Sutra's importance is so great that it has at the same time both affected Indian civilization and remained an indispensable key to understanding it.
This new edition of The Kama Sutra does not have any pictures of how to accomplish the sexual positions. Disappointed? Well, there's always the cover and the inside flaps. Reading this, I'm a bit curious how the work became known as a book full of pictures of sexual positions. Certainly, Vatsyayana does describe a fair number, but probably not as many as are in the books that have been published. My own theory is that people came up with a bunch more positions while trying to figure out the ones Vatsyayana described, with limited detail.
From a historian's viewpoint, this was a really neat book to read. One thing I read for particularly was the treatment of women. Now, considering that it's from roughly the third century CE, women are obviously property. Their role is to be subservient. Still, I was somewhat impressed with two things. 1) Vatsyayana also wrote this with women in mind, and included discussions of how a woman can come to have power over her lover or husband. 2) Vatsyayana openly says that women can have strong sexual drives. This is something that is often denied still today.
On the other hand, some of the advice is spot on, and modern males could still learn from it. For example, Vatsyayana says that "One needs to study a woman's behaviour when making a pass at her." Very true. Women are generally going to give off some hints, some signals telling you whether or not they are interested. Being able to read these signals is an art. Of course, his next piece of advice, should she for some strange reason, not be interested is that in some cases "she is available, but by force when they are alone." Not so good. Oh, ancient value systems.
Despite having been written by a celibate focused on meditation, The Kama Sutra really strikes me as the guidebook of a 3rd century Barney Stinson. Seriously, think about it. Within there are precise descriptions on how to bed women of every variety, along with consideration of sexual positions and how to be attractive. "A paste of rosebay, ginger and dried plum leaves" was probably the old school Indian method of 'suiting up.' Or not. Haha. But seriously, it is so much more awesome to read while thinking about this.read more